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Italian residence permits as self-employed for extra UE citizens : a guideline.

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Italy’s characteristics are universally known: member country of the G7/G20, founder country of the European Union, one of the top healthcare systems worldwide and a way of living (food, artistic heritage, lifestyle) that is out of raking charts.

In addition, Italy has also become a very attractive country with reference to Visas.

This is also thanks to new facilitation schemes that minimise the tax burden i.e.:

i) “New tax Resident” regime with a yearly flat tax of €100k on foreign income and capital gains; and

ii) «Inbound workers» regimein which the income generated in Italy from employment and self-employment is partially exempt from Italian income tax as follows: (90% exemption if the individual moves his/her residence to the southern regions of Italy, 70% exemption in all the other cases).

This article is compiled in order to explain the procedure and requirements to obtain a residence permit as a self-employed person in order to stay in Italy and move freely within the EU territory through the Schengen Visa.

Once obtained the Visa, it is possible (if all the requirements are present) the most suitable tax regime from among those mentioned above (“New tax resident” or “Inbound workers”).


  • The foreign applicant must go to a foreign Notary Public to have the power of attorney conferred on procurator who will act in his name and on his behalf in Italy apostilled;
  • After the power of attorney has been conferred, the activity is fully carried out by the attorney, who will go to the competent Chamber of Commerce in order to apply for the issuance of the authorization, which must be produced at the Ministry Office (“Questura”);
  • Once the clearance is obtained, a contract for the lease or purchase of a property will be concluded, which must necessarily be located in the place where the foreign applicant will carry out his or her professional activity as a self-employed person. At the first stage, for the purpose of the issuance of the residence permit by Questura, a declaration by the owner of the property stating that he/she will lease or sell said property in favour of the foreign applicant will be sufficient;
  • Having collected in full the documentation required by current regulations, the attorney will go to the relevant Questura for the purpose of issuing a residence permit. The validity of this permit will be 90 days. Within that period, the applicant has to go to the Italian embassy in the country of residence in order to apply for the issuance of a visa with a validity of 2 years (renewable upon expiration).


i. The applicant must carry out an activity in Italy as a self-employed person (including through sole proprietorship, opening of simple or capital company);

ii. The applicant must be in possession of a clearance issued by the Chamber of Commerce;

iii. The applicant must have received an income of more than € 8,500.00 gross in the year preceding the visa application;

iv. The applicant must be in possession of a contract for the lease or purchase of a property for residential use;

v. The applicant must be in possession of health insurance;

vi. The applicant must be in possession of a residence permit issued by the relevant ministry office.

In conclusion, the procedure can be carried out relatively quickly and with very competitive costs (especially when compared to other European states). The possibility of opting (after obtaining the visa) for one of the favourable tax regimes described above makes Italy an even more attractive country.

For example: On an IRPEF taxable income of EUR 100,000, the average standard rate would be 35.9%. Taking advantage of the exemption for ‘Inbound Workers‘ this would become:

  • about 4% in case of residence in southern Italy
  • about 11% in the case of residence in other Italian regions

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.