Long-term corporate immigration VISAs

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Residence permit for corporate secondment of highly skilled workers (Intra-Company Transfer VISA)

Intra-Company Transfer (“ICT”) is governed by article 27 (a), D.L. n. 286/98, as amended, and allows employers to transfer an employee to work for the company’s subsidiary, branch or representative office in Italy. This is mainly used by international businesses when bringing in more specialist workers from overseas.

Who can qualify for ICT?

ICT permits can be granted to following categories of employees, provided that they have been employed with the mother company for at least three months before the application:

  • Executives and managers;
  • Highly-skilled employees whom are in possession of the necessary skills to execute projects for the Italian host company;
  • Trainees in possession of a university degree who are assigned to the Italian host with the purpose of acquiring specific technical knowledge and skills, or to progress in career;


The procedure for obtaining an ICT permit is as follows:

  • The application is filed electronically by the Italian host company through the Online Portal of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • The Italian company shall file the necessary supporting documents within ten days from filing the application.
  • Upon verification of the requirements, the Immigration Office (Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione) will issue the work permit within 45 days;
  • After the issuance of the work permit, the employee shall apply for the entry VISA with the Italian diplomatic mission in country of residence;
  • Within 8 days from the arrival in Italy, the employee shall register with the Immigration Office and apply for the residence permit;
  • Residence permits will be issued within 45 days.

The ICT permit has a maximum validity period of three years for executives, managers and highly-skilled workers; instead, the maximum validity period for trainees is 1 year.

ICT permits can be renewed after a cooling off period of three months.

Residence permit for employment secondment based on a service contract.

This type of application covers employees of a foreign company who are temporarily transferred in Italy to a company, that is not part of the same group, but with whom the foreign company stipulated an international service contract under article 27 (i) of Law Decree N. 286/1998.

The procedure to be followed is the same as the intra-company work visa, with the difference that the Italian company must inform the local unions regarding the number of foreign workers assigned and the duration of their secondment in Italy. This work permit has a maximum duration of two years.

EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card allows skilled foreign workers to enter in Italy regardless of the annual quota mechanism, allowing them to be directly employed by an Italian company or employer.

The main requirements and conditions for obtaining an EU Blue Card are as follows:

  • an employment contract with an Italian company or employer, that lasts minimum 12 months;
  • a bachelor’s degree (at least) that certifies a specialized qualification recognized in Italy. The university degree must be validated through the declaration of value by the Italian embassy of the country in which the degree was awarded, following an evaluation carried out by the Italian Ministry of Education
  • the tasks must be of a highly specialized type, i.e. fall in levels 1, 2 and 3 of the ISTAT classification of professions CP 2011;
  • the annual gross salary of the employee must be at least three times the minimum required for exemption from the Italian social security, equal to about € 32,000.

The validity of the EU Blue Card is from one year and three months to two years. Workers in possession of an EU Blue Card issued by another EU Member State, can enter Italy for the purpose of highly qualified employment without requiring an additional visa, provided they have lived for at least 18 months in that Member State. The new Italian employer will apply for the relative work authorization within one month from the entrance of the employee in Italy. EU Blue Card holders have the same rights as an Italian citizen and can apply for an Italian permanent residence permit after five years of continuous residence within the EU.

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