Moving to Italy from USA

Moving to Italy from the USA: Visas and Residency Permits

As an American, Italy may attract you in many ways—food, coffee, the Mediterranean climate… How about making your dream of moving to Italy, where art and history meet and where the heart of fashion beats, a reality?

We’ve compiled what you need to keep in mind when moving from the USA to Italy. We’ll explain

  • the visa process,
  • types of residence permits, 
  • benefits of moving from the USA to Italy, and much more.

Requirements of Moving to Italy from the USA

You need to take care of a few things before starting your Italian adventure. Let’s review moving to Italy from the USA requirements.

  • Your visa depends on the reason for moving. You can review the visa that best suits you here. 
  • A valid passport.
  • Photograph current and in proper size.
  • Bank account statement etc., for documenting your sufficient income.
  • Health insurance certificate.
  • Clean criminal record.
  • Vaccination documents if you are bringing a pet.

They may ask you for different documents specific to your visa.

Ways to Move to Italy from the USA

The visa process can be overwhelming. To simplify this process, we’ll explain the most suitable visa methods, whether you are applying from the USA or after arriving in Italy.

Applying for a Visa from the US

Let’s discover the available visa types of relocating to Italy from the US.

Employment Visa (Nulla Osta)

This visa is ideal for those with a job offer in Italy. Your employer will assist with the visa application process. This process generally involves submitting employment contracts, proof of qualifications, and a clean criminal background check.

Remember, this visa is only valid for entering the country. When you arrive in Italy, you will need to apply for Italian residence permit.

Self-Employment Visa

Entrepreneurs and freelancers can apply for this visa that lets you run your business in Italy. You’ll need to demonstrate 

  • a viable business plan, 
  • sufficient financial resources and 
  • a potential positive impact on the Italian economy.

You’ll have the visa that’s valid for two years, and the good news is that you can renew it. Moreover, after five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

Italy Golden (Investor) Visa

To obtain this visa, you must invest in one of four different investment options:

  • Invest €2 million in Italian government bonds
  • Invest €500,000 in an Italian limited company
  • Invest 250,000 euros in an innovative Italian startup
  • Donate €1 million to a charitable initiative in Italy

With this visa, your residence permit is valid for two years, and you can renew it.

Elective Residence Visa

Tuscan landscapes are waiting for American retirees and remote workers. This visa is proper for financially independent individuals with a steady passive income of at least €32,000 per year. 

Also, you need to have health insurance and suitable accommodation in Italy.

Student Visa

If you enroll in an Italian university or language course, consider this visa option. You will have a residence permit for the duration of the education. Plus, you can apply for permanent residence after five years of study and residence.

For this visa, you also need to receive your acceptance letter from the institution.

Applying for a Visa After Arriving in Italy

Family Visa

If one of your close family members holds Italian citizenship or permanent residency, you may be eligible for a family visa. You should research the specific requirements based on your family relationship (like a marriage certificate).

Types of Residence Permits for US Citizens

If you’re thinking of moving to Italy from the US, you should consider residence permit options, each tailored to specific circumstances. 

  • Employment/Work Visa: This permit allows long-term residence and employment.
  • Self-Employment Visa: This visa streamlines residency for freelancers and entrepreneurs in Italy.
  • Study Visa: Proper for students enrolled in accredited Italian universities, language programs, or vocational training courses. 
  • Elective Residence Visa: Designed for financially independent foreigners like retirees, this permit offers a two-year residency, extendable as needed.
  • Family Reunification Visa: This permit simplifies residency for US citizens with close family in Italy, allowing them to live and work there.
  • Golden Visa: For individuals investing €2 million or more in the Italian economy, this route offers residency and potential citizenship opportunities.
  • Citizenship via Jure Sanguinis: Italian law allows claiming citizenship based on ancestry (parent or grandparent’s Italian citizenship).

Settlement Permit or Permanent Residence

“Carta di Soggiorno” refers to the permanent residence permit in Italy. 


You can apply it after five years of residence in Italy with a temporary residence permit (Permesso di Soggiorno). This rule has some exceptions, such as for individuals married to Italian citizens or those with Italian heritage.

Then, you can apply for citizenship after living in Italy for five years with a permanent residence permit (a total of 10 years).

Here are other requirements for permanent residence:

  • Valid passport.
  • Existing residence permit.
  • Certificate of residence.
  • Clean criminal record.
  • Italian language test result with at least A2 level.
  • An annual minimum income that is higher than the payment of social benefits.
  • Health insurance.
  • Proof of payment (Average cost: over €176,00).


Obtaining permanent residency in Italy offers a lot of advantages:

  • The most important benefit of Carta di Soggiorno is that you don’t have to constantly verify your reason for being in Italy.
  • Unlike temporary residence permits, permanent permits allow work for longer periods of time and do not restrict activity.
  • You can apply for citizenship after 10 years of residence (or three years if you’re of Italian origin or two years of marriage to an Italian citizen).
  • You can travel freely in and out of Italy without restriction, and you won’t need additional permits to re-enter.

