Italy has a multitude of visas–the most common ones are for business, family reunion, independent work, religious reasons, study, tourism, and transit. If you’re planning on staying longer than 90 days, but aren’t yet sure about permanent residence, you’ll need a Schengen Treaty/Tourist Visa yet a Student’s Visa, or Visto per Studio, is the fastest and easiest visa to obtain and there is no applicable fee. It is valid for those students enrolled in an Italian university or in a foreign university or course held in Italy.
No matter what kind of visa you are traveling under, you must, within eight days of your arrival in Italy, appear before the local police authority with your passport and visa in order to receive the Stay Permit, or Permesso di Soggiorno.
The Stay Permit is the only legal document that legitimizes your stay in the country. Theoretically, the free movement of people within the EU should have meant that this document was obsolete years ago. But you still need it. Without it, you won’t be able to join a library, let alone get your telephone hooked up.
If you are lucky enough to find a job, a work permit must be obtained by your prospective employer and you must apply for a Working Visa from the Italian Consulate before coming to Italy. The employer must first apply for preliminary clearance from the provincial employment office and then submit proof that the position being offered to a foreign applicant cannot be filled by a local.
If clearance is given, the employer must then receive approval from regional and central authorities before being issued with the Work Permit. Only then will this be sent to the prospective foreign employee so he/she can apply for the Working Visa from the local Italian consulate.