How to Move to Italy from the USA

How to Move to Italy from the USA

How to move to Italy from the USA

Disclaimer: This article is intended as a general guide. However, individual cases may vary according to the background and circumstances of the individual. If you wish to apply for Italian Citizenship, we recommend you speak to a specialized agency. 

Is there any place more beautiful and perfect than Italy? The food, the culture, the people; it’s easily one of the best countries in the world. So, if you’ve finally decided to pack the bags and settle in Italy, you need to know how it all works, so in this article, we explain how to move to Italy from the USA

Relocating to Italy from the USA isn’t as easy as it sounds; you can’t just get up and go without any preparation. You need to be organized, methodical, and even open up your mind because foreign cultures can easily shock a person.

But if you’re looking for a detailed guide on how to move to Italy from the USA, we’ve got one right here. Of course, there are still quite a few things you need to sort out, and it’s best if you visit the embassy/consulate. But here are a couple of general steps and dos and don’ts that will make relocating to Italy from the USA much easier for you:

Long-term or Short-term?

First, you need to decide if you’re going to move to Italy from the USA permanently or want to return after a while.

Short-term visas

Short-term stays include a Schengen visa and a study visa.

Uniform Schengen Visa

The Uniform Schengen visa allows US citizens to live in Schengen Areas like Italy for a maximum of 90 days, return to the States, and then stay for a minimum of 180 days before traveling back to Italy. With this visa, you can explore Italy after getting your passport stamped.

This type of stay is considered a move to Italy on a technicality and obviously won’t work out if you want to stay for longer.

Study Visa

The study visa works for only as long as you’re enrolled in an Italian institution. To qualify, you’ve to be accepted at an institute, then visit the local US consulate and show your acceptance letter.

You’ll also need to show proof of finances (if you can afford residence and health insurance).

Long-term visas

Long-term stays include an employment visa, elective visa and dual citizenship.

Employment Visa

For workaholics seeking to know how to move to Italy as an American, the only route is if you are employed by a company that specifically caters to nulla osta. Nulla osta is basically a document that allows non-Italian immigrants to work; without it or working for a company that doesn’t appeal a nulla osta won’t get you the visa.

Initially, the visa is only valid for 2 years, but renewal can go up to 5 years.

Elective Visa

An elective visa works only if you’re retired or have passive income because immigrants with this visa are not permitted to work under any circumstances. This usually works for folks seeking retirement or those who are able to afford the lifestyle without having to work and are actively looking into how to move to Italy as an American.

Dual citizenship visa

Dual citizenship basically permits people with Italian heritage/ancestry to apply for a permanent visa, even if they were born in the US. Obviously, this route won’t work out for people who aren’t of Italian descent.

Yet, it’s easier said than done. There are numerous conditions one has to fulfill, and only if a person meets all mandated criteria are they qualified to apply.

Some of these specifics include knowing which state consulate you can apply through (it varies from person to person, so if you’re living in Ohio, you might still have to travel to another state).

Who is eligible?

There’s also a law that dictates that your ancestor must have been an Italian citizen after 1912. So, if your ancestor revoked their Italian citizenship due to any reason after 1912, you may not be eligible.

The same law dictates the said ancestor must have been an Italian citizen when their children were born. So, the right of Italian citizenship must have been passed from said ancestor to their child and so on.

This means if your ancestors were living with Italian citizenship at the time of the birth of their child (who might be your mother or grandmother or even aunt), only then can you apply for the visa. If not, then you’re not eligible.

Of course, for all visa types, there are extensive details and rules and regulations you need to look into. This is why we suggest consulting a travel agency, preferably one that specifically caters to Italian citizenship, so you have a better idea of your standing.

Some of the people who have worked on this site have used ItalyMondo. However, there are several companies that do this, and we encourage you to do your own research and speak to several of them before making a decision. (note: this is not a paid article. We don’t receive any commission from referring such companies).

Documents and Processes

US Documents

You can find the list of documents you need from the consulate, but here are a few you need if you’re applying for dual citizenship:

Vital Records

Birth certificates, marriage licenses/certificates, even divorce records etc. must be issued from Vital Records.


All documents mentioned above must be apostilled (certified to be used abroad) by the Secretary of State.


All English documents must be translated to Italian.

Certificate of Naturalization

This document is only for those applying for dual citizenship. Certificate of Naturalization is basically proof of your Italian descent.

USCIS Appointment

If your ancestor is still alive, you must make an appointment with the USCIS and get a certified copy.

Letter of No Record of Naturalization

If your ancestor is Italian and you are qualified, but your ancestor never naturalized, you have to get this letter from USCIS and the National Archives.

Italy Documents

You’ll need to request some documents from Italy if you’re applying for dual citizenship, such as the birth, death, and marriage certificate of the ancestor you are using to prove your Italian descent.

Commune information

Information about which commune your ancestor belongs to (where they were born). These can be difficult / Time consuming to obtain on your own.


Once you get your visa, you’ll need to register for residency. Once again, it depends on the type of visa, but you must register with your preferred commune to be eligible. Once you’re an established commune resident, you can declare residency.

Tax Code/Codice Fiscale

You need to apply for a tax code as soon as you enter Italy. This can be done by filling out a form and submitting it. The tax code is a must since it basically becomes your identity.

Citizenship Application

You can start the application if you qualify for Italian citizenship and have all the documents required (translated and apostilled). This can be done at any commune in Italy. However, it can be a long and complicated process. We recommend that you contact an immigration lawyer or company that specializes in this. There are several agencies with experience in helping Americans of Italian descent obtain their Italian citizenship, such as ItalyMondo.

Now you know how to move to Italy from the USA

We have explained how to move to Italy from the USA, but once you arrive, there are a few things that you should know to ensure you settle in as quickly as possible.


The state usually provides healthcare in Italy. However, you will need to apply for a Health Card (tessera sanitaria). The process for this will depend on the region you live in, whether you are an Italian citizen, and if you have a Fisical Code (codice fiscale). If you are an Italian citizen, it’s much easier if you are an Italian citizen AND have a Fisical Code; you might be able to apply online. You might otherwise have to make an appointment in your local commune.

This card is essential as you often must present it when purchasing prescriptions from the pharmacy or visiting the hospital. Once you have the health card, you can apply to a medical clinic and be assigned a doctor. This varies a lot by region, so you will need to ask your local commune for information on the process.


Depending on where you live, you might want to prioritize studying the Italian language.

The larger northern cities such as Milan, Turin, and Florence have a strong presence of expats and international businesses. Therefore, you will find plenty of English-speaking locals. You might even have an advantage in the job market for companies with an overseas HQ. However, you will settle in more quickly if you can speak moderate-level Italian, and it will be important if you want to work for an Italian company.

If you plan to live outside the major cities, you must learn at least basic Italian to communicate with anyone. Traditionally, these places do not get a lot of tourism, and the people who live there are not used to speaking English, so it is recommended that you learn Italian as quickly as possible.

Cost of Living

Believe it or not, Italian costs of living are much lower than that of the U.S. We may think European countries are lavish, but they’re quite cheap. However, it should be noted that the minimum wage is even cheaper, so you need to work with a company that’s reputable and offers enough to live comfortably.

The cost of housing and utilities vary from region to region and even city to city. Northern regions are much more expensive, but they also have higher-paying jobs


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