Moving and Packing Tips

All in One Guide on Moving to Italy

Warm, sunny, filled with pasta and loud, enthusiastic people, Italy is a great country and one of the top places UK citizens just adore. And if you have decided to start a new chapter in your life, we have prepared for you an ultimate guide on moving to Italy. Here you can read about life in Italy and think about whether it’s the right place for you. You’ll also learn about all the necessary documents you need when moving there permanently, the cost of living in Italy, and much more.

So, if you:

  • Are considering moving to Italy;
  • Want to be well prepared for your relocation;
  • Wonder what it is like to live in Italy.

Then this guide is for you!

Reasons to move to Italy

Italy is a warm country with ancient culture and around 60 million people. This includes a great number of migrants from other European countries and all around the globe. No wonder so many people choose to move to Italy – the food is great, there is a huge selection of wine, a lot of sunlight and warm beaches.

The country prides itself on its amazing variations of nature – long coastlines, lakes, islands, and mountains. Each region has a unique feel to it, and no matter if you are a person of the sea or you imagine yourself living in a petite house in the mountains, you can find your place there. The older generation naturally prefers spending their days in peace, and the location for this is the south of the country, on islands like Sardinia and Sicily.

While bursting with culture and entertainment, Milan and Rome, being the biggest cities in Italy, constantly develop their business sector and create the required workplaces for all people, including the ones that come from abroad.

So whether you need a quiet small town to relax and spend your days close to nature, or you want to properly feel the busy and colourful life of the big city, Italy is definitely the place where you can find it all

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Necessary documents to move to Italy

The process of moving to another country involves a lot of things that need to be considered, but you must also take care of some mandatory documents as well.

Visa Requirements in Italy

Italy is part of the countries in the Schengen area, and as such, travelling to it is permitted without a visa for a period of 90 days in any 180-day period. It applies whether you travel as a tourist, visit friends or family, attend business appointments, cultural or sporting events, or take short-term courses. It is necessary to meet the Italian government’s entry requirements if you wish to stay longer, work or study, travel for business, or for any other reason.

If you currently have a 3-month UK visa and want to apply for an Italian Schengen visa from the United Kingdom, you will need to extend the current visa for another three months. There is one important requirement – if you want to leave the Schengen area you’re in, your permit needs to be valid for at least another 3 more months after your departure date. This means that you can be in Italy with an Italian visa. However, if you decide to leave and your UK residence permit is valid only for a week after this, you will not be able to leave the country.

There are a number of visas that you can apply for if you decide to live in Italy. One of them is specially made for people who wish to retire in the boot country and don’t require a job there. It’s called the elective residence visa. In order to get this visa, you will need to present a rental agreement or deed in Italy, a document for medical insurance that covers the area you wish to live in, and proof of financial income.

Things get even easier if you have some Italian ancestry. Take a good long look at your family tree and if you find a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who was born in Italy, there is a big chance you can even apply for dual citizenship.

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How to get a Residence Permit in Italy

Once you begin your Italian journey, the first thing you need to get is a residence permit or, as they say it in Italian – “permesso di soggiorno”. This is a must, no matter what type of visa you have.

How to apply for a Residence Permit in Italy:

  1. Get a “Kit Permesso di Soggiorno”

    Within 8 business days after your arrival in Italy, go to the nearest post office and pick up an application form for your permit to stay. In Italian, it’s called a “Kit Permesso di Soggiorno”. It’s a packet with two forms inside, each containing around 5 to 10 pages. You will have to fill out all the necessary personal information along with your reasons for moving to Italy. You will also have to make a copy of the documents you need while making the visa. There are certain taxes that you will have to pay, but we will get to them later.

  2. Buy “Marca da Bollo

    Find a “Tabaccheria” and buy a “Marca da Bollo”, which is just a sticker that needs to be placed on the envelope. However, you are not the one putting that sticker. Once you are done filling out the documents, you will have to bring them all to the post office along with the “Marca da Bollo”. The worker there will review the forms and your personal documents, such as your passport, and submit everything to the immigration office (the Questura).

  3. Remember the date of your appointment in the Immigration office

    You will be given a couple of documents back, which are all very important. They include receipts for all the taxes you’ve paid and an appointment that will tell you when you will need to go to the Immigration office.

  4. Be there on time

    Go to the office on the scheduled day where you will have your fingerprints taken. Once this is done, the staff there will tell you the date to get your documents.

