Case: Karel is a Dutch financial advisor, employed by a large consultancy firm based in Amsterdam, with several offices and subsidiaries around Europe. As part of a new global project implemented by the company, which aims at transferring its employees to different countries, Karel is supposed to be assigned to the Italian office, located in Rome, for an expected initial period of 5 years. Karel is married with a Chilean girl, Maria, who is currently living in Chile and, although he is enthusiast about the perspective of this new Italian experience, he does not intend to live abroad without his wife and wants to make sure she will be entitled to move to and settle down in Italy with him .
Question: what are the options for Maria to obtain a visa and a residence permit that would allow her to live in Italy with her husband?
Solution: considering that Karel is a citizen of a European Union member State and, as such, he is entitled to freely move to and settle down in any EU country, his third-country national wife might find particularly interesting and appealing the possibility of applying for the so-called Italian Residence Card for family members of EU nationals.
In fact, Italian immigration Law expressly provides that third-country family members of a citizen of any EU member State are allowed to move to Italy in order to join their family member who already resides in the national territory, for either study or work purposes. In particular, the possibility of applying for the above-mentioned Residence Card is granted to the following family members of the European Union national:
- partner who has celebrated, in another EU member State, a recognized and registered union which is equivalent to marriage according to Italian law and regulations;
- descendants under the age of 21 (twenty-one) or above the age of 21 in case they are not self-sufficient in their country of residence;
- spouse’s or partner’s descendants under the age of 21 (twenty-one) or above the age of 21 in case they are not self-sufficient in their country of residence;
- parents if they are not self-sufficient in their country of residence; and spouse’s or partner’s parents if they are not self-sufficient in their country of residence.
Considering that Maria is legally married to Karel, she meets the requirements set forth by the law to successfully seek the issuance of the Italian residence card for family members of EU nationals.
In order to start off the procedure for the obtainment of the final residence card, Maria will first of all have to travel to Italy for tourist purposes and, since she is a Chilean national, she is entitled to do so without previously applying for any entry visa, in force of the visa waiver agreement entered into by and between Italy and Chile.
Once in the national territory, within 90 days from her arrival, Maria shall file the nominative request for the issuance of an Italian residence card to the competent Police station (Questura), by sending the so-called postal kit, along with all the necessary supporting documents, among which the most crucial are:
- copy of Maria’s entire passport;
- marriage certificate issued by the competent authorities of the country in which the marriage was celebrated, translated in Italian and duly apostilled/legalized;
- Karel’s request for the registration with the Townhall (Comune) of the Italian city in which he is residing;
- proof of Karel’s availability of accommodation in Italy, where he and Maria can reside; and
- proof of Karel’s availability of sufficient economic resources to sustain his family in Italy.
Once the postal kit has been duly submitted, Maria will be legally entitled to live in Italy while waiting for the issuance of her final residence card and she will also have the right to work, both as an employee or as an autonomous worker/entrepreneur.
Maria’s residence card will have an initial duration of 5 (five) years and, after 5 years of legal residence in the Italian territory, and provided that she has not left the national territory for periods of more than 6 (six) uninterrupted months, she will be entitled to apply for and obtain a permanent residence permit which will allow her to reside in Italy indefinitely.