How to Move to Italy from the US

Joe Roberts
Apr 26, 2022
Icon Time To Read12 min read

At a glance

So you’ve decided to move to Italy from the United States. Unfortunately, the road ahead will involve more than touring the gorgeous countryside and eating delicious Italian food. Whether you’re moving there temporarily or plan to live there indefinitely, relocating to Italy requires a lot of planning, careful budgeting, and coordination with an Italian consulate.

To help you accomplish all this quickly so you can get back to Duolingo sooner, we’ve done the research and compiled a complete relocation checklist for your move to Italy. Keep reading to learn which visa you’ll need, which international moving company to hire, and how you can eventually become an Italian citizen.

Best international moving companies for a move to Italy

Choosing an international moving company is the first step on your way to living in Italy. Be aware, though, that getting your visa can take several months, and the consulate could deny your request. In case something goes wrong with your application, you shouldn’t book your moving services unless you can cancel them penalty-free later.

It’s never too early to start getting free moving estimates, though. In fact, getting a moving estimate is a necessary step for effective budgeting, which is why you should do it ASAP.

Request quotes from a few of these international movers to compare prices and decide which one is right for your relocation to “the beautiful country.”

Use case
Moving company
Star rating
Customer service
Phone number
Best overall
northamericanNorth American Van Lines
4.8 out of 5 stars
7 days/week customer service89 years of experience855-898-6625
Employee relocation
unitedUnited Van Lines
4.7 out of 5 stars
Weekday only customer service94 years of experience877-740-3040
Most popular
internationalvanlinesInternational Van Lines
4.3 out of 5 stars
7 days/week customer service18 years of experience855-930-4574
Wide availability
alliedAllied Van Lines
4.1 out of 5 stars
Weekday only customer service94 years of experience855-886-2648
Excellent reviews
bekinsBekins Van Lines
4.1 out of 5 stars
Weekday only customer service131 years of experience800-456-8092
Info Box
How do international moves work?

When you move overseas, your stuff can be delivered by boat or by plane, though ocean freight is much cheaper than air freight. You can also opt to have your stuff delivered to your home in your new country or to the nearest port of entry where you can pick it up yourself. Read our guide to international moving to learn more about this process.

You probably can’t take everything to Italy

No matter what you do, you should plan to spend several thousand dollars on an international move. You can lower your price by downsizing before leaving, though. And there are a few things you either can’t or shouldn’t take with you anyway.

Every country has a list of items you’re prohibited from importing, and Italy is no exception. Italy restricts how much meat, dairy, alcohol, and cigarettes you can bring through customs, and that’s just a short list. Check the European Union’s resource on prohibited items or talk to your moving company to learn more.

You can also save a small fortune by selling or donating bulky furniture, clothes you haven’t worn in years, and other items you don’t need or can easily replace once you’re in Italy.

Bringing your electronics to Italy

Electronics you’ve purchased in the US, especially ones with motors, are among the first things you should get rid of before your move.

Even if you get an adapter to make your American electronics work with Italian outlets, the difference in power output can fry your tech and appliances unless you invest in a voltage converter.

Overall, it might be better to just replace your electronics with Italian counterparts once you’ve moved. That way, you don’t have to pay your movers to ship gadgets and machines that will give you grief in your new home.

Taking your pets to Italy

The good news: you can bring pets to Italy with you. The bad news: it’s a convoluted process and there are many restrictions. In order to bring a cat or dog to Italy, you have to ensure it has the following:

  • A vet certificate
  • A rabies vaccine
  • A tattoo or microchip
  • A carrier labeled with your name, Italian address, and phone number

Also, your pet must be at least three months old when you bring it, and—once in Italy—you’ll need to get your pet an EU Pet Passport from an Italian vet.[1] And we agree, it really should be called a “pawsport.”

There are other restrictions for animals like birds, fish, reptiles, and rodents, and you can only bring up to five pets into Italy with you. To learn more, check out the US embassy’s resource on taking animals to Italy.

