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Moving to Italy from the UK

Ashleigh Williams

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

21st Feb 2023 (Last updated on 29th Feb 2024) 12 minute read

Italy is a beautiful country to consider moving to from the UK. It has a fantastic culture, and its climate is far warmer than in the UK.

It's home to fantastic beaches, beautiful architecture, and delicious food, making it an attractive country to consider moving to, especially for UK retirees.

The current cost of living crisis is having an impact on many people in the UK, and naturally, there are concerns about this. Given its lower cost of living and cheaper property prices, a more affordable lifestyle can be had in Italy for British expats.

It's easy to see why it's a popular location. If you're thinking of moving to Italy from the UK, there are several things you need to take into consideration. This includes job prospects and removal costs.

This article discusses everything you need to know before you book your removals to Italy.

  1. Why Are People Moving from the UK to Italy?
  2. Types of Italian Permits and Visas
  3. How to Apply for an Italian Visa
  4. Cost of Removals to Italy from the UK
  5. Property Prices
  6. Work and Salary
  7. Cost of Living
  8. Education
  9. Healthcare
  10. Importing and Registering Vehicles
  11. Culture/Art
  12. Is it Worth Moving to Italy from the UK

Why Are People Moving from the UK to Italy?

The warmer climate is undoubtedly a driving force for why people are choosing to relocate to Italy. Even in the winter, the average temperatures in Italy are higher than in the UK.

Italy has a Mediterranean climate and in general experiences less rainfall than the UK, which is another attractive factor.

The UK has a high-paced life, which is a complete contrast to the more laid-back culture in Italy. For those looking for a quieter lifestyle, Italy is a perfect location to consider.

Italy has a good healthcare system and a high quality of life. The cost of living is lower than in the UK, as are property and rental prices on average. This is a contrast to the UK, as the cost of living crisis has impacted the property market and living costs.

Statista estimates there are around 65,000 British nationals living in Italy currently, emphasising its popularity.

Types of Italian Permits and Visas

In 2020, the transition period for Brexit ended. This means that the process of applying for an Italian visa from the UK has changed slightly. While the process is longer, it's not too complicated. Those living in Italy before Brexit are protected under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Those living in Italy before Brexit are protected under the Withdrawal Agreement. This protects their rights to live and work in Italy. Those moving post-Brexit are required to apply for the relevant work permits and work visas.

If you planning to live in Italy for less than 90 days in a 180-day period you won't need a visa. After this time, you need to apply for the correct visa and residency.

From November 2023, if you’re living in Italy temporarily before moving permanently, you will need a European Travel and Authorisation Visa (ETIAS). It will cost £6 and is valid for 3 years.

National Visa

To live in Italy for more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a National Visa. This is also called a D-Visa.

The type of long-stay visa you require will depend on the purpose of your move. Some of the most common choices include:

  • Italy Work Visa - To apply for this visa you will need to have a job in Italy already to be accepted. It's for those looking to move to Italy for work purposes
  • Italy Study Visa - If you're applying to study at an Italian university and are over the age of 18, you're eligible for this visa type
  • Italy Retirement Visa - If you're a retiree that can financially support yourself, you can move to Italy using a retirement visa

Click here to apply for an Italian National Visa

To live in Italy permanently, you will need an Italian Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno). It’s straightforward to apply for and will need to be completed within 8 days of arriving in Italy.

Italian Golden Visa Scheme

If you're looking to invest in Italy financially, you may be eligible to apply for the Italian Golden Visa Scheme.

You will be required to invest a significant amount of money into areas such as government bonds, philanthropic donations or an Italian Limited Company.

After 10 years of having an Italian Golden Visa, you will be eligible to apply for Italian citizenship.

Some of the requirements include:

  • Clean criminal record
  • Proof of investment or donation
  • Declaration of Commitment
  • Proof of income

Visas and Italian residence permits can take a few months to complete. It’s important to apply for these well in advance and keep up to date with the latest Italian immigration rules.

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How to Apply for an Italian Visa

To apply for an Italian Visa, you will need to book an appointment at your nearest Italian consulate in the UK. You can also do this through VFS.Global, who are an official partner of the Italian Embassy in the UK.

You can begin the application online, where it will explain all the information and relevant documents that you'll need for the application process. You will need to choose the specific visa type you require.

You will then be prompted to book an in person appointment and your local VFS.Global centre. Here you will complete the application process and pay your visa fees.

After your visa application has been sent off the Visa will then arrive with you if it is approved. You will be able to track your application progression online.

Some of the relevant documentation you will need for the process includes, but is not limited to:

  • Valid passport
  • Passport photos
  • Travel insurance
  • Civil status document
  • Employment status and proof (if applicable)
  • Documents relating to the reason for your move
  • Proof of being financially sufficient

The Schengen visa eligibility checker provides details on whether you can apply for an Italian visa. For the latest information and requirements, check the Visa for Italy website.

