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Foreign Press Handbook



Greeting to foreign journalists

Welcome to Italy. We hope that you will find your stay in Italy interesting and fruitful. 

We would like to assist you as you get acquainted with your new surroundings and workplace. The experiences of and questions posed by your colleagues have led us to put together this brief handbook in the hope of providing useful answers that might facilitate your stay in Italy.

We feel that it is important that you be able to easily immerse yourself in Italian life, in order to best carry out a mission for which we are grateful: listening to and observing Italy and letting the world outside our borders know more about our country.


Entry into Italy

Citizens of countries requiring a visa for Italy need to leave time to apply for a work visa. 

Applications must be made to the Italian diplomatic representation in the place of residence. It is recommended that, at the same time, the journalist complete the on-line registration found in the “Journalists Area” on the Foreign Ministry’s website www.esteri.it  to which he/she can attach a letter of introduction from the Director of his/her press organisation communicating his/her assignment as correspondent in Italy. The letter must be addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation–Press and Information Service–Accreditation Office, and must state the correspondent’s exact job title (journalist, photographer, camera operator, etc.) and assignment as permanent correspondent in Italy along with the duration of the assignment. Registration will be completed with teh issuance of an ID number which will have to be communicated to the Embassy in Rome of the country being represented by the press organisation (i.e. regardless of the journalist’s nationality), which will see to uploading the Nota Verbale online.
This official correspondence serves to witness the quality of the journalist in question and the existence of a work relationship with the foreign press organisation.

The Note Verbale must include the vital statistics of the person concerned, along with his/her professional title, passport data, address and phone number in Italy (office and residence) and the press organisation represented.
Current legislation on the visas for non-EU citizens requires foreign journalists to obtain the following types of visas:
- Subordinate Employment Visa: The T.U. no. 286/98 and relative implementation regulation locates members of the foreign press among the special categories of subordinate employment for which a work permit is not requested in order to carry out their activities. The visa will usually be obtained within 30 days from the date of application.
-  Mission Visa. This visa is granted to foreign journalists working for government-owned press organisations, or journalists travelling to Italy to participate in short-term missions following official delegations or for major international events.

Foreign journalists intending to work in Italy can apply to the Italian Consulate for visas for family members travelling with them, as long as they are financially supported by the correspondent and are minors (the children)

Journalists already living in Italy and with a valid residency permit, can apply for a visa for the following family members to join them: 

  • spouse;
  • children under 18 who are supported by the journalist; 
  • relatives (up to thrice-removed) who are unable to work and supported by the journalist;

Accreditation at the Foreign Ministry

The Accreditation Office for foreign journalists is located in the Press and Information Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Piazzale della Farnesina 1, - 00194 Rome (see map).
It is open to the public from Monday to Friday
from 10:00 to 13:00
1st floor, room 1092
tel. +39 06.36913432 - 06.36918573
fax: +39 06.36912122
E-mail: accreditamentostampa@esteri.it

In addition to accrediting foreign correspondents in Italy, the Office also handles the registration and access of Italian and foreign journalists to international meetings and summits held in Italy. It also provides for the accreditation of Italian journalists for international meetings held outside of Italy as well as keeping an updated database on foreign journalists accredited in Italy and the principle foreign press organs. The Accreditation Office’s new on-line accreditation system currently boasts a database of approximately 2000 foreign journalists from 70 countries.

Upon arrival in Italy a foreign journalist can contact the Press Service of the ministry in order to complete the on-line accreditation procedure. The following documentation will be requested (in addition to a letter on letterhead stationery and a Note Verbal): professional CV (curriculum vitae), one photograph, photocopy of passport (including visa) and of professional ID card where applicable and, in the case of print journalists, copies of several recently published articles.

A document confirming accreditation will then be issued.

Accreditation with the Press Office is valid for 2 years.

Upon expiry, journalists may renew accreditation by once again supplying a letter from the Director of the press organisation and a Note Verbale from their Embassy.


Residency permit for Italy

1) EU Citizens: In fulfilment of legislative decree no. 30 of 6 February 2007 (“Implementation of Directive 2004/38/EC regarding the right of Union citizens and their families to freely circulate and stay on the soil of other Member States”), as of 11 April 2007 the rules have changed for EU citizens and their families. Community citizens intending to live in Italy, or in any other country in the European Union, are no longer obliged to apply for a residence permit but, after three months of continuous stay, must register as a resident in the city where they are living; no formality exists for stays of less than 3 months. Further information is available on the website of the Interior Ministry at www.interno.it.