Taxes to pay when acquiring the “Permesso di Soggiorno”

As we mentioned earlier, everything comes with a price, and documents are no exception. Here is a list of all the taxes you must pay when getting your residence permit in Italy.

  1. €40-€100 for the initial residence permit documents. €40 is for people staying up to one year; €50 is from one up to two years, and €100 is for long-term EU permits.
  2. €16 for the stamp on your envelope – “Marca da Bollo”.
  3. €30 for the Immigration office – “Assicurata Postale”.
  4. €30.46 for a printed version of the residence permit – “Permesso di Soggiorno”.

Driving Licence in Italy

If you plan on living in Italy, keep in mind that you can not renew or replace your UK driving license. Instead, you will have to exchange it for an Italian one, and you will have to take a driving test. After Brexit, British expats in Italy are not allowed to use an International Driving Permit (IDP) as an alternative to exchanging their driving licence. Also, driving a car registered outside of Italy is illegal for anyone living in Italy for more than 60 days.

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The Cost of Living in Italy

Logically, with the northern part being more modern and developed, the cost of living there is a lot higher than in the south, even compared to other big cities in Europe. You’ll learn in no time that in order to survive and have enough money, you will have to stay away from tourist pubs, restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets. Before moving to Italy, thoroughly research the area where you’re relocating to so you can find all the local places that will serve you the best.

To make things clearer, here you can see the approximate price range of the most vital products in Italy:

Product / ServicePrice in the UK (£)Price in Italy (£)
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant£14.0015.00
Grocery store beer (0.5l draught)£ 1.78£1.41
Cappuccino (regular)£2.90£1.47
Coke/Pepsi (0.33l bottle)£1.91£2.22
Water (0.33l bottle)£0.99£0.37
Gasoline (1l)£1.56£1.77
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)£12.00£5.03
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)£2.50£1.29
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)£65.22£30.11

How much is the rent in Italy?

The average rent in Italy is around €800. However, depending on the area, the cost could vary between €600 to €1200. Normally, it’s not very difficult to find a flat or a house in the smaller areas and usually you can rent them straight from the landlord without going through an agency. This way is a lot cheaper for both you and the owner, as well. In case you are moving to a bigger city, doing so will be a bit harder, but not impossible.

Accommodation Fees

Okay, so you have had some luck, and you have finally found the perfect flat to live in. But are there any taxes except the rent and the utility bills? Unfortunately, there are, but this is nothing unusual.

Here are the most important accommodation fees you need to know about:

  1. The Stamp Tax – This is not so much of a tax as just something you will need to buy when signing your contract. It costs around £14, and it’s very important. If you don’t have this stamp on the copies, it is not valid. The contract has two official copies – one for the landlord and one for the registration office. Your copy is actually a printed photocopy of those originals, meaning you don’t need to purchase a stamp for that one.
  2. Contract Registration Fee – This fee is 2% of your annual rent, and the minimum tax is €67. It’s usually covered by the landlord, but depending on the contract, it could be shared as well.
  3. Waste Tax – Similar to the UK, your local council is the one responsible for collecting the waste from the communal rubbish bins. This tax is required in order to cover the transportation, collection and disposal services. Keep in mind that Italians are very much into recycling, which means that if you do not separate your waste, there might be a fine for it.
  4. The Strata Fee – This fee is for everyone who lives in a residential building. The Strata fee will cover all the needed communal services, such as general gardening and cleaning maintenance, repairs, building heating, water, and sometimes the Waste Tax, as well.

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How to Pay Your Bills in Italy

You have two main options for paying your everyday and monthly bills. You can use cash or open up an Italian bank account and use a debit card.

Paying bills with a “Posta pre-paid card”

This card is exactly what it sounds like. You buy it from the post office, and similar to a prepaid phone card, you need to charge it with money every time it runs out of it. Even if you have a foreign debit/credit card, you will probably need this one in order to sign a contract with an Internet or a TV cable provider.

Bank Account for Foreigners

Opening up an Italian bank account is a fairly easy job. The only documents you will need are the “Permesso di Soggiorno” that you should already have, your passport, and a tax code. You can obtain your tax code for free after receiving your residence permit. Go around different banks to see which one will suit your needs the best. Keep in mind that most of the people there will not speak English. If you don’t know Italian, it would be better to make the visits with a friend who does.

