I cannot think of a better time to consider moving to Italy. Well, maybe right after the pandemic would have been the optimal time to make the jump, but easier said than done.
Why Move to Italy?
There are plenty of reasons why people dream of shifting their lives to Italy. The food. The culture. The wine. The language. Access to the rest of Europe. Pace of life. Quality of life….
And most of these reasons are entirely true – it is not some illusion that you see in a postcard. Yes, Italy actually looks like that. Yes, when you are sitting on a beach off the coast of Naples, the people are that welcoming and a glass of house wine will cost the same as that postcard.
Aside from all the magical reasons we might want to settle down in Italy, let’s enumerate some of the practical reasons why the timing is still right, because it won’t always be.
So, why should you move to Italy, now?
Buying a Home in Italy - The timing is still right.
Post-pandemic real estate prices in Italy hit rock-bottom. You could obtain a mortgage with interest rates as low as 0.4% – basically a cash loan. Many were moving out of the urban hubs and looking for countryside space. It was a buyers market, and you could find incredibly priced apartments, homes and countryside estates for astonishingly low prices.
Yet this was nearly four years ago. The markets have rebounded, and while interest rates have risen (~2-4%), they are still very reasonable. The same goes for the overall housing market. Italy is densely populated with incredible towns, villages and countryside escapes that are still off the radar of most foreigners looking at investing into Italy and buying a home.
For those considering purchasing real-estate in the major cities – Milan, Florence, Rome – you will still find reasonable asking prices on real-estate, albeit, not as it was four years ago. Italian real estate experts anticipate that it will still be a buyers market for at least the next 2-3 years. Already, swarms of foreign nationals have scooped up valuable properties throughout Italy in the post-pandemic era. Many Italians are actually buying second homes and renting out their first, which is somewhat new for Italians. Even local legislation has been put into place to limit the amount of Airbnb rentals and restrict such gentrification that has immediate impact on the cultural environment of a city or town.
Such measures to maintain Italy as a rich cultural destination are not uncommon. This is perhaps one of the reasons why it is so difficult to actually obtain the proper visa or immigration solution to reside in Italy. More likely, however, is that this is due to slow and complex government decision making processes. Regardless, the reality is that for those thinking of purchasing real estate in Italy, it is still a golden period, albeit a fading one, to make this a reality.
How to Obtain a Visa and Become an Italian Resident
Italy has one of the more challenging immigration frameworks in Europe for non-EU citizens. This means U.S. nationals, U.K. citizens and all other non-EU citizens (i.e. China, India, Bangladesh), etc. will need to obtain the appropriate visa in order to live and reside in Italy.
If you are looking to work in Italy, you will also need to obtain your permesso di soggiorno, or temporary residence permit, that gives you the right to reside in Italy. Yet you cannot simply apply for a permesso di soggiorno, it is like the conditional Green Card for the United States, you need to qualify for it through a rigorous immigration process. You need a visa.
What visa do I need for Italy?
This depends on your situation. Italy offers a variety of immigration pathways for remote workers, freelancers, retirees, investors and students. You should read more about these options in this article and contact a qualified immigration professional as needed.
Overall, if you are looking to purchase property, invest, retire, study or take your work to Italy there might be a solution. If you have Italian descent in your family – i.e. through your bloodline – there is also a sophisticated immigration procedure whereby you can claim your ancestry and become Italian. This is a complicated and time consuming process, however, it is certainly a viable pathway!
As of right now, many countries do not need a visa to visit Italy as a tourist. However, even this will soon change with the introduction of ETIAS (Europe’s version of the ESTA). It is not a burdensome process, but required to now enter Italy and other EU and Schengen countries.
Remote Work Visa for Italy
Can I work remotely in Italy? As of now without the appropriate visa you cannot live and work remotely as a tourist or visitor.
Italy is planning to release a remote work visa that caters to remote workers and digital nomads. This visa would permit remote workers and digital nomads to reside in Italy while engaging in smart-working – i.e. working remotely. This visa will be applicable for both freelancers and independent contractors as well as full and part time employees of companies. Overall, if you earn more than the minimal threshold amount (which should be anywhere from $2,500 - $3,200 USD monthly) you should qualify. This would permit applicants to move to Italy and stay for a minimum of 1-year, with the potential to extend and renew your stay.
This visa will prove to be a game-changer for Italy, as it will allow remote workers to enjoy everything that Italy has to offer. However, keep in mind that this regulation is not currently active. Furthermore, once this is put into effect, it will have a direct impact on other areas of Italy’s economy – namely real estate.
Finding an Italian Immigration Lawyer
If you are seriously considering next steps, it is encouraged to find a trustworthy professional who can help ease your move. Perhaps you have some friends or family that already made the big jump, and having references is always valuable. For those who might be going at this alone, or for the first time, knowing that you have a highly qualified immigration lawyer to support your move from the very beginning is invaluable. It can save you a significant amount of “rabbit-hole” research, and the costs for retaining legal counsel in Italy are very different than what you might imagine.
After all, this is one reason you are considering Italy, right?
David Cantor is the Founder of Relocate.world and a dual US-Italian national. As an immigration lawyer he has supported countless clients achieve their immigration goals and currently lives in Italy with his family. Reach out to David today and schedule a consultation!