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Guide to temporary entry into Italy under CETA

This guide is for a Canadian business person temporarily travelling to Italy to do business. It provides general information about temporary entry and stay requirements for business people under CETA and under Italian law. This guide aims to facilitate the entry of Canadian business people into Italy for the purposes of exploring, entering and/or expanding operations in the Italian market. You will find relevant links and summaries of the main steps for work permit and visa applications, including costs and length, for the categories of business people covered in CETA.

Related link

Text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – Chapter ten: Temporary entry and stay of natural persons for business purposes

CETA entered into force provisionally in 2017, which means that Italy is bound by the Temporary Entry Chapter. However, there are still significant differences between CETA requirements and the national Italian laws regulating temporary entry. As such, some of the paths for entry identified in this guide do not fully overlap with the categories of business people covered in CETA.  

For any questions regarding Italy’s temporary entry commitments under CETA, please contact: enquiry-demande.TE@international.gc.ca

Before you travel:

This guide is for information only. It is not the official text of CETA or Italian law. Always verify information using the text of the Agreement and official government sources of the country you wish to do business in. You may also seek advice from licensed or authorised individuals like an immigration lawyer or immigration consultant.

Familiarize yourself with Italy’s guidelines on Covid-19 border closures and exceptions before you travel for business.

Know what Canada’s travel restrictions, testing and quarantine requirements are when you return home from a business trip.

There are 6  types of business people covered under CETA:

  1. short-term business visitors
  2. business visitors for investment purposes
  3. investors
  4. contractual service suppliers
  5. independent professionals
  6. intra-corporate transferees

Short-term business visitor

Under CETA, a short-term business visitor is a Canadian traveling to Italy for one of the following activities:  

The detailed list of activities can be found under Annex 10-D of CETA.

A short-term business visitor cannot:

Under CETA, a Canadian short-term business visitor can stay in Italy for up to 90 in a 180-day period.

Do I need a work permit or visa?

Under CETA, an eligible short-term business visitor does not need a work permit, but may need a visa.

Under Italian law, Canadian short-term business visitors do not need a Schengen C visa to enter Italy. You are entitled to stay within any country of the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.  

Canadian companies can also send non-Canadian nationals locally hired in Canada for short-term business travel in Italy. In this case, a Schengen C visa may be required, if they are not nationals of a visa exempt country. You must file applications for Schengen C visas with the relevant Italian Consulate/Embassy. The processing time is approximately 2 weeks.

Related links

Schengen area
Schengen calculator
Schengen C visa exempt countries list (PDF)
Visa requirements
Requirements by nationality

Under Italian law, you do not need a work permit, as long as your reason for entry is one of the following activities:

If you are visiting an Italian host company, you must also meet the following requirements:

The Canadian company sending their employees to Italy on business trips must make sure that:

Business visitor for investment purposes

Note: The business visitors for investment purposes category is covered under CETA, but does not exist under Italian law. A Canadian business visitor for investment purposes may qualify under the short-term business visitor category. To explore other paths for entry into Italy, please consult Italy’s immigration portal.

Do I qualify as a business visitor for investment purposes under CETA?

Under CETA, a Canadian business visitor for investment purposes is a Canadian manager or specialist responsible for setting up an enterprise in Italy.

A Canadian business visitor for investment purposes cannot:

Under CETA, Canadian business visitors for investment purposes can stay in Italy 90 days within a 180-day period.

Do I need a work permit or visa?

This category does not exist under Italian law. There are no specific work permit or visa options for a Canadian business visitor for investment purposes.

However, a Canadian business visitor for investment purposes may qualify under the short-term business visitor category.

Investor

Do I qualify as an investor under CETA?

Under CETA, an investor is a Canadian supervisor or executive, responsible for establishing, developing, or operating an investment, that they or their employing enterprise have committed, or are in the process of committing, a substantial amount of capital to.

Under CETA, Canadian investors can stay in Italy for up to 1 year. Extensions are possible at the discretion of Italy’s officials.

