American citizens- is it hard for us to move to Italy?

Hey everyone, there’s some conflicting info out there about the ease for an American to move to Italy. Can someone clarify for me? I have read through embassy info but still would like advice from a person that has lived it. If we don’t want to work there ( we work remotely from the US) do we have to have savings to live off of or would our annual income be considered? Is it possible for me and my family to move simply because we want to? Or do there have to be family ties of some sort? Thanks!

"Is it possible for me and my family to move simply because we want to?"

Actually no. There should be a good reason for a long term visa/permit. If you are a freelancer you have to apply for "Lavoro Autonomo" and pay taxes in Italy after permit issued. An alternative to obtain Lavoro Autonomo Permesso is Italy Startup Visa, you can check on

I don't think that working for US remotely, paying taxes to US and spending in Italy would work. You have to show legal income in Italy (Payments into your or your company's Italian bank account) therefore you have to pay taxes in Italy. Just bringing your savings won't work if you are not a millionaire or an investor.

Thanks for your answer!

I agree with Altant’s reply  that you can just move to another country because you like to.  The process of moving to Italy as well as any other country requires a permesso di residenza, the type of which will depend on your request. Altant ‘ s reply looks correct but I would check on the Italian consulate website rather than the posts on this blog since each case is different  Just know that the process of residing in the US for a non citizen is three times harder of that of Italy.
On the income taxes, I have read that there is an agreement between the US and Italy . You may want to do a search on it. But, I am not sure if it would apply to your situation as it appears that you receive 1099’s  at year end so self paying income and SS taxes .  Buona fortuna

Thanks! When I said moving there because we want to I meant having no family ties, but having friends there that love it and have made us interested in it as a place to live. We have lived in Egypt and would like to be closer to Egypt in the future that's another reason.

Income wise, we are business owners and would be willing to pay taxes and invest in the community but would not want to work there--so we'd literally just be residents, but not there to work or anything else. I plan on contacting the embassy for info so thanks for that suggestion. I  would never live somewhere without following the residency process-in the US that is a big no-no and the though to being illegal is horrifying.

When I say "just because we want" I mean what are the requirements to obtain residency without an offer for work or family ties.  I hope that makes sense!

Frankly, similar position I was in. I had a software company in Turkey and our customers were from only Northern America. No business web in Europe/Italy.

I have searched possible ways to live in Italy and found Italia Startup Visa as the only working way for me, setup a company in Italy, moved HQ to Rome.

Turkey and Italy have Double Taxation Agreement too but it DOESN'T work in practice, you have to receive payments into Italian bank and pay taxes here otherwise you would face lots of problems and will cost you more and more (avvocato, commercialista, specialista aziendalevto, questura, municipio... Everybody would be asking for your income proof in Italy)

But (a big but):
It is possible to keep US company and open a second company or a branch here and send monthly recurring money to Italy and pay tax of this amount. So you don't need to work here (I think you meant you don't want to work for someone else) and you don't need to pay double tax. It will be expenditure for your US company before taxing.

Hi there,
Although we moved to Italy from the UK we have met several USA entrepreneurs here who seemed to have no serious problems with living here full time running businesses in the USA via computers. Naturally, you would have to have a tax consultant as you are taxed on your worldwide income but not twice.
That aside you will have to retake your driving licence in Italian, it's going to cost about 1200 euros as there are minimum lessons to take and the exam costs too. At least one person who is the owner of the property needs to be resident otherwise your services will be charged at tourist rates and full 22% iva (vat), this is true also for second homeowners, or non residence no matter where they come from, and only resident people can buy a car here.
Making friends is easy in our area (near Citta della Pieve as there is a huge multi-cultural mix and the locals are delightful and very kind and helpful to us incomers) smaller areas maybe more reserved. Having lived in other countries you will not be expecting vast shopping malls, 24/7 opening hours and home delivery services and the golden M on every corner ( only in larger cities) but sushi is suddenly invading us. Italy is thankfully still regionally food-based although the westernised bolognese is creeping in and lasagne, yes when we moved here they were not on the menu, ragu yes but lasagne was a southern dish not central.
I can only speak for our area and Italy is very diverse so decide on an area or two and ask specifics but take the leap as there is nothing worse than 'what ifs' later in life.
Good luck

Sounds interesting--thanks for sharing this info!! I will definitely look a bit further into joining the country as a startup, but it sounds complicated and not simple enough to handle without professional help, like that of an immigration lawyer, would you agree?

