Italy is one of the most important countries in the Fashion world: the presence of the headquarters of the main brands, the ‘Made in Italy’ prestige, as well as events such as the Milan Fashion Week, make our country one of the main destinations for those working in this industry.

The international reputation of the brands, the events, and the opportunities in the field require the presence of foreign professionals.

This article will examine the Visa options available for non-European models who are interested in entering Italy to take part in parades and photoshoots, meet the representatives of the brands etc.

Does a Visa for Models exist?

The first necessary clarification regards the existence of a specific Visa for models.
To this day, there is no specific Visa for these professionals, but depending on their needs there are different options.

1. Business Visa

The first option for models with non-EU/EEA nationality who need to enter Italy is the Business Visa.

In order to obtain the Business Visa, it is always essential to be in possession of sufficient financial resources, available accommodation (hotel reservation, declaration of hospitality etc.) and health insurance, according to the requirements of the competent Consulate or Embassy.

Besides these documents, in order to obtain the Business Visa, an invitation letter from the inviting Company is always necessary. This letter has to mention the period, the reasons for the trip, the activities that will be carried out, who is in charge of covering the costs, and all the relevant information on the trip. This letter has to be signed by a legal representative of the inviting Company.

This Visa allows the foreigner to enter and stay in Italy for no longer than 90 days every 6 months, and it allows participation in events, castings, meetings with potential brands with whom the model intends to collaborate, and similar activities.

Usually, this Visa is issued in 15 working days.

Please note, however, that this Visa does not allow paid work activities. For this reason, fashion parades are not included in the activities allowed by the Business Visa, given that they are paid work activities.

2. Visa and Residence Permit for Freelancers

To carry out paid work activity for an Italian company, the non-EU model can apply for a Visa and Residence Permit for Freelancers.

This type of Visa is subject to numerical limits, defined each year by the Government with the so-called ‘Decreto Flussi’ (Flow Decrees). There is a cap of 700 freelance visas for the year 2024.

The requirements for this type of visa are the following:

  • A yearly gross income of at least 8500 euros earned in the previous year. Alternatively, it is possible to submit one or more engagement proposals signed by Italian clients granting a yearly gross compensation superior to the abovementioned figure;
  • Proof of available accommodation;
  • Health Insurance valid for the first 30 days from the model’s entry in Italy;
  • Certificate of ‘No Impediment’ to perform freelance work activities issued by the Chamber of Commerce;
  • A Certificate of “no impediment” to immigration to Italy issued by the Police Headquarters;
    Having sufficient economic resources to start and perform the specific freelance activity, certified by a bank statement or one or more signed engagement letters granting a yearly gross compensation higher than 20.000 euros approximately.

The procedure begins with the application for the Certificate of ‘No Impediment’ to the Chamber of Commerce and to the Police Headquarters

Once these certificates are issued, it will be possible to submit the Visa application to the competent Consulate where the model is residing.

Following the issuance of the Visa and the subsequent entry in Italy, the applicant has to submit the application for the Residence Permit, the registration of the digital fingerprints at the competent Police Headquarters, and the submission of the original documents.

The residence permit for freelancers has a maximum validity of 1 year, renewable every three years.

Please note that upon entry in Italy with the Visa, the foreign model is allowed to carry out work activities and take part in parades, receiving compensation and paying the due social and tax contributions.

Written by Pietro Derossi and Achraf Fadhel

For legal assistance, do not hesitate to contact our Global Mobility & Immigration team.