Moving to Italy from the USA

Italy is one of the most attractive places to visit or live in Europe. The country boasts a rich culture and heritage that is celebrated via music, arts, language, food, wine, and unique architectural sites.

Each year it is estimated that thousands of Americans migrate to Italy to work, study, marry or retire. As of January 2019, about 5,255,503 foreign residents were living in Italy. This is about 8.7% of the total Italian population. 8.3% of this number accounts for American residents living in Italy. That is about 436,207 US-born residents, with about 170,000 of them being expats.

Moving to Italy from the USA for the same reasons is possible. And we are going to show you how you, too, can do it.

Here are some other articles that might help you plan your move:
  • Best USA to Italy movers: The long-distance moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances.
  • How much will your move cost?: This cost calculator will provide an immediate calculation of what your move should cost. Just plug in your moving dates, the size of your move, where you’re moving to/from, and let the calculator do the rest.
  • Consider moving containers: Need a more budget-friendly option? With these companies, you load, and they drive! These are the best moving container companies.
  • Best car shippers: Moving your car? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle, and is experienced.

How Much Does it Cost to Move from the USA to Italy?

Home Size Moving Company Moving Container Freight Company Truck Rental
Studio/1 Bedroom $1,680-$5,840 $1,923-$2,429 $1,520-$2,160 $1,093-$1,509
2-3 Bedrooms $2,200-$8,050 $2,422-$3,650 $2,185-$3,180 $1,142-$1,763
4+ Bedrooms $3,885-$10,300 $3,273-$4,134 $2,850-$3,600 $1,444-$1,949

*Pricing above does not include gas, tolls, lodging, and other related moving expenses.

What are the best USA to Italy movers?

Company Quote Rating Price
Best Overall Value
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5 overall rating
Best industry reputation
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4.85 overall rating
Best for complex moves
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4.35 overall rating

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How to move from the USA to Italy

Visa information:

There are several visa options for Americans wishing to relocate to Italy.

If you wish to travel to Italy to work, you’ll need to apply for a work visa (Nulla Osta). There are two types of work visas – one for employees (lavoro surbodinato) and one for the self-employed (lavoro autonomo).

If you are intending on moving to Italy to study, you will need to apply for a student visa.

If you are looking to move to Italy from the USA to join a spouse, parent, child, or other family members, you can do so via a family reunification visa.

For those looking to move to Italy to retire, this is possible via the Elective Residence Visa.

The process to live in Italy long term:

The process to live in Italy is much easier for members of the European Union. For Americans, who are non-EU members, the process is a little longer.

The first process is usually to apply for a long-stay visa. This type of visa allows you to live in Italy for more than 90 days.

Once you get to Italy, you will need to apply for a residence permit within 8 days. You can either apply for the permesso di sorggiorno or the carta di sorggiorno. The former grants you a stay of up to 2 years and the latter grants you a stay of up to 5 years.

After 5 years of having a residence permit, you can apply for permanent residency. Permanent residency grants you better access to health and education services and benefits.

After holding permanent residency for ten years, you can apply for Italian citizenship and enjoy all the benefits that natural-born Italians hold.

How to move your things from the US to Italy

There are several ways to relocate to Italy from the USA. The four main options include:

International moving companies

By far, international moving companies offer the most convenient and thorough moving service of all the four main options. The moving crew will come to your residence, pack up all your belongings and load them into their trucks. Your goods will then be transported to the seaport or airport and shipped to Italy. From there the international moving company will arrange to have your goods hauled to your new home in whichever city you’re relocating to there.

In addition to the above services, your international mover will also provide moving advice, moving insurance, and customs clearance.

International container companies

International container companies also work similarly to local container companies. Here they will ship your belongings from your address in the US to your new one in Italy.

However, unlike international moving companies, international container companies do not provide a full service. The container will be provided to you before the moving date and you will have to pack it yourself. Of course, you can hire moving help to do that for you. Once the container has been shipped to your new home in Italy, you will then need to unpack it or hire labor once again.

The container companies also provide you with moving advice, moving insurance, and also customs clearance.

Sea Freight

With sea freight, you essentially ship your furniture as freight cargo via sea.

You can do this personally or hire intermediaries such as a freight broker or a forwarding and clearing agent.

Here you’ll need to pack up all your household goods and transport them to the port. You’ll need to pay shipping fees and any requisite customs and port charges. Your goods will then be shipped to your port of choice in Italy.

You’ll then need to organize how to pick your goods from the port, pay clearance and customs fees, and then forward your freight to your new home.

Shipping companies

With this option, you engage an international shipping company to transport (or organize the transportation of) your goods from the US to Italy. Your goods can be transported via air or sea shipping, depending on your budget.

The shipping company will handle all the forwarding, clearing, and customs applications on your behalf. However, you will need to organize to have your furniture packed up and ready for pick-up on the agreed dates.

Why are people moving from the United States to Italy?

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, thousands of Americans are leaving the US each year and moving to Italy to work, study, or live there permanently.

Let’s take a closer look at the reasons driving this migration.

