Considering living in Italy...

Sep 17th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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Nothing against Costa Rica, I liked it, for what it is - a country blessed with a fine location and hence climate, and stable government, although barely above what I'd call third-world (just look at the primitive state of the roads, and the lack of trains and such infrastructure, and at the minimal level of cultural events), but to suggest CR as an alternative to Italy of all places is probably well-meant but absurd... Like pitching, say, Bakersfield, CA, against Manhattan or Paris...
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 06:08 PM
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Exactly,DL. We had friends trying to convince us to move to Belize with them instead, but ummmmm, excuse me! It may be cheap, but it ain't Italy!
Lady is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 06:27 PM
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"It may be cheap, but it ain't Italy!"

Difference being -- you CAN move to Costa Rica or Belize, but you might not be able to move to Italy. It isn't just 'bureaucracy' -- it is very specific/rigorous rules.

Not saying you can't work things out -- but it isn't just a matter of formalities/completing forms. There are very tall mountains to scale to get a long term visa.

One option would be to find a 2 or 3 year educational course (that you would actually attend/complete). That can make it possible to get a student visa.
janisj is online now  
Sep 17th, 2010, 07:35 PM
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We are considering the student route; certainly language classes. Might look into teaching ESL (former teacher). Also have the option to look at a business. We have friends in Florence that may be able to help with whatever route we try to take, certainly with the language barriers. It's all very nebulous right now as you can see. We just started talking about it.

Originally with this post, I was looking for somewhere to go to look at the practical, physical aspects of such a move once we had our approvals, but I do appreciate everyone's concern and advice. Especially love the websites to check out.
Lady is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 07:53 PM
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"... I was looking for somewhere to go to look at the practical, physical aspects..."

Lady, the easy option of taking out an extended rental of an apartment within the allowed 3 months will enable you to get a very good sense of what's awaiting you if later you find a way to make inroads into the rules and regulations, for a longer or permanent stay.

If there is one country (other than Greece) in western/southern Europe where rules are meant to be bent or even circumvented, it is Italy.

So think of a three-month stay as an apprenticeship - shouldn't be a hardship at all...

Buona fortuna e auguri!
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 07:56 PM
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Can I ask a stupid question? If I buy property in Italy, does all this "beauracracy" go away? Am I allowed to live in Italy if I am an American and buy a home there?
sarge56 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 08:41 PM
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"Might look into teaching ESL (former teacher)."

Most unlikely that would be an option. Getting a work visa is even that much harder than just a long stay visa. You could look into DoD positions, but they are few and far between.

"If I buy property in Italy, does all this "beauracracy" go away? Am I allowed to live in Italy if I am an American and buy a home there?"

no, and no. Just as much, or more, bureaucracy.
janisj is online now  
Sep 17th, 2010, 08:56 PM
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For sarge55,

I live in Germany -- not Italy I know but also in the Schengen. I moved here in 2008 (retired Army) and bought an apartment this year.

As janisj says, yes, even more bureaucracy. The long-stay visa requirements don't change; I still have to renew my visa periodically (starts at annually, then every other year, then every five years).

And then add on the tax headaches, the registration headaches, the banking headaches, the headaches from getting workers to fix things, the headaches from the house rules (not sure if Italy has something similar).

But it's fun --

swandav2000 is online now  
Sep 18th, 2010, 12:32 AM
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You have not seen bureaucracy until you have tried to live in Italy. even the Italians say it is one of the worse places in Europe for paperwork. But would would find that out if you came across and talked to the locals. So if the above poster suggests Germany is bad then think 1000 times more.
I hope you realise that something simple like your Drivers Licence will not be recognised?
If it is then all you have to do is exchange it for an Italian one. A lot of paperwork will be involved.
If not then you will have to re sit your test. That means taking lessons, passing the test and more paperwork.
You should read up about all of this in the link I gave you.

Good luck
ribeirasacra is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 01:47 AM
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There is a lot of paperwork in Italy but that is essentially a function of the legal system which is built upon the Napoleonic code. However, things have certainly improved over the last 10 or 15 years.
There are two things to remember - it can make a lot of difference which part of the country you are in as generally the further south you go the less efficient things are. Second, it helps very much if you are assisted by someone who knows their way around the system especially since the specific paperwork and the offices handling it may change so advice given by someone writing some time ago may no longer be accurate.
I have always found the offices I have had to deal with as being very helpful - although that may because of where I live in Italy. One thing that is very helpful is when you first approach an office with a request (unless you already know exactly what documents you require) is to exploit your nationality and ask them to write out exactly which documents are required and in which format. Many of these offices have a habit of forgetting everything you need and this can require multiple visits. Italians seem to accept this as part of the process but the office staff seem to treat polite foreigners better in explaining what is needed.
Finally, coming from America you must find out beforehand what documents you need to bring in original (e.g. birth certificates etc), which need an Italian translation and which need to be authenticated (which may be the case of certain translations) and in what format they may need to be authenticated - Hague convention etc.
I am sure that you can find further good advice from the US consulates in Italy, the American Chamber of Commerce as well as certain of those publications - Living and working in Italy or Doing Business in Italy - published by PwC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte etc.
nochblad is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 04:54 AM
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To DL and others on Costa Rica. My point being that it is very easy to obtain a permanent residency status (pensione I believe it is called). Yes, the roads are horrible and while there may not be any trains, they do have a good bus system. In fact, owning a car is normally not advised and most people get around using the buses.

