The law requires that any foreigner obtain a permesso di soggiorno after eight days of stay.
Anyone who works here must have a work permit (permesso di soggiorno per motivi di lavoro). By rights, nationals of EEC countries shouldn't need one, but they still do. The procedures are less complicated for them than for non-EEC nationals (extracomunitari), who need a visa obtained in their home country before they can get the permesso.
Procedures to obtain a work permit are much easier for EU- than for non-EU nationals. Anyone from the EU who is about to be hired here need only go to the Office for Foreigners (Ufficio Stranieri) of the Questura and request a permit to stay for work reasons (permesso di soggiorno, motivi di lavoro). Take a passport, a photocopy of the data pages in your passport, two photos and a letter from your anticipated employer stating their intention to hire you and describing your professional capacity. Fill out a form available there and on the same day you will receive a stay permit allowing you to work. With this you can proceed to get a residence certificate and an employment record booklet if applicable.
Non-EEC nationals wanting to be hired in Italy have a harder time of it. Once you are about to be hired your employer sends a request to the Ufficio Provinciale di Lavoro which then sends the request to Rome. If approved, the documentation returns to the Ufficio Provinciale di Lavoro and must then be taken to the Questura for their "Nulla Osta". The employer then sends the stamped permit and a letter offering you employment to your address in your home country. There you take the two documents to the nearest Italian consulate or embassy and your passport will be stamped with the right sort of visa. Now you can enter Italy. Once here, take the stamped permit, letter of employment from your company (in Italian, stating your name, your position, the length of your assignment, and from which country you are being paid), passport, and two photos to the Questura, and request a permit to stay for work reasons.
Additional documents include the equivalent of a social security number (codice fiscale).
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