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Moving to Italy from the UK: 9 Things to Know

There are many reasons to move from the UK to Italy. Whether it is for the food, culture, lower cost of living, or 7,600 km of beautiful coastline, British nationals making the move across the European continent are sure to find an easy home in the Mediterranean country. In this guide, we will explore anything you need to know to relocate to Italy.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Although the UK and Italy have intertwining histories, there is more that separates the two countries than 1,500 miles. For starters, the Italian landscape spans from white sandy beaches to rolling, lush vineyards and snow-capped mountains. The renowned food, also attracts tourists and expats alike. As Europe’s fifth most populous country, it is easy to see why many foreigners are flocking to call Italy their new home.

The relaxed Italian way of life appeals to many Brits. There is a heavy emphasis on food and community, and the Mediterranean weather can make UK nationals feel like they are on permanent vacation. British expats looking for a bit of home will find fellow countrymen in nearly every Italian city; especially in places like Rome, Tuscany, and Florence. Be advised that although you can get around with just English, a knowledge of Italian is useful if you aim for the country side.

Read on to find everything you need to know if you want to exit before Brexit and call Italy your new home.

1. Do you need an Italian Visa and Work Permit?

Until the 31st of December British people living in Italy are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and do not need a work permit for employment. The Withdrawal Agreement stays in place during the Brexit transition period which ends on December 31st, 2020. Until then, British nationals keep their rights as before Brexit. How Brexit will affect the right to move freely within the European Union is not yet clear. But no matter the outcome of Brexit, UK nationals need a residence permit to live long-term in Italy.

As a non-EU citizen, however, you will need a visa and work permit. Long-stay visas are separated into categories based on your reason for moving to the Mediterranean country. These include categories such as education, family, and work. You will need to apply for a visa at an Italian embassy or consulate.

If you need more information on Italian Visas and Work Permits, read our full visa and work permits guide or contact us. InterNations GO! has also created a Visa and Work Permit consultation service to help expats like you, find out which immigration rules specifically apply to their situation.

2. What should you do before Brexit?

a. register as a resident in Italy

To be able to stay in Italy long-term, even after the transition period ends, you will need to register as a resident. Expats can obtain a residency permit (attestazione di regolarità di soggiorno or certificato di residenza) in the local town hall.

Find out how to register as an Italian resident in our Italy guide.

b. register for healthcare as a resident in Italy

All legal residents, expats have the right to free public healthcare in Italy. To be eligible for public healthcare in the country, foreigners need to register with the SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale). This is done at the Azienda Sanitaria Locale (ASL), your local health unit. Keep in mind that this has to be done before the 31st of December 2020.

Read more on Italy’s healthcare system and how it applies to foreigners in our full guide.

3. How to move your belongings to Italy?

How Brexit will affect the importation of personal belongings to Europe, is not yet clear. But so far, you have the right to bring your furniture and other household goods to Italy free of import tax. However, there is a slight catch. You will need to prove that you have owned everything for the past 12 months prior to your relocation.

Given the country’s advantageous location, you can choose to have your items shipped to Italy by air, road, or sea freight. The latter takes the longest, whereas the first is the most expensive option.

Find out more about shipping your household items to Italy by contacting us. At InterNations GO! we work with reliable international moving companies that will take good care of your cargo.

4. How to find a home in Italy? 

Despite the reputation of cities like Milan, Rome, and Florence, Italian rent is fairly reasonable, especially when compared with the rest of Europe. You can get a one-bedroom apartment in any of these three cities for about 900-1,200 EUR (1,100-1,400 USD). In smaller cities, rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around 500-600 EUR (600-700 USD).

In Italy, long-term rentals, between two and four years, are often unfurnished. In most cases, unfurnished apartments do not even come with kitchen appliances. Short-term rentals, on the other hand, are half to fully furnished. The duration of the contract here varies between six months and a year.

While it is possible to rent directly through an owner, many landlords choose to have an agent to represent them. Because of this, expats may find more options if they work through a real estate agent. Our home-finding experts know the ins and outs of the local housing markets and can help you find the right home according to your needs and budget.

Find out more about renting in Italy as a foreigner in our housing guide.

5. What about taxes and finances in Italy?

UK nationals do not need to worry about their finances when relocating to Italy because the UK has an existing double taxation agreement with this country. This means, you will not pay tax on your income in both countries, only in the country you reside full-time or have all of your economic ties. In the first year of your relocation, it might be a little more complicated to determine, where you will be a tax resident. If you have lived longer than 183 days in Italy, you will have to fill out an Italian tax return there. You will also need to declare all of your assets in your next tax return. This includes any foreign bank account you might have, as well as any properties you own. To make sure you are not taxed in the UK as well, you have to claim an exemption under the treaty on your UK tax return in respect of any of your income.

If you have a British bank account, you might want to consider opening an Italian account in Euros to avoid losing too much money in conversion fees.

6. Does your UK driver’s license work in Italy?

Before Brexit, you could drive in Italy with your UK driver’s license. Now, you will have to exchange your license for an Italian one before the transition period ends.

You can apply for an Italian driver’s license at the Ministry of Transport in your area, or at the Ufficio della Motorizzazione Civile.

If you need more information on driving in Italy and how to exchange your license for an Italian one, read our full guide here.

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7. How high is the cost of living in Italy compared to the UK? 

Compared to the UK, living in Italy is inexpensive. However, the actual cost of living in Italy varies a lot depending on which part of the country you move to. Living in the northern regions of Italy is more expensive than living in the south. Salaries are also higher in the north of the country. Metropolitan areas, such as Milan, Rome, and Torino come with a heavier price tag. Still, rent prices in Rome are 25 %lower than in London.

Rent takes up a significant part of your salary, whether you live in the UK or Italy. In Rome, you can expect to pay about 950 EUR (USD) without utilities for a one-bedroom apartment. According to the OECD Better Life Index, the average yearly salary in Italy is around 31,000 EUR (37,000 USD) gross. In Italy, yearly income is paid in 14 instead of 12 months. This means, in June and in December, you receive almost double the salary, you normally get throughout the year. If your yearly salary was 31,000 EUR gross, you would receive around 2,200 EUR gross per month, 14 times. However, Italy is known for having rather low salaries. The most common salaries range between 1,300 and 1,500 EUR (1,500 and 1,800 USD).

Read more on the cost of living in Italy in our detailed guide.

8. Are there Job Opportunities in Italy for Foreigners?

Foreigners will find plenty of jobs in the tourism sector. The same goes for teaching. But, if you are up for the challenge and open to learning Italian, you will find opportunities in the fashion and creative industries as well. Milan has the most international employment opportunities. If you would enjoy living and working in a vineyard instead, how about moving to Tuscany?

Here you will find more detailed information on working and applying for jobs in Italy as a foreigner.

9. Do you need to learn Italian?

In larger cities, you will get by without speaking the language. Many locals often choose to speak English with foreigners. Although you might be able to find employment without speaking Italian, it should come without saying, that you will need to learn the language at some point. A few basic words will always be appreciated by Italians, per favore (please), grazie (thank you), and prego (you are welcome), will be essential to get started

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: September 11, 2020
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