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Visiting Italy long-term
The legal requirements

Pillars of the Establishment ©Copyright Lake Photography 1998

The pillars of the establishment and civil law in Italy is a decaying, over-grandiose, self-regarding, sickenly bureaucratic structure of redundant purpose and pomposity. Attempt something as simple as buying a postage stamp and you will come up against a brick wall of insolent and sluggish defiance purposely designed to try and make you feel small and powerless
Are you British or American?
German? French? Member of the EEC?
Bet you think you can just breeze into Rome
and chill out for a few months don't you? Well
you can't...

If you're not simply here on holiday, but
are actually planning on staying in Italy for something
more than just a few weeks, even if you don't
want to work here, it's a bureaucratic nightmare.
The Italians are very primitive in their understanding
of Civil Liberties and at times it feels like you're
under martial law. (Click here for a more lengthy moan on this subject.)

The following notes cover some matters which
may be of interest to anyone planning to make
short or long term visits to Italy, and in particular
to the Rome Consular district, or who contemplate
seeking employment here. Though the
information is broadly applicable to visitors
of any nationality, the information we have to
hand here at RomeLife is chiefly tailored to the
needs of Brits. We have also included some
information on how the British Consulate may
be of assistance to British citizens.

Foreigners visiting Italy should register with
the nearest police station within 7 days of arrival,
but those staying at hotels, boarding houses
(pensione), or established camping sites are
automatically registered by the management
(when they ask for your passport when you
sign the register).

The ‘Permesso di Soggiorno’ (Certificate of Permission to Stay):
Those planning long term visits or permanent
residence without being employed here should
register with the police within 7 days of arrival
and apply for a
‘permeso di soggiorno’ (permission
to stay) from the Ufficio Stranieri, Questura Centrale,
Via Genova, Rome.
This will usually be granted on production
of evidence that the applicant has
sufficient money to support themself while
they are here.
In certain cases a ‘permesso’ as a tourist,
(valid for a short period) is given to allow
the applicant sufficient time to arrange for a
transfer of money, house-hunting etc.

Self-employed people or those wishing to
establish a business should likewise apply
for a ‘permesso di soggiorno’, specifying exactly
what they intend to do.
Click here for more information on the trials and tribulations of obtaining your Permesso Soggiorno.

Those intending to establish a company
will also need an ‘Atto Costitutivo della Società Omologato
dal Tribunale’ (memorandum and articles of
association ratified by the Tribunal).

On arrival in Italy, a person who wishes to become
registered as a resident should apply without delay
to the nearest ‘Ufficio Anagrafe’ - Municipal registry
Office’ (in Rome the Anagrafe is in Via Luigi Petroselli 50).
A residence certificate is necessary to obtain
customs clearance,
to open a bank account,
to purchase an apartment etc.

Anyone regarded by the Italian authorities as
resident in Italy, whether or not holding a residence
certificate, is required by Italian law to obtain an
Italian driving licence and Italian number plates
for any imported car.
Conversion of a driving licence must be done
within one year of taking up residence.

There are numerous preparations and precautions
to take before embarking on study in Italy,
especially if you intend to work here simultaneous
with studies, and (unless you have already been
thoroughly briefed by your school or university staff)
these should be thoroughly researched at a local
careers centre or advisor at school, the local education
authority or the student’s existing UK university, well
in advance of departure.
Not least of course is to ensure that
the student has sufficient money to
fund their studies and stay in Italy.

A Permesso di Soggiorno may be required for study, but if the Italian
university is not in the same region as the student’s
residence, there may be a problem obtaining this.

A letter from the Italian university alone may not
be considered sufficient evidence of intention
merely to study in Italy.
Students wishing to attend
courses at Italian Universities or private institutes
must produce a declaration issued before their
departure by an Italian consulate certifying their
acceptability. Contact the Italian consulate first
before visiting, to ensure having all the right
documents for the declaration to be issued.

The Bottom Line on all this is simply to make sure
that everything is in order before you depart from
the UK.
Once you are in Italy it may be too late to
correct mistakes, and a student’s studies and
enjoyment of their stay in Italy may be hampered
and marred as a result of insufficient attention
to these legal details.

Information on working conditions etc in Italy is
available from local job centres in the United Kingdom.

It cannot be emphasised too strongly that there
is much unemployment in Italy.
It therefore follows
that anyone who does not speak fluent Italian and
has no special skills has little prospects of finding
a job here. There is no great recruitment of foreign
workers for harvesting as in some Mediterranean

are advised to first approach a
reputable agency in the UK.

Anyone who decides to try their luck living
and working in Italy should bring sufficient funds
to support themself for several weeks and to
purchase a return ticket in the event that their
search for work proves unsuccessful.
Those with no means of support may be picked up by
the police, charged with vagrancy and escorted
to the nearest border.

Notes for the Guidance of
British Citizens wishing to work in Italy
and who have the Right of Abode in the UK

As an EEC National if you intend working in Italy
you must have the following documents:

1. Permesso di Soggiorno - Police Permit to Stay.
This is issued by the Questura and must be applied
for within one week of arrival. Changes of address
and employer must be notified to the police
immediately and the permit amended. When you
apply you will need a Full British Passport.

2. Libretto di Lavoro - Worker’s Registration Book.
Available upon production of a permesso di
soggiorno which shows that the applicant is
in Italy for work.

3. You are also required to register with the
central employment exchange (ufficio di

(The addresses of the offices that issue the
above documents are listed below)

As soon as it becomes clear that you will remain
in Italy you should take steps to register with
your local ‘Anagrafe’ (Central Registry Office)

This is something like a National Insurance
number and although there is no immediate
legal requirement to attain a Codice Fiscale,
sooner or later it will be necessary to have one.
The number is issued you in the form of a credit
card-sized plastic card and it’s necessary to
produce it or quote the number for eligibility for
reduced costs in medical prescriptions and
healthcare. If making any large purchase using credit,
most shops will require a Codice Fiscale number
from the customer as a fraud-prevention device.
This is also likely to apply when agreeing to
rent an apartment, hire a car, etc. You should also
apply for a Codice Fiscale number for any
children who may be living with you in Italy.


QUESTURA CENTRALE (for Permesso Soggiorno)
Corner of Via Genova/Via San Vitale
(off Via Nazionale)
ANAGRAFÈ (for Libretto di Lavoro)
Via L. Petroselli 50 (behind Piazza Venezia)
The issuing office is located in the ‘Ufficio
Telescriventi’. Turn right inside main door
on ground floor.
UFFICIO DI COLLOCAMENTO (Employment exchange)
Viale R. Vignali (off Viale Bruno Pelizzi/
Via dio Torre Spaccata)

And the best of British luck to you! You'll need it...