Italy Just Launched a New Digital Nomad Visa—Here’s How to Apply

As of this month, applications are open for the year-long residence program, but there are certain criteria you’ll need to meet.

Rooftop view of historic homes in Montepulciano, Italy ,with a green countryside in the background

This could be your new WFH view in Montepulciano, Italy.

Courtesy of Rowan Heuvel/Unsplash

If you’ve ever dreamed of packing up your laptop and working from Italy, you’re in luck: As of April 4, the Italian government has put into effect a new digital nomad visa, which means that workers who meet certain criteria will be able to live and work in the country for up to a year.

In recent years, digital nomad visas have become increasingly popular in Europe, with a growing list of European countries issuing longer-term residence permits to highly skilled, non-EU citizens who have all the right paperwork. Italy joins countries such as Spain, Portugal, Croatia, and Greece, which have all implemented similar programs.

“The digital nomad visa is a game changer,” says Thea Duncan, whose company Doing Italy helps people relocate to Italy. “It’s the best thing that’s happened to immigrating to Italy since sliced bread. It is going to make it so much easier for professionals to move to Italy.”

Under article 27 of Italy’s immigration code, digital nomads are defined as people who “carry out a highly professional activity, qualified through the use of technological tools that allows one to work remotely, independently, or for a company that is also not resident in the national territory.” In other words, the new rule applies to established freelancers, contract workers, and remote workers on the payroll of a business based in or outside of Italy.

Will it be easy to get the visa? According to Duncan, the Italian government has opened its arms and made the requisite paperwork seemingly more efficient than a previous and somewhat similar visa whose roadblocks included the requirement to have an Italian employment contract.

“The Italian government announced this visa two years ago. If the government didn’t want it to become a law, they could have sat on [the legislation] forever,” says Duncan. “The fact that they established the criteria to apply for the visa goes to show that they want people to come, contribute to Italian society, and spend money in the economy.”

How to get Italy’s digital nomad visa

In order to apply for Italy’s new digital nomad visa, you will need to sign up for an in-person appointment at an Italian consulate, submit an application, and provide proof of an annual income of at least $30,000, proof of accommodation for the term of the visa, and proof of adequate health insurance. You will also need to demonstrate that you have been a digital nomad or remote worker for at least six months prior to applying for the visa and provide an employment or work contract. Additional requirements include providing proof of a university or college degree from an accredited institution, an accredited professional license, or verifiable professional experience.

What’s looking to be the biggest hurdle in this process will be understanding Italian tax implications and your responsibilities because you will need to be tax compliant before applying for the visa. Confusing, yes, so the best advice is to seek a tax professional in advance who can explain mandatory requirements such as when and how to obtain a codice fiscale, or proper tax code, before you head to your appointment.

The digital nomad visa marks a new frontier in Italian immigration, which means it remains to be seen how the Italian consulates and embassy offices implement the process and interpret the documentation. Keep in mind each consulate office may have its own unique application form, so it’s important to review the requirements detailed by the consulate of your geographical region. Most, if not all, Italian consulates and embassies have a contact list of phone numbers and emails for reaching out and obtaining additional information. It would be wise to connect with a representative at a consulate or embassy before submitting an application in-person to ensure that you have all the requisite paperwork.

“The world has changed the way people work. Bosses don’t care where in the world they work, as long as the work gets done,” says Arlene Gibbs, a Rome-based screenwriter and interior designer. “It’s important for Italy to offer this and important that they have clear requirements and standards.”

Erica Firpo is a journalist with a passion for art, culture, travel, and lifestyle. She has written and edited more than 20 books, and her travel writing has appeared in Yahoo Travel, Discovery Magazine, BBC Travel, the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Fathom, Forbes Travel, and Huffington Post.
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