EU long-term residence permit


By means of Legislative Decree no. 3 of 8th January 2007, Italy implemented the Directive 2003/109/EC concerning the status of third country nationals residing for a long-term.

Such document replaced the old residence card with the “EC long-term residence permit”, and defined the legal position throughout the national territory of foreigners owning a long-term residence permit issued by another EU Member Country.


Requirements to issue the EU residence permit


Long-term EC residence permit can be issued to foreign citizens duly regularized for at least five years, owning a valid residence permit and that have a minimum income not lower than the annual amount of the welfare allowance.

The EU residence permit for long-term residents may be applied for by foreigner owning the requirements above also for a family member. In such case, it is necessary to give evidence of suitable housing falling within the parameters provided for by regional laws in case of public housing.

The EU long-term residence permit cannot be granted to foreigners considered as dangerous for the public order or for State security.

In evaluating the level of dangerousness of foreigners, the following is considered: the belonging to one of the categories of subjects referred to by national legislation in the field of personal prevention measures, as well as convictions, also not final, reported for the offences for which the Code of criminal procedure envisages imprisonment or, limitedly to intentional homicides, optional imprisonment.

The EU long-term residence permit cannot be issued to foreigners on the following grounds:

-  study or vocational training and scientific research;

-  temporary protection or other humanitarian grounds;

-  in case a short-term residence permit is owned;

-  in case a diplomatic, official and service passport (see 1961 and 1963 Vienna Convention) is owned, or a laissez-passer issued by international organizations of a universal character (see 1969 and 1971 Vienna Convention) is held.

The absence from the National territory for more than six consecutive months or ten overall months in the total five years considered, prevents the accrual of the minimum period of stay for the filing of the application, unless this depends on the need to fulfill military obligations or for severe reasons supported by evidence.


Italian language test


Immigrants who are required to pass the Italian language test to obtain an EU long-term residence permit, as envisaged by the Consolidated Text on Immigration, can find out how to take the test in the Ministry of Interior 's decree of 4th June 2010.

In order to obtain the EU long-term residence permit, the test must show that the level of understanding of Italian is at A2 according to the Common European Framework (a standard in comparing language acquisition approved by the European Council).The language test is not mandatory for the following categories of immigrants:

 - foreign nationals possessing a certificate of knowledge of the Italian language not lower than level A2 of the Common European Framework; 

 - foreign nationals possessing a first or second class secondary school diploma obtained by an Italian secondary school or a Provincial Adult Education Centers; anyone enrolled in a study course, a Master’s or a PhD course with a recognized Italian university;

- foreign nationals who entered Italy to undertake one of the following activities: corporate director or a different qualified role; university professor; translator or interpreter; journalist or employee of a press agency (art. 27, par 1, a), c) d), e q), legislative decree of 25th July 1998, no. 286).

In all the above circumstances, documentation proving one of the above shall be attached to the long-term residence permit application.

The language test is not mandatory:

-  for dependent children under fourteen;

- for anyone who is affected by serious speech and language impairment (to be certified by a Health and Safety structure).


Privileges for long-term residents


The EU residence permit for long-term residents is permanent.

EU long-term residence permit entitles third country nationals to a special status, including a number of rights that do not apply to foreign nationals holding a regular permit of stay.

Rights include:

- entering Italy without a visa and freedom of movement in the country (with the exclusion of regulations involving  the military);

- performing subordinate or independent work within the Italian territory (a contract to stay is not required to subordinate workers);

- enjoying social benefits and social services supplied by the Italian government, including access to social housing programs.

Foreign nationals who hold a long term EU residence permit may be expelled only on serious grounds of public security or public policy.

The age of the foreign national, length of stay, existence of family and social ties in the foreign country, as well as absence of the same in the country of origin, must be taken into account when considering expulsion of a third country national.

The EU long-term residence permit may be revoked in the following cases:

- an expulsion measure has been adopted against the foreign national;

- permit was acquired fraudulently;

- the individual is considered dangerous with relevance to the public order and security;

- foreign national no longer fulfills the requirements set for its issue;

- absence from the territory of the European Union for a period of 12 consecutive months;

- acquisition of a long-term resident status in another European Union member State;

- absence from Italy for a period exceeding six years. 


Foreign nationals holding an EU long-term residence permit issued by another EU Member State


Foreign nationals holding an EC long-term residence permit issued by another EU Member State may request to stay in Italy for a period exceeding three months in the following circumstances:

- when performing an autonomous or subordinate work activity as foreseen by the Italian legislation;

-   when studying, including professional training;

- stay for any other reason, providing supporting documentation proving financial resources availability. These should double the minimum standard as set by the law on exemption to National Health Service expenses participation. Health insurance is also required (for an average amount of € 8.500).

Application for EU long-term residence permit can be submitted within three months from the foreigner's  date of entry onto national territory. A visa or a resident permit are not needed to obtain the authorization to work.

The number of foreign citizens that are admitted to Italy for work purposes is defined every year by the Entry Quotas established by the Government through the so-called Decreto Flussi. The number of Quotas defined by the Government is given by the need of the labor market.

For the year 2015 the Prime Minister Decree of 11th December 2014 destined to foreign nationals holding an EU long-term residence permit issued by another EU Member State the following entry quotas:

- 1.000 quotas for conversion of EU long-term residence permits issued by other EU Member States into subordinate work permits;

- 250 quotas for conversion of EU long-term residence permits issued by other EU Member States into self employment work permits.

To find out more about the timeframe and instructions on how to present the relevant claims see focus decreto flussi”.

Family members of a foreign national holding a long-term residence permit can enter the national territory without a visa and may obtain a residence permit for family reasons if the residence in another EU Member States was issued for the same reason and in case an application for family rejoining can be filed.​