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28 February 2023

Is it possible to work or do an internship with a residence permit for study reasons?

Answers to frequently asked questions

A residence permit for study purposes is issued to foreigners attending study or training courses in Italy that last at least three months. The duration of this type of permit depends on the type of course that has been activated. The permit is usually 6/12 months long, but can be renewed in order to last for the entire duration of the course.


The residence permit for study reasons can be issued in order to carry out various training courses, including:

- University courses;

- Professional training courses;

- Traineeships;

- Study courses in upper secondary schools or higher education and technical training courses for students who are 18 years old or above;

- Professional qualification examinations for foreigners who obtained a degree in Italy.

The Questore (Police Commissioner) issues the residence permit for study reasons, following Article 5, comma 8 of the Decreto Legislativo n° 286/98.


Does a residence permit for study purposes allow working?

Yes, foreigners who hold a residence permit for study or training purposes may work to provide for themselves. 

In case of subordinate work, the law (art. 14, par. 4, DPR  394/99) requires that the work shall not exceed 20 hours per week, which may also be cumulated over fifty-two weeks, considering that the annual limit is 1,040 hours. This is because studying should be the prevalent activity of the foreigner.

For this reason, the National Inspectorate, in its note of 24 May 2022, specified that, in case the employment contract extends throughout the year, both the weekly and the yearly cap can't be exceeded, while a student with a residence permit for study purposes can work more than 20 hours per week (as long as they don't exceed the annual limit of 1,040 hours) if their contract doesn't last for 12 months.

If the holder of a residence permit for study reasons wishes to work over 1,040 hours per year, they will have to convert this permit into a work permit within the limits of the entry quotas set by the so-called “Decreto Flussi”.


Does a residence permit for study purposes allow for self-employment?

Yes, the law does not forbid self-employment for foreigners in possession of a permit issued for study reasons. The permit for study reasons is one of the permits that entitles the holder to work (within a set number of hours in case of employed work) and may be converted, if the law requirements are satisfied, into a permit for employed or autonomous work.

In order to open a VAT number, a residency permit that qualifies for work is sufficient.


Does the residence permit for study purposes allow traineeships?

As clarified in the INL note of 14 February 2022, the permit for study reasons allows for all the curricular traineeship activities envisaged by the course of study or professional training for which the residence permit was issued. Also, it allows for non-curricular traineeship activities aimed at job placement.

The national and regional regulation on training and orientation traineeships also applies to foreigners legally resident in Italy, who can make use of traineeships as practicing and orientation tools aimed at job placement. Since the traineeship does not constitute an employment status, the limits stated by the law for performing work activities do not apply.


Is it possible to convert a residence permit for study into a work permit?

In the case of:

- Subordinate employment, it is necessary to present the documents proving the existence of the employment contract.

- Self-employment, it is necessary to show documentation relating to the activity that is to be carried out, along with proof of having the financial resources to make it sustainable. If converting the permit is intended for starting a self-employment activity as an entrepreneur, trader or artisan, registration with the chamber of commerce is also required. For more information click here