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Reader question: Will Italy follow Spain in introducing a digital nomad visa?

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Reader question: Will Italy follow Spain in introducing a digital nomad visa?
Several countries in southern Europe now have a special 'digital nomad' visa but Italy is not among them - yet. Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

A growing number of European countries are introducing new visas which allow remote workers to move from overseas. But will Italy join them? Here's how the situation looks at the moment.


Question: “Is there any news on whether Italy’s government intends to introduce special visas for digital nomads? I note that Spain has just done this and Portugal has something similar.”

There was a piece of good news in January for remote workers hoping to move to southern Europe, as Spain finally brought in its much-anticipated ‘digital nomad’ visa.

Known in Spain as the visado para teletrabajadores de carácter internacional or visa for remote workers, it will allow non-EU freelancers and remote workers entry and residency rights (our sister site The Local Spain has the details about how it works HERE.)


Portugal too has a digital nomad visa available, allowing remote workers to live in the country for up to one year.

As a growing number of European countries recognise the benefits of allowing remote workers to move from overseas, will Italy be joining them?

In fact, Italy was widely expected to have created its own digital nomad visa by now. It’s almost one year since the country’s government approved a law allowing for the creation of a visa similar to that introduced in Spain.

This news was greeted with enthusiasm by many of The Local's readers who hope to live and work in Italy short-term but currently have no good options for visas allowing remote work.

What's going on with Italy's digital nomad visa?
Italy was expected to introduce a digital nomad visa in 2022. Photo by BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP).

So what happened to the plan? A year is a long time in Italian politics: the government that passed this law collapsed the following July, and a new administration with an entirely different set of priorities took over in October. 

During this transition it was unclear what would happen with the digital nomad visa. In our last update on the topic in October, we wrote that the plan seemed to have fallen through the cracks and was likely to be forgotten about, not least because the party which pushed the law through, the Five Star Movement, was no longer in government.

READ ALSO: What happened to Italy’s planned digital nomad visa?

Since then, not much has changed: none of the parties in the new ruling coalition have mentioned the digital nomad visa during their first months in office, nor given any indication that they intend to draw up the inter-ministerial plans necessary for making the visa scheme a reality. 

Perhaps this apparent lack of interest isn’t too surprising from a government with a staunchly anti-immigration stance - Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is an impassioned promoter of nativist policies who has accused previous administrations of trying to “replace” the Italian population with foreigners.

However, as readers point out, allowing more international workers to move to Italy would no doubt be a positive move for a country known for its flagging economy and suffering 'brain drain’ as large numbers of Italian university graduates seek work elsewhere. There’s also a steady population decline, combined with an ageing populace which needs to be supported by an active workforce. 


The Italian MPs who promoted the digital nomad visa law suggested it could be one part of the answer to these complex and long-standing problems.

The increasing digitisation of the economy means that the number of digital nomads in Europe is expected to increase again in 2023. There are an estimated 37 million remote workers around the globe currently, of which 10 million are from the United States alone.

Between them, these usually affluent mobile workers contribute some 780 billion euros a year to the countries they choose to call home: it's little wonder that more countries are now seeking to make it easier for them to move in.

READ ALSO: Remote workers: What are your visa options when moving to Italy?

While the current Italian government hasn't given any indication as to whether or how it intends to move ahead with the plan to introduce a digital nomad visa, it hasn’t actually ruled out doing so, either. Which means there is some hope.

The law approved last March still stands and, even if this government doesn’t use it, a future one could - which is something to bear in mind given the highly changeable nature of Italian politics.

In the meantime, The Local will continue to publish any updates related to the digital nomad visa.



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