Immigration Law

Digital Nomads in Italy: a Comprehensive Guide

Italy

digital nomad Italy

Who are digital nomads?

Digital nomads are an emerging category of workers. They are horizontal, which means they’re not coming from a single field of specialization. They can be finance experts, bank employees, travel advisors, marketing specialists, data scientists, software engineers, business lawyers, and so on.

Working full remotely

Working full remotely is nowadays possible because of the separation of work from a physical location. They are individuals who can work independently in any geographical location using technological tools such as devices, collaborative software, computers, and of course the Internet. In some cases, it is the company itself that grants full-remote to its employees. Working from home may be more convenient to gain time that would otherwise be lost in commuting. In the case of digital nomads, however, the decision is made to move residence to another state. The company must therefore have software for full remote management of the workforce, shifts, teams, decisions, and rules for collaborative dynamics. Self-employed individuals with valid VAT numbers can also be considered digital nomads.

Where should you go as a digital nomad?

The digital nomad lifestyle is on the rise, and it’s not surprising. Being free to relocate and discover new cultures while working remotely is a great opportunity to partake in the many wonders the world has to offer.

Why move to Italy to work remotely?

Needless to say, the more attractive and interesting your destination is, the more rewarding your nomad experience will be. Now the world is full of beautiful places, but there’s only one country that offers mesmerizing art, lyrical scenery, a pleasant climate, welcoming locals, and top-class food and wine all rolled into one, and that’s Italy. Lombardy, Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, and Trentino Alto-Adige are just some examples of regions where you can find your own life-work balance. This means being able to live happily in an interesting place, surrounded by nature, and art, without having to pay high house rentals and wait hours to move from one place to another inside the same city.

Digital nomad visa in Italy: what is it?

In March 2022 Italy released a special law determining the basic principles and requirements for working in Italy as a digital nomad. The law amends Legislative Decree No. 286 (July 25, 1998), called ‘Consolidated text of provisions concerning the discipline of immigration and regulations on the condition of foreigners’, adding an introductory paragraph about what is needed. So, the digital nomad visa is a document that allows not-EU citizens who work remotely to work within the Italian territory. It is available to those who work for a foreign company or business. Self-employed professionals with valid VAT numbers based abroad can also apply for this visa.

The introduction of this type of visa moves Italy closer to the models adopted in other countries. It allows non-EU digital nomads and remote workers, whether self-employed or employed, to enter Italy outside the annual quotas established in the flow decree, which currently limits entries of non-EU workers to 69,700 per year, 42,000 of which are for seasonal work.

Requirements for the Italy Digital Nomad Visa

While some of the requirements for the Italy digital nomad visa are still unclear, we do know some of the eligibility criteria, which include:

  • Being a non-EU citizen.
  • Working for an employer registered outside of Italy.
  • Using telecommunications technology to carry out your work.
  • Applicants are “highly skilled workers“.

Now we are still waiting for the Legge Attuativa, the implementing law that will make it active. This means the actual Italian government needs to issue a law containing all the necessary economic disposals and practical assessment.

It is important to note that the digital nomad visa is not a substitute for a residence permit. All individuals who have the digital nomad visa must also have a valid residence permit to live in Italy. This permit is released by the Police.

CONTACT NOW ITALY LAW FIRMS TO HAVE A FREE CONSULTATION

How to obtain the document needed

Usually, if a self-employed individual living abroad decides to work and live in Italy, they must go through a complex bureaucratic process to obtain a work visa for Italy.

However, digital nomads don’t need to go through this process. Instead, they only need to:

  • Register a valid Italian Fiscal Code (Tax Number).
  • Apply for a digital nomad entry visa.
  • Get special insurance in order to be protected from any potential risks.
  • Obtain a residence permit.

When will it be possible to apply for the document?

The current law doesn’t specify the process for obtaining the digital nomad visa yet, so it’s not possible to apply for the visa at the moment. Consulates also don’t have the capacity to issue it yet. Contact us to know what are the alternatives for moving to Italy with your own work.

Where do digital nomads pay taxes?

For digital nomads, determining their tax residence can be sometimes complex. The Agenzia delle Entrate carries out its own checks on the tax residence of taxpayers living in Italy. When we speak about digital nomads, the agency wants to verify their actual stay in Italy both through investigations carried out on Italian territory and on the basis of the exchange of tax information with the foreign state of origin.

Being a digital nomad in Italy: the benefits

Climate

Sun-kissed, coast-framed, and mountain-laced, Italy is endowed with an incredibly varied natural environment and a cultural heritage that is nothing short of flabbergasting.

Plus, life in Italy’s cities and towns is enjoyable and safe, and internet connections are good, so you won’t have trouble working. This said, the greatest thing about being a digital nomad is that you can set your own hours, and spend the rest of your time as you wish. Which is to say that you can explore to your heart’s content.

