La Digital Dolce Vita: A Guide to Italy’s Digital Nomad Visa

It’s finally here. After being vaguely announced in 2022 with little direction, Italy finally has a digital nomad visa option in 2024. Most other articles I’ve seen on this topic simply regurgitate requirements after minimal research. They offer little added value or a realistic perspective on how things actually work in Italy.

This is very exciting news for me, as more like-minded work-travelers will be able to experience the country I’m proud to call my second home. In this post I’ll share the details of the visa, as well as some unique insights as someone that’s been living in Italy for over 2 years and been a digital nomad for more than half of that. 

No article about digital nomads is complete without the obligatory image of a person on a computer with some iconic scenery in the background:

Digital nomad sitting with a laptop in front of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. The young adult is depicted with clear facial features, looking towards the camera, symbolizing the blend of modern remote work and the rich historical backdrop of Italian architecture
The Roman Colosseum on the canal in Venice – that’s amore! Thanks, A.I.

What is the Italy Digital Nomad Visa?

The Italy Digital Nomad Visa was originally introduced in March 2022, without a clear definition or application procedure. But now it’s official: as of 2024, the Italy Digital Nomad Visa allows non-EU citizens to live and work remotely in Italy for a renewable one-year period. This initiative, targeting skilled professionals who work independently, aims to attract a diverse group of remote workers to Italy using their own tech setups. Is it to compete with the 50 some-odd other countries doing the same? Is it to attract foreigners to make up for Italy’s declining population? Is it to keep Italy relevant for working professionals? I’ll go with D) all of the above.

An open laptop displaying a document on Google Docs, with a glass of red wine on the side, offering a majestic view of the ancient stone buildings of Matera, Italy, under a clear blue sky.
There are worse places to work than on a terrace overlooking Matera.

Why do you need a visa anyway?

Citizens of many non-EU countries, including the US, Canada, and Australia, can enter Italy without a visa for tourism or business purposes and stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This 90-day rule is common across the Schengen Area, which allows for border-free travel between the participating countries.

I meet many travelers in Italy who don’t have the good fortune I have of being born with Italian ancestry (like me) with the ability to claim an Italian passport. If you’re one of those travelers, Italy’s digital nomad visa may be a good option for you, in which case keep reading. If you do have Italian ancestry and want to get your Italian passport, read this.

In sum, without a visa (study, work, residency, etc.) or EU citizenship, your pizza, pasta, and cannoli escapes will be limited to 90 days – and who wants that?

Who Can Apply?

If you’re a non-EU citizen and dream of living in Italy, at least for a year, this visa might be for you. Applicants must be earning at least €28,000 (about $30,000) annually from remote work that utilizes specific technological tools (you know, computers, protractors, and telescopes). You must also demonstrate financial stability, have comprehensive health insurance valid for the entire duration of your stay, provide proof of accommodation, and have a clean criminal record.

Key Requirements:

  • Income: You must earn above the specified income threshold of around €28,000 (or $30,000) per year. This figure is set to at least triple the minimum level required for exemption from healthcare contributions in Italy, ensuring sufficient financial stability. Before my fellow Americans go parading around about how “that’s nothing”, consider that that’s a common income for southern Europe. 

  • Health Insurance: You must have comprehensive health coverage that is valid in Italy for the entire duration of your stay. This insurance must cover both medical care and hospitalization. When I moved to Italy, for the first year I signed up for Cigna Global Silver Health Insurance Plan (coverage up to $1 million, about $250 every three months). This is not a recommendation, just what I did personally – check the terms and if it meets the visa requirements yourself. 

  • Accommodation: Applicants are required to provide proof of accommodation in Italy. While it’s not clearly defined, this would be a rental agreement, but possibly a hotel reservation, or similar documentation that shows a place to stay.

  • Clean Criminal Record: Applicants must not have any criminal history related to specific crimes that could disqualify them from obtaining the visa. A declaration from your employer or relevant authority confirming your clean legal background is necessary.

  • Technological Tools: The work should be conducted using technological tools, enabling the applicant to work remotely. This is a core requirement for qualifying as a digital nomad under this visa scheme.

  • Experience: Demonstrating at least six months of prior experience in your remote work activities is required to qualify for this visa, ensuring that applicants are seasoned in their respective fields.

A man is focused on his laptop while sitting outdoors at a cafe. He's smoking, wearing glasses, a scarf, and a jacket, suggesting a cool weather setting. The laptop is on his lap, and he's using a mouse on the bench beside him
“I was a digital nomad before it was cool”

How to Apply for the Italy Digital Nomad Visa

In a perfect world: Start by booking an appointment at an Italian consulate. On the day of your appointment, present your paperwork and you’ll be granted a digital nomad visa. 