2) Non-EU Citizens: once accreditation procedures have been completed, journalists can obtain a residence permit, which is renewable upon expiration. 
Several changes have recently been introduced in the procedure for obtaining a residence permit
Non-EU citizens can ask the Accreditation Office for a permesso di soggiorno (permit) kit, which they will help him/her fill out and bring to the post office located inside the ministry, where he/she will be identified and from which the application will be sent to the proper authorities (once the fees have been paid). The resulting postal receipt constitutes a document granting the right to stay in Italy while waiting for the electronic permit to be issued. Nevertheless, this is valid only for Italy and allows solely for re-entry in the country of origin; if the journalist needs to travel to a third country the Accreditation Office will arrange for an appointment with the Rome police authorities (Via Teofilo Patini–Zone Tor Sapienza–tel. +39 06.46861), where the journalist can bring the postal receipt and receive a paper travel permit valid until the electronic one is ready.


Importing personal belongings

Upon request, the Accreditation Office can facilitate the temporary importation into Italy of personal belongings with customs exemption. The journalist must send or bring the following to the Accreditation Office: 

  • a letter indicating the appropriate customs office, the name of the company handling the customs clearance in Italy and the date of arrival; 
  • a list of the personal belongings.

The Accreditation Office will then request the Italian Ministry of Economic and Financial Affairs to authorize the competent customs office to allow the importation of personal belongings without a security deposit. This importation of belongings must take place within 6 months of arrival in Italy. The procedure usually requires 20-30 days. The same procedure is followed for the exportation of personal belongings.


Importing a car

The Accreditation Office can facilitate the temporary importation in Italy of your car and, in some cases, the concession of the special "EE" (Escursionisti Esteri) license plate. 

The special EE license plate, which is renewable annually for the duration of the journalist’s stay in Italy, can be requested only by those journalists who are not EU citizens and who are not residents in Italy. A security deposit must be paid, which will be refunded upon exportation of the car. This security deposit can be substituted by a statement of guarantee from the Embassy representing the press organisation, or by a bank guaranty.  The Accreditation Office will submit applications for this procedure to the Customs officials and the Provincial Civilian Motor Vehicles Bureau attesting to the applicant’s qualification as a journalist. Once it has ascertained fulfilment of the necessary requirements (i.e. applicant’s residency abroad certified by the Consulate or by a notary), and once it has calculated the amount to be deposited, the Customs Department will authorize temporary importation of the vehicle and issuance of the EE license plate by the Motor Vehicles Bureau. 

The entire procedure takes about 20 days

Getting an Italian driver's license.

In principle, in order to drive in Italy you must obtain an Italian driving license.
Citizens of those countries with reciprocal agreements (including EU countries) can have their driving licenses converted, whereas citizens of other countries will need to apply for a new license.

A list of countries whose licences can be converted is available on the website www.motorizzazioneroma.it - sezione patenti - "Conversione/riconoscimento di patente di guida estera".

Application for conversion must be made to the Provincial Motor Vehicles Bureau or to an Agency before your foreign license expires and within one year after entry into Italy. Applications must include the following: 

  • a completed Model TT2112 (obtainable at Motor Vehicles Bureau branches), filled out and signed according to the instructions included; 
  • proof of payment of €20.66 to postal account (conto corrente) n. 4028 and €5.16 to postal account (conto corrente) n. 9001; 
  • a medical certificate with photograph signed by a local ASL doctor within the last 6 months, on revenue-stamped paper (bollata), plus one photocopy; 
  • two recent photos on a white background;
  • your foreign driving license with photocopy (front and back); 
  • If you are requesting the conversion of a non-EU driving license, you must supply a certified stamped translation. The translation must be certified by the Italian Embassy or Consulate in your country of origin, or by your Embassy in Italy; it must also be validated by the Prefect (Prefettura).

Valid EU driving licenses needn’t be converted, but can simply be recognized by presenting the following to the Motor Vehicles Bureau:

  • form TT746 (distributed free at the Motorisation Department) filled out and signed according to the instructions included; 
  • a signed declaration stating that you reside in Italy; 
  • proof of payment of €10.33 to postal account (conto corrente) n. 4028 and €5.16 to postal account (conto corrente) n. 9001.

