EuropePolicy Updates

Everything You Need to Know About Italy’s New Digital Nomad Visa

Nicolò Bolla

Following months of speculation and deliberation, the Italian government, on April 4th, finally published the Digital Nomad Visa decree in its Gazette. The document provides much-needed clarity about the detailed requirements of the visa type and marks Italy’s entry into the league of countries embracing remote work arrangements.

Contents of this article:

Who is a digital nomad?

Who exactly falls under the digital nomad umbrella? Essentially, there are two main categories:

  1. Remote Workers
    These are individuals employed either locally in Italy or by foreign companies who have the flexibility to perform their tasks from anywhere.
  2. Freelance Digital Nomads
    These are independent professionals who operate their own businesses remotely, offering services or expertise across borders.

To be eligible for the Italian Digital Nomad Visa (DNV), it’s not enough to merely work online while lounging in an Italian café. The visa is designed for individuals who bring a high level of skill and expertise to the table, akin to the qualifications required for the EU Blue Card.

  1. Hold a three-year Bachelor’s degree or upper education;
  2. Be a chartered professional (Doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc.);
  3. Hold a superior professional qualification supported by at least five years of professional experience; or
  4. Possess higher professional qualification in the IT industry as a director or manager for three of the last seven years before applying for the visa.

What are the qualifying criteria?

To qualify for the DNV you must:

  • Receive a minimum gross income (from any lawful income source) of €28,000;
  • Have a one-year private health insurance coverage; and
  • Obtain a valid proof of lodging in Italy (long-term residence stay, residential rental, or property purchase).

Remote workers must also provide

  • An employment contract; and
  • An employer’s statement regarding a clean criminal background for immigration-related offenses.

How to apply

In addition to the documents listed in the previous paragraph, you must also provide:

  • A valid passport: Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended stay in Italy and have at least two blank pages.
  • Passport-sized photos: Typically, two recent, colour passport-sized photographs. These must meet specific size and quality requirements.
  • A visa application form, duly completed.
  • A visa fee cheque
  • A travel reservation ticket

The local Italian consulate will run a background check on you and your employer before issuing the visa.

What happens once you get your visa?

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Once your visa is stamped on your passport, you can finally board your plane to Italy to take up residency in the country.

Within eight days of your arrival in the Schengen zone, you must lodge in the Italian immigration office an appointment request through any local post office, mailing the same documents you provided to the Italian consulate overseas.

The residence permit is valid for up to one year, and you can renew it without restrictions as long as you continue to meet all of the requirements. This path leads to the permanent EU residency card. In addition to that, you can sponsor your spouse and/or minor children or elder parents under the general family reunification pathway.

Finally, the local immigration office furnishes the tax office, the social security administration, and the labor office with your employment agreement to facilitate inspections and audits.

Tax implications of becoming a digital nomad resident in Italy

Once you obtain the residence permit and settle in Italy, you become a tax resident, paying taxes on your employment/self-employment income, as well as social security on your earnings. Digital nomads opting for the freelance path must set up a Partita IVA and trade from Italy (you can’t use your foreign entity to renew your visa).

Generally, Italian residents must contribute towards the Italian social security, unless they are:

  1. Seconded/assigned to Italy from a foreign employer;
  2. Covered by a social security agreement with Italy (generally applicable to US citizens); or
  3. Hired through an EU employer.

The Lavoratori Impatriati or the Forfettario regimes (available to freelancers only) can make your tax burden in Italy more affordable, reducing by 50% your taxable income.

Unlike other residence permit options, the Italian digital nomad visa has a specific revokement clause (art. 4 par. 4) stating that the residence permit is not renewed if the statutory Income taxes and contributions are not paid. Furthermore, the information provided to the local Italian immigration office (employment contract, financial information, etc.) is shared with the Italian tax, social security, and labor authorities.

If you are hired by a foreign employer, it must create a local presence to process and pay your social security. Unlike income tax, which is paid at a personal level, social security is shared between the employer and the employee and, therefore, cannot be self-assessed by the employee. Alternatively, you can use a local EoR or PEO to process Italian payroll and maintain full Italian compliance.

I cannot stress enough the importance of enhanced tax and social security compliance, which seems vital to keep renewing this visa.

Digital Nomad Visa pros and cons

The new DNV has a number of competitive features:

  • No clearances are needed from Italy
  • Little proven experience needed
  • Tax code (Codice Fiscale) released alongside the residence permit application
  • No immigration quota applicabile
  • Access to the permanent EU residence card
  • Possibility to be employed by a foreign entity

However, there are some areas of concern as well:

  • No free healthcare
  • Enhanced information exchange between the tax office, social security office, and the immigration office
  • No clarity on visa conversion to other categories
  • Higher minimum income compared to other visas

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Nicolò Bolla AuthorSubscriberParticipant
Founder , Accounting Bolla

After moving back to Italy from the United States in 2013, Nicolo realized how much an accounting and tax firm was needed to help expats living in Italy to comply with the local tax regulations. That’s when he started Accounting Bolla, a company with a very simple, yet utopian mission: To make Italian taxes easy and manageable.

Since 2017, Accounting Bolla has helped thousands of clients optimize their taxes and safely invest in Italy.

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