How to get a work authorization in Italy
by Pamela Quezada
I completed the Trinity CertTESOL course in Rome at TEFL in Italy, and have been living in the Eternal City ever since! It’s been a wonderful, CHALLENGING but extremely rewarding experience and I cannot recommend it enough.
After working in the hospitality industry for years in Miami, I was ready for a change of pace. I had always thought about teaching, and I really wanted to travel and learn a new language…but being American, with no EU passport, I ran into bureaucratic issues and discovered that it is very difficult to get a working visa in Europe.
So how did I get a visa that allows me to work 20 hours a week in Italy, for an entire year?
I spent hours looking at TEFL courses all around the world, until I finally found TEFL in Italy. They offer a 1-year Teacher Development course that allows non-EU citizens to live and work in Rome for a year on a student visa. I’d never lived in Rome before, but I knew that it was one of the most treasured and visited cities in the entire world. The food is amazing, the culture is one-of-a-kind and it offers an overall fantastic quality of life. After an email exchange with Miriam, I was convinced that this was the course for me – and I was right!
Now for the nitty gritty details:
Getting my student visa did take some time – about 2 months altogether.
The very first thing to do is check with your local Italian Consulate – each region in the U.S.A. has its own, and you must determine which one has jurisdiction based on your residence. Each consulate has its own instructions and document requirements, so review those carefully before submitting anything. Generally, though, they require the following:
- A valid passport with an expiration date that is at least 3 months away from your theoretical last day in Rome.
- Bank statements that prove you can support yourself financially, which generally means about 30 euros per day. Your parents or guardians can also supply this for you if they are financially responsible for you.
- Proof of international health insurance – just enough to cover emergencies. Your current plan should cover it or you could always purchase an expensive short-term student plan.
- Proof of accommodation – this could hotel reservations, a contract for a rental property or a letter from an Italian resident offering to house you.
- A letter of acceptance from TEFL in Italy declaring your status as a student.
- A copy of your plane ticket.
- 2 passport photos and TONS of photocopies of all the above.
Seems like a lot, I know – but totally doable!
However, once you do arrive in Italy with your visa secured in your passport, the process isn’t over ! Once you arrive in Italy, you need to visit the Questura, or the Italian police station to apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno or Permit of Stay/Residency. Within 8 days of your arrival, you must go to the Post Office nearest to you with a Sportello Amico section, where you can pick up the “permesso di soggiorno kit.” Once you complete the form, purchase the special stamp and obtain 4 passport sized photos and submit the permit of stay application along with the application fee in cash, which is generally around 160 euros. The TEFL in Italy team will assist you with this if you want – which is especially helpful if you don’t speak Italian!
There’s a very high demand for English teachers in Rome, and many students are looking specifically for American teachers! Not only am I feeling confident about my new career choice, but I’m also absolutely in love with la bella Italia – the food, the city, the people – and I’m so happy to be able to make it my home for the year. I thought it was impossible to work in Europe without EU citizenship, but I was wrong. I’m so glad I found TEFL in Italy!