For further information please contact one of the following Provincial Motor Vehicles Bureau: 

  • Via Salaria Km 10,400, 00199 Roma (1st Floor, room n. 110) - Tel. +39 06.81691 (Monday to Friday 8:45 AM to 12:30 and Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:00 to 4:30 PM). This office accepts and processes applications; 
  • Via del Fosso di Acqua Acetosa Ostiense 9, 00143 Roma (GRA exit 25), tel. +39 06.502881 (Monday to Friday 8:45 AM to 12:30 and Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:00 to 4:30 PM). This office only accepts applications.

Press pass

Journalists can obtain a Press Pass for public events, if in possession of the proper requirements. 

Press Passes for public events can be obtained from the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri - Dipartimento per l'Informazione e l'Editoria (Office of the Prime Minister - Department of Information and Publishing) by those members of the foreign press who are accredited at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the exception of those who work solely in the sectors of entertainment, tourism, sport, fashion and art. 

The Press Pass is valid for events, manifestations and ceremonies of public interest and held in public places. The Accreditation Office handles requests for Press Passes, sending them to the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri. An Interministerial Committee decides on the issuance of Press Passes, based on the approval of the Ministry of the Interior.

The Press Pass is valid for three years. Requests for renewal are made through the Press Office 4 to 6 months before expiry date. Committee decision is not necessary for renewals.

TV or film shoots in Italy

I) Temporary importation into Italy of technical and professional equipment

Foreign TV crews intending to film in Italy, and that come from countries signatory to the Customs Convention on ATA Carnets for the temporary importation of goods, must acquire those carnets from the Chamber of Commerce of the cities party to the Convention (see www.unioncamere.net ). 
The purpose of this Convention is to facilitate the transfer of some types of goods, simplifying customs formalities and reducing costs by substituting national customs documents for temporary importation with an international customs document. The Convention includes professional journalists’ equipment among the goods to which this law applies;

II). Authorization for filming

A. General aspects

a) Television crews that wish to shoot for the purposes of documenting current events, even if their equipment does not occupy public space, generally need to obtain a permit from the local City Hall. Precisely because of their usually of an urgent nature such requests are directed to the Office of the Mayor. In keeping with the right to report news, authorization is always given, except in some unusual cases. 

b) Television and movie productions intending to film in Italy (films, TV series, documentaries) using equipment that occupies public space, or in historical, artistic or architectural monuments or where ancient objects or artworks are stored, must obtain a series of authorizations which vary depending on the type of filming requested.

Requests must be made by the party concerned, their representative in Italy or the Embassy of the country where the press organisation is located. The general procedure is as follows:

  • an insurance policy must be stipulated covering the cost of potential damages to people or things while filming in Italy. A copy of the policy must be brought to Italy; it must contain the names of the crew members and be translated into Italian; 
  • immediately upon entry into Italy, the presence in Italy of the crew and of their intention to film must be made known to the competent Prefecture and Police Headquarters; 
  • in the case of outdoor filming, a permit must be obtained from the appropriate City Hall. The request, on revenue-stamped (bollata) paper, must be addressed to the Mayor approximately one month before the filming date and must contain the following information: name of the crew members, date and place of filming, subject of the film or documentary, the possible need to divert traffic and any other pertinent information; 
  • payment of taxes (COSAP, for the occupation of public space) and tariffs (in case of filming inside State-owned cultural property).

The following office in RAI can give information and assistance on filming permit procedures: RAI - Direzione Rapporti con l'Estero Ufficio Assistenza Tecnica Tel.: +39 06.33170053 Fax : +39 06.33171151 e-mail: eurovision@rai.it

B. Photo of film shoots on State-owned property.

In the case of photography or filming on State-owned cultural property of historical, artistic or architectural interest, current law states that a permit must be issued by the competent Soprintendenti delle Belle Arti (Bureau of Fine Arts). If the Embassy or Consulate is not able to assist the foreign production companies in identifying out the competent Bureau please contact: Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, Ufficio Centrale per i Beni Archeologici, Architettonici, Artistici e Storici, Via del Collegio Romano 27, 00186 Roma, tel.: +39 06.67231 www.beniculturali.it
The Ministerial Decrees of January 31, 1994 and of April 8, 1994 of the Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali establish the criteria and the procedures to which the Bureaus must adhere when granting filming permits as well as in the payment or exemption of tariffs. 

