Business visa: an alternative for working in Italy

15 June 2023

Having business interests in Italy but needing a title that could allow one to enter and leave the territory quickly can be a problem in day-to-day business and related activities. In such a context, a business visa can make the movement of extra-EU citizens much more straightforward.

There are several ways in which individuals may enter Italian territory for employment purposes, depending on the country of origin (whether EU or non-EU), the duration of the stay (whether longer or shorter than ninety days), or the nature of the activity to be carried out (i.e., whether under employment or self-employment regime or not connected with any working activity).

More in detail, employees with a non-EU nationality who travel for no longer than ninety days to engage in activities on the sidelines of their work business (e.g., attending meetings, reaching clients, visiting factories, maintaining relations with business partners) are allowed to travel without certain formalities, such as applying for visas or residence permits, which, as a rule, non-EU must request when staying on Italian territory.

As stated, a business visa is granted when the performance of secondary activities is necessary to the employee’s overall job position, such as participating in business meetings with clients or suppliers, concluding contracts, managing negotiations for the sale or purchase of products, or attending trade fairs.

The duration of the visa depends on the nature of the stay, provided the mentioned limit of ninety days in total.

Applicants for a business visa aimed at carrying out work activities in Italy must fill out and submit an original copy of a dedicated application form, in addition to a valid identity document that shall remain valid for at least three months following the date of entry (compatible, therefore, with the ninety-day visa limit).

To be able to obtain a business visa, the employee must be able to certify his ability to maintain himself economically in Italy for the entire period of his stay, indicating, in particular, the economic means that he intends to use for this purpose, the accommodation that he believes he will be able to use, as well as the health insurance that he has taken out to cover any pathological conditions that may occur in the territory. This documentation does not have to be presented at the time of travel or the time of the request but must be available to the applicant if proof of these requirements is requested.

Moreover, employees travelling to Italy for work purposes under the rules of the business visa must own a declaration signed by their employer acknowledging the working relationship between the two, the employees’ role and the responsibilities entrusted that justify their presence in Italy, also defining all relevant work locations (or, in any case, the places in which the activities covered by the visa will be carried out) that the employees will attend during their stay.

As inferred from the above, the business visa is a temporary solution that allows the execution of activities functional to achieve specific purposes. Under these same circumstances but in the event of more complex projects (e.g., incorporating a subsidiary office in Italy), it will be necessary to apply for a work visa, which will likely have to be transformed into a proper residence permit.