A guide to permits of stay in Italy

February 20, 2024

Italy, with its rich cultural heritage, delectable cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes, is a destination that captures the imagination of many. Whether you're planning a short visit or considering a longer stay to immerse yourself in Italian culture and language, understanding permits of stay is key. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about permits of stay in Italy!

Understanding permits of stay in Italy

What is a permit of stay?

The permit of stay (also known as “permesso di soggiorno” in Italian) is an official document issued by the Italian government that allows non-EU citizens to legally reside in Italy for a specific period. Think of it as your golden ticket to legally reside in  Italy for an extended period; if you're planning to stay in Italy for more than 90 days, you'll likely need one.

People enjoying life in a street of a city in Sicily, Italy

Types of permits of stay in Italy

Italy offers various types of permits to suit different purposes of stay, including short-term permits for tourism, long-term permits for work or study, and family reunification permits. Let's see them a bit more in detail:

  • Student Permits (Permesso di Soggiorno per Studio): If you're coming to Italy to learn Italian and experience the culture firsthand, you'll need a student permit if your stay exceeds 90 days. 
  • Work Permits (Permesso di Soggiorno per Lavoro): Dreaming of working in Italy while savoring authentic pasta and gelato? You'll need a work permit, which involves securing employment and meeting certain criteria.
  • Family Reunification Permits (Permesso di Soggiorno per Motivi Familiari): For those reuniting with family members who are Italian citizens or residents, these permits pave the way for a joyous family reunion in the land of amore.

Application process

Upon reaching Italy, one of your initial tasks will be to apply for the permit of stay. This process can be confusing, but don't worry— we'll   delve into the details to guide you through it step by step.

When to start the process?

It's crucial to initiate the process to request your Italian permit of stay promptly, within eight days of your arrival in Italy. Starting early ensures indeed that you have sufficient time to gather all necessary documents and navigate any potential challenges that may arise during the application process.

Kit for your permit of stay in Italy

When you're ready to begin the application process, you'll want to get the "permit of stay" kit from your local Post Office. This handy kit packs in all the necessary forms you'll need for your application journey. Here's a handy tip: skip the queue hassle! You don't need to take a ticket and wait in line. Just stroll into the Post Office and nab the attention of the first available employee—they'll hook you up with the kit pronto. 

Once you've got your hands on the kit, it's time to dive in. Take a thorough pass through each form, ensuring you fill them out with precision. This step is crucial to steer clear of any delays or roadblocks. And remember, if you find yourself in need of a guiding hand or have any questions, don't hesitate to ask the staff at the Post Office—they're there to help you sail through the process smoothly.

The request process

Let's talk about the nitty-gritty of applying for a permit of stay in Italy:

  1. Gather your documents: before requesting your stay permit, ensure all your paperwork is in order. You'll need your passport, visa (if applicable), proof of accommodation, financial resources (usually demonstrated through a bank statement or proof of scholarship), health insurance, and any other documents pertinent to your situation. Additionally, you'll need to bring with you an electronic revenue stamp (“bollo” in Italian), which costs €16 and can be purchased in all Tabacchi shops, to accompany your application.
  2. Submit your application: head to the local post office to submit your application and make sure to bring all required documents and forms, including your passport, the completed application form, photocopies of your documents, the electronic revenue stamp, and any other supporting materials. They’ll fix an appointment for you at the local police station (also known as "Questura" in Italian) to complete your submission process.
  3. Biometric data submission: during your appointment at the Questura, you'll be asked to provide biometric data, such as fingerprints and photographs. This data is used for identification purposes and is a standard part of the application process.
  4. Waiting: the processing time for permits can vary depending on the workload of the Questura and other factors. Generally, it takes several weeks to months for the permit to be processed. If you're feeling anxious about the status of your application, don't hesitate to follow up with the authorities for updates.
  5. Retrieving your permit of stay: once your permit is approved, you'll be notified by the Questura to come and collect it. Upon collecting your permit, double-check all the information to ensure accuracy and if there are any errors, notify the authorities immediately for corrections.
A passport, a fundamental document for requesting a permit of stay in Italy

Renewal and Extension

You should always remember that permits of stay In Italy have expiration dates, so if you're planning to extend your stay in Italy beyond the expiration date of your current permit, you'll need to renew your permit well in advance to avoid any last-minute rushes or legal issues. 

The renewal process is similar to the initial application process, requiring you to gather the necessary documents, fill out the appropriate forms, and submit your application to the relevant authorities. However, it's always good to start it early in order to allow ample time for processing and to ensure that you can continue your stay legally without interruption. Keep in mind that the renewal process may have different timelines and requirements depending on your specific situation and the type of permit you hold.

Our ultimate guides series of article cover more than that, check it out:

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