A wonderful way of life

From this viewpoint, choosing Italy as your next nomad destination means being spoiled for choice. Culture freaks can spend hours in world-class museums, foodies and wine connoisseurs can indulge their passions every day of the year. Sports fans and outdoor lovers can swim and dive in Sardinia and Apulia’s crystal-clear waters, bike across the Tuscan and Umbrian hills, or ski and snowboard in the Dolomites. Above all, everybody can enjoy Italy’s number one advantage: embracing La Dolce Vita, the laid-back, soul-pleasing, healthy, and fulfilling way of life that sets this country apart from all others.

Cost of living in Italy

Surveys, and feedback from digital nomads that live or have lived in Italy, all agree on one point: life in Italy is good and suits all kinds of people. This is also because living in Italy is considerably less expensive than living in many other countries. The most recent data released by Numbeo reveals that the average cost of living in Italy is 15.5% lower than in the United States, and that rent, on average, is 55.7% cheaper. As regards the UK, the data shows that rent in Italy is 33.6% lower than in the UK.

The latest figures published by Numbeo (updated April 2023) on the cost of living in Italy are:

  • €2,787.3 average monthly expenses for a family of four, not including rent
  • €800.70 average monthly expenses for a single person, not including rent
  • €652 average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in a city center
  • €1.260 average monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in a city center

Italy vs United Kingdom: cost of life

Now let’s have a closer look at the crowd-generated data from Numbeo.

CategoryUnited KingdomItalyDifference
Restaurants & Bars
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant15.00 £ (17.41 €)12.92 £ (15.00 €)-13.9%
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course60.00 £ (69.66 €)51.68 £ (60.00 €)-13.9%
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)4.00 £ (4.64 €)3.45 £ (4.00 €)-13.9%
Cappuccino (regular)2.98 £ (3.46 €)1.30 £ (1.51 €)-56.3%
Water (0.33 liter bottle)1.10 £ (1.27 €)0.93 £ (1.08 €)-15.2%
Transportation
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)2.50 £(2.90 €)1.29 £(1.50 €)-48.3 %
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)2.11 £ (2.45 €)2.17 £ (2.52 €)+3.2%
CategoryUnited KingdomItalyDifference
Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre908.06 £ (1,054.23 €)561.15 £ (651.48 €)-38.2%
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre706.65 £ (820.40 €)435.45 £ (505.54 €)-38.4%
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre1,595.32 £ (1,852.12 €)1,047.62 £ (1,216.26 €)-34.3%
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre1,209.53 £ (1,404.22 €)740.45 £ (859.64 €)-38.8%
Buy Apartment Price
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre4,386.71 £ (5,092.84 €)3,066.25 £ (3,559.83 €)-30.1%
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre3,317.92 £ (3,852.00 €)1,872.37 £ (2,173.76 €)-43.6%
Salaries And Financing
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)2,295.49 £ (2,665.00 €)1,342.56 £ (1,558.67 €)-41.5%
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate3.542.01-43.1%

Note that the prices listed are approximate and may vary depending on the location and specific circumstances. The exchange rate used is 1 GBP = 1.16 EUR, based on the current exchange rate as of June 6th, 2023.

Italy digital nomad visa

Panorama of Florence with Santa Maria del Fiore and Palazzo Vecchio seen from unusual perspective.

Best cities in Italy for digital nomads

According to the latest data published by Nomad List, the platform that collects data on factors that are important to remote workers (such as safety, cost of living, internet connection, etc.) to help digital nomads find the best places to live and work in, the top 10 cities in Italy are:

  1. Florence
  2. Palermo
  3. Reggio Emilia
  4. Lucca
  5. Milan
  6. Pisa
  7. Trieste
  8. Padova
  9. Naples
  10. Bologna

Alternative to a digital nomad visa: the self-employment visa

While we wait for the digital nomad visa legislation to be finalized, there’s a valid alternative that digital nomads may want to look into. It’s called the self-employment visa (“visto per lavoro autonomo” in Italian) and is a type of long-stay visa.

Applying for a self-employment visa

To apply for a self-employment visa for Italy, one must:

  • Request a Nulla Osta (a specific authorization to carry out self-employed work) from the local SUI (Sportello Unico Immigrazione, the Immigration Authority).
  • Obtain the documents and mandatory authorization required (which will include classifying your job according to the existing Italian professional records).
  • Visit the Italian consulate or embassy in your home country and file an application for a self-employment visa.

Once you’ve obtained the visa you can enter Italy, but you will still need to apply for an Italian residence permit (“permesso di soggiorno”) to be legally entitled to live and work in Italy legally. Keep in mind that self-employment visas are subject to the entry quotas set by the annual Decreto Flussi, and that there is a short window of time during which you can apply for this kind of visa.

The above clearly shows that applying for a digital nomad visa or self-employment visa for Italy can be a lengthy process. Also, the red tape is confusing and there’s a lot of paperwork to get together.

The best way to obtain a digital nomad or self-employment visa, and start the process of getting a residence permit, is to employ a specialized local law firm like ILF, Italy Law Firms.

Contact us Now via the form on this page!

You’ll have a team of dedicated English-speaking lawyers to help you through, and everything will be easy and quick.

Featured image by David L. Espina Rincon on Unsplash