So, if obtaining a permanent residency in Europe is next to impossible, then why not look elsewhere? Yes, it may or may not be comparing apples to oranges, but it is also the level of comfort you can enjoy for a specific dollar amount.

Is there anywhere in Europe that for less than $2,000 per month you can have your home, a maid, gardener, amazingly fresh food, utilities, health care and some of the most amazing scenery and wildlife in the world? You can go from high mountain peaks to the beach in 2 hours, and you get your choice of either the Atlantic or Pacific.

Nope, you don't get fancy restaurants or castles, but take a 45 minute flight and you can be in the Mayan Ruins. There are many places in the world where one can retire comfortably and without paperwork hassles. I was simply pointing out one that I am very familiar with.

daveesl is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 05:30 AM
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daveesl - please don't insist.

The OP asked about Europe and is intelligent enough to start finding out well in advance because she knows it is not a piece of cake.

I think she will find the challenge stimulating and in the end immensely rewarding.
nochblad is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 06:07 PM
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Hope so, nochblad. At any rate, the challenge of working on it will be a kick!
Lady is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 06:26 AM
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Excuse me nochblad, I was not "insisting", I could really care less where someone moves to. I was giving an alternative, of which there are many around the world. They could move to Bosnia and perhaps be in the EU in a few years.

This board is designed and supposedly run to provide answers or suggestions to questions or comments. I've been here a few years and fully understood what the OP was asking. I was also commenting on the legal situation needed to fulfill the OPs desires, as were most everyone else on this thread.

Don't lecture me. Sometimes people don't think of other options.

daveesl is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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Interesting and practical discussion. Is anyone else struck by the irony of this topic while millions of "illegal immigrants" are living in Italy currently (as well as other countries) without any of the support required to do it legally--health care, pensions, bank accounts etc.?
macanimals is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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Millions of illegal immigrants in Italy? Not even a million, according to most estimates.

We are not here to encourage illegal activities of any sort, so the OP gets lots of advice on how to do things legally.

The laws on illegal immigration apply just as much to a US citizen as they do to an African economic refugee, though they may not of course be applied equally.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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No, I am not struck by irony.

We're trying to help this person, assuming they want to do this legally.
suze is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 08:39 AM
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As an American there are certain countries which you can take up residence without enormous difficulty - I would consider Andorra, Monaco (Monte Carlo), Switzerland, Campione to fall into this category. Certain of the newer members of the European Union allow residence on the basis of relative modest investments regarding the creation of new business. Certain Balkan countries (not EU) also allow residence - e.g. Montenegro. Of the bigger countries I believe Ireland offers residency if you can demonstrate you are a recognized author and in view of their finincial difficulties they may be quite flexible on this score at the moment.
Most of the names shown above require a degree of presence rather than a letter box presence and each will have their own property ownership/rental requirements. Not all are particularly desirable locations - Andorra is ok if you like skiing, hiking and cheap booze but not much else. Monte Carlo may be alright to visit but it is a pretty soul detroying place to live as well as being outrageously expensive property wise.
So have said that you can live in Italy "illegally" as a foreigner so long as you keep under the radar. This may be possible, especially in such cities as Florence, Rome, Milan etc but is not, I presume, the solution you are looking for. Certainly there are other areas of Europe where this is happening and, in particular, I have in mind the south of Spain and Portugal. There are many British, especially, who are clearly resident there (in the tax and physical presence sense) but have not registered as such. They are running a risk but it does happen.
My personal favourite is Switzerland and around Lugano is an excellent choice. Good connections to the rest of Europe and there are a number of Americans resident in this Canton as well as various Swiss/American associations which can provide the support you need - at least initially.
nochblad is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 08:41 AM
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Times have changed since the EU. In 1970-71 I spent 9 months on Europe, bopping around from country to country. Sigh.

Luckily 3 months at a time is enough for me now, I think. Including Costa Rica, which is high on my list once we're retired and want warmth in the winter.
WWanderer is offline  
Sep 19th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Assuming the legal problems are sorted out, do you speak Italian and German - since you say that you also want to live in Austria as well as Italy? I live in a very touristy part of France and there are so many foreigners who don't bother to learn the language and end up living in a golden ghetto with hardly any contact with the locals. Not only can it be very annoying in case of problems but it is also a lack of courtesy.
Pvoyageuse is offline  

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