Dreaming of moving to Italy? We get that. After all, the Italian culture, low cost of living, incredible cities, delicious food, and fun-loving people are some of the many reasons people move to Italy from abroad.
But packing up and moving to a foreign country takes a lot of planning. Forget one thing, and it can lead to you missing out on important paperwork, making costly mistakes, and being stressed. To guide you through the entire process, we’ve made this helpful relocation checklist.
Here’s what you should know before moving to Italy:
Italy’s culture is unique and it would do you good to have some understanding of the people and their way of life. Not only will you understand people better but also avoid any culture shocks.
There’re so many cultural specificities in Italy that you may not be aware of. For example, Are people always late? Is Italy’s bureaucracy really as bad as the stereotypes? Some things might even surprise you, such as, when grocery shopping, you’ve to wear plastic gloves to pick up fresh produce as Italians are particular about hygiene. To know more about such cultural specifics, read up on Italy’s culture and traditions.
Whether speaking Italian is your dream or not, learning the language can certainly be helpful. For instance, knowing that station names in Italy are in Italian is going to be helpful when you make a daytrip with the train. Similarly, a lot of the bureaucratic procedures take place in Italian, think filling forms or calling an automated phone line. So learn the basics before you move and your future self will thank you!
Italy is generally known for its mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild, rainy winters. But depending on which part of the country you’ll move to, you need to pack differently. For instance, you can expect sub zero temperatures and snow in the North but mild winters in the South.
Moving abroad is a big decision, so it only makes sense to know whether the country you’re moving to has everything you need. Whether you’re moving to study, join a family member, work, or retire, get an overview of all documents and upcoming deadlines.
Picking which Italian city you want to live in is both exciting and stressful. There’re lots of factors to consider, such as the city’s cost of living, work opportunities, number of internationals, culture, weather, LGBTQ friendliness, etc. Each city is unique and it’s worth spending some time getting this right.
Some of the best expat cities in Italy include:
Unfortunately, moving abroad isn’t cheap! Considering the cost of living in Italy, make sure you’ve more than the minimum amount so you can account for unforeseen circumstances. This is especially important for visa holders as you’ll need to show you’ve enough financial resources to live in Italy.
Also, check out the average salaries for your (future) industry in Italy if you’re going to work. This should help you negotiate for a good salary that is in line with the cost of living and your lifestyle.
If you're moving to Italy from another EU/EEA country, you won’t need a visa or residence permit.
Make sure you apply for the right visa, depending on your intention of stay:
Before you head to the consulate/embassy to apply for your Italian visa, make sure your passport is valid for more than 3 months and that at least 3 pages are empty.
Translate and legalise all important documents, if needed, such as your birth certificate or marriage certificate as you’ll likely need them. Do this at least 3 months before your planned departure as these processes can take weeks or months.
If you already have a university, internship, or job placement in Italy, you probably know which city you want to move to. Or you’re still researching which city is better for expats in Italy.
Either way, its important to know the rent prices in the city and its neighbourhoods. Not only because this can impact which city you move to but also because housing is in high demand throughout Italy, especially in more popular cities.
We highly recommend learning more about the neighbourhoods, the public transport connections, and the average monthly rent in Italian cities for different types of housing:
|City||Room rent||Studio Rent||Apartment rent|
When you’re ready to book, take a note of whether your rental agreement includes utilities or not as this can add additional monthly costs.
To prevent falling for scammers, you should search for accommodation on a safe platform like HousingAnywhere. You can rent your new place from abroad, with protection of your rental payments until after you move in!”
Before you fly, drive, or take a train to Italy, make sure you finalise everything at home. This includes:
If you’re a EU/EEA citizen, you’ll need to declare your intention to stay in Italy for more than 3 months at the local police station. An official will visit your home to confirm your residence, after which you can collect your residence certificate from the local registry office.
Non EU citizens need to collect their Italian residence permit within 8 days of their arrival. You first need to go to the local Questura (police station) and then the post office to complete additional paperwork.
If you plan to stay for more than 3 months in Italy, you’ll need to register your residence and apply for a permit with the office of Anagrafe in your municipality. This will also be needed for a variety of necessities, such as getting a bank account in Italy.
To register at the Anagrafe, the following documents are required:
If you’re planning to work and need to pay taxes on income or assets, make sure you’ve all the document prepared for getting your Italain tax number — Codice Fiscale. It’s similar to a social security number and is important for various reasons such as signing your employment agreement, opening a bank account, signing up for utilities, buy a property, etc.
You can apply for a Codice Fiscale after you’ve registered your address at the local Anagrafe or municipality. Visit the tax office in your municipality with your passport and fill out the tax number form. You will receive the number on the spot and an official card will be mailed to you.
Most EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can relax here; you’ll be covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for temporary stays.
If you’re non-European and are planning to stay in Italy for a long period of time, for example, to work or join a family member, you need to take part in the Italian public health insurance system. Additionally, private healthcare is available, but at a premium.
If you’re an international student, you need to be covered by an international health insurance policy with full coverage in Italy.
Some countries also have prior agreements with Italy’s health organisation, such as Argentina and Australia. In this case, your country's health insurance also covers you in Italy.
All foreign nationals should pay a visit to the nearest local health authority, the Aziende Sanitaria Locale (ASL), and register with a doctor.
Having a local Italian bank account is handy for reasons such as easily paying your rent and utility bills, splitting costs with friends, not paying for each withdrawal, etc.
Since opening an Italian bank account can take time, make sure to check with your bank at home if you can withdraw money abroad and if your card will work in Italy. It’s recommended to bring spare cash in case of emergencies.
If you’re coming from an EU country, your internet will work in Italy. But calls or messages may or may not be included, depending on your plan. Things look different when you’re coming from the USA or other non-EU countries. Your best option is to get a local SIM card in Italy with a monthly plan to save costs.
Expats from certain countries, such as Turkey or Argentina, can exchange their driver’s licence for an Italian one. But if your country doesn’t have an agreement with Italy regarding driver’s licences, you’ll need to redo your driving theory and practical exam in Italy.
Europeans don’t need to exchange their licence; it’s recommended if you plan to stay in Italy for years or need to renew/replace your existing licence from another EU country.
Moving with your pet to Italy? There’re certain rules to follow regarding vaccinations and whether your pet is allowed to enter in Italy or not. Know the rules well ahead of time so you don’t end up stressing last minute.
So now that you have read through all the helpful tips of this relocation checklist, you can start planning your move to Italy. Whether you move to a bustling metropolis, a quieter city along a sparkling waterway, or a town with views of the Dolomites, you’re sure to gain a suitcase full of memories and experiences that you will remember for a lifetime.
Benvenuto in Italia!
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