Last updated on 19/04/2017 at 11:15:08
Have you ever considered to move to Italy? Every time I’m on a trip and talking to someone the fact that I’m Italian pops out, immediately begins the praises to the Belpaese: its culture, its art and history, its food, its landscapes. So, considering how many people likes my country or would like to see it in person, why don’t you move to Italy?
I fear it would take some time to explain this subject in the best way as possible, but I’ll do it keeping it as simple I can. It’s already complicated by itself to move in a new country, I don’t want to overcomplicate it!
I’ll make distinctions between EU citizens and not EU citizens because rules apply differently, but first some preliminary consideration valid for everyone, before coming here.
Before you move to Italy I assume you’ve already been here, you had a chance to experience our way of life, and that’s why you decided to make the big step. But what if you didn’t?
Take at least one trip to Italy first.
Italy is a country with several different realities, due to our history and our territory. North and South are quite different, and that could influence your choice. What are you looking for in Italy? For wich reason you want to move here?
Visit the South, enjoy the sea and the friendly people, live in a more relaxed way thanks to the sun and mild temperatures throughout the year. Southern regions have a lot of history too: Napoli was one of the main cities of Magna Graecia, Sicily is filled with Greek and Romans ruins. They have gorgeous coasts and beaches, islands and volcanoes, mountains and natural parks. Plus Matera will be the European capital of culture in 2019, just to name a few.
Do you prefer the mountains instead? Go North, towards the Alps. High peaks, snow in winter and green fields in summer. Colder climate during the twelve months, but many activities to do as well. There are lakes, castles, vineyards, everyone works hard and care about their land and nature. Plus you can see Milan, the most European city in Italy, Verona, the homeland of Romeo and Juliet, or take a gondola around canals in Venice.
Or maybe central Italy is the compromise you’re looking for. You can find both great places on the sea and on the mountains, incredible cities like Florence and Rome, amazing culinary traditions and local products wherever you go. Every hamlet is a jewel, you’ll fall in love instantly!
The bottom line is: come and see with your eyes before taking any decision.
If you want a general overview of the cost of living in Italy, you can check Numbeo, an online user contributed database with thousands of data about city and countries worldwide. That can help you to better understand how a specific city compares to the one you’re living in.
Once you have decided where you want to go, the path splits depending on your citizenship: EU or not EU. Before speaking about that, there’s another thing that everyone should consider, regardless of the nationality: learn some basic Italian. Probably only if you speak Spanish or, maybe, French you could have some advantages here but if you want to work and deal with everyday life, you need to speak our language.
I don’t want to fool you, it’s not easy if you want to learn it properly, grammar is a hard one, but on a more “social” level is highly manageable.
Now it’s where the fun begins. If you’re an EU citizen, continue reading. If you’re not an EU citizen, click here.
Permits and visas (EU citizen)
Well, in this case, you’re lucky. If you’re a citizen of one of the member states of the Schengen Area, you can come freely to Italy for up to 90 days. In case you’re not sure about you citizenship (!) or you’re planning to stay more than 90 days, you should need a permit or visa, depending on various factors. You can check it here, just answer the four extremely straightforward questions of the guided procedure.
In any case, no matter if you’re an EU citizen, if you plan to stay longer than 90 days on Italian soil, you need to declare it with a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza. Here the .pdf). You can get it at a police headquarter (questura) and should be requested within eight days from the arrival in Italy. If you’re already in possession of a Uniform Schengen Visa you don’t need to make this declaration. Furthermore, always bring it with you, in the case of a Police control.
Anyone staying in Italy for more than 90 days is considered a resident, so be aware that if you fail to acquire the necessary documents you could be expelled from the country (plus 5,000 to 10,000 Euros fine).
Once you’ve decided to stay more than 90 days, you have to register yourself at a local population register of the place of residence (anagrafe), for the district you’re living in. You’ll have to bring proofs of what you’re doing in Italy (study, work, training, etc.) or prove that you have enough financial resources for the duration of your stay, as well as a health insurance policy.
Permits and visas (not EU citizen)
Depending on the country you’re coming from (such as the USA or Canada), Italy has some international agreement that let you enter as a tourist for up to 90 days. Check under wich requirements you fall into to see what you need or don’t. If you’re already planning to stay more than 90 days, you have to request a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) within 8 days from your arrival.
