ITALY – Ministry of Foreign Affairs shifting to stricter definition of business activity

Employers are encouraged to confirm that business visa applications and initiation letters conform to the terms and definitions listed in the decree before submitting their request.

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IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is growing more rigorous in assessing business visa requests.

What does the change mean? Italian consulates have started to apply a strict definition of the law when reviewing business visa requests. The relevant decree states that a business visa “allows foreign nationals to make short visits to Italy for business (economic-commercial) purposes, to make contacts or conduct negotiations, for learning or verifying the use and functioning of capital goods purchased or sold under commercial and industrial cooperation agreements.”

  • Implementation timeframe: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: The change will affect Schengen business visas, but will also have an impact on business visits by visa-waived nationals.
  • Who is affected: Visa-required and visa-waived nationals traveling to Italy for business.
  • Business impact: Given the increased scrutiny, companies sending business visitors to Italy must make sure their activities are limited to those allowed by the above definition.

Background: Previously, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded business visas for some types of business-related activities that were not listed specifically in the decree. Recent trends suggest, however, that in order to be approved, business visa applications must now adhere to the terms listed in the Visa Decree (see above). Business travelers in Italy on a visa waiver must also limit their activities to those allowed by this definition. 

BAL Analysis: Employers are encouraged to confirm that business visa applications and initiation letters conform to the terms and definitions listed in the decree before submitting their request. Those with questions about whether the activities they are planning are permitted on a business visa or visa waiver should contact BAL.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Italy. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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