With more and more people working remotely, the office can now be virtually anywhere in the world. Imagine enjoying the museum while sitting at a cafe within walking distance of Rome’s Colosseum or the Florence Cathedral or checking your email while on a beach in Amalfi or Positano.
An Italy digital nomad visa could make that dream a reality, and in this Remitly guide, we’ll discuss what it is and how you can potentially get one. Then, we’ll share tips on how to enjoy working remotely in Italy for a US company or yourself.
What is a digital nomad visa?
Before we discuss the details of being a digital nomad in Italy, let’s define “digital nomad.”
Put simply, a digital nomad is someone who works remotely for an employer based in their home country while living in another country. Often, the first step to becoming a digital nomad is to obtain a digital nomad visa from your destination country.
U.S. and Canadian citizens can visit many countries without obtaining a tourist visa. However, they are limited in the time they can stay and the activities they can engage in while there. For example, they may be able to stay for up to three months but may not be permitted to work during that time, even for an employer in the U.S. or Canada.
Digital nomad visas can make it possible to stay in a foreign country longer and open the doors to legally working while temporarily living abroad.
Why Italy is a top destination for digital nomads
Being a digital nomad in Italy offers several benefits. Here are some of the top reasons why you may love remote working in Italy.
Great weather and beautiful landscapes
Although Italy has seven climatic zones, the country has an overall Mediterranean climate with mild winters and pleasant summers. Digital nomads can also have their pick of scenery, as Italy has sandy beaches, picturesque mountains, and bustling cities.
Robust public transportation
Most Italian cities are easy to walk and cycle in, and for longer trips, a strong public transportation system is available. As a result, you’re unlikely to need an international driver’s license or a rental car while living in Italy.
A high-speed train system connects the country’s major metropolitan areas, and most cities have metros, buses, trams, and even ferries. Cab rides are generally inexpensive, and ride-sharing apps are available in large cities like Rome and Milan.
High level of safety
Italy has an overall low crime rate, with just 34.3 crimes per 100,000 citizens. Digital nomads should still take basic precautions, such as staying in well-lit areas and avoiding walking alone at night. Still, Italy is generally a safe place for foreigners to visit.
Opportunities for rich experiences
It’s impossible to overstate how much there is to see and do in Italy. The country is home to over 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and hundreds of museums and theaters. There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, from skiing in the Dolomites to Scuba Diving off the shores of the Italian Riviera.
A reliable Internet connection is vital for digital nomads, and Italy delivers exceptional connectivity. The average Internet connection speed via fixed connections was 49.82 Mbps and 34.53 Mbps via mobile connections as of January 2022.
Digital nomads are sure to eat well while living in Italy. The country is known for its delicious cuisine, including pizza, pasta, seafood, and more. Italy is also a major center for wine production.
Friendly, welcoming culture
Italians are known for their hospitality. Digital nomads are likely to be welcomed into their away-from-home communities and have a chance to experience Italian culture by making friends with neighbors.
Lower cost of living
Generally, the cost of living in Italy is less than in the U.S. and Canada. As of November 2023, a single person’s overall monthly cost of living in Italy was $1,388, compared to $2,434 in the U.S. and $1,931 in Canada. This difference in the cost of living means that your income will likely stretch further while you’re living and working in Italy.
Is there an Italy digital nomad visa available in 2024?
As of November 2023, the Italy digital nomad visa has yet to be officially opened for applicants. Although a visa program for Italy digital nomads was signed into law in 2022, the program has yet to launch, and there is no official word yet about when it will.
What we know about Italy’s digital nomad visa program
Because the digital nomad visa program in Italy is still in the planning stages, there are few specifics available about eligibility requirements and other details. Let’s review what has been established so far.
Duration and renewal
Once it launches, the Italy digital nomad visa will be valid for one year. The law allows digital nomads to renew their visas at least once, but we don’t yet know how long a renewal would be good for.
Italy has not provided an official list of which countries’ citizens can apply for the digital nomad visa, but Canadian and American citizens will likely be included. One thing is certain: the program won’t be available for citizens of EU nations, as the law specifies this.
Work activities allowed
The Italian digital nomad visa law specifies that the program will be open to “highly skilled professionals” but doesn’t define this term more fully. It may be that the program will focus on specific industries or be open only to individuals who have worked for foreign employers for a minimum of years.