Do I need a work permit or a visa?

Under Italian law, an investor should apply for the investor visa. This visa applies to non-EU nationals intending to make capital investments or donations that benefit the Italian economy.

An investor visa is valid for 2 years. Upon application, the visa is renewable for 3 years.

What are the eligibility requirements for the investor visa?

Under Italian law, the investor must either:

Other requirements:

If one of these conditions is not fulfilled, the permit may be revoked before the expiry date.

How do I apply for the investor visa?

There are 3 steps to obtaining a permit:

Step 1: Apply for a “Nulla Osta”, which translates to a certificate of no impediment in English.

Create an account to apply for a certificate of no impediment.

If successful, your certificate will be issued in 30 days.

Step 2: Apply for an investor visa at the appropriate Italian consulate. This application must be submitted within 6 months of receiving your certificate.

Step 3: Within 8 days of your arrival in Italy, file for your residence permit at a local immigration or police office.

How much will it cost?

There is a cost of 116 EUR for the visa application and 80 EUR for the residence permit.

For more information about the application process and eligibility conditions refer to Getting your investor visa for Italy and Investor visa.

Contractual services supplier

Do I qualify as a contractual services supplier under CETA?

Under CETA, a contractual services supplier is a Canadian service supplier employed by an enterprise in Canada with a contract to provide a service to a consumer in Italy in an eligible service sector. A list of eligible services sectors under CETA is found under CETA Annex 10-E, number 9.

A Canadian contractual service supplier must also:

A Canadian contractual service supplier cannot get paid for their services during their stay in Italy other than what is paid to them by their Canadian employers.

The Canadian enterprise that employs a Canadian contractual service supplier cannot have any establishment in Italy.

Fulfillment of the contract must require the temporary presence of the Canadian contractual service supplier in Italy.

Under CETA, a Canadian contractual services supplier can stay in Italy for up to 12 months in any 24-month period, or for the duration of the contract, whichever is less. Extensions are possible at the discretion of Italy’s officials.

Do I need a work permit or a visa?

There is no specific path for a Canadian contractual service supplier under Italian law. However, a Canadian contractual service supplier could apply for a Service Agreement Work Permit. This permit can be obtained for highly qualified employees on assignment from a Canadian company to an Italian entity .

This permit is valid for 2 years. It can be renewed for up to 4 years in total.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Service Agreement Work Permit?

To be eligible for a Service Agreement Work Permit, you must meet the following requirements:

The permit can be obtained for activities in any sector.

How do I apply for a Service Agreement Work Permit?

There are 6 steps to obtaining this permit:

Step 1 : Gather supporting documents and notify the trade unions.

Step 2: Apply for a work permit. It takes approximately 1-6 months to receive after submitting

the application and all supporting documents, depending on the immigration office

Step 3: Apply for an entry visa. It takes approximately 7-21 days to receive from date of filing at the Italian consulate.

Step 4: Sign the “contract of stay” and residence permit application within 8 days of arrival in Italy.

Step 5: Submit fingerprints. This is usually automatically scheduled within 1-4 months from the residence permit filing date at the applicable police office.

Step 6: Collect residence permit within 1 to 3 months after submitting the fingerprints.

How much will it cost?

There is a cost of 32 EUR for the work permit, 116 EUR for the visa, and 148 EUR for the residence permit.

How long will it take?

Processing times vary based on the immigration and consular offices. Work permit approvals take approximately 1 to 6 months. Visa processing time is approximately 1 to 3 weeks.

Independent professional

Do I qualify as an independent professional under CETA?

Under CETA, an independent professional is a self-employed Canadian service supplier that is contracted to supply a service to a consumer in Italy in an eligible sector. A list of eligible services sectors under CETA is found under CETA Annex 10-E, number 9.

A Canadian independent professional must have:

Other requirements:

Under CETA, a Canadian independent professional can stay in Italy for a total period of up to 12 months in a 24-month period, or for the duration of the contract, whichever is less. Extensions are possible at the discretion of Italy’s officials.