If you need a visa to move to Italy, you have to go to the Italian consulate closest to your city and start filling for the procedure, at least three months before your departure (you know, bureaucracy). Always remember to have:
- a passport valid for at least three months beyond the validity of the requested visa with a blank page to affix the visa sticker;
- at least three passport-sized photographs on a white background.
As I said before, the visa changes depending on the reason you’re requesting it, so it changes also the documentation required. Some of the things you may need:
- proof of residence in the country from which you’re applying;
- proof or travel arrangements showing your name and exact dates of entry into and exit from Italy (if applicable);
- proof of financial resources;
- a health insurance certificate if you aren’t eligible for health treatment under Italian social security or through your employer;
- employees require an authorisation to work in Italy issued by the Italian Department of Labour;
- students require proof of admission from an approved educational establishment;
- a non-EU national married to an Italian citizen or to a foreigner who’s resident in Italy requires a marriage certificate;
- applicants under 18 need a written authorisation from a parent or guardian.
There are 20 types of visas in Italy, gathered in 4 categories. The most common ones are the student visa, the work visa, the family visa and the residency visa.
The student visa it’s the easiest to obtain, taking for granted you’re a student! You have to be accepted to an Italian university or join a specific program for foreign students. Usually, all the visa stuff is held by the university itself. You need to prove you can sustain yourself economically speaking since you’re not allowed to work.
The family visa is intended for those who want to join a family member already working legally in Italy. It’s quite easy if the person you’re willing to rejoin with is an EU citizen. It needs more paperwork and time if the person is not an EU citizen or has no job yet.
The residency visa it’s usually requested by retired people because you have to demonstrate you have enough wealth to live in Italy without working. That implies you can’t apply for a job with this visa and your income must come outside of Italy.
The work visa it’s the hardest one to get, basically for the kind of catch-22 situation this visa creates: you need a job to have the visa, but you need the visa to get a job. There are several subcategories under this visa, the artist one, the dependent worker one and the independent worker (freelance) one. The latter is extremely hard to obtain, just for you to know.
After several weeks of waiting, if everything has been done properly, you should finally receive your visa! I say “should” because the approval process can take weeks but it’s not a guarantee that you will have the visa. If you get it, check it thoroughly to spot any error, something to avoid once you did your move to Italy.
Moving with pets
Pets don’t need any visa, but you should bring a clean bill of health from the vet and have the pet vaccinated for rabies at least from 1 to 12 months before departure.
If you’re going to live in a city, consider if it’s suitable for a dog. And remember you have to clean up your dog’s “stuff” from the ground or you will be fined.
Once you arrive in Italy
Find a place to stay
The worst part should already be at your back, so now it’s time to find somewhere to live into, be it a rent solution or a purchase. You should have done it before leaving, but considering how difficult can be to choose a house without seeing it live, you can stay in a hotel for some time and go hunting your accommodation.
Keep this in mind: usually, a phone call to book a visit to an apartment it’s better than sending emails, often unanswered. If you’re contacting an agency through an online form they should answer back by the day, otherwise try to call.
There are housing agencies all over the country but if you want to have a look yourself, you could check these websites:
- Casa.it (only in Italian. Remember: affitto is rent, vendita is sale)
Find a job
Well, if you manage to find a job here in Italy, write in the comments how you did it. Not even Italians nowadays know how to.
I leave you some website that could be helpful, plus if you did not, create yourself a LinkedIn profile, it could be handy.
- Monster.it (only in Italian)
- Indeed.com (only in Italian)
- Infojobs.it (only in Italian)
- Manpower.it (only in Italian)
- Randstad.it (only in Italian)
There are dozens of websites about job hunting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something just answering at a local advertisement or bringing CVs everywhere. Just equip yourself with patience, a lot of patience, and a bright smile.
What you did moving to Italy is something huge, you should be proud of it! But remember, that’s only the beginning. You’ll face what means to face the Italian bureaucracy, you’ll learn new customs and traditions sometimes hard to understand, but you’ll meet also new nice people and make new friends! So, are you ready to move to Italy?
This article doesn’t want to be an official guide on how to move to Italy, but it’s a starting point for people who are thinking about moving here. I tried to be the more accurate as possible, but things change rapidly so everything could be obsolete in a few months. I’ll try to update it as soon as I realize something changed, but in the meanwhile, I’ll recommend you to visit these two websites, with all the info you need to prepare your new life:
Are you willing to move or did you already moved? Tell me in the comments below!
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