Considering living in Italy...

Sep 24th, 2010, 05:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,422
Interesting thread. My suggestion is to go to the Italian consulate and find out what is entailed. Be very organized and patient. I think the long term visa can be acquired if you are willing to go through all the red tape. It is worth a try. Go for it and let us know what you learn.

yipper is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 05:05 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,913
ARe you talking about the residency visa article for retirees?

I think it's current. I had heard about "retirement visas" in a WSJ article so I Googled something like "Italian retirement visa" and found a lot of hits.

I think some of them had dates from 2009 or even more recent so the policy should be current.
scrb11 is online now  
Sep 24th, 2010, 05:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 891
There's no Italian anything near where we live (FL panhandle) but we have Italian friends in Florence and a long-time local friend who has been going to Italy 3-4 times a year for 30 years. Planning to consult them. If we come up with anything good, I'll let you know. In the meantime, all input is welcome!
Lady is offline  
Nov 28th, 2010, 06:11 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,913
Just saw an episode of House Hunters International about a Brit couple buying a vacation home in Abruzzo.

The real estate agent said the Italian govt. is trying to encourage foreigners to buy property, facilitating the paperwork and making it easier to pay. Of course that doesn't mean they will give you visas, although for Brits that wouldn't be as much of an issue as us non-EU citizens.

Properties were very affordable and included renovations and furniture packages. Abruzzo isn't as popular a destination as other provinces but the views were spectacular. They had adders through in the grass.

Here is the link to the episode:
scrb11 is online now  
Nov 28th, 2010, 08:01 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,588
Italy is a great place to visit, but hellish bureaucratic to live in....
alihutch is offline  
Nov 28th, 2010, 08:07 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,913
Well the govt. appears to be dysfunctional and of course, a fiscal-debt crisis is looming:

Before the Euro, Italy would just devalue the Lira to get out of economic straits but like the other PIIGS countries, it can't devalue its way out of economic stagnation.

Wonder what would happen to real estate values after Italy goes through what Greece and Ireland have so far gone through. Day of reckoning is suppose to be an inevitability.
scrb11 is online now  
Nov 29th, 2010, 12:17 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 278
scrb11, as I read the Newsweek article link you posted, I just nodded my head - over and over. I’m an American who has lived in Italy for three years. The country faces huge financial problems – of their making. Certainly the process of “getting permission” to live in Italy is challenging.

More than three years ago my wife accepted a position at an American International School in Rome. As part of the application and paperwork process, we dutifully sent English to Italian translations of her academia records, her diplomas, our marriage license, etc. These were all required to get a work visa for her and a “spouse” visa for me. So even before we moved we had already spent a few hundred dollars for “official” translations and overnight shipping. Little did we know this was just the start of the Italian bureaucracy battle.

We started sending info in June, with her placement starting the last week of August. In most countries, especially with a school that does this EVERY year for multiple new teachers, this would be plenty of time – Oh, not in Italy! As August neared, we still had no paperwork – no visas. The school finally issued a letter in mid-August that all paperwork would be completed upon your arrival in Italy. When your employer says “its okay”… in writing, you figure its okay – Not in Italy…

My wife and the other new teachers arrived, but there was still no paperwork. After three months, she was – illegal. She was working, paying US taxes, but she did not have her visa yet or her permesso (permission to stay), a separate - but required - document. Of course she - and the other teachers - were very concerned, but were told…. “We’re working on it.” For 11 months, they worked on it… Finally, she was sent back to Miami - to our Italian consulate representative - as we were previously living in Georgia. She finally received her visa and returned to Italy. Her permesso, also required – took an additional six months.

So finally, after 17 months she could participate in the Italian health Care system. Of course, it took FIVE separate trips to the Health Office to get signed up! You must have EVERY required form (and they seem to change monthly) filled out EXACTLY or you will not get anywhere. We learned very early when dealing with the bureaucracy in Italy, BRING EVERY scrap of paper you even think you will need – because someone will arbitrarily ask for something three years old! And you must speak SOME Italian as most of the clerks in Italian bureaucracy DO NOT (or will not) speak English. And as an American-and a NON-EU citizen, you will get treated differently. Initially, this behavior is quite frustrating, and angered me. After awhile, it’s just the way it is… and our Italian friends (who we now have many) treat us wonderfully. Of course, they also sit around and moan and complain about the Italian “system.” And many of them work in it!

When my wife finally got her permesso, it was tied to her visa, so it was only legal for five months. The clerk behind the counter gave her the renewal forms and told her she better start working on her renewal NOW!

During this “campaign” we visited our local Questura eight or nine times, and the Immigration office three times. Each time we had to wait in long lines and deal with unhelpful state officials. It was like going to the DOT in the 80’s for a driver’s license – but on steroids.

Since there was no “number system” at the immigration office, you dare not get out of line and when they opened the gate – everyone just rushed it. Women and children WERE not first in this exodus! Our first time we were told we had a 10:30 AM appointment. We got there at 9:30AM as we were not sure what to expect. When we informed the guard that we had a 10:30 appointment and could we get in early, he said, “We’re not going to do appointments today, here’s a number – we’ll call you.” We got in at 12:15 PM - the office closed at 12:30 and anyone who came after us did not get in. You would have to schedule a new appointment, which is usually about 4-6 weeks later. The next time we went, arriving early as we remembered our previous experience, we were told today we ARE doing appointments and your appointment is at 10:30 AM. Okay – that makes sense (I guess!) Little did we know that more than 150 other folks ALSO had 10:30 appointments. Because of delays, they did not call the 10:30 appointments until 12:05. Again, we were the last group in (forcefully as everyone understood if you did not get through the gate you were looking at ANOTHER trip to Immigration Hell 4-6 weeks later). Anyone who had an 11 or 11:30 AM appointment that day had to reschedule.