Do I need a work permit or a visa?

Under Italian law, a Canadian independent professional will need to apply for an independent professional permit. Independent professionals are regulated under the Italian Immigration Code.

The permit will typically be valid for up to 2 years. It can be renewed indefinitely at the discretion of Italian officials.

Despite commitments under CETA that no quotas should be applied to Canadian independent professionals, this category is subject to the annual immigration quotas in Italy. The One-Stop-Shop for Immigration and the Provincial Directorate of Labour will verify that you are eligible under the quota and that you have all the necessary requirements to carry out your self-employed activity.

What are the eligibility requirements for an independent professional permit?

To be eligible for an independent professional permit, you must show that:

How do I apply for an independent professional permit?

Step 1: Receive authorization from the administrative authority to perform the self-employed activity.

Which authority you apply to will depend on the nature of your activity, for example the Chamber of Commerce issues authorisations to companies, while a special authorisation from the local departments of health is needed to open a restaurant or bar.

Step 2: Apply for an entry visa at the appropriate Italian consulate.

Step 3: Within 8 days of your arrival in Italy, apply for a residence permit at a local immigration or police office. You will also be scheduled to provide fingerprints at this time.

Step 4: Collect your residence permit within 1 to 3 months from the fingerprints provision.

How much will it cost?

There is a cost of 116 EUR for the visa, and 80 EUR for the residence permit.

How long will it take?

This type of visa is issued or denied within 120 days from the date when the application is submitted and has to be used within 180 days from its issue.

Intra-corporate transferee

Do I qualify as an intra-corporate transferee under CETA?

Under CETA, Canadian intra-corporate transferees are senior personnel, specialists, or graduate trainees at a Canadian enterprise who are being temporarily transferred to a subsidiary, branch, or head company of the Canadian enterprise in Italy.

Senior personnel are Canadian business people in a senior position within an enterprise who:

Specialists are Canadian business people with:

In assessing such expertise or knowledge, Italy’s officials will consider abilities that are unusual and different from those generally found in a particular industry and that cannot be easily transferred to another business person in the short-term. These abilities are obtained through specific academic qualifications or extensive experience with the enterprise.

Graduate trainees are Canadian business people who:

Under CETA, Canadian senior personnel and specialists can stay in Italy for 3 years or the length of the contract, whichever is shorter. Extensions of up to 18 months are possible at the discretion of Italy’s officials.

Canadian graduate trainees can stay in Italy for 1 year or the length of the contract, whichever is shorter.

Do I need a work permit or a visa?

Under Italian law, a Canadian intra-company transferee will need an EU Intra-Corporate Transferees permit.

The permit will be valid for 3 years for managers and specialists, and 1 year for graduate trainees.

What are the eligibility requirements for an EU Intra-Corporate Transferees permit?

According to European law, in order to be eligible for an EU Intra-Corporate Transferee permit, you must show the following:

 for your occupation

How do I apply for an EU Intra-Corporate Transferees permit?

Step 1: The Italian branch of the company must request an authorisation for your transfer from the immigration desk at the Prefettura (Office) set up in every Italian province.

The Immigration desk will notify the Italian branch of their authorisation for transfer within 45 days of the request.

Step 2: Apply for an entry visa at the appropriate Italian consulate.

Step 3: Within 8 days of your arrival in Italy, sign the “contract of stay” and apply for a residence permit application at a local immigration or police office. You will also be scheduled to provide fingerprints at this time.

Step 4: Collect your residence permit within 1 to 5 months after providing fingerprints.

How much will it cost?

Application costs are 32 EUR for the authorization, 115 EUR for the visa and 177 EUR for the residence permit.

How long will it take?

Processing times vary. Requests for authorizations should be submitted at least 3 months in advance.

What if I am a business person from a category that is not covered?

Entry into Italy for Canadian business people not belonging to any of the categories covered under the CETA is subject to Italy’s acts and regulations governing entry and stay.

To explore other paths for entry into Italy, please consult Italy’s immigration portal.

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