Schengen area access
Due to the Schengen area agreement, those who receive a digital nomad visa will be able to travel freely to 23 European Union member states as well as members of the European Free Trade Association and a handful of other countries in Europe.
Alternative for Italy digital nomads
You may not need to wait for the Italy digital nomad visa program to launch if you’re currently self-employed. Italy offers a self-employed work visa that is good for one year and available to people who:
- Work currently as a self-employed person
- Hold a valid passport from their home countries
- Hold the necessary licenses to work in their field in their home countries
- Join the Italian Chamber of Commerce
- Have sufficient income to support themselves during their stays
- Have international health insurance coverage
You can learn more about the self-employed visa on the EU Immigration Portal site.
We don’t yet know what the specific Italy digital nomad visa application process will be like. However, it will likely be similar to the process already in place for other Italian visas. Here’s how it works step by step.
1. Gather required documents
To start, you’ll likely need to gather the documents necessary for the Italian visa application. These include:
- Your valid passport
- Two passport-sized photographs
- Proof of your work arrangement, such as a contract or letter from your employer
- Proof of financial means, such as bank statements or investment account statements
- Criminal record certificate from your home country indicating that you have no felony convictions
- Proof of accommodation, such as a rental agreement or a hotel confirmation number
2. Complete the application
Once you have the required documents gathered, you’ll likely need to complete the digital nomad visa application. When it becomes available, you’ll be able to access it on the website of the Directorate General for Italians Abroad and Migration Policies.
3. Schedule an interview appointment
4. Pay the required fee
You’ll need to pay a processing fee for the Italy digital nomad visa during the appointment or when you complete the online application. The Italian government has yet to publish fee information.
Tips for a successful digital nomad experience in Italy
To have the best possible experience while remote working in Italy, follow these tips.
Find the right accommodations
As previously mentioned, you’ll likely need to make accommodations arrangements before applying for an Italy digital nomad visa. Options include short-term rentals through sites like Airbnb, long-term stays at hotels, leasing an apartment, or even buying a property in Italy that can serve as a rental or vacation property.
When weighing options, remember that you’ll also need a workspace and reliable Internet. In large cities like Rome and Milan, renting a small apartment and co-working space through WeWork or another provider may be more affordable.
Obtain health insurance
While Italy has a public health insurance coverage scheme for its citizens, digital nomads will likely need to obtain private health insurance valid in Italy as a part of the visa requirements.
Obtaining an international plan that is good in numerous countries can help to ensure that you can receive medical care if you become ill or are involved in an accident while exploring Europe.
Make time to explore in Italy and beyond
When you work remotely in Italy, you can technically always be at the office, so it’s important to prioritize work-life balance. Establish regular working days and hours and stick to them as best you can. When you’re off duty, explore your home away from home, other Italian cities, and the rest of Europe so you can make the most of your time abroad.
Know your tax obligations and responsibilities
While working in Italy with a digital nomad visa or a self-employment visa, you’ll need to comply fully with the tax laws in Italy and your home country. Consult a knowledgeable tax attorney or accountant for advice on what to do to fulfill your tax obligations.
Dress for success
Although Italians have a relatively relaxed attitude about business, dressing well for the job is still expected. If you are meeting with Italians face to face or via webcam as a part of your work, dress in business attire to make a good impression.
Be prepared for looser scheduling
In Italy, appointment times are often approximations. People tend to have a more laid-back view of punctuality, so you may find those you plan to meet with don’t arrive on time, especially in Southern Italy.
Italians value relationship-building in their professional and personal lives. It’s customary for a business meeting to begin with a period of socializing during which the participants discuss their personal lives.
While it’s fine to be choosy about what you share, do expect some chit-chat, as getting straight to work matters at the start of a meeting may come off as rude.
Take the first steps toward remote working in Italy
Although we still don’t have all the details about the Italy nomad visa, the self-employment visa option can make it possible for some U.S. and Canadian citizens to live and work abroad immediately. For others waiting to discover the specifics of the digital nomad visa in Italy requirements, it’s the perfect time to start researching cities, comparing accommodations, and saving up for the remote work abroad experience.
As you learn more about living and working in Italy, keep an eye out for updates about the country’s remote work visa program.
Now is also the perfect time to register for a Remitly account so that you can send money to Italy and back home with just a few taps. Download the app today to get started.