Getting an Italian Citizenship

Yes, you also apply for Italian citizenship under various circumstances. There are several ways to qualify for Italian citizenship. Here are the most common ones:

Descent (Jure Sanguinis)

You may be eligible for citizenship by descent if you have an Italian parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent. This is based on the principle of “blood right.”


Spouses of Italian citizens who have been married for at least two years can apply for citizenship through marriage. 

If you reside outside Italy, the Italian spouse must be registered with A.I.R.E. (Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad) and have their marriage certificate registered at the local Italian consulate.

Knowledge of Italian at the B1 level is required in this route to citizenship.


This is the most common route for US citizens who reside in Italy. To qualify, you must generally meet the following requirements:

  • Have legally resided in Italy for at least 10 years.
  • Demonstrate a B1 level of Italian language proficiency through a recognized certification test.
  • Prove you have sufficient financial resources to support yourself in Italy without relying on public assistance.
  • Have a clean criminal record.
  • Show evidence of integration into Italian society.

The Naturalization Process

The process varies depending on the requirements of the route you choose. However, the naturalization process generally includes these steps:

  • Collect documents like your passport, proof of residency, income documentation, marriage certificate, etc.
  • File your application with your local Prefettura office in your province of residence or you can make your application online.
  • Take and pass the Italian language proficiency test.
  • Attend an interview with Italian authorities to assess your understanding of Italian culture and your integration into society.
  • If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to take an oath of allegiance to the Italian Republic.

Consider These Points

  • Citizenship processing time can vary, so be prepared to wait several years.
  • We recommended consulting with an immigration lawyer.
  • Citizenship by descent and marriage may have additional specific requirements.
  • Research the relevant path thoroughly for the most accurate information.

Benefits of moving from the U.S.A. to Italy

In addition to having one of the most fascinating cuisines in the world, moving to Italy from the USA also has different benefits.


You won’t face big bills for doctor visits or hospital stays because Italy’s advanced healthcare system is financed by taxes.

Although there may be some wait times for non-urgent care, the quality of treatment is generally good. Upon arrival, you may consider private health insurance to close coverage gaps or access specialists faster.


Italy’s unemployment rate dropped to 6,87% in April 2024. However, forecasts show that the unemployment rate in Italy (from 7,6% in 2023) will stabilize around 7,5% between 2024 and 2026.

This is a high rate compared to the U.S.A. because the unemployment rate in the U.S.A. in May 2024 is 4,0%.

Nevertheless, the work culture in Italy can appeal to you. It’s more relaxed than in the US, with people taking breaks and enjoying life outside of work.

The job market can be competitive, so having strong Italian language skills and relevant experience is a big plus.

Cost of Living

Of course, the cost of living in Italy can vary depending on where you choose to live. 

  • Regular cappuccino: €1,60
  • A regular monthly pass for transport: €35,00
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in the city center: €759,99
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: €15,00


Italy has a well-developed public transportation system, especially in major cities. Trains are a great way to travel between cities, and buses and subways offer convenient options for getting around town.

Although public transportation is usually sufficient, you may need a car to go to some rural areas.

Most Popular Areas in Italy

Italy’s diverse regions offer unique charm, history, and landscapes. From lively northern cities to sunny southern beaches, ensuring there’s a region for everyone.


Tuscany is the birthplace of the Renaissance. Rolling hills surrounded by vineyards and picturesque villages paint the perfect postcard of Italy.

If you are an art enthusiast, you will be amazed by Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, with its museums and architecture. And if you’re a foodie, Tuscany goes far beyond just being satisfying.

Tuscany offers a relaxed pace of life, perfect for those seeking a slower, more nature-focused lifestyle.


Lombardy is a thriving region with a dynamic combination of modern innovations and a rich history. Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, offers an energetic and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

History buffs will also love cities like Bergamo and Mantua, with their medieval architecture and Renaissance treasures.

For nature lovers, Lombardy offers the breathtaking beauty of the Italian Alps, suitable for outdoor activities.


If you are thinking of moving from the USA to Italy, there are many ways to do this.

Finding the one that suits you best will make the process easier. 

With its Mediterranean energy, slow pace, and delicious food, Italy awaits you with a friendly welcome.

Wines, Italian food, hills, history, art—with the right planning, they can all become part of your daily routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What costs should I expect to pay when moving from the U.S. to Italy?

There are many different itemsæ that will affect your cost. As a general framework:

  • Visa fees: $140 - $240 per visa (depending on the type)
  • Shipping costs: $1,500 - $12,000 (based on size and weight of belongings)
  • Flight tickets: Variable (research based on travel dates and airlines)
  • Initial housing costs: Security deposit + potentially first month's rent (depending on location and rental agreement)

Can a U.S. citizen live in Italy?

Yes, U.S. citizens can live in Italy as they can have residence permit in many European countries. Depending on your situation, you have several visa options, such as work visas, retirement visas, and family reunification visas. 

Check with the Italian consulate or embassy for details.

What are the benefits of moving from the USA to Italy with an EU spouse?

Spouses of EU citizens moving to Italy from the US can use their spouse's EU citizenship to get a residence card, allowing them to live and work in Italy without a specific visa. You need to provide proof of marriage, EU citizenship, health insurance, and accommodation. 

The residence card is renewable and can lead to permanent residency and Italian citizenship

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