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Complete guide to the steps you need to take to move to Italy as an EU or non-EU citizen

Italy is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with millions upon millions of people around the world visiting it every year. And with Rome’s many historical and beautiful sites, Venice’s romantic canals, the beauty of Florence, and the delicious, delicious food – it’s really no wonder.

And perhaps it’s these things that make many foreigners wish of moving to Italy someday. Of course, Italy’s mild climate, the relatively low cost of living (naturally, depending on your lifestyle and where you live), as well as the great healthcare also help.

If you’re one of the people who fell in love with Italy on a visit, and now you’re frantically looking up “how to move to Italy?” or even “how to move to Italy with no money?”, which is completely relatable, you have come to the right place.

Your chances of moving to Italy depend on a lot of factors, the most important being your nationality. There are different requirements for moving to Italy depending on whether you are an EU national or not.

Moving to Italy for EU Citizens

Italy is part of the European Union which has established what is called a right of “free movement”. This means that nationals from one EU country are free to move, look for work, and study in another member state. Nationals of EFTA member countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) also enjoy the same benefits as EU nationals.

So, if you are an EU or EFTA citizen wanting to move to Italy, it will be much easier for you than a third-country national. For one, you do not have to apply for a visa or a work permit, and you won’t be subject to work quotas like non-EU citizens are.

However, if you want to stay in Italy for longer than three months, you still have to meet certain conditions and register for residency.

How can EU citizens move to Italy?

You can move to Italy as an EU citizen if:

  • You are employed or self-employed in Italy.
  • You are a student enrolled in an Italian educational institution or taking part in vocational training.
  • You have sufficient financial means to support yourself and any accompanying family members.

Requirements for EU citizens moving to Italy

You have to register for residence at the Anagrafe (Register Office) of the municipality where you will be living. The requirements change according to the specific Anagrafe where you are applying, but you do have to provide the following documents:

Italian permanent residence for EU citizens

After five years of continuous residence, you can apply for a permanent residence card. You have to submit the application for an Italian permanent residence card at a Post Office in your local municipality, who then forwards it to the Questura (police headquarters). It is the Questura that issues you with an Italian permanent residency card.

With fours years of permanent residence under your belt, you are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship.

Moving to Italy for non-EU Citizens

For non-EU citizens who want to move to Italy, different requirements apply compared to EU citizens.

For instance, moving to Italy from USA or another country that is not in the EU is a far longer and more complicated process.

If you are a non-EU/EFTA citizen, before you can move to Italy, you will have to get an Italian long-stay visa. This type of visa allows you to enter Italy with the intention of staying long-term.

After you have entered Italy, you have to apply for an Italian residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) at a local Post Office and then Questura (police headquarters) within eight days. The residence permit is what allows you to live in Italy legally for more than three months. You cannot apply for Italian residency with an Italian short-stay visa.

Moving to Italy to Work

Unfortunately, if you are not from the EU/EFTA, you cannot simply move to Italy and get a job.

Italy has an immigration system in place which dictates how many Italian work visas it will issue to non-EU workers. Every year, the Italian government opens what is called the Decreto Flussi. You have to comply with the Decreto Flussi if you are self-employed as well.

Non-EU citizens can apply for an Italian work visa only when the Decreto Flussi is open. The Italian government has also established a quota of how many work visas they will issue and to what occupation. In 2019 and 2018, the quota was 30,850.

In addition, you will have to find a job in Italy while you are still in your home country and have your employer apply in Italy for your authorization to work.

Moving to Italy to Study

As a non-EU citizen, before you move to Italy to study, you will have to already be enrolled in an Italian educational institution.

Then, you have to apply for an Italy long-stay visa with the purpose of studying, and get an Italian residence permit once you enter Italy.

Getting an Italian study visa is probably the easiest way of moving to Italy, but with it, you are only allowed to work 20 hours a week.

However, once your study period is over, you are allowed to apply for a work permit when the Decreto Flussi is open and convert your study permit to a working residence permit.

Moving to Italy to Join a Family Member

If you have a family member who is an Italian resident, you can join them through the Italian family reunification visa.

However, before you can apply for the visa, your family member must apply for authorization for you to come. This is done in Italy.

After the Italian authorities grant you permission, you can apply for the Italian family visa and enter Italy. You will have to apply for an Italian residence permit within eight days of entering.

Moving to Italy to Retire

Italy makes it possible for people who can sustain themselves financially without working to move to Italy through the Elective Residence visa.

The foreign nationals who apply for an elective residence visa have to prove they have sufficient financial means (at least € 31,000 per year) from pensions, savings, or other sources to provide for themselves.

If you apply for the elective residence visa, you are not allowed to work in Italy. This visa is popular among people wishing to retire in Italy, which is why it is sometimes known as a retirement permit.

Moving to Italy permanently as a non-EU citizen

After living in Italy with a temporary residence permit for five years, all non-EU nationals are eligible to apply for Italian permanent residence.

Permanent residency offers a lot of the same benefits as all other Italian citizens, such as access to state benefits, like for maternity or disability.

EU-nationals who have a permanent residence card can apply for Italian citizenship after ten years.

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