Thanks Marguerite this was lovely feedback. I am definitely taking what you've shared into consideration! (I must say 1200 Euro is very expensive for obtaining a driving license--here it only costs around $50 -- even to newcomers!!)

In essence what sort of business do you want to start? and then ask about regulations, some start-ups need a minimum investment, premises, employing people, which all comes at a price, hospitality is probably the easiest. We ran our home here as a B&B ( 3 bedrooms per person running the accommodation 1 couple = 6 bedrooms) and then a self-catering apartment and what we needed an accountant, tell the local comune and register with the tourist office who came around to see the facilities and set rates. It was easy as this was our primary residence and our only income so all the taxes etc were Italian based and the accountant dealt with it all, we just signed multiple forms and handed over cheques. There are limits as over so many bedrooms becomes a hotel with different rules and regs, you can rent out an entire property as a 'casa Vacanze' but be warned airb&b is being looked at by the finance police as a few people are using it to avoid tourist regulations and taxes, so you still need to register with the local offices.

If you want to run a ' limited' business it gets a bit more complex as there are several levels of business: single owneror marrid couple S.S (societa simplice), S.A.S (simple agricola societa) agricultural partnership with one or more persons and must be land-based for income, then there are the big companies SRL ( ICI or Amazon in size!). Your accountant will be able to advise you as to what is best for your enterprise but there is no such thing as a dormant company here, and application for an IVA number (vat), registration, etc all come at a price and there are regulations, advantages like recovering expenses and taxes but disadvantages that water, electric and rates are a lot higher unless agriculturally based.

Do not be put off by the high levels of bureaucracy as it is not aimed at foreigners, everyone faces the same paperwork and going from office to office, Italians are given an extra 10 days a year to sit and wait in queues, just hang on and it will get sorted out in time. The officials we have encountered have been kind, helpful and even called a translation service on the phone to ensure we understood as its illegal to sign a contract you don't understand, and even if the initial answer is 'we don't think so', they'll try to find an answer to what is needed and sorted out, the Italian way, someone who knows someone will have the answer.

That's the trick of living in a place with a slow pace of life, (the 'slow food' was started in Orvieto), you cannot rush, be rude or impatient it won't work no matter if you are waiting to give an order at a busy restaurant or to see a bank manager. Another wake up is they take you literally if you ask for something 'like this' they will endeavor to find an exact match to your item when you might be happy with one similar.

Sorry to go on but it is a big step and we tripped over rules and regs we never expected as we came from an EU country expecting things to be similar and they are very different in many ways but we're still here after 14 years and no regrets with the help from friends, advisors and the locals.

Don't give up,

RachelMarcelle :

Sounds interesting--thanks for sharing this info!! I will definitely look a bit further into joining the country as a startup, but it sounds complicated and not simple enough to handle without professional help, like that of an immigration lawyer, would you agree?

Startup Visa could be perfect for you because you can apply with your spouse as founders.

If you would decide to go with Startup, you will need:
- €50k in bank with signed declaration. (You only or both of you! doesn't matter the amount is same)
- A perfect Business plan for innovative startup

On this first step you don't need anybody. All process in English, online and simplified.

If you are approved and received Nulla Osta, your marathon starts...

Don't waste your time and money with trying to do everything by yourself. Find an Italian speaker friend or a professional who will able to assist you 15-20 entire days within a year. You won't need anybody else until the company is incorporated.  Then you will need:

- A commercialista. (If you don't know anybody, find one on ) Fees change according to your business, location, count of invoices etc. You won't need him/her for first months.

- A Notary (Not obligatory for innovative startups but I highly recommend for the company - one time around €2k ). You won't need him/her for first months.

And if you have children, or facing problem for family reunion, go for an avvocato.

If you still facing problems for family reunification then, apply for a-year-long Italian course to receive one year permesso so you can handle your problems within the year easily and change your/your spouse's permit type from Student into Lavoro Autonomo. (About €5k)

Sorry for typos, I had to write without checking.

Thank you so much Altant and Marguerite for taking the time to provide all of this wonderful information... it has been extremely helpful and informative!!!

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