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What is the residence permit?

The residence permit is the title that authorizes the presence of a foreigner on the Italian territory and documents its regularity: in essence it constitutes the prerequisite for a medium or long-term residence request. Citizens of non-European countries and stateless persons, or those who do not have a nationality, can require a residence permit. It is not necessary for European citizens. Citizens belonging to some countries outside the European Union, however, can enter Italy, for tourism, sports, work, by invitation or mission, and stay there for a period not exceeding 90 days, without having to apply for a visa.

Basically, the residence permit:

  • allows you to carry out the activities that are indicated within the permit itself,
  • allows access to the rights and services recognized to foreigners,
  • allows the registration in the registry lists and the consequent release of the identity card and tax code, with which you can request health care or open a bank account.

When to apply for a residence permit

The recent Law no. 161 of 2014, in implementation of EU directives, established that foreigners holding a residence permit (or another authorization that confers the right to reside), issued by a Member State of the European Union in Italy, they are required to declare their presence at the police headquarters within 8 days of their entry into the territory.

Under Article 11, first paragraph of the Implementing Regulation to the T.U.I., the residence permit is issued for the reasons and duration indicated in the entry visa or by the same T.U.I., or for one of the following other reasons:

  • request for asylum and asylum;
  • emigration to another country;
  • acquisition of citizenship or statelessness, in favor of the foreigner already in possession of a residence permit for other reasons;
  • reasons of justice, at the request of the judicial authority, for a maximum duration of three months, which can be extended for the same period, in cases where the presence of the foreigner on the national territory is indispensable in relation to ongoing criminal proceedings for one of the crimes referred to to art. 380 of the criminal code, as well as for the crimes referred to in art. 3 of the law 20 February 1958, n. 7532;
  • elective residence in favor of the foreigner holding a pension received in Italy;
  • medical treatment for the parent of a minor who is in the conditions referred to in art. 31, paragraph 3, of the Consolidated Law;
  • integration of the minor, with regard to minors who find themselves in the conditions referred to in article 32, paragraphs 1-bis and 1-ter, of the Consolidated Law, subject to the opinion of the Committee for foreign minors, referred to in article 33 of the same Unique text.

A foreign citizen who entered Italy to perform seasonal work, who proves to have come to Italy at least once in the previous five years to perform seasonal work, is issued a three-year residence permit with an indication of the period of validity for each year.

How to apply for a residence permit

Foreigners who intend to stay in Italy for more than three months must therefore apply for a residence permit. To obtain the issue of this residence permit, it is necessary to present:

  • the application form;
  • the passport (or other equivalent travel document), valid with the relevant entry visa, if required;
  • a photocopy of the document itself;
  • 4 passport-size photos, identical and recent;
  • a revenue stamp of € 16.00;
  • the documentation necessary for the type of residence permit requested;
  • the payment of a contribution between € 80 and € 200

Who issues the residence permit

The competent office for issuing the residence permit is that of the Police Headquarters of the Province where the foreigner is located or where he intends to stay.

In some cases, by virtue of the agreement stipulated between the Ministry of the Interior and Poste Italiane S.p.a. (pursuant to art. 39, paragraph 4 bis of Law no. 3/2003), applications are submitted through authorized post offices.

The procedure

At the authorized Post Offices

If the application is presented at the authorized Post Offices, the applicant must use the special yellow kit (available free of charge at any post office), and fill in the forms inside according to the attached instructions.

In case of difficulty in finding the kit, it is possible to send the application for release or renewal free of charge also to the Patronati and the Municipalities where the service is present.

At the same time as submitting the application at the Post Office, the Post Office operator will take care of delivering to the applicant a registered letter containing the date, time and indication of the Immigration Office of the competent Police Headquarters where he will have to go to carry out the photo-dactyloscopic surveys (fingerprints).

At the police station

If the application is submitted directly to the Police Headquarters, the office, after carrying out the photo-dactyloscopic surveys, will deliver to the applicant a copy of the request with a stamp bearing the date of filing and the indication of the day on which the permit of permanent stay can be collected.

Until then, the receipt of submission of the request can be considered as a suitable document to certify the foreigner's regular stay in Italy.

Electronic residence permit

Since 11 December 2006, the format of the residence permit is electronic (PSE-380).

The task of producing and activating the document is the responsibility of the State Printing Office and Mint, after the acquisition of the data relating to the identification of the applicant by the Police Headquarters.

The document consists of a smart-card equipped with a chip, inside which there are indications aimed at guaranteeing the security and effective regularity of the stay on the Italian territory (such as personal details, tax code and photo of the sponsor, number and type of document, date of issue and validity, reasons for stay, details of any children).

Children of applicants who have not yet reached the age of fourteen are included in their parents' residence permit.

The issue and renewal of the electronic residence permit take place, on average, in 60 days from the date of submission of the application.

How much does it cost to apply for a Residence Permit

By decree of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, in agreement with the Ministry of the Interior, of 5 May 2017, it was determined that the contribution for the issue and renewal of the residence permit, to be paid by the foreigner over the age of eighteen years, amount to:

  • € 40.00 for residence permits lasting more than three months and less than or equal to one year;
  • € 50.00 for residence permits lasting more than one year and less than or equal to two years;
  • € 100.00 for the issue of the EU residence permit, for long-term residents and for managers and specialized workers requesting a residence permit pursuant to art. 27, paragraph 1, lett. a), 27-quinquies, paragraph 1, letters a) and b) and 27 sexies, paragraph 2 of the legislative decree 25 July 1998, n. 286 and subsequent amendments.

Payment of the contribution is never required in cases where:

  • the foreign citizen legally present on the national territory is under the age of 18
  • the residence permit is issued or renewed for asylum, for asylum request, for humanitarian protection, for subsidiary protection;
  • the foreigner or the stateless person are minors;
  • the entrance is to receive medical treatment; the same exemption also applies to any accompanying persons;
  • a duplicate, update or conversion of a valid residence permit is required. 

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