Tips for Business Travellers - Italy

Table of contents

Before you go: Getting organized

Deciding to export to Europe is not something to be entered into lightly. Does your company have the resources - in terms of time, people and capital - needed for a successful venture abroad? Taking a realistic look at your company is the first step, followed by a bit of research. The Knowledge Centre has a large amount of information on the realities of exporting, as well as some specific information on Italy and the sector of interest to you.

Here are some of the basic questions that you should examine:

Entry regulations


Italy, together with Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, forms part of the border-free travel zone subject to the Schengen Agreement. EU passport holders can come and go as they please. Citizens of the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand are among those who may enter Italy as tourists without a visa and stay up to 90 days.

Visiting less than three months

To enter into Italy, Canadian citizens must hold a passport that will be valid for at least 6 months or more during the duration of the visit. Canadian citizens are exempted from having to obtain a visa for visits to Italy of no longer than 3 months, even if they have stayed in other countries under the Schengen* agreement. You may act as a representative of your company, and do research, but you are not allowed to perform services or be paid by an Italian company.

* In 1995, the Schengen agreement abolished the internal borders of the 13 Member States and two non-member States (Norway and Iceland ) and created a single external border where immigration checks for the Schengen area are carried out in accordance with a single set of rules.

Visiting more than three months:

If you plan to stay in Italy for longer than three months, you will need to obtain a long-term visa, which can last up to one year. This process must be undertaken in Canada prior to entering Italy.

You will also need to obtain a residency authorization (permesso di soggiorno) as soon as possible and preferably within 8 days following your arrival in Italy. To apply, go to your nearest Prefettura or Prefecture's Office with your passport and certificate of residence (a rental agreement/lease should do). This can be renewed once a year, for up to three years, at which time you will be eligible to apply for a permanent residency card.

Working in Italy

Whether you are acting as an employee or independently, you will need to obtain a permanent work authorization. The usual procedure calls for the Italian employer to submit an application to the Italian labour bureau (ufficio di collocamento), which will then decide if an Italian national could fill the position. The success of your application largely depends on the sector in which you will work as some restrictions may apply in sectors with high levels of unemployment.

A permanent work authorization is not required if you are transferring salaried management or technical staff to act as support or liaison with an Italian company for a one-year period. The staff must be paid through Canada and obtain a temporary transfer authorization.

In addition to the above permits, you will be required to obtain a "Carta del commercio estero" (Commercial Card) if you or your employee will be acting as:

Types of Italian companies

There are several legal statuses under which to incorporate a company in Italy depending on the size of the company and number of partners. For more details, go to the website of the Camere di Commercio di Italia (Italian only).

EU nationals

Further to the Schengen agreement, EU nationals traveling on a EU Member State passport do not require work permits or commercials cards to work in Italy. However, they do require a residency permit, which will be issued upon presentation of a EU passport, employment declarations from the Italian employer, proof of residency (ex: lease) and passport photos.

Please note that employment formalities and practices in Italy are substantially different from those in Canada, and care must be taken to ensure that your organization is fully aware of its responsibilities towards its employees.

Emergency numbers

For public interest, it is advisable to use this number only in cases of impending danger for individuals or in incidences of serious calamity, and when it is not possible to contact the appropriate entities listed below:

Service numbers


Italian is the official language, although 12 other languages are officially recognized and protected by law as a right of linguistic minorities. There are many diverse dialects. Business people in larger companies speak English, while local businessmen and wholesalers often need an interpreter.

The 12 languages/dialects spoken:



Documents required:

Speed limits

On the motorway, speed limits vary according to the size of the vehicle's engine, ranging from 90kph/56mph (600 cc) to 110-130kph/69-81mph (over 1000 cc). On ordinary roads, the maximum speed limit is 90kph/56mph regardless of engine size.

For more information, please consult Auto Europe.


Main international airports in Italy

Milano-Malpensa Airport

Milano-Linate Airport

Roma-Ciampino Airport

Roma-Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport


There are international train connections between most European cities and the main towns and cities in Italy . France has rail links to the Italian peninsula via the Nice-Ventimiglia-Genoa line and the Modana-Bardonecchia-Turin line via the Frejus tunnel. The Sempione tunnel provides the rail link with Switzerland and the Brennero and Tarvisio lines link Italy with Austria and Eastern Europe.

Several Websites such as Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane exist for information on times, tariffs and bookings.

Identity documents

A national identity card or passport for European Union (EU) nationals. Nationals of non-EU European countries, Americans and Canadians need only a passport, provided their stay does not exceed 3 months. Nationals of other countries should check the Italian Foreign Office site, for entry requirements.

General information

Health risks: None

Time: GMT /UTC plus one hour (two hours ahead in summer)

Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz

Weights and measures: Metric

Advice on doing business





Business entertaining



Dress code

March 2022

Date Modified: