Assessing travel and visa obligations in Italy

When traveling to Italy, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip, will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if a work permit will be required. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Italy, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business meetings
  • Make business contacts
  • Conduct economic or commercial negotiations
  • Verify the functioning of equipment/machinery purchased or sold under commercial and industrial cooperation agreements with an Italian company


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Italy?

Nationals of the European Union, the United States and many other select countries are eligible for a visa waiver and are not required to obtain a visa to enter and conduct business activities in Italy.

Italy is a member of the Schengen Area, a free-travel zone comprised of 29 European countries. If your nationality is not eligible for a visa waiver in the Schengen Area, you will be required to obtain a Schengen C Visa prior to travel. Visa-waivered nationals, as well as those who are required to obtain a visa, are authorized to travel to Italy and throughout the Schengen Area. Please note that travelers may not spend more than 90 days within any 180-day period inside the Schengen Area.

Working in Italy

What types of activities require a work permit?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Italian law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Italy, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Facility tours
  • Performing audits

In limited circumstances, foreign nationals may engage in specialized professional and technical activities without obtaining work authorization, though an after-sales agreement and additional eligibility criteria may apply. An individual assessment is required before deciding whether an exemption is applicable.


If I am traveling to Italy for work, what type of work permit do I need?

The requirements for a work permit depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Italy. The most common Italian work permits are:

  • Subordinate Work Permit (work authorization for local hires)
  • Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Work Permit (work authorization for the transfer of highly skilled third-country professionals and managers who will aid the development of operations in Italy)
  • EU ICT Permit (work authorization for the transfer of third-country nationals from an international company based outside of the EU to a host entity in Italy that belongs to the same company or group of companies)
  • Mobile ICT Work Permit (work authorization for third-country nationals who already hold an EU ICT Card from another EU member state)
  • EU Blue Card (work permit for highly skilled direct hires)
  • Digital Nomad Visa (highly skilled freelancer or remote work for a company based outside of Italy)


Is it possible to be exempted from work permit requirements?

Nationals from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland are not required to obtain a work permit to work in Italy. However, registrations or other formalities may be required prior to working or residing in Italy.

Additional work permit exemptions are available in Italy under Vander Elst rules. In this case, a legal assessment to determine the possibilities for a work permit exemption should be obtained prior to traveling.

What else should I know?

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which governs post-Brexit relations between the EU and the United Kingdom, has altered immigration regulations in the affected countries. Please contact your immigration representative for full details regarding the potential impact of the TCA on travel to, and work in, Italy.

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.