Relocating to Italy – The Essential First Steps
Whether it has been your dream to move to live in Italy for a lifetime, or if you are moving here for another reason, below you will find a series of steps that you should ideally do before you arrive in Italy or immediately after you get here. Planning ahead of your permanent move to Italy will ensure that your relocation to Italy will go as smoothly as possible.
Before You Arrive
Your Legal Status: Unless you are relocating to Italy as part of an intracompany transfer, you will need a Work Permit to live and work legally here. As part of the free movement of people within the EU, citizens of twenty-seven European countries have the right to live and work in Italy automatically. However, if an EU citizen does not have a job, the Town Hall where you request your residency is perfectly within its rights to ask for proof of self-sufficiency concerning financial means. Citizens who come from countries that can avail of the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) can stay in Italy / Schengen for up to 90 days in any 180 period. After such time, they must leave Italy, otherwise they become undocumented migrants and risk deportation. I highly advise anyone who is thinking of overstaying to rethink this – we are in a new era of passports being scanned and immigration details being shared among nations. People that have overstayed in Italy are often caught when flying out of The Netherlands and Germany – such a violation can lead to being banned from entering the Schengen area for a certain period of time. Non-EU citizens who wish to live and work in Italy have several opportunities available to them – for more information on this, please feel free to contact me.
Personal Documents: There are several documents required in Italy to legalize one’s status. Therefore, before relocating to Italy, it is highly advisable to translate, legalize, and apostille the following documents: Marriage Certificates, Birth Certificates, Degrees, and any relevant health insurance policies. Italy will not accept documents that are older than six months, so make sure any documents that you need to provide have been requested recently in your country of origin.
Form E106 or S1: EU citizens, who do not have private medical insurance, should request from the health authorities in their home countries the E106 or S1 form. Which form is issued depends on the country in question. Some countries are slow in issuing these forms, so make sure that you request it well in advance.
Cost of Living: Unless you are moving to a third tier city, life in the major markets like Rome and Milan, especially in terms of rent versus average salary is expensive. Utilities, in comparison to other markets, are expensive and using A/C 24/7 would be considered a luxury, even if it gets very hot in the summer months. Eating out, especially if you know where to go, can be inexpensive in relation to other countries. If you do not have a job when you move to Italy, make sure that you have living expenses for at least six months, which should include all the down payments for a property which are normally the first month’s rent, two to three month’s deposit, as well as the realtor’s fee.
When You Arrive
Tax Code: One of the first items that you will need to process is your Italian Tax Code (Codice Fiscale). This number should be obtained as soon as possible, as you will need it to for opening a bank account, signing a lease contract, getting a SIM card, and any local registration that needs to be done. The number is generated by combining your name, birthdate, and country of origin. Unlike a US Social Security number, anyone who comes into possession of your Italian Tax Code, cannot carry out fraudulent activity in your name. The number can be processed by going to your nearest Tax Office (Agenzia delle Entrate). You will need to bring your passport (EU) or in the case of Non-EU, you will need to bring your passport along with relevant Visa or entry stamp.
Home Search: Unless you will be staying with a friend or a relative, you will need to carry out a home search with a realtor or by looking at classifieds. The latter can be very time consuming and frustrating, therefore, I would suggest that you work with a realtor. It is unheard of in Italy for most realtors to have the exclusivity on any particular property. For this reason, a property that was available yesterday may no longer be on the market the day after. The lack of exclusivity means that another offer may have been made through another realtor. This means there is no guarantee that your offer will be accepted. Another important thing to take into consideration is that realtors will only provide full details of the property, including the actual street address, at the last moment to avoid a private agreement being done directly with the landlord. Relators normally take one month’s commission, but in Milan, two month’s rent is normal or 10 – 18% of the annual rent.
Town Hall Registration: All EU citizens who will reside in Italy for more than 90 days are obliged by law to register at their local Town Hall. Non-EU citizens, after they get their Work Permit & Permit of Stay, may also choose to become residents in order to buy a car, register with the Italian Health Service, or to be able to open a resident bank account, which has more features in comparison to a non-resident one. Sometimes US citizens may opt not to become residents for tax purposes, but this needs to be discussed with an experienced professional who is accustomed to the US/IT Tax Treaties. Please contact me for a referral.
Relocating to Italy can be very exciting, but at the same time, it can present several obstacles and some challenging issues. Should you need any assistance with your relocation, please feel free to contact me.