How to Apply for Permesso di Soggiorno Lavoro Autonomo

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It’s a well-known fact that it’s not easy to break into the Italian job market for several reasons. For example, the language barrier, unpaid internships, and the lack of laws protecting workers are some of the many challenges (Italy is one of the European countries that doesn’t have a minimum salary law) – just ask any Italian locals, they would agree on how tough the job market here can be. However, if you’re stubborn like me and have set your heart on living “la dolce vita” (no, it’s not just gelato and la bella passeggiata; often it’s hard work with tears and blood – don’t let Instagram fool you!), you can consider opening a partita IVA and start freelancing with a foreign company via a permesso lavoro autonomo. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. Warning: with this permesso, if you’re non-European and don’t have the option to pay pension in your own country, be prepared to pay up to 35% tax comprised of IRPEF (income tax) and INPS (pension fund). Still want to stay in Italy? Read on.

requirements for applying for permesso lavoro autonomo in Italian

What is Permesso Di Soggiorno Lavoro Autonomo?

The permesso di soggiorno lavoro autonomo, as the name indicates, is a residence permit in Italy designed for non-EU citizens who wish to engage in self-employment activities. It is intended for individuals who plan to work independently, such as freelancers, entrepreneurs, or business owners. To qualify, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having a viable business plan, sufficient financial resources, and relevant professional qualifications. This permit allows them to reside in Italy while conducting their self-employed work, providing a pathway to establish and grow their business within the country.

🚦Who is eligible to apply for Permesso Di Soggiorno Lavoro Autonomo?🚦

The requirement

Make sure you meet the minimum requirements. Since I came to Italy as a master’s student, this guide does not cover how to apply for this permesso from outside of Italy. For that, I believe you will need a nulla osta and many more documents. You should also know that there is a quota for applicants applying directly from overseas. However, if you are in Italy, have graduated with a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an Italian university, and have had a permesso ricerca di lavoro, then here’s what you need to apply for a permesso lavoro autonomo:

  • A Job or Clients: You need a minimum income of €8,500 per year to apply for a permesso di soggiorno lavoro autonomo.
  • Partita IVA and INPS: Depending on the nature of your business, you’ll need to open either a ditta individuale (the equivalent of a sole proprietorship) or an SRL (Limited Liability Company). I recommend engaging a commercialista (accountant) to determine your business code (Ateco code) and calculate your taxes. Italy, the original inventor of the taxation system, has numerous tax brackets that are not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned.
  • Dichiarazione dei Redditi or Demonstration of Income for at Least 6 Months: This requirement varies depending on the questura, but in general, they will ask for your tax declaration. Most won’t have it since it will technically be the first year of your freelance work. Therefore, you will need to ask your accountant to prepare a balance sheet of all your combined invoices (at least 6 months and obviously more than the minimum yearly income), signed and stamped by your accountant (this gives more credibility to the questura compared to if you prepare the balance sheet yourself).

What Documents Do I Need?

Other required documents checklist

The rest of the required documents are pretty standard, a repeat of your previous permesso documents:

  • module 1 and 2 of your permesso kit
  • copy of your old permesso
  • copy of your residenza
  • copy of your carta identita
  • copy of your tessera sanitaria
  • university certificate
  • house contract
  • marca di bollo of €16

Submitting the kit to the Poste Italiane and waiting for the questura appointment

Pretty standard once you have figured out the hardest part – now you cross your fingers and toes and pray for the best. Don’t forget to bring all your documents during the appointment plus passport photos. The duration of the permesso di soggiorno is 1-2 years. During the fingerprint appointment, you will know how long the duration will be.

Congratulations, you are now officially working in Italy! Prepare yourself for the next headache: taxes and how to pay them! 😁 I hope this article is helpful for you stubborn people who love Italy, just like me!


How much does it cost to apply for permesso lavoro autonomo?

Based on my application in 2024, you will need to pay €80,46 (for the release of the permesso di soggiorno) + €30 (for the poste kit)

How long is the duration of the permesso lavoro autonomo?

The permesso will last from 1 to 2 years, depending on what the questura gives you. The officer should let you know on the day you go for your fingerprint appointment.

Do I need nulla osta for this application?

If you have graduated from an Italian university and have had a permesso ricerca di lavoro before, no. If you are applying from outside of Italy, different rules apply. You will need a nulla osta and must follow the decreto flussi. I am not knowledgeable enough to explain how to apply for a permesso lavoro autonomo from outside of Italy.

Does it matter where I get my clients?

No, your client can be an Italian organization, American, other European, Asian, or African countries. The only requirement is that you must do your invoices and tax declaration in Euro.

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