Reality: As of this writing (April 19 2024), the Italian consulates aren’t taking applications for the digital nomad visa. In fact, when you go on their websites, there is no information published regarding how to apply, forms, etc. Additionally, in their appointment booking platform Prenota@mi (which I use regularly for checking for citizenship application appointment availability for clients), there is no option for a Digital Nomad Visa appointment.  I emailed the Miami consulate asking for any guidance, forms, procedures, and their response was “we aren’t accepting that visa” to which I responded with the decree from the Italian Interior Ministry, to which they responded “we already answered you”. So for now, that’s that. A lovely taste of Italian bureaucracy.

Arrival in Italy

Without there being clear steps detailed anywhere, I’m assuming the following steps based on how residency works in any other case in Italy: Assuming you get granted an Italian digital nomad visa, you’ll need to declare residency in Italy and be registered with the town hall anagrafe (the registry for local residents). Then the police will have 45 days to come verify your presence. This is not confirmed and is my assumption based on my personal experience. 

Follow me on Instagram or Facebook to stay current on latest blog post, and see some of my fun in Italy.

Living in Italy as a Digital Nomad

When this actually becomes a possibility, and you can in fact apply for the visa, here’s some considerations you can look at in the meantime. I’ve been living in Italy for over 2 years, half of that spent as a “digital nomad” of sorts. 

Tips for Prospective Nomads

Wi-Fi is not ubiquitous like it is in the US. Where I come from (the US), most places have a public network you just connect to, agree to the questionable terms & conditions, and away you go. In Italy, that’s not really a thing. If you’re in a coffee shop (called a bar) in Italy, you’ll have to ask if they have Wi-Fi. They’ll either say no, they’ll have to look it up the password, or they’ll read it off to you in Italian and you’ll be confused. 

A laptop opened to a Google search page is on a table in a modern bar with a pristine, white interior. A used coffee cup and saucer are to the side, with a bartender in the background attending to the bar.
Wi-Fi in Italian cafes is hit or miss.

Consider getting a low-cost Italian SIM card. Because Wi-Fi is not always the easiest to find in Italy, (and international data plans are expensive) I strongly suggest that if you plan on being in Italy more than 15 days, you get an Italian SIM card. You can read more about which SIM I use here. The data is so cheap, I usually just use my hotspot when I need to connect to the internet on my laptop and forget about asking for Wi-Fi.

Want to do with your US number when you move to Italy? Check out this article

Get a codice fiscale (fiscal code). Think of the Codice Fiscale as Italy’s version of a personal ID code that everyone needs to use when dealing with anything official. From opening a bank account to going to the doctor to getting a SIM card, this code is your key to services throughout Italy. Don’t worry, having the codice fiscale won’t mean you’re suddenly going to have to pay taxes. I suggest you request a CF at the Italian consulate in your home country, as it will take a month or so to process, and it’s easier than requesting one in Italy (they don’t understand why a tourist would need a CF).

Consider the tax implications. Italy taxes based on residency, not citizenship, and in general the rule is that after 183 days of presence in Italy out of a calendar year, you’re subject to paying taxes – but there are some exceptions. The taxes in Italy are high. You don’t want any surprises. For example – did you make income, sell a house, or sell off investments in January, then move to Italy and become a tax resident in the same year? Well, you likely owe taxes on whatever you earned at the beginning of the year before you even set foot in Italy. Do you own research, and please consult with an expert (i.e. not this website).

Learn some Italian. It will go a long way. It’s not the easiest language to learn (the pronunciation is extremely precise), but come on – it’s not exactly Japanese. But it will drastically enhance your experience if you can become at least conversational – here’s how I learned Italian.

Embrace authentic local culture. Italy is so much more than pizza, mandolins, and New York mobster-aesthetic wannabe “how ya doin’?” Italians. Every region in Italy has something different. A different dialect, different food you’ve never heard of, and different traditions that the region next door has never heard of. Take advantage of you extended stay and really try to appreciate the region you’re in. 

Want to learn more about Italian culture? Check out my article I Traveled to All 20 Italian Regions | Here Are My Thoughts.

Ready to Embrace La Dolce Vita?

Italy’s Digital Nomad Visa is an exciting opportunity for remote workers to explore one of my favorite countries. If you’re ready to take the plunge, ensure you meet all application criteria and prepare for an adventure of a lifetime in one of the world’s most enchanting countries. For more details and to keep updated with the latest requirements, visit your Italian consulate’s website. 

For those interested and able, I’m very excited for you, and I sincerely hope you found value in this article.

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