Why people are moving out of the United States:

  • High cost of housing and living

The cost of living in the US is quite high. And so is the cost of housing in key cities such as New York, San Francisco, & Los Angeles.

  • Search for employment and better work prospects

Many people migrate out of the country each year in search of greener pastures, especially those with skills that could pay more in other countries.

  • The search for better retirement locations

Retirees in the US often migrate to other countries where their money can get them more freedom.

  • Cultural reasons

Some other people are migrating out of the US due to cultural reasons that include race, politics, and religion.

Why people are moving to Italy:

Every year, tens of thousands of foreigners travel to Italy to start the hopeful process of a long life there.

The top reasons why many people (especially from the USA) are moving to Italy include:

  • Rich culture and heritage
  • Good weather all year round
  • Many geographical and historical sites to visit
  • Great healthcare and education systems
  • Good food and entertainment
  • Friendly & welcoming citizens

Why people are moving from the United States to Italy:

Why are American citizens specifically migrating from the USA to Italy? Could their reasons be the same as yours? The top reasons include:

  • Cheaper cost of living

Although taxes in Italy are high, the costs of basic utilities are much cheaper.

  • Lower housing costs

The cost of housing in Italy is much lower than that in major US cities. Even in Rome where many US expats settle, the rents are just a fraction of what you pay in SF, LA, or NY.

  • Better access to healthcare services

Quality healthcare is more accessible in Italy especially for those who manage to get permanent residency.

  • Culture

Italy is full of beautiful cultural attractions that range from its history to music, food, wine, films, fashion, architecture, and lots more.

  • Great weather

Italy enjoys great weather all year around. And that includes winter, too, in many areas. However, the country enjoys sunshine most of the time, and summers are not as hot as those in the US.

  • Beautiful outdoors and wonderful sceneries

Italy is full of beautiful places to visit, tour, and live in. The country has more heritage sites than any other in the world. Attractions include Roman architecture, Victorian art, Opera music, Pizza, beaches, mountains, skiing, and more.

What are some of the best places to move to in Italy?

If you are planning on moving to Italy, these are some of the cities/neighborhoods you should look into first.

  • Rome

Rome is the capital of Italy. It is centrally located in the country just off the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a busy capital and home to most American expats. The city also is home to Vatican city among many other attractions such as the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon.

  • Florence

The city of Florence is located north of Rome and is the capital of Tuscany. The city is home to about 382K people. It has average high temperatures of 89°F in summer and average low winters of 34°F. Top attractions here include the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, and the David of Michelangelo statue.

  • Milan

Milan is the capital of the northern region of Lombardy. Milan is renowned internationally for its fashion presence. However, beyond fashion, Milan is a retiree paradise thanks to its relaxed atmosphere and warm weather. The city experiences average high temperatures of 83°F and winter lows of 30°F.

  • Naples

Naples is another great city to live in Italy. It’s a coastal city to the south of Rome with a population of about 1 million people. It’s a port city, too, with a bustling economy and many cultural attractions such as the ruins of Pompeii, Castel Nuovo, and Mount Vesuvius. Naples has a warmer climate with summer highs of 88°F and winter’s lows of 40°F.

  • Venice

Venice is a highly-popular city in Italy located to the northeast. It consists of many small islands separated by canals, hence the nickname “the floating city”. It is a smaller city with just 258K inhabitants. However, it is a city rich in history, with the Grand Canal being a major attraction. The city experiences cooler summers of about 82°F and winters of about 32°F.

Frequently asked questions about moving to Italy:

Can US citizens move to Italy?

Yes, US citizens can move to Italy. However, being non-EU citizens, they do need to apply for a long-stay visa or a corresponding visa for work, study, retirement, or family reunification.

How much does it cost to move to Italy from the US?

The total costs to move to Italy from the US will include the cost of air transport, the cost of shipping your belongings, and the cost of the visa application.

Can I move to Italy without a job?

It is quite hard to move to Italy without any employment. For people moving there to work, proof of employment is needed and the employer in Italy has to initiate a request for your work permit application.

Is it expensive for an American to live in Italy?

With decent employment or savings, an American can live or retire in Italy quite comfortably. The average annual salary needed to live there with ease is about USD 34,000.

Is it expensive to move to Italy?

No. The cost of shipping your belongings is often one of the larger costs of moving to Italy. Luckily, you can opt for cheaper sea shipping.

How do I move to Italy?

You can move by shipping your goods via air freight or a container moving company. You can also engage an international moving company.

What are the benefits of living in Italy?

Enjoy a rich culture, good weather all year round, a lower cost of living, great food and entertainment, arts, music, and great outdoors.

What is the process of moving to Italy from the US?

First, you will need a long-stay visa. Then you’ll need to apply for your work, study, or retirement visa. See more details above.

What are the downsides to moving to Italy?

The language barrier and culture shocks are some of the challenges of moving to Italy from the USA.

Does Italy have strong social security?

Yes. Italian citizens and permanent residents do enjoy social security benefits that support areas such as unemployment, housing, and healthcare.

How long does it take to move to Italy?

Sea shipping takes about 25 days and air freight only takes about 12 hours without counting door-to-door delivery.

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