Who is eligible to apply for a Research visa and residence permit?

This type of visa is specifically conceived for foreign nationals holding a University degree that gives them access to PhDs according to the legislation of the country where the foreign national graduated, as long as they are invited to conduct research by an Italian Research Center (e.g. a University or a similar Research Center) that has an agreement with the Ministry of Universities and Research or is registered with the list kept by the latter.
It can also be submitted in favour of non-EU citizens already legally residing in the Italian territory under another residence permit other than one of the following international protection, long-term, blue card, family members of EU citizens and others).
Note that a foreigner who already holds a valid residence permit for research issued by another Member State of the European Union, under specific circumstances, is authorised to reside in the Italian territory in order to continue research already begun in the other State, for a maximum period of 180 days within a period of 360 days, without the need to apply for the Security Clearance at the competent Immigration Desk of the Ministry.

Main requirements to apply for a Research visa and residence permit

  • The researcher and the research institute sign a hosting agreement whereby the researcher undertakes to carry out the research activity and the institute undertakes to host the researcher. Into the hosting agreement have to be established: the scope and goals of the research to be carried out; the means provided by the institute to conduct research; the compensation paid (a minimum of EUR 12,000.00 gross per year); the duration of the research program; the researcher’s commitment to complete the research activity, information on the researcher’s mobility to one or more other Member States, if already known at the time of the agreement; the health insurance that would cover the foreign researcher while residing in Italy or his/her commitment to enrol in the national healthcare system;
  • A formal letter of invitation from the research centre;
  • Available accommodation in Italy (eg. accommodation provided by the research centre, hotel reservation for at least 1 month from the first entry, rental agreement etc);
  • ‘Nulla Osta’ (Certificate of No Impediment issued by the Local Immigration Desk of the Ministry of Interior).

Main Procedural Steps

  1. Applying for and collecting the ‘Nulla Osta’ (Certificate of No Impediment issued by the Local Immigration Desk of the Ministry of Interior);
  2. Filing the visa application at the Italian Consulate of the applicant’s place of residency;
  3. Entry in Italy and application for the residence permit at the competent Police headquarter within 8 days;
  4. Registration of the applicant’s fingerprints at the competent Police headquarter;
  5. Issuance of the residence permit.

Validity of the Research visa and residence permit

The residence permit issued to conduct research activities in Italy has the duration of the research program.
This type of residence permit allows the holder to work in Italy within the framework of the research activity indicated in the hosting agreement. The research activity can be carried out in the form of employment, self-employment or a research training grant. In the event of an extension of the research programme, the residence permit is renewed, for a duration equal to the extension, upon submission of the renewed hosting agreement.
At the end of the research program, the researcher can state their immediate willingness to be employed at the Job Centre of the area of residency and apply for a residence permit for expected working activity, having a maximum duration of 1 year. This permit can be converted into a work residence permit if the researcher finds a working activity.
The applicant can renew the residence permit on their own or be assisted by us.
After 5 years of continuous registered legal residency in Italy, the applicant would be eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit.

Time Frame

The average time frame to obtain the Research visa is approximately 4 months from the application for the Certificate of No Impediment. Once the researcher obtains the visa, they can travel to Italy, apply for the residence permit and reside and work legally in Italy.