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Self-employment Work Permit in Italy

Self-employment Work Permit in Italy

Foreign citizens who want to immigrate to Italy have several options, no matter if they want to work or start a business here. A visa which helps foreigners to both work and run a business in Italy at the same time is the self-employment work permit, also known as self-employment visa in Italy, which is issued to non-EU citizens. With respect to EU citizens, these can move to Italy without applying for a visa. Before we explain how the Italian self-employment work visa can be obtained, you should know that such permits are issued based on an annual quota by the Italian government. If you need help in applying for a self-employment work permit, our immigration lawyers in Italy are at your disposal with complete services in relation to this matter. This visa also comes with a residence permit in Italy.

 Quick Facts  
 Activities suitable for a self-employment work permit in Italy  This document is addressed to self-employed persons and entrepreneurs developing a variety of business activities related to trade, commerce, professional activities, etc.  

Identity documents necessary for the application  

Valid passport and 2 recent photos (passport size) 

 Minimum yearly financial requirements 

EUR 8,500 

 Health insurance necessary (yes/no)  Yes  
Foreigners who must apply for the self-employment visa  

The self-employment work permit in Italy is addressed to foreigners who are not EU nationals.  

Obligations to fulfill upon arrival in Italy   

In maximum 8 days after the arrival in Italy, the foreigner must apply for a residence permit.  

Authorization for commercial activities required (yes/no)  

Yes  

 Validity of the permit

The self-employment work permit in Italy is valid for a period of 2 years.   

 Can the visa be renewed?  

Yes (The procedure must be initiated in maximum 60 days before the expiration date of the current permit.)  

Institution in charge with the authorization for commercial activities   The Italian Chamber of Commerce 
 Proof of accommodation 

Foreigners must make the proof of having a residential address in Italy (through a rental agreement or a sale-purchase contact).  

 How long does it take to obtain the self-employment visa? 

2 months 

 Quota for self-employment visa 

There is an yearly quota for this visa type (for 2024, there are 61,950 visas).   

 Application for Nulla Ostra 

Applicants must also obtain the Nulla Ostra (a police clearance) from the local police office.

For this, it is necessary to submit identity documents, proof of accommodation and the documentation issued by the Chamber of Commerce.  

 Opening a bank account  Persons who develop commercial activities, including sole traders and other categories of self-employed individuals, must open a bank account for their business, at a local commercial bank. 

Activities which can be completed under the Italian self-employment visa

Under the local legislation, there are several activities which can be completed based on a self-employment visa in Italy. These are:

  • handcrafting which is available for those who want to start small businesses in Italy;
  • entrepreneurship which is available for those who want to operate as sole traders in Italy;
  • trade and commerce through which foreign citizens can establish various types of companies;
  • professional activities undertaken by specialists in fields like medicine, accounting and law.

Directors of Italian companies can also work under a self-employment work permit here.

According to local legislation, those who want to obtain a self-employment visa in Italy can set up companies, enter into partnerships and also work in specific industries.

Foreign citizens who have immigrated to Italy for other purposes, such as study or stay, can also have their permits converted into self-employment visas in Italy.

Our immigration lawyers in Italy can offer more information on the activities qualifying for a self-employment work permit. You can also obtain Italian citizenship based on the self-employment work visa.

What are the main conditions applicants in Italy should comply with?


In order to be accepted for the self-employment visa in Italy, all applicants have to comply with a set of minimum requirements. These requirements are regulated under the Italian law, and they include the following:

  • provide 2 recent photos, respecting the passport size;
  • having a valid passport with minimum 2 blank pages;
  • the validity of the passport should be of minimum 3 months pass the date at which the visa will expire;
  • proof on income for the previous financial year, which must of be of minimum EUR 8,500 (gross amount);
  • having a valid health insurance that covers at least the first 30 days of stay in Italy after the arrival in the country.


Among other requirements, applicant have to show evidence on the fact that they have a residence in Italy. Residence refers to the official address where the person has registered his or her place of living.

The proof can be done in 2 different scenarios. Thus, the applicant of a self-employment visa in Italy should provide evidence on any of the following:

  1. providing a copy of a real estate purchase contract;
  2. providing a copy of a rental agreement.

This is required in accordance with the procedures of the Law 4.1.1968, Articles 2 and 4. Our immigration lawyers in Italy can present more details regarding this regulation.

How to apply for a self-employment work permit in Italy

The first step in applying for an Italian self-work permit is to verify the annual quota by filing one of the following application forms:

  • form Z which is available for those who need to obtain certifications in order to complete a trade or activity;
  • form Z2 which is available for those who have obtained a diploma from an Italian university.

Form Z2 is also available for foreign citizens who already reside in Italy and want to become self-employed.

Once the authorities verify the qualifications of the applicant, he or she will be invited for an interview. In order to sustain the visa interview, the candidate must submit 3 documents: the stamp duty payment receipt, the residence permit and the identification papers.

If you want to immigrate by applying for a self-employment visa in Italy, our lawyers who specialize in immigration can guide you on the conditions you must fulfill for a successful application.

They will also guide you if you want to obtain Italy citizenship by investment. We invite you to watch a short video on the work permit for self-employed persons in Italy:

What is the validity of the Italian freelance visa?


In the beginning, the Italian freelance visa will be issued for a period of 2 years. The document can be renewed upon the request of the visa holder, who must comply with the same conditions that he or she respected when applying the 1st time for this visa.

However, please mind that the law on immigration in Italy stipulates that the applicant is entitled to apply for a renewal only in the situation in which he or she hasn’t been absent from this country for a period longer than 6 months during the validity of the 1st visa document.

In order to renew the Italian freelance visa, the applicant can start the procedure by himself or herself; of course, there is also the option to address to a team of immigration lawyers in Italy, who can offer legal representation.

Having this visa can also lead to permanent residency, but additional legal requirement should be completed. For instance, this procedure can be started only after 5 years of stay in Italy.

The freelance visa in Italy can be obtained rather fast, as the procedure can be completed in a period of 2 months, if the applicant submitted all the documents and the Italian authorities do not require any additional papers.

It is also important to be aware of the fact that the visa holder has to start the visa renewal formalities with 60 days before the date at when the visa will expire.

Documents to be filed when applying for an Italian self-employment visa

Apart from the documents mentioned above and which are required for the preliminary interview for the self-employment visa in Italy, other documents need to be filed with the immigration authorities. These depend on the activity to be completed upon immigration to Italy.

Among these, we mention the following documents required to entrepreneurs immigrating to Italy:

  1. an attestation issued by the Italian Chamber of Commerce which provides for the parameters of reference;
  2. proof of having sufficient financial resources which can take the form of an employment contract, rental agreement or funds in a bank account;
  3. the proof of having sufficient funds implies showing that the applicant earns more than the legal minimum allowance granted by the government;
  4. where qualifications are required, proof of licenses, diplomas or authorizations are necessary;
  5. a no impediment certificate issued by the Chamber of Commerce or other authority is also needed.

Where the applicant for the Italian self-employment visa will take on a role as a company director or member in a partnership, the Articles of Association of the company, respectively the partnership deed will be required, as well as other documents attesting to the financial standing of the business.

Candidates who live abroad at the moment they apply for an Italian self-employment work permit must first obtain a short-stay visa for Italy prior to their arrival. Then, they can apply for a residence permit in Italy.

What is the trend on freelancing in Italy?


Freelancing has become a norm of doing business activity throughout Europe, as more and more professions are now accessible through the usage of modern means of communication or without to having to work in an office environment, following the traditional work pattern.

Just like in Europe, freelancing in Italy has become more popular in the last years. This type of work activity is mainly of interest of young persons, with an age below 40 years old.

It is estimated that 13.8% of the Italian population is engaged in freelancing activity and 30% of this is represented by young persons.

So, those who will apply for a freelance visa in Italy will find here a market that is familiarized with this way of developing work activities.

For more details on the freelance visa in Italy, our team of lawyers is ready to assist you. You can also address to our lawyers if you need advice on other visas that are created for business purposes.

It is important to note that based on the type of self-employment activity to be undertaken, specific documents will be required from the applicants. We kindly invite you to contact our immigration lawyers in Italy if you need help in preparing and filing the paperwork for obtaining a self-employment work permit.