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How Hard is it to Move to Italy? 

So you want to get yourself a slice of that La Dolce Vita and move to Italy? What’s not to love – the beautiful weather, the food, the people?

There’s a reason that so many people visit and relocate to Italy every year, and from all over the world. So, how hard is it to move to Italy, and can you make it a reality?

Is it Hard to Move to Italy?

The level of difficulty to move to Italy varies greatly depending on where you are coming from, but overall it is very difficult to move to Italy from America and quite easy to move there from a country within the European Union.

We’ll go over moving to Italy from Europe and from America in the next sections.

Moving to Italy from within Europe

If you’re moving to Italy from within Europe, specifically the European Union (EU) zone, it’s pretty easy to move to Italy. The freedom of movement within the EU means that if you’re a citizen of any country within the EU, you can live and work in any of the other countries in the EU without having to get a visa.

That’s right, no red tape, just grab your passport and your belongings and turn up.

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Is it Easy to Move to Italy from America?

Now, if you’re trying to move to Italy from the US, you’re going to have to jump through a lot more hoops. It’s actually super easy to move to Italy for three months or below through a Schengen visa, which is the most common tourist visa in Europe.

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It’s worth noting that you’re not strictly allowed to work on this visa, so it’s more like a sabbatical or extended vacation than an actual move to Italy.

If you’re a student, you can apply to study in Italy and get a special student visa that allows you to stay for the duration of your course. This is one of the easiest ways to move to Italy for an extended period of time without having to deal with a ton of bureaucracy.

There are plenty of other visas that you can apply for to move to Italy for a limited time, including: 

  • Work visas
  • Investor visas
  • Start-up visas
  • Digital nomad visas
  • Retirement visas 

All of these are temporary visas that help you to build up the number of years that you need to live in Italy for before you can apply for permanent residency. The requirement for this is that you have to live in Italy, uninterrupted for five years.

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Then you can apply for a permanent residency card which gives you benefits similar to locals, including EU freedom of movement and state benefits. 

Buying a house in Italy as an American is startlingly easy, given how hard it is to get a visa. As there is a mutual agreement in place between the US and Italy, it means that citizens of either country can buy property in each other’s country with the same taxes, fees, and rates as locals.

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This means if an American bought a house in Italy, they’d go through the same process and pay the same fees as an Italian who would buy a house in Italy. 

The red tape and bureaucracy around temporary visas for Americans means that it is very hard to move to Italy on a permanent or long-term basis.

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Unless you run your own business, can get your Italian company to sponsor your visa, or are retiring in the sunshine, it’s pretty impossible to rack up enough uninterrupted living years in Italy to get a permanent residency card.

If you’re looking to get Italian citizenship, you either need to have Italian descent – in which case you’re eligible for dual nationality – or you need to marry an Italian citizen. This isn’t a short-term Green Card situation either.

To be eligible for citizenship, you’ll have to be married to an Italian for at least three years, or if you have children with an Italian citizen, you have to be married for at least 18 months.

Either way, it’s not exactly a walk in the park to move to Italy as an American. If you’re coming from within the European Union, however, it’s an entirely different ballpark.

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