No, Americans, You Can’t “Just Move to Italy”
But, if you make it through this post, you might still want to try.
It’s the weirdest thing. Does anyone have any idea why so many people from the US are asking me about moving here to Italy? Are you guys ok over there or what? I am guessing something must be up because I’ve answered so many questions about shipping containers, I feel like Maersk should have me on the payroll. Oh wait, y’all just figured out that the whole place went ass-up like, two weeks ago? And you’ve been reading lots of stuff online about how you should “Just move to Europe”, right? Because surely, the provincial little towns of yore are so lacking in the skills that the super savvy New Worlders would bring, yet so rich in unpasteurized dairy products that they would be thrilled to have you. It would be a step down from your current lifestyle, you think, but you’ve taken a deep breath and figured you can learn how to navigate cobblestone streets, late dinners, and life without Costco. “Ok, ok,” you sigh. “I’m ready to make the leap.”
Yeah, not so fast, Davy Crockett. Let’s have a little reality check.
First of all, who am I to have an opinion on this? I am an American who has lived in Italy for almost five years. It took me almost two years of Olympic-level getting jerked around just to get a residency permit through marriage and I am still not a citizen. I have to tackle that particular beast in the near future because, as you’ve noticed, the reasons for ever going back to the land of Milk and Honey are dwindling faster than you can say “Gazpacho Police”.
Even before the stupids took over America, there seemed to be a lot of confusion around what it means to live here, so I think it’s high time I clear up a few misconceptions about “just” moving to Italy.
The Schengen Visa Cock Block
Americans (Yes, all Americans) are subject to the Schengen Visa in most of the countries that you actually want to visit, including Italy. That means you can only be here for 90 days, then you have to wait 180 days before you come back. It does not matter if you own a house. It does not matter if you stay with family. It does not matter if you really loved The Godfather, you have a great recipe for…