Something to know about…Italy

Professional Relo, TIRA Member, Italy

Moving is one of the most difficult and stressful experiences; this is even more the case when relocating to an unknown country.

Italy has many advantages as an expat destination: timeless art and culture, spectacular and varied natural beauty, irresistible design and fashion, incomparable wining and dining, and a truly vibrant lifestyle.

Moving to Italy is a thrilling opportunity; nevertheless, choosing the right relocation company is key to a smooth and time-effective arrival and integration process for both the Transferee and his/her family.

Here’s a few things you should know.

Is a lease contract in the company’s name, rather than in the individual’s name, more favourable to landlords?

“Cedolare Secca” means a special flat rate tax system introduced in 2011. It allows landlords to pay a fixed tax rate of either 10% (under “3+2” leases) or 21% (under free “4+4” leases) respectively.
This special tax system is applicable provided that both the lessee and the lessor are individuals. If these tax benefits cannot be enjoyed, landlords usually prefer to execute leases with individuals, and may even decide not to enter into any agreements with companies.

The most direct negative consequence is that when, under a corporate policy, leases concerning the company’s employees are executed in the company’s name, the number of flats or houses available in the market will drop dramatically. Furthermore, stress should be laid on the mark-up (which often proves excessive) on rents imposed by landlords, when they are willing to consider executing leases with companies.
Rents charged to companies are sometimes unduly increased well beyond the difference the lessor is supposed to pay to the inland revenue. This results in much confusion among our clients, who find it hard to understand why the links of “ideal” houses and flats they find in the web eventually show prices which are totally different from those shown in the ads… Incidentally, the prices shown never include shared running expenses either, but this is another story.

Can a foreign national holding an Italian Fiscal Code open a bank account upon his/her arrival in Italy?

Opening a current account in Italy is a procedure which is neither quick nor to be taken for granted. It depends on several factors, including the following: nationality (EU or non-EU), work position (employed or relocated), residence in Italy or elsewhere.

Furthermore, it should be pointed out that banks do not have to open current accounts for anybody who applies for them. Each bank and each branch of any bank establish some rules – whether restrictive or not – at their own discretion. Therefore, conditions being equal, the result will not necessarily be the same.
Basically, the following documents are required to open a current account:
 Tax code
 Italian identity card
 Employer’s letter certifying the applicant’s occupation or pay packet
 Registered lease or copy of the electricity or gas bill

As a rule, some of the above documents will not be available when an application for opening an account is submitted. Let us give you a couple of examples:

The person concerned is already in Italy and is temporarily staying in a hotel or apartment hotel. His/her employer wants him/her to have an Italian current account immediately, in order to credit his/her salary or advance any other sums.

The required document cannot be produced, because the person concerned has not found any house or flat yet. Therefore, the person concerned will have to open a current account as “a non-resident”, provided that a bank is willing to do so.

Italian identity card
To obtain an Italian identity card, you must have received, or least, applied for, the Permit of Stay (for non-EU nationals); you must have a house or flat and execute an agreement; you must have applied for, and obtained, residence.

Fewer and fewer banks agree to open current accounts as “non-residents”, imposing severe restrictions and requesting other documents, at their sole discretion.

Shall a non-EU national obtain the Permit of Stay before opening an Internet contract?

It depends on the applicant’s nationality (EU or non-EU) and the Internet provider. Fastweb, the most popular Internet provider among our clients, requires non-EU nationals to have Permits of Stay. However, this document will be obtained as late as several months after arriving in Italy. This results in a high degree of frustration for those who take it for granted that the Internet connection (notably a fast and cheap one) will be available at home from the very first day.

The following alternative options are available: entering into an Internet contract with a provider other than Fastweb, and moving to Fastweb under such terms and conditions as established by the providers; waiting for one’s Permit of Stay, and adopting an alternative solution in the meantime, with a wi-fi device or a key. In both cases, dissatisfaction is guaranteed.

Can the holder of a foreign driving licence drive in Italy with no restrictions?

It depends on the driving licence. EU driving licences are always valid in Italy, except when validity exceeds 10 years. In such case, the holder must apply for an Italian driving licence, through the conversion procedure, within two years of submission of the application for residence. The original driving licence will be withdrawn by the Italian Traffic Control Authority and returned to the issuing country.

As for non-EU driving licences, there are two possible scenarios:
1. The non-EU driving licence can be converted, in accordance with a bilateral agreement between the issuing country and Italy:
In such case, the holder will have to apply for an Italian driving licence through conversion within one year of submission of the application for residence.
2. The non-EU driving licence cannot be converted:
In such case, the holder will have to apply for an Italian driving licence within one year of registration at the registry office, according to such procedure as applicable to any 18-year-old person: driving school for the theoretical part (in Italian); written test (in Italian, a translation into German or French being available upon request); driving school for the practical part (at least 6 lessons). Afterwards, the holder will be considered as a recently qualified driver, and will thus be subject to any and all restrictions, including the following:
– low-powered car (1 year)
– zero tolerance alcohol limits (3 years)
– speed limits (3 years).

Can a foreign national holding a European Health Card (EHIC) issued by another member state access medical care provided by the Italian health care system?

Urgent medical care can be accessed – for example, in the event of hospitalization, delivery or medically necessary treatment. Whereas the EHIC does not allow its holders to receive non-urgent, general or specialist treatment, nor to register with general practitioners or pediatricians.

Can a non-EU holding a Business Visa work in Italy?

Any non-EU national entering Italy with a Business Visa (or without any visa, if exempt) may stay in our country, as in the entire Schengen area, for a period of 90 days every 180 days. They may only conduct some specific activities, namely:
 Establish new relationships between companies;
 Start economic or business negotiations;
 Attend business meetings for technical or business purposes;
 Attend refresher courses and professional analyses;
 Attend exhibitions and fairs;
 Finalize learning processes and checks of instrumental goods sold or purchased under business agreements; provide assistance during professional refresher courses;
 visit the headquarters of an Italian-based company.

Therefore, subordinate work or any related jobs are not permitted.

Should the lessee leave the rented accommodation before the notice-to-leave term, does he/she remain responsible until the contract ends?

The lessee may leave the rented accommodation before the notice-to-leave term. Under such circumstances, the lessee will remain responsible for the rented property until it is formally returned – that is, upon return of all the keys to the landlord.

Although the rented property may be returned before the notice-to-leave term, this will make it more difficult to check whether the landlord releases the property, “forgetting” to return the part of the rent that has already been paid by the leaving tenant.

However, if the lessee keeps the keys, he/she will remain liable for any event and/or damage to the rented accommodation. This includes, without limitation, a pipe burst, a leak, infiltration following a violent storm, theft or burglary…

Therefore, the situation should be carefully considered from time to time, weighing the pros and cons. To avoid problems, the wisest choice is usually to return the keys to the lawful owner, thus relieving oneself of any responsibilities.


More about Professional Relo

Professional Relo is a leading relocation company attentive to its Clients. Our top priority is to understand their needs and recommend the services and solutions that best cater to both Employers and Employees. Professional Relo was founded in 1994 by Maddalena Michieli, who still runs the company. Based in the Milan area, we provide destination and immigration services throughout Italy.

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More about TIRA
TIRA is an aligned network of quality mobility service providers. The network provides access to leading mobility experts from around the world that provide local solutions to global challenges. Network members exchange best practices and share this value with the industry through benchmarking exercises.

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