Can I get a work visa to teach English in Italy?

Obtaining a work visa to teach English in Italy is possible but can be challenging. Italy, a popular destination for TESOL qualified teachers, offers high demand for English instructors and a relaxed lifestyle. However, securing a long-term work visa involves a complex process. To legally work as a teacher in Italy, non-EU citizens must first secure a job offer from an Italian school. The employer then assists in applying for a work permit. The visa application must be completed in your home country at an Italian consulate. It is important to start this process well in advance of your intended start date due to the time-sensitive nature of work visa approvals in Italy.

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What visa will I need for teaching English in Italy?

How do I apply for a visa for teaching English in Italy?

What visa will I need for teaching English in Italy?

For teaching English in Italy, the type of visa required depends on your nationality. EU passport holders have an advantage as they can teach legally without a work visa. Non-EU teachers, including those from the U.S., typically face more challenges. The most common route for non-EU teachers is not a long-term work visa, as this requires employer sponsorship and involves considerable bureaucracy and expense, which many employers are reluctant to undertake. As a result, many non-EU teachers work on a 90-day tourist visa, though this is technically not legal.

Another viable option is obtaining a student visa. This involves enrolling in a local course, often an Italian language course. With a student visa, you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week legally and reside in Italy for the duration of your course. This allows you to earn while studying, making it a practical choice for many foreign teachers.

Also read: How do I find a job teaching English in Italy?

How do I apply for a visa for teaching English in Italy?

Many teachers simply arrive at an airport in Italy and receive a 90-day tourist visa there and then, usually free of charge. It is then common for teachers to stay in the country for as long as they wish and many overstay their initial visa. While we cannot condone this approach, it is very common and few teachers get into trouble for doing so. However, if you would prefer to work legally during your stay in Italy, a student visa could be a better way to go.

For the most up-to-date visa information U.S. citizens can visit the website for Italian Consulates in the United States.

A student visa can be obtained from your nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate before you leave home. As processing times can be quite protracted we recommend submitting your application at least three months before your intended departure. Your application for a student visa will typically require the following documentation:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Valid passport with at least six months of validity beyond your intended stay
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Acceptance letter from an Italian language school
  • Proof of financial means to support yourself during your stay
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Proof of accommodation in Italy
  • Flight itinerary or proof of transportation arrangements
  • Visa application fee

Once issued your visa will be valid for the length of your course of study, up to a maximum of 12 months. Throughout your stay in Italy you will legally be allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week.

Also read: How much can I earn teaching English in Italy?