Cost of Removals to Italy from the UK

Our international removal costs research shows that shipping household goods to Italy will cost around £1950. Removal companies will also offer additional services at an extra cost. This includes packing which costs an average of £250.

The cost of shipping to Italy will vary based on the type of shipping used, the time it takes, and the weight and size of your household goods.

Here at Compare My Move, we can connect you with up to 6 trusted and verified international removal companies.

Property Prices

Purchasing a property in Italy is significantly less expensive than in the UK.

The average house price per square meter in Italian city centres is €3,702.96 (£3302.15). In the UK it's much higher at around £7,844.91. A property outside of the city centre in Italy averages at €2,253.78 (£2009.83) per square meter. While prices in the UK are lower outside of the city centre, they are still higher than in Italy at £3,332.18.

Rental costs in Italy are also more affordable in comparison to the UK. A 1-bedroom apartment in Italy costs an average of €656.92 (£585.81). A 3-bedroom apartment costs around €1,252.37 (£1116.81). The equivalent in the UK averages at £1250, which is nearly 50% more. A 3-bedroom apartment in the UK costs around £2,566.67.

Some of the most expensive areas to live and rent in Italy are Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice. More affordable areas include Naples, Padoca and Abruzzo.

*Data taken from Numbeo statistics

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Work and Salary

If you’re moving to Italy from the UK, it’s likely you can continue in the profession you currently have. Working in Italy is not too dissimilar to the UK and there are a variety of different jobs to consider.

Here are the top working sectors in Italy according to Prospects AC:

  • Manufacturing (particularly luxury clothes, bags, and cars)
  • Agriculture (the wine, fruit and olive oil industries)
  • Wholesale
  • Retail
  • Transportation

There are several skills shortages in Italy, particularly in medicine, engineering and teaching. For expats looking to fill these positions, this is a positive outlook.

In the UK, the 2021 Census displays that the most popular jobs are:

  • Wholesale, retail and motor trade
  • Health and social work
  • Education
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing

In Italy, the average wage is £29,884 according to Statista. ThinkPlutus states that the average UK salary is £25,971 . Not only are wages typically higher in Italy, but the cost of living is lower.

Cost of Living

It’s 27% less expensive to live in Italy compared to the UK, which is a significant difference.

Here is a comparison of living costs for both countries:

Cost of Living ExamplesItalyUnited Kingdom

Public transport pass (monthly)

€36.52 (£32.20)


Utility bills (monthly - one person)

€106.26 (£93.70)


Gym membership (monthly)

€46.50 (£41)


Taxi (5 miles)

€17.12 (£15.10)


Inexpensive restaurant meal for 2 people

€53.53 (£47.20)


1 cinema ticket

€8.78 (£7.74)


Beer (0.5L)

€1.44 (£1.27)


Chicken Breast (1kg)

€9.38 (£8.27)



€1.58 (£1.39)


*Data is taken from

While some things in Italy are more expensive than in the UK, in general, it’s a cheaper country to live in, especially when you take into consideration its higher average wage.


The education system in Italy and the UK is similar. Children start school at 6 years old in Italy, whereas children in the UK begin school at the age of 5 (4 in Northern Ireland).

In Italy, there are two cycles of education. The first cycle consists of primary (6-11) and lower secondary education (11-14). There are international schools in Italy for children whose first language isn't Italian.

There are many high-performing international schools in Italy. This includes the International School of Milan and the International School of Como.

There are 92 universities in Italy, both public and private, offering a wide range of different subjects. The top universities include:

  • Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
  • University of Bologna
  • University of Padua
  • Sapienza University of Rome
  • University of Milan

The UK is known for its high-performing and prestigious universities. These include:

  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Imperial College London
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • King’s College London

Students in Italian universities pay a tuition fee each year. However, costs are far lower than in the UK. According to the Italy Study, the average tuition fee ranges between €300 to €2000 a year.

In the UK, tuition fees are up to £9,250 a year depending on the part of the UK you choose to study in.

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Like the UK, Italy has its own National Health Service called Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN). This provides free and lower-cost access to healthcare for everyone.

While it's a free service, each province is in charge of its own SSN. As a result, the level of treatment available varies throughout Italy. For minor ailments, treatment can be received at a Farmacia (pharmacy).

EU citizens can use their EU health card to receive access to medical services in Italy. British expats can apply for an Italian health card to receive free healthcare.

Non-EU citizens are unable to use an EU health card. If you're moving from the UK, due to Brexit, you will need to apply for a GHIC health card to access Italian medical care.

Italy