Taking your vehicle to Italy

You can ship a car internationally, but it can cost more than $5,000 to do so. And that’s just the shipping cost. Italy also charges import taxes, duties, and registration fees for imported cars. Because of these exorbitant costs, you should only import a car you can’t bear to part with.

If you just need a commuter vehicle in Italy, it would be easier and more cost-effective to sell your current car in America and get a new car or scooter in Italy.

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Can I drive in Italy with a US driver’s license?

Before moving to Italy, you should obtain an International Driving Permit. This will allow you to drive in Italy temporarily. If you register as an Italian resident, though, you’ll need to apply for an Italian driver’s license within one year of registering.[2] Read the embassy’s resource on driving in Italy to learn more. April 6, 2022.

Budgeting for your overseas move

We won’t sugarcoat it: moving to Italy is going to cost you thousands of dollars. Between paying your moving costs, getting a house or apartment, and paying your visa fees, this move is probably going to tap out your finances, at least for a while.

Luckily, since the visa process takes several months, you’ve got plenty of time to save up. Below, we’ll break down a few costs you should expect to pay so you can start budgeting now.

How much does it cost to relocate to Italy?

Expect to spend somewhere between $6,000 and $13,000 (or more in some cases) to ship your household goods from the US to Italy. As with any type of move, the amount of stuff you have, the exact locations you’re moving from and to, and your shipping method can all affect your price, which is why this range is so wide.

At the end of the day, you’ll only know for sure how much your move to Italy will cost after you get an estimate from an international moving company. Your moving costs will be one of your biggest expenses, so you should start getting quotes as soon as you decide to move. Otherwise, you’ll only have a vague idea of how much money to save.

If these high costs make your dreams of moving to Italy seem unattainable, perhaps we can help. We’ve put together a guide to paying for your move, even when it seems like you can’t.

Visa and immigration fees

Unfortunately, consular fees vary by which Italian consulate you get your visa through, and they change quarterly.[3] To get up-to-date information on visa and immigration fees, check the website of whichever Italian consulate has jurisdiction in your state.

Request your codice fiscale

Aside from your travel visa, your codice fiscale is the most important document for your stay in Italy, and you’ll actually need your codice fiscale to apply for your visa. This document includes your Italian taxpayer identification number, which you’ll need even if you aren’t a taxpaying citizen in Italy yet.

“Codice fiscale” roughly translates to “fiscal code,” and you can think of this document as the Italian equivalent of a social security card. Unlike your social security card, though, you’ll use your codice fiscale all the time. Here are a few of the things you’ll do in Italy that require a codice fiscale:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Opening a postal account
  • Signing a lease
  • Starting utility services
  • Signing contracts[4]

Luckily, getting your codice fiscale is actually pretty simple compared to getting a visa, and—best of all—it’s free. You’ll just need to fill out the application form and send it in PDF form to your local Italian consulate along with PDF versions of your birth certificate, your ID, and a document proving you currently live within your consular district.[5]

Be aware that the Italian consulate in your area might have other requirements for applying for a codice fiscale, so you should check its website before assembling your documents.

Find a place to live in Italy

Once you have your codice fiscale, you can look for a place to live in Italy. Believe it or not, this is actually another prerequisite to applying for many types of visas. This means you’ll have to get an apartment or house before you’re sure you can stay in Italy long-term.

Additionally, knowing exactly where you’ll live can make your moving estimate more accurate. As soon as you’ve signed a lease or bought a home, you’ll want to update your moving company so it can adjust your estimate accordingly.

For help finding an Italian residence, use these resources:

Renew your documents

Before your move, you should make sure your passport, driver’s license, medical records, and insurance documents are all up to date. Renewing these documents is much harder for an American living abroad, so you’ll want to ensure they’ll remain valid for at least a few years after you move.

The renewal process for these documents can take a few months, so it’s good to take care of this step sooner than later.