Another thing you can do is to set up your account from a bank branch in the UK. Many Italian banks have branches all around Europe so take a look at the ones near you. This way, you will have a card that you can use even before you migrate to Italy, and there will be no misunderstandings.

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Things to consider before moving to Italy

If you are considering moving to Italy from UK with the idea of working and living as an Italian citizen, there is some vital information that you need to be aware of, such as:

Finding a job in Italy

If you want to emigrate to Italy from UK with the idea of finding a permanent job, it is very important which region you are going to. There is actually a huge difference between south and north Italy. While the southern part mostly depends on agriculture, farming and tourism, the unemployment rate is still quite high, and few working people prefer to go there.

Seasonal jobs in the tourism industry are usually easier to find than regular jobs, which is why the majority of the population has moved to the northern side of the country. This is the more industrialised and developed part of Italy, with many private companies that constantly employ people.

It’s important to mention that there has been a significant improvement in the labour market since 2015 when the Jobs act was introduced. It has helped to bring the country closer to other developed European countries and make it a lot more attractive for outside investors and business people.

This act has fixed some important issues related to pensions and benefits for unemployed people and enabled fixed-term employment, too, which was not a thing before that. There is also an opportunity to demote or change duties and tasks so that the stale Italian job market is now a thing of the past.

Some of the most expanding sectors in which you can find a job in Italy are:

  • Tourism
  • Engineering
  • Catering
  • Teaching
  • Accounting
  • Customer care

Is health care free in Italy

Italian healthcare is usually either entirely free or really low cost. The National Health Service, or “Servizio Sanitario Nazionale” (SSN) is the organization responsible for healthcare. The benefits people receive from it are ambulance services, subsidized medicines, lab services, access to GPs, treatment at public hospitals and sometimes specialized care.

Even though the SSN is a government system, it’s divided into fractions depending on the region, and different people are in charge of the whole organization. This means that the level of care is different, parallel to the job market and overall opportunities in Italy.

Naturally, Northern Italy will provide you with a higher class of treatment, while the South barely covers all the needed criteria to be considered a quality service. If you have serious health issues to take care of, it’s recommendable to go to a bigger city.

If your stay in Italy prolongs beyond the three months, registering in the SSN becomes mandatory. Just go to your local health agency and they will give you a health card “tessera sanitaria”. If you change your address to a different district, you will have to register again and get a new card.

Taxes in Italy

No matter if you are working or living your best-retired life in Italy, there are still taxes to pay. The amount of money that you pay depends on your income, so the higher your salary is, the more you will pay.

Here are the most important taxes in Italy:

  • The Income Tax
  • The Corporate Tax
  • VAT
  • Tax on Services
  • Excises

The Way of Life in Italy

One of the major differences British people notice when moving to Italy is how family and friend relationships are often prioritized over work, to-do lists and other tedious everyday tasks. People who have embraced the Italian culture will spend less time worrying about circumstances they cannot affect or things that are far away in the future and spend their days enjoying the present.

You will quickly notice the feeling of how the hours move a lot slower, giving you time to surround yourself with the people you love the most, enjoy a nice cup of coffee, take a walk on the beach, and just indulge in your surroundings.

British Expat in Italy

There are a lot of differences between the way of life in Italy and the UK. However, this is also one of the main reasons why the boot-shaped country is so popular with the British communities. The most popular cities where you can find a fellow citizen are Rome, Sardinia, Naples and Tuscany.

If you are travelling alone and do not know Italian, it’s always better to have someone help you with integrating and dealing with all the paperwork and documents. Find people in your area before you even go there by checking out the forums and websites, which are just for expat communities in Italy. History has shown that people are a lot more united when they are outside of their country, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Need professional assistance?

We hope that our guide on moving to Italy has provided you with helpful information which you can use to make your relocation as smooth as possible. Moving abroad is stressful and time-consuming, but we are here to help. Whether you need professional removal service within the UK, plan international removal or need a reliable storage service for your belongings, just contact Fantastic services, and the experts will take care!

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  • Try to arrange whatever is possible before your move to Italy. Having a flat and a job organised and waiting for you is always safer.
  • Connecting with British expats in Italy before moving there will make your life much easier, especially in the beginning.
  • Consider opening up an Italian bank account from the UK so that you have your card the moment you arrive.

We hope you found this guide on relocating to Italy useful. Feel free to share with us your thoughts on this topic and your experiences in moving to another country. We wish you the best of luck on this wonderful journey!

Image source: depositphotos / masterlu

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