For members


EU Blue Card: Who can get one in Italy and how do you apply?

If you need a visa to work in Italy, could an EU Blue Card be the right option for you? Here’s what to know about taking this lesser-used route.

All non-EU citizens planning to move to Italy for work will need a valid work visa. The two most commonly used types are self-employment visas (visti per motivi di lavoro autonomo) and salaried employee visas (visti per motivi di lavoro subordinato).

READ ALSO: How to get an Italian work visa

But for employees there is a second, less talked-about option: the EU Blue Card

First introduced in May 2009 by the European Council, the Blue Card scheme allows highly qualified non-EU nationals to live and work in any member state except Ireland and Denmark. 

The benefits afforded by the EU Blue Card vary from country to country. In Italy, card holders on open-ended employment contracts have the right to remain in the country for two years (the card can then be renewed or be allowed to lapse), whereas those on fixed-term contracts are allowed to stay for the entire length of their contract.  

More importantly, unlike Italy’s standard salaried worker visa, the EU Blue Card scheme is not subject to the limitations imposed by the ‘decreto flussi’, a government decree which sets out Italy’s changing annual quota for work permits. 

This means that, while there are only so many employee visas available per year, Blue Card applicants face no such limit.

But that’s not to say getting a Blue Card to relocate to Italy is easy: applicants are subject to a stringent set of requirements and the process is far from straightforward.


There are four main requirements which EU Blue Card applicants must meet, according to the Italian interior ministry.

Applicants must:

  • Have an undergraduate degree. In order to be accepted by Italian immigration offices, this will have to be validated (dichiarazione di valore) by the Italian consulate of the applicant’s own country of residence. Also, in the case of regulated professions, i.e. occupations that require registration with professional boards or national bars (teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc.), all the relevant professional qualifications will have to be certified by the Italian education ministry (MIUR) beforehand.
  • Have a binding job offer from an employer based in Italy.
  • Be offered a position that falls within Level 1, 2 or 3 of the Italian Institute of Statistics’ official jobs classification.
  • Be offered a salary equal to or over 24,789 euros.

Application process

Italian bureaucracy is famously hard to navigate and applying for a EU Blue Card is no exemption. 

The first stages of the application process however are handled directly by the employer, which makes it slightly easier for applicants.

After making a formal job offer and once the candidate accepts it, the employer files an online application for a work permit (nulla osta) via the interior ministry’s website. 

READ ALSO: ‘Not just extra paperwork’: What it’s like moving to Italy after Brexit

The application contains the details of the job offer (duration of the contract, job specification, salary, etc.) together with validated copies of the candidate’s degree award and all their other relevant qualifications (see above). 

Italy’s interior ministry has 90 days to process the request, after which, if the application is successful, the applicant will be issued a work permit and will be asked to collect their entry visa (visto di ingresso) from their country’s consulate.

After entering Italy through the above visa, the applicant will have eight days to go to their local immigration office (Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione, SUI), fill out an application form for the issuance of a EU Blue Card residence permit (permesso di soggiorno Carta Blu UE) and then post it to their local police station (Questura). 

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Italy (and stay here)

Failure to turn up at the immigration office and post the application form within the given time frame will result in the nulla osta being revoked. 

Once the permit is ready, the applicant will be asked to collect it at their local Questura, officially completing the application process.

EU Blue Card residence permits have a two-year validity for people on open-ended contracts, whereas they expire at the end of employment for people on fixed-term contracts.

Common questions:

How much does the application process cost? 

There’s a 100-euro application fee plus a number of other administrative costs adding up to a total of around 75 euros.

Can I change my job while on a EU Blue Card residence permit?

Yes, if your new position requires the same level of skill and expertise required by your original position.

All changes must be communicated to and then approved by your local labour inspectorate (Ispettorato Territoriale del Lavoro).

Can I renew my EU Blue Card residence permit?

Yes. Renewal requests must be submitted directly at your regional police station’s immigration office (Questura).

Can I take family members with me?

Holders of EU Blue Card residence permits with validity of at least one year have the right to be joined in Italy by the following family members (see articles 28, 29 of the Immigration Bill): 

  • Legal spouse
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Children over the age of 18 only if they’re financially dependent on the Italian residence permit holder due to serious disability
  • Parents over the age of 65 only if no children of theirs reside in their country of residence and no children can support them financially due to serious health problems

In order to be joined by the above family members, EU Blue Card holders must have:

  • Adequate housing
  • Minimum annual income (this depends on the number of family members joining the applicant)

In order to be joined by family members, Blue Card holders must submit a request at their local immigration office (Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione) and provide proof of their relationship with the relevant family members.

If the request is successful, the Blue Card holder’s family members are given a residence permit for family purposes (permesso di soggiorno per motivi di famiglia) with the same duration as the Blue Card residence permit.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on individual cases. For further information on the EU Blue Card and how to apply, visit the Italian interior ministry’s website.