Conversely, when we were moving to Copenhagen, we sent our info to the school – no translations necessary – about five weeks in advance. We were mailed our completed packets and told to take them to the Immigration Office in our neighborhood. In less than two hours we had Visas, Danish Social Security numbers, and were enrolled in the Health Care system. So it can be done easily – just NOT in Italy.

So the first advice I can give is to explore the visa options. Contact the Italian consulate in your area. We lived in Atlanta so our consulate was Miami – since you are in Florida yours’ will be also. You might also check out the many expat boards that talk about the process of getting a visa. There are also many types of visas - the easiest to get might be a student visa. Work Visas are almost impossible to get – as you must have “sponsorship” by your employer. Also, get SUPPORT. We would have been lost without the help of the school. When all of this initially happened, we blamed them. After living there a few years, we realized it was not their fault. It’s the system. We have a friend who works in the Commerce Dept. at the US Embassy in Rome and he told us many stories of how larger US companies like Boeing, IBM, etc, struggle to get legal paperwork for their American employees and how many US companies were considering pulling out because it was just too difficult, too time consuming, and too expensive to try and bring foreign employees into Italy. Even though he was a highly placed US Embassy employee, he could nothing to help us in our process. So, it’s the system and you have to adapt! As I read the Newsweek article, and the financial challenges that Italy faces, you wonder they will not open their borders to foreign companies… but when you live here you see how ”protectorate” they are. Sometimes to a fault it seems. Finding a job is tough in Italy - keeping one, with the current system, built-in inefficiencies, and labor unions, is not.

I would also suggest getting an Italian lawyer – or at least a “sponsor” who speaks Italian – to help you wade through the system. We had school support – and thus legal support in our first few attempts –and having a legal rep that spoke Italian, and knew the system, was extremely helpful. (Note – when he cursed them, they responded - when we did, they just closed the gate on us!)

So do investigate your options or you will be illegal after 90 days. For most folks, as mentioned, that's probably not an issue, but if you go through say, Finland, the UK, etc. on your return flight they are ruthless when it comes to Visa violations. A few of friends were fined up to $1,000 and a wife of a US administrator at my wife’s school was “deported” from Switzerland and NOT allowed to return to Italy due to her Schengen visa violation. She had been in Italy for almost a year and the school had never completed her paperwork. Her husband still had 7 months left on his contract - she stayed in the States until he completed the year. If you are caught, you can be fined, deported, and even get a “black” mark on your passport that will not allow you to return to the Schengen area for “X” years. You do not want this hassle! I have often had my visa scanned – not just my passport – when we travel to/through London. Unless you plan on just staying in Schengen countries I would not recommend this route. Even a simple traffic stop could lead to major issues for you.

Technically, you have to have papers to get a lease. We’ve lived in two apartments yet we never even showed ID to our landlords (They were not paying taxes on our cash rent payments each month). We drove a motorino owned by a British guy five years earlier that had been passed down from American to American over the years. We were the 9th “owner” (the bike was still in his name because you do not have to show ID when purchasing insurance and you can pay someone to do the registration for you) and we sold it to girl working at the school. Because we did not have residenza status – another 6-8 months of paperwork battles – we were not allowed to register (thus legally own) a vehicle in Italy.

So, I guess if you want to stay without a visa - and you have enough cash - you could probably stay forever... you just have to be careful and realize that if busted... you are done! I would not recommend this course of action. You can always go to Italy and then when your 90 days are up... leave. We arrived with just our suitcases and stayed three years! But on day 89 - just like we were after 3 years - you won’t want to leave! Italy has that impact on you.

Despite the bureaucracy, indifferent state employees, insufferable amounts of “exact” paperwork requirements, we love Rome. It’s still our favorite city - and we've lived in 35 different places! It’s chaotic, frustrating, things don’t work, etc. and living there is MUCH, MUCH different than coming on vacation. But we love the people, the pace, the lifestyle, the food, and the experience. Don't get discouraged - take what you can get - and start the process for visas early. If you go without a visa, check out the schools (and those options) or find a job that will sponsor you! If you are at least "working on your visa" and you're paying taxes, the officials tend to look the other way.
rineurope is offline  
Nov 29th, 2010, 05:32 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,913
Sounds like a nightmare.

Maybe because it's a work visa, not simply a residency visa?

Obviously real estate is being bought by some foreigners, though maybe it's mostly EU citizens who are buying?

You would think real estate is expensive in some areas because it is attracting foreign buyers, not just native ones?
scrb11 is online now  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 12:03 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 78
We did it (moved to Italy) - with an elect to stay Visa. Was it a lot of paperwork? Yes. But no more than if you are not a U.S. citizen and expected to go there to live! I think the bureaucracy cliche is way overdone -

Also - people (Americans) do (we have met many of them) live here illegally long term. How or why I don't know, but they do.

I do think that buying property does pretty much give you the automatic right to live in it -
InFlorence is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 12:29 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,613
I do think that buying property does pretty much give you the automatic right to live in it -

That is not true. Not for any of the Schengen countries, nor is it the case if I as a European citizen would buy a property in the US.

You can live in your property for 90 days. Any longer, and you would need a visa.
Tulips is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Mar 29th, 2014 05:36 PM
Nov 9th, 2009 11:49 AM
Sep 24th, 2008 04:55 PM
May 31st, 2007 06:50 AM
May 15th, 2007 01:52 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:41 AM.