Permit applications to the Bureaus must contain all information necessary for evaluation. The following information is especially important: names of the members of the crew, filming date and place, manner of filming, technical means used, purpose of filming, and how the film is to be distributed.

There is a special list of administrative fees for filming. Additional fees may be requested on a case-by-case basis. A security deposit must be paid, the amount of which varies according to where the filming is done (see www.beniculturali.it - sezione Luoghi della cultura – Servizi di accoglienza).

C. Rules for TV and film shoots in Rome

The City of Rome has simplified the procedures for filming in the Italian capital by setting up a Cinema Office (Ufficio Cinema), which acts as the local contact for Italian and foreign movie and TV productions. The City of Rome has thus aligned itself with other European capitals and major American cities with regard to the granting of permits for filming in public areas. 

The Cinema Office of the City of Rome deals with all aspects of permits. It also consults the Bureaus, other municipal offices and the police authorities regarding the issuance of permits. The Cinema Office also assists and orients production companies in choosing filming sites and offers a point of reference in the various stages of production. 

Therefore, production companies should contact the Cinema Office ahead of time in order to plan their work in Rome.

Requests for movie filming should be made using a form that can be obtained from the Cinema Office in Italian and English.

The production company must take out an insurance policy covering potential damage to people or property while filming in Italy. A copy of the policy must be brought to Italy. This insurance exempts you from paying a security deposit, which would otherwise have to be paid for potential damage to State-owned property. 

There are also some fees and taxes to be paid. These include the revenue stamps on the request form, and the preliminary fees; a tax for occupying public space (COSAP), which is calculated on a daily basis and varies according to the size of area concerned. 

Since revenue stamps are not available outside Italy, these fees can be paid at the Business Bureau (Economato) of the City of Rome when the permit is issued, and not necessarily while making the application.

The Cinema Office of the City of Rome is located in Via Tuscolana, 

1055 - 00173 Roma; 

Tel.: +39 06.67102191 - 06.67102964 - 06.67108161, fax +39 06.67108151 - 06.67108164. 

Their website is listed as the “Ufficio Cinema del Comune di Roma” (Cinema Office of Rome) http://www.culturaroma.it/45?ufficio=25.

D. Photo, TV and film shoots on private property

In the case of photo or film shoots on privately owned cultural treasures, permits must be obtained from the property owners or their representatives.

E. Film shoots in other Italian cities

Other cities in Italy are also making filming easier for foreign production companies, especially Venice (www.venicefilmcommission.it - sezione Servizi - Sportello Cinema e Modulistica or by telephone 041.2747928), Milan (www.comune.milano.it - sezione Servizi all'imprese – Riprese fotocinematografiche e televisive or telephone 02.88450382), Turin (www.filmcommtorinopiemonte.it or telephone 011.4424769-68-21) and Bologna (www.cinetecadibologna.it - sezione Link – Film Commission or telephone 051/2194827). Production companies are advised to contact the pertinent Town Halls in advance, especially in major tourist destinations.


Foreign Press Association in Italy

The Foreign Press Association (Associazione della Stampa Estera) is a private association located in Rome in Via dell'Umiltà 83/c, 00187 Roma (tel. +39 06.675911, fax +39 06.67591262). 

The Office is open on weekdays from 10:00 to 15:00, and to the public from 10:00 to 13:00.

Any communication can be addressed directly to the Secretary's Office. (Information of general interest will be posted on a bulletin board).

The meeting and workrooms are open on weekdays from 9:00 AM to 22:00 and on weekends and holidays from 15:00 to 21:00. Only professional or freelance journalists who are members of the Association are admitted. 

A recorded message (+39 06.67591297) gives information 24 hours a day about Association activities (press conferences, meetings, trips, film showings, etc.).
The Association of the Foreign Press has an office in Northern Italy at the following address: Via Principe Amadeo n°5, Milano (tel. +39 02.29000966; fax +39 02.29006756 ). For any other information please consult the Association's website at www.stampa-estera.it.


last update: 29/08/2014

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