HomeSearch NewsHow to obtain a residence permit for sports activities in Italy?

30 April 2024

How to obtain a residence permit for sports activities in Italy?

Answers to the frequently asked questions

Foreigners who intend to enter Italy to compete in professional or amateur sports event for an Italian club are granted a simplified procedure. The number of entries is not part of the annual quota indicated in the "Decreto Flussi". A different decree, in fact, establishes the maximum number of non-EU sportsmen who can be registered by Italian sports clubs for the designated year.


How is this specific quota determined?


The maximum number of non-EU athletes engaged in competitive activities, whether they are already in Italy with a regular permit or have yet to enter, it's established every year by Decree of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers after hearing from CONI, which will subsequently assign a share to each National Sports Federation. If the sports federations have both a professional and an amateur sectors, they will autonomously determine how to allocate their share.

For the competitive season 2022/2023, the maximum entry limit for foreign sportsmen has been set to 1200 units. [Esiste un dato aggiornato?]

This cap applies to the sportsmen who enter Italy for employed or self-employed work, as well as to foreigners already in Italy with a regular residence permit for business or family reasons. It does not apply to coaches and athletic trainers.


What should a sports club do if they intend to have non-EU professional athletes compete for them?


They have to ask the National Sports Federation they are affiliated with to contact CONI, and make them release the “Dichiarazione Nominativa di Assenso all’attività sportiva”  (Nominative Declaration of Assent to sports) while formulating a proposal for a residence contract through the use of the so-called SP model. Once CONI receives the request from the sports club, they carry out the necessary checks, ascertain that the quota has not been reached, and ask the Police Headquarters for clearance. If nothing goes wrong, they issue the aforementioned "Nominative Declaration" and send it by e-mail to the competent Unified Desk for Immigration and to the Diplomatic Representation of the country of origin of the athlete, so that a VISA can be issued. This document, for security reasons, will not be in direct possession of the foreign sportsman.

Once the foreign sportsman collects the VISA, his quota slot is considered "utilized" and can't be made available again, unless:

-        The foreign athlete no longer intends to sign the contract or enter Italy to compete for the applicant company;

-        The foreign athlete, after entering Italy, is deemed not suitable for sport activities after undergoing medical checks, provided they haven't competed in any event yet.


Within 8 days of their entry into Italy, the foreigner must visit a Unified Desk for Immigration to sign the residence contract and request the tax code and the form for the residence permit.

Should the athlete not collect their visa or refuse to compete for the applicant company, the National Federation must promptly inform CONI, which will produce a revocation order to be sent to the Diplomatic Representation, the Police Headquarters and the Unified Desk.


What procedure should a company that intends to employ a non-EU amateur athlete follow?


The procedure is the same, although the company must make sure to ask for a  "Nominative Declaration" for amateur sport activity. Amateur sportsmen are not required to sign a residence contract, as the expenses provided for by it (accommodation, assistance, sustenance, repatriation costs) are paid by the Sports Club.

PAY ATTENTION: the Italian Football Federation uses their share of the quotas exclusively for the professional sector.


Is it possible to become officially part of a sports club while awaiting the issue of the residence permit?


Yes, once they have presented the application for a residence permit, the athlete is allowed free movement in all european states and the chance to join any club. Pay attention: Schengen countries represent an exception, as transit is only allowed to those in possession of a valid type "D" visa, which consents multiple entries. If the application hasn't been presented yet, it's necessary to ask the Police Headquarters for a temporary residence permit. They will be responsible for contacting the non-EU sportsman to complete all the formalities related to the granting of the residence permit. Once obtained, a copy must be sent to the National Sports Federation of belonging.

The residence permit allows multiple entries. Non-EU sportsmen must make sure that they own a valid residence permit before leaving Italy to make trips abroad.


Is the residence permit issued for sports activities renewable?


Yes, within 60 days of expiration, sports clubs that make use of non-EU athletes must submit a request for the renewal of the permit which, together with a copy of the soon-to-be-expired one, will be forwarded to CONI through the Federation of belonging, so that CONI can send clearance to the competent Police Headquarters. The sportsman has to submit a request for renewal of the residence permit using the documentation contained in the aforementioned post office kit.

Switching clubs in the same federation doesn't impede renewal, although a new residence contract for work must be stipulated.

PAY ATTENTION: renewals don't allow athletes to stay in Italy without being part of the allotted yearly quotas.


Can the residence permit issued for sports activities be converted in a different one?


Yes, if the prerequisites are met, residence permits for the residence permits for sports activities can be converted into residence permits for work reasons.

As of today, the procedures haven't been officialized, hence the worker has to submit an application to the Police Headquarters of their place of residence or has to submit a request using the post office kit.


Is it possible to enroll a non-EU underage athlete?


The current legislation provides that, in order to work, a minor must have undergone compulsory school education, and – in any case – has to be at least 15 years old. Visa applications for minors aged between 15 and 18 must be accompanied by an authorization issued by the competent Local Labor Inspectorate. As long as the minor stays in Italy, the Sports Club must guarantee compliance with the rules that apply.


How to get an entry visa for a single competition?


The "sports competition visa" allows a short-term stay in Italy to foreign sportsmen, coaches, technical-sports directors or athletic trainers, whether professionals or amateurs, who intend to participate or are invited to participate to single competitions or to a series of sporting events organized by the national sports federations or the Italian National Olympic Committee.

The duration of these visas is equal to the duration of the event (or series of events), and can't exceed 90 days. The application for a sports competition visa must be presented by the National Sport federation at least 15 days before the event and must contain:


-        The complete list of the athletes, technicians, doctors and managers (family members, supporters, sponsors and anyone not expressly part of the sports delegation are excluded);

-        Their birth dates;

-        Their passport numbers with expiration date;

-        The role of each member the delegation;

-        Proof of housing accommodation;

-        An indication of which person is responsible for travel, subsistence and health care costs;


Underage people must be accompanied by an adult belonging to the delegation or by a family member in possession of a regular visa of a different type (e.g. Tourism or  invitation). Any change must be communicated promptly to CONI.

In case their intended stay in Italy exceeds the duration of the entry visa, it is necessary to notify the closest Police Headquarters.


How can a club enroll a foreign minor who is already in Italy? What is the meaning of “Sports Ius Soli"?


Law no. 12/2016 describes the so-called "Sports Ius Soli", which grants non-EU athletes under the age of eighteen who have been legally residing in Italy from the age of ten (or before), to be enrolled by sports clubs or sports promotion bodies under the same procedures used for italian citizens. Their membership doesn't become invalid when they turn eighteen, and perdures instead until the completion of the procedures for the acquisition of Italian citizenship.


Non to be confused with the "Sports Ius Soli", the so-called "Sports Ius Culturae", establishes that minors who are citizens of countries not belonging to the European Union, even if they are not regular residents, are granted the same rights of Italian citizens, provided that they have been enrolled for at least one year in any class of the Italian school system.


On February 22nd  2018, the Italian Football Federation has stated that foreign minors are subject to the same enrollment procedures of their Italian peers, provided that they present the following additional documents:

– Certification that the minor has been enrolled in a school for at least 365 continuous days prior to the club membership request;

– Identification document of the player;

– Identification document of the person in charge of them;

– A list of foreign sports clubs the minor has been part of;

In case the person in charge of a minor footballer is not a biological parent:

– Certification that Judicial Authority has appointed them as tutor;