Apply for the visa stamp you need

Without a visa, you can only stay in Italy for 90 days at a time with a valid passport. After those 90 days, you’ll have to leave the country for 90 days before returning. Making this setup work will require insane amounts of travel on your part, and it’ll make jet lag a way of life. To live in Italy for longer than three months, you’ll need to apply for a visa.

There are many types of visas, however, and they’re meant for different people. Someone studying abroad in Italy will need a different visa from someone who intends to work there or retire there. To find out which visa is right for you, take this survey from the Directorate General for Italians Abroad and Migration Policies.

Requirements for different types of visas

The application process is a little different for every type of visa, and each one will require different documentation. To get started on the lengthy application process, check out these guides from the Italian consulate in New York:

Keep in mind that the New York consulate might not be the one you’ll apply through, and the consulate that serves your area might have unique requirements for visa applications. To get the most accurate info for your situation, check the website of your local Italian consulate.

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Use every resource available to you

Applying for a visa is a long and difficult process, and it can be easy to get it wrong. Luckily, you might not have to do it alone. If you’re moving for school, work, or the military, you likely have a wealth of resources to help with the application process. Reach out to your school, place of work, or your transportation office to request assistance with your visa application.

Book your flight

Once you’ve chosen a moving company, received your codice fiscale, picked a place to live in Italy, and applied for your visa, it’s time to book your flight! It’s best to take care of this step early so you aren’t scrambling for a good flight at the last minute, but if you book before your visa is approved, you should probably purchase travel insurance in case you need to cancel your flight.

Packing for your flight

Flying internationally for a vacation may require careful packing, but it’s nothing compared to the packing requirements for living abroad. You’ll need to pack much more deliberately and generously for this trip than any other trip you’ve probably taken. So much for traveling light.

It will take your movers several weeks to deliver your stuff to your new home in Italy, so you should fly with everything you’ll need in the meantime. Pack plenty of clothes, all your medications, and every document you’ll need to start your new life in Italy.

Unfortunately, this probably means you’ll need to check more luggage than usual. This will be costly, but it beats living in a foreign country without the things you require.

You should also go to your bank to get plenty of euros before your flight. And if you’ve already opened a bank account in Italy (which we recommend), make sure you have your Italian debit or credit cards in your wallet.

Prepare for your movers

Before your moving crew arrives to pack up your stuff, make sure you’ve properly prepared for the day. Get rid of any items you won’t be taking, pack everything you’ve opted to pack yourself, and contact your move coordinator ahead of time so you know exactly when your movers will show up.

Also, keep everything you’ll take on your flight in a separate area so your movers don’t pack it up and cart it away on accident.

Read our guide to preparing for your movers to learn more.

Need more preparation tips?

For more assistance preparing for your journey abroad, check out our guide to preparing for an international move. There, we discuss other international moving essentials like finding health care insurance, opening a bank account, and forwarding your mail.

Get settled in Italy

Once you’ve arrived in Italy, it’s time to settle in and wait for the rest of your household goods to arrive. And like we said, this can take several weeks, so you may want to start filling in your new home or apartment with whatever furnishings you were going to replace anyway.

In the first few days, you’ll also want to set up all your utilities, ensure your mail is finding you, and get familiar with your local grocers and shops. Now would also be a good time to find an Italian language tutor. Your language learning app may have gotten you this far, but nothing’s better than learning from a native.

Getting your permesso di siggiorno

If you want to actually live in Italy for longer than a year, you’ll need to go to your local post office and apply for a permesso di siggiorno, or Permit to Stay, within eight days of arriving in Italy.[6] Attaining this document is an important step toward becoming an Italian citizen, and even if you don’t intend to naturalize, you’ll still need it for your extended stay in Italy.

This video from House Finders Northern Italy teaches you how to apply for a permesso di siggiorno.

