Exploring Italy's new Digital Nomad Visa

BY Samantha Wilson

22nd Apr 2024 Life

3 min read

Exploring Italy's new Digital Nomad Visa
The new Digital Nomad Visa could well be the key unlocking the door to La Dolce Vita for remote workers from around the world
Italy has always attracted travellers with its historical landmarks, mouth-watering cuisine, and stunning landscapes. Now, it's extending a warm invitation to the global community of remote workers through its new Digital Nomad Visa.
This is exciting news post-Brexit as this initiative allows non-EU citizens to live and work remotely in Italy for a year or more.

A new path for remote workers

Let's start with the basics. Since the pandemic, the world has entered an era where work flexibility has become paramount. Employers know to attract and keep the best talent, they need to be flexible as workers are choosing to combine life experience with work experience.
"Italy's Digital Nomad Visa is a step to opening the doors of one of the most sought-after countries "
Italy's introduction of the Digital Nomad Visa marks a significant step forward to opening the doors to one of the most sought-after countries in the world, but that was otherwise very difficult to get into. Recognising the growing trend of remote work, the Italian government aims to attract digital workers who can contribute to the local economy without displacing local jobs. This visa provides a legal pathway for remote workers to live in Italy for up to a year, with the possibility of renewal.

Eligibility and application process

Man working on laptop in coffee shop
The Digital Nomad Visa is designed for highly skilled self-employed, or individuals who are employed by companies that permit remote work. The key words here are “highly skilled” as this isn’t a visa for bloggers, influencers or YouTubers. To qualify, applicants must prove that they can perform their job remotely using telecommunication technologies but that they have a minimum of a three-year university or college degree that is related to the work they perform.
There are allowances for professional experience, but it is unclear how the consulates will evaluate these requests. Additionally, they must demonstrate a stable income of at least 28,000 euros per year for a single person and about 30 per cent more for each additional family member. 
"You must demonstrate a stable income of at least 28,000 euros per year for a single person "
What is important to understand is that visa holders will be required to open a partita iva which is a small business in Italy and pay income tax on their income while in Italy.  This is one of the requirements that the Italian government has put into place to ensure that the Digital Nomad is paying their share of social dues. The cost of opening a P.ive can range between 500-1,000 euros and as long as the visa holder doesn't earn more than 85,000 euros per year, they can maintain a flat five per cent income tax. 
The visa application process involves submitting several documents, including proof of income, health insurance coverage, and a clean criminal record. Applicants are also required to show evidence of accommodation in Italy, which could be a rental lease in Italy or an Airbnb depending on the requirements of your local consulate. The risk to this visa is that it is brand new, and Italian consulates are very discretionary, so it’s impossible to predict how the practicalities of this visa will unfold.

Benefits of the Digital Nomad Visa

Woman sitting in front of the Colosseum in Rome
The allure of the Digital Nomad Visa lies not only in the lifestyle it offers but also in the practical benefits. Here are some key advantages to those wishing to apply:
Quality of life: Italy ranks high in global quality of life indices, with its healthy Mediterranean diet, relaxed pace of life, and strong community ties. Few places on the planet offer this intoxicating combination.
"Italy's cost of living for food, rent and entertainment is a fraction of the UK's major cities"
Low cost of living: Choosing to live in a city will be more expensive than a small charming town, however, Italy's overall cost of living for food, rent and entertainment is only a fraction of what it costs to live in London or other major UK cities. There are some towns in Italy, like Ollolai in Sardinia that have been campaigning to bring digital nomads to their villages.  Some even go so far as to offer discounts on rent and updated wifi.   
Networking opportunities: Italy’s diverse international community provides ample networking opportunities for professionals. Cities like Milan, Florence and Rome host various expat groups and business networks that can be invaluable for nomads. 

Overcoming obstacles

Italy is a complicated country and has a very low percentage of English speakers which can make transitioning difficult for foreigners. There are significant cultural differences that initially feel charming, but can quickly become overwhelming if not properly managed.  
Internet speeds can be spotty in some rural areas and time zones can cause havoc for schedules. In addition, it will be important for remote workers to get permission from their employer before making the move. It may be necessary to change their working agreements from employee to contractor to prevent the company from inheriting possible tax liabilities in Italy. 

A win-win for Italy and nomads

Woman smiling talking on phone and working on laptop
Italy’s Digital Nomad Visa offers a unique opportunity for remote workers to fuse lifestyle and career in one of the world’s most loved destinations. For Italy, it represents a progressive step towards adapting to the new work culture brought on by the digital age. 
For those dreaming of turning their work-from-anywhere opportunity into a picturesque Italian dream, this visa could be the perfect solution. As always, prospective applicants should plan meticulously, ensuring they meet all the criteria and are prepared for a few bumps in the road. With the right preparation and attitude, the transition can be as smooth as a glass of fine Italian wine, allowing you to work and indulge in the pleasures of Italy to the fullest.
Samantha Wilson is the founder of Smart Move Italy, an agency that helps foreigners relocate to Italy
Banner: Ollolai in Sardinia is welcoming digital nomads to the beautiful village. Credit: Vincenzo Iorio
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