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How to Move to Italy with No Money

Although the cost of living in Italy is low compared to the US, there are high taxes and plenty of hoops to jump through to become a resident. So, how can you move to Italy with no money? Let’s find out.

Unsurprisingly, due to its glorious weather, ancient culture, and delicious food, Italy is super popular with expats from all around the world, especially coming from the US. However, being able to move to Italy from the US is pretty restrictive and can get expensive relatively quickly.

Here are 4 ways to move to Italy with no money:

1. Obtain a Work Visa

It’s not exactly news that the job market in Italy is pretty poor. You’ll definitely want to secure work before you travel and ideally with a business that’ll sponsor a work visa for you.

This is one of the only ways that US citizens can move to Italy unless they’re married to an Italian or have Italian heritage, and even that is unclear at times. 

Work visas cost 116 Euros which is around $140, so it’s not cheap, but it is necessary to move here. So, when you’re saving for airfare and accommodation, factor this into your finances. 

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2. Use a “Get Paid to Move to Italy” Program

You’ve probably seen the articles and posts about small towns and villages in Italy that’ll pay you to move there or are offering houses for one euro. As with anything that seems too good to be true, there are some caveats to these deals.

Some towns will offer to pay up to half your rent if you move there and work remotely on a long-term basis. Italy is currently drafting a remote working visa, so the fees are unknown at the moment, but it’s safe to say it won’t be free.

You’ll also have to live in a small, relatively run-down, Italian town, away from the amenities and expat communities that come with the larger cities. That might be a bonus for some people, but it’s something to think about.

The schemes that are offering one euro houses are contingent on the fact that you have a set amount of funds that you can put into renovating the place, using Italian contractors that’ll boost the local economy.

The lowest amount I’ve seen on one of these schemes is 30,000 euros. Safe to say, if you’re moving to Italy with nothing, you don’t have that kind of cash freed up for renovations.

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3. Trade Work for Food & Accommodation with Workaway

There’s always a bit of a visa grey area when it comes to workaway projects. As you’re being paid in accommodation and food – sometimes a small wage too in cash – there’s nothing really to tax.

If you can only really afford airfare and some spending money, finding a workaway situation on a vineyard or as an au pair or housesitter might be a good move for you. 

4. Find Remote Work or Take Your Job Remotely to Italy

If you’re in a field where you work remotely, pending the details of the Italian remote working visa, you might be able to stay somewhere cheap like a hostel in a smaller city and get paid at the US salary rate, while benefiting from the lower Italian cost of living.

When this visa gets released the tax information will be interesting to see but remember as a US citizen working and living abroad, you still need to fill out your tax return every year – the IRS is always watching!

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5. Use Your Family Connections

Finally, the easiest way to move to Italy is through family connections. If they’re still living you can get a family reunification visa, which is subject to some very strict guidelines, or you can pay 300 euros for dual citizenship, meaning you can come and go as you please.

If you have an Italian spouse you can get a short-term visa by presenting your marriage certificate, but you will have to convert this into a long-term visa over time.

So despite Italy being a relatively cheap place to live, it’s very difficult to move here with no money. For one, the airfare can easily go above $1000 if you’re traveling at peak periods.

Unless you have a job lined up with sponsorship, or want to stay for 90 days or less on the Schengen Visa, it’s going to be expensive to set up a life in Italy.

6. Apply for the new digital nomad visa

Finally, in April of 2024, Italy launched its digital nomad visa. This is one that many of us have been waiting for over the past few years. 

Designed for non-EU citizens, the Italy digital nomad visa actually has relatively low-income allowances compared to other European nations. 

The requirements so far are:

  • An annual income of at least €28,000
  • Proof that you’ve worked as a digital nomad or remote worker for at least the last six months
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay
  • No criminal convictions in the last five years

As with most digital nomad visas, the Italian digital nomad visa is set to last one year and costs €116 to apply. 

It seems like the most important requirement in terms of financial investment is health insurance. You can sign up with the Italian National Health Service for an annual payment of €2,000, or you can find your own (often more expensive) private plan instead. 

The healthcare fees, together with the visa fee, rental deposits, first month’s rent, and flights are obviously a large initial outlay, but with the lower income requirement and lower cost of living in Italy, this should be recouped pretty easily, especially if you’re on a US remote working wage. 

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