Apply for Italian citizenship

There are three ways to become an Italian citizen: by descent, by marriage, and by residency.[7]

How to become an Italian citizen by descent

In order to become an Italian citizen by descent, you need to be closely descended from an Italian citizen. If either of your parents, either of your grandfathers, or any of your great-grandfathers were citizens of Italy, you can apply for dual citizenship with Italy.

This will require you to substantiate official documentation proving your heritage, but it’s still the easiest way to become an Italian citizen if it applies to you.

How to become an Italian citizen by marriage

To become an Italian citizen through marriage, you’ll first need to marry an Italian citizen. Afterward, you’ll have to wait a few years. If you live in Italy, you can apply for citizenship after two years of marriage. If you don’t live in Italy, you’ll have to wait three years.[8]

Two important notes on this method:

  1. Civil unions count as marriages for the purposes of gaining citizenship.[9]
  2. Same-sex marriages are recognized as civil unions in Italy, so they also count.[10]

How to become an Italian citizen by residency

The third path to citizenship takes the longest, but it’s the only one available to you if you aren’t descended from or married to an Italian. Here’s how it works:

  • You’ll need to hold your permesso di soggiorno for five years. This will require frequent renewals.
  • After five years, you can apply for permanent resident status.
  • After another five years as a permanent resident, you can then apply for Italian citizenship by residency.[11]

There are a few more hoops to jump through—like passing an Italian language test—before you’ll obtain citizenship this way, but that’s the gist of it.

Our legal advice? Lawyer up

It’s technically possible to become a citizen of Italy without a lawyer’s help, but getting an expert on board is a great way to ensure you do everything right. Especially if you're immigrating with children or a spouse. No matter how you become an Italian citizen, we recommend getting help from these immigration law specialists:


Despite how hard we’ve probably made the process sound, moving to Italy will still be the life-changing adventure you’ve always dreamed of. And now that you know the ins and outs of acquiring a visa, hiring movers to deliver your household goods, and applying for citizenship, you’re prepared for the journey ahead. Buon viaggio!

FAQ about moving to Italy

Can I live in Italy without a job?

It’s technically possible to move to Italy without a job, and some visas require that you don’t work while you’re in Italy. However, if you aren’t independently wealthy, you’ll want to get a work visa and find a way to earn money in Italy before you move there.

What is the primary currency in Italy?

Italy is part of the European Union, so its official currency is the euro. This has been the case since 1999 when the euro replaced the Italian lira.[12]

Does Italy have universal health care?

Yes, Italian citizens and legal foreign residents of Italy both enjoy universal health coverage for things like primary care, inpatient care, and maternity care.[13] Visitors to Italy have to pay for their health care, though, so until you gain residency in Italy, you’ll need to procure private health insurance.

Recommended resources

If you really want to get your ducks in a row before your move to Italy, we recommend reading these guides and checklists to ensure your international move goes smoothly:


  1. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy, “Pet Travel FAQs (to Italy and to the U.S.).” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  2. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy, “Transportation and Driving in Italy.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  3. Consolato Generale d’Italia New York, “Fees.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  4. StudentsVille, “Codice Fiscale: why you need a Fiscal Code in Italy and How to Get One.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  5. Consolato Generale d’Italia New York, “Codice Fiscale.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  6. VisaGuide.World, “Italy Residence Permits.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  7. Italian Dual Citizenship, “How to Become an Italian Citizen.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  8. Consolato Generale d’Italia Los Angeles, “Citizenship by Marriage / Civil Union.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  9. Consolato Generale d’Italia Los Angeles, “Citizenship by Marriage / Civil Union.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  10. Italian Dual Citizenship, “Italian Citizenship By Marriage or Civil Union.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  11. VisaGuide.World, “Italy Residence Permits.” Accessed April 6, 2022.
  12. Firebird Tours, “Currency in Italy,” February 24, 2022. Accessed April 6, 2022.
  13. The Commonwealth Fund, “Italy,” June 5, 2020. Accessed April 6, 2022.
Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.