If you have always wanted to live la dolce vita in a country of spirited people, sunshine, good wine, and of course, pasta - Italy is the place for you! Many Expat Freelancers have cut through the daunting red tape and are successfully self-employed in Italy. This article will walk you through the process of setting yourself up as a Freelancer in Italy.

Getting your Documentation in Order

Becoming an Italian Resident

For people who wish to remain in Italy for over 90 days, you will be required to obtain the right documentation as a resident of Italy. You will need to go to the police headquarters (Questura) and file a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza) on Italian soil within eight days of arriving in Italy in order to obtain your “permesso di soggiorno” (residence permit).  EU citizens are not required to obtain this document.

EU Citizens

If you are a European national from the Schengen area, you have a right to live and work in Italy as you would in any other European Country.

Non –EU Citizens

If you are not an EU citizen and want to work in Italy as a freelance professional, prior to  getting a residence permit within eight days of arriving in Italy you will need to have obtained an authorisation for self-employment as well as a visa from your home country before entering Italy. Get more detailed information here.

Getting Work Authorisation

To work as a Freelancer you will need to obtain a nulla osta (official authorization) to perform self-employed activity.  The nulla osta has a validity of only three months.  The application can be made at your local court and once you have approval you will be able to register your business with the Business Registrar (Registro delle Impresse). In addition, your business will also have to be registered with the Registro delle Ditte (Companies House) and Registro delle Imposte (Tax Registrar). Working as a Freelancer is simpler and less expensive than setting up a limited or joint stock company.


As a Freelancer you will just need a tax and VAT ID once you register your business. Anyone who is a permanent resident in Italy is required to pay taxes on income they earn in Italy and abroad.  If you are recorded as living form more than 183 days of a year in Italy, you will be considered to be an Italian resident.  If you are a foreign resident who is just working in Italy, then you are required to pay taxes only on income that is earned in Italy.

Getting a Work Visa

If you are not an EU citizen, once your activity has been authorised, the embassy or consulate in your country of origin or residence will issue you with a visa which you have six months to collect and use to enter Italy. This period of time is calculated starting from the date on which the authorisation to work is released. Work authorisation is necessary to obtain the entry visa. You must be sure to have all necessary visas available prior to moving to Italy. The requirements for these visas depend on your nationality and if you are a non-EU national, or “alien” as they are called in Italy, you would require a Long-stay or “national” visa.

To find out which nationals entering Italy require which type of visa, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more detailed information.

You need to do so in person and fulfil the following requirements:

Work Visa Requirements

For your work visa application you will be required to present the following:

  • The Authorisation (Nulla osta)
  • A valid passport with an expiry date that is at least 3 months after the end date of  your intended stay in Italy
  • The completed application (and passport photos) signed in front of a Consular officer
  • Proof of accommodation (owned or a rental)
  • Proof of residence in the area where you are applying for the work visa;
  • Proof that you have sufficient financial resources to sustain your endeavours.
  • Proof that your income will be higher than the Italian yearly minimum wage and that your earnings in the work year prior to arriving in Italy also higher than this figure.

You should have proof of the previous year’s income below which the Italian Government provides free public health insurance (it should be higher than the yearly Italian income at minimum wage) and you should be able to project a Freelancer income that is higher for the following year

  • Your flight itinerary
  • A money order for visa fees

Where to Live?

Certain freelancing professions like translators, photographers, tax advisors and personal trainers thrive in Italy. Since it can take some time to build your clientele, if you are predominantly working online, it is more cost efficient to live in smaller towns away from the larger cities. When deciding on where to live, it is important to note that the north is generally wealthier and more industrialized (and more expensive!), while the southern parts are simpler and still focus predominantly on agriculture.  The larger cities such as Rome and Milan will of course offer a larger clientele if you are not working online.

With this know-how, you’ll be Freelancing in Italy in no time!

Do you have advice for people moving to Italy as a freelancer?  Have you moved to Italy to freelance?  Let us know in the comments!