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For members


Cafe culture and clocking out: Why remote work is so unpopular in Italy

The era of working from home in Italy ended with the Covid pandemic as Italians still overwhelmingly prefer to commute to the office and network in person, writes Silvia Marchetti.

Cafe culture and clocking out: Why remote work is so unpopular in Italy

With the Covid pandemic over, most Italians are now back to the office, sitting behind their desks and again clocking in at work. What happened to remote working or teleworking (also called ‘smart working’ in Italy)?

In my view this is (or was) the greatest novelty to come out of the pandemic, but it does not seem to have stuck in Italy. What have we learned from the pandemic about revolutionising the traditional workplace? Nulla.

Almost 80 percent of Italians worked from home during the pandemic – mostly for the first time, as the concept was almost unheard of before. But just 14.9 percent still work remotely today.

One reason for this is the simple fact that Italians need to hang out. They’re real political animals and for many the office is their most important social hub, after the family setting.

Unlike in other Western countries, the office is where 90 percent of one’s career is built by networking and PR, rather than on real merit and achievement. My dad always says that an after-lunch espresso with “important colleagues” is more valuable than a 12-hour shift sitting in front of a computer.

Italians have a saying: “le conoscenze contano”, meaning that knowing the right people can advance your career.

I once had a job contract at a leading industrial lobby in Rome, and I remember hours spent at the bar or having lunch chatting with colleagues and employees about future projects and summits, when all I wanted to do was rush through the speeches and papers I had to write. Eventually, I quit.

READ ALSO: ‘It’s crazy’: What to expect when you work for an Italian company

Italians are also very physical in everything they do, so the workplace must be a concrete spot, set apart from home. 

Multi-tasking is hard, and flexibility at work is as feared as the plague. It is seen as working seven days a week, on a 24-hour basis if you do it remotely. Italian workers would rather be with colleagues in person at the office, then at the beach having to answer emails.

The working week in Italy is as sacrosanct as Sunday mass. Once you’ve clocked out, you’re out. The universe may collapse but it’s not your call to step in and rescue it. Smartphones may have somewhat blurred the work-home boundary even in Italy, but haven’t destroyed it.

Lately I have noticed that virtual press conferences, events, and festivals are no longer available, during the pandemic I just needed a laptop to listen to speeches. Now I often need to take a taxi to get to the venue. It’s aggravating. 

Back to the daily commute: in Italy, seeing colleagues in person is all-important. Photo by JEsse on Unsplash

All over the world people go to cafés and bars to work from their laptops. But in Italy it’s a bit different. 

Over here, we do things our way: writing a paper while you devour a cornetto would not be cool. My gran had a saying: “Ogni cosa a suo tempo”, meaning ‘everything has its time’.

Cafés for most Italians are hangout spots where you chat with friends or colleagues and have a quick coffee on the run, gulping it down at the counter rather than sitting down. They’re not ideal places for working. 

READ ALSO: Italy ranked one of the worst countries for expats to work in – again

In some northern Italian cities, sitting for hours at nice panoramic cafés with a steaming cappuccino while answering emails may be more popular, mainly because many cafés in Milan, Bologna and Turin are huge and have several rooms. But this is not something you can do in the south.

All of this means Italy is probably one of the worst countries in Europe for remote work, and it’s not just because of the mindset. 

Many parts of the country still lack high-speed internet, especially rural areas, but also cities. I live north of Rome and don’t even have a home WIFI, so I’m considering subscribing to one of those internet companies that provide signal to yachts in the middle of the sea and campers on isolated mountain tops. 

This lack of digital infrastructure makes it hard both for Italians teleworking and for foreigners hoping to relocate to Italy and work remotely for companies abroad or as freelancers. 

READ ALSO: What happened to Italy’s planned digital nomad visa?

However, I still think that even if all of Italy was hooked up with supersonic internet, Italians would still prefer to commute to a physical workplace each day.

Foreigners have long been waiting for the ‘digital nomad’ visa, approved in 2021 and then forgotten by the new government that seems to have other priorities. One politician from the ruling coalition told me the law is rotting in parliament simply because there are so many other ways to lure foreign money which are viewed as safer.

The cheap homes bonanza, the 7 percent flat tax rate for expat retirees in several southern regions, and the elective residency visa for pensioners, are all examples of more concrete measures sure to bring significant taxes into state coffers. 

Meanwhile, digital nomads are often seen as ‘vague’ freelancers whose job isn’t quite clear, who can’t be easily classified and tracked down. In other words, digital nomads are somehow perceived by authorities, in my view, as potential tax dodgers.

I think Italy has lost an opportunity to really embrace remote work. If not even a global pandemic has the power to modernise the Italian workplace, I don’t know what can.