Digital Nomad Visa in Italy and Its Valid Alternative

remote workers in italy new visa legislation and law self employee

Italy, with its rich cultural heritage and culinary delights, has long been a dream destination for many, including digital nomads seeking a work-life balance in the heart of Europe. 

With the recent announcement of its digital nomad visa program, Italy aims to open its doors wider to remote workers looking to experience la dolce vita

But what exactly does this mean for aspiring digital nomads, and how can they make their Italian dreams a reality?

Italy’s Digital Nomad Visa: What You Need to Know

Yes, Italy does offer a digital nomad visa, but it’s not quite ready for applications yet. Although approved and signed into law in March 2022, the program is still in development. Similar to other European countries like Germany and Spain, Italy is joining the digital nomad visa trend to attract skilled professionals from around the world. 

While specific details are still forthcoming, here’s what we know so far:

Requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa

To be eligible for Italy’s digital nomad visa, applicants must meet certain criteria, including being non-EU citizens and skilled professionals working for companies based outside Italy. Additionally, applicants must have valid health insurance coverage and adhere to Italian regulations, such as tax and social insurance contributions. The Italian government is expected to issue further decrees detailing income thresholds, definitions of “highly qualified” work, visa extension procedures, and more.

Exploring Other Options: Italy’s Self-Employed Visa

While awaiting the launch of the digital nomad visa, self-employed professionals and freelancers can explore Italy’s self-employed visa

This visa allows individuals from outside the EU to start and run a business or work as self-employed professionals in Italy. Requirements may include a business plan, proof of qualifications and experience, financial means to support oneself, health insurance coverage, and more.

However, it’s essential to note that applying for this visa is subject to quotas set by Italy’s decreto flussi, which operates within defined timeframes each year.

Working Remotely in Italy as an EU Citizen

For EU citizens, working and living in Italy is generally hassle-free, as no special permit is required. However, tax and social security liabilities can vary based on factors such as employment status, duration of stay, and employer location. It’s crucial to stay updated on regulations and requirements, consulting official government sources for accurate information.

Taxes for Digital Nomads in Italy

Navigating taxes as a digital nomad in Italy can be complex, as it is influenced by residency status, income sources, and international treaties. Residents pay based on their global income, while non-residents typically pay only on income earned within Italy. Understanding the tax implications of both employment and self-employment income, and exploring potential benefits from double taxation agreements, is crucial. Consulting with a fiscal expert specializing in international law can provide valuable insight and assistance. Additionally, Italy has introduced a new digital nomad work visa, which offers tax breaks and other benefits to attract remote workers.

For general guidance, taking advantage of the new visa rules, the actual tax rate on their earnings in Italy will likely be very low, especially in the beginning. However, the required social security contributions to the Italian Social Security Institute (INPS) can be quite costly.

Let’s explore the application and requirements of the current viable alternative: the Self-Employed Visa.

Application Process and Requirements

Applying for the Self-Employed Visa involves several steps, including:

1. Submission of the visa application through the Italian diplomatic or consular representation in the applicant’s country of origin or residence.

2. Presentation of documentation proving professional qualifications, financial stability, health insurance coverage, and accommodation arrangements in Italy.

3. Compliance with the annual quotas and categories outlined in the Flows Decree.

4. Evaluation of the application by Italian immigration authorities, with a decision typically rendered within 120 days.

Successful applicants receive an entry visa affixed to their passport, granting them permission to reside and work in Italy as self-employed individuals.

Application Cost and Timeline

The cost of the Self-Employed Visa is €116, with additional administrative fees for processing and issuance. The timeline for visa approval varies but generally occurs within 120 days of application submission.

Once granted, the visa allows for an initial stay of up to one year, with the possibility of renewal. After five years of continuous legal residency in Italy, visa holders may apply for permanent residency.

buy Why Italy Hasn’t Implemented the New Law for Digital Nomads Yet

Despite introducing new rules to accommodate non-EU digital nomads, the implementation of the law has faced delays. Let’s see how it works in this case and the reasons behind Italy’s hesitation in applying the new legislation.

Defining Digital Nomads

The recent amendment to the Law converting Decree-Law n. 4/2022 outlines the criteria for classifying individuals as digital nomads. According to the amendment, digital nomads are workers from non-EU countries who engage in highly professional and digital tasks remotely. This broad definition encompasses a wide range of professions, from web programmers to writers and graphic designers.

Entry Requirements and Visa Procedures

While the legal framework for digital nomads has been established, the detailed procedures for obtaining entry visas and stay permits are still pending. Non-EU citizens aspiring to work remotely in Italy must obtain an entry visa from the consulate in their country of origin. Upon arrival, they are required to request a stay permit (“permesso di soggiorno“) and possess comprehensive health insurance.

Tax and Social Security Obligations

Digital nomads relocating to Italy must adhere to all tax and social security regulations. Although Italy offers favorable tax regimes for newcomers, navigating the intricacies of tax obligations requires careful planning and consultation with professionals. Compliance with tax and social security requirements is essential to avoid legal complications.

Challenges in Implementation

The delay in implementing the new law for digital nomads can be attributed to several factors. 

Firstly, the need for a decree from relevant ministries, including Interior, Labour, Foreign Affairs, and Tourism, has contributed to the delay. This decree will address crucial details such as minimum income thresholds, visa procedures, and renewal processes for stay permits.

Furthermore, external factors like parliamentary elections have likely affected the timeline for finalizing the implementation details. As a result, digital nomads and stakeholders eagerly awaiting the new visa regime must exercise patience until the necessary decrees are issued.

Looking Ahead

Despite the delays, Italy remains committed to welcoming digital nomads and fostering a conducive environment for remote work. Once the implementation details are finalized, aspiring digital nomads can look forward to having the opportunities offered by Italy’s new visa regime. In the meantime, enjoy the current opportunity to come and live in one of the most loved countries in the world.