The work visa is the most difficult to obtain. It is divided into dependent and independent work, for employed and self-employed workers, respectively. There are a limited number of such independent work visas afforded to U.S. citizens every year, and experience has shown that they disappear within a few hours after the quota is announced. The major challenge in landing a dependent visa is that you must have letters from the company saying it intends to hire you or bring you on as a consultant. This would be an unusual windfall for someone not already living in Italy. In order to solve this paradox, many Americans arrange job contacts while on shorter vacations in Italy, and then fly back to the United States to straighten out their visas. Keep in mind that you should not overstay your three-month visit to be successful with this approach. For even more time, some people choose to sign up for a bona fide course in Italy, and then apply for a student visa. Many people manage to parlay the student permit into a work permit once the course is over. Again, finding an employer who is willing to file the paperwork for an American has become more difficult recently, as there are new quotas set for foreigners allowed to fill Italian jobs. If you manage to qualify, you need to have your employer send the Labor Ministry a letter that says the company intends to hire you. When that has been approved, the ministry will issue a nulla osta document to police headquarters. The company will also send you a work contract to present to the embassy or consulate, along with proof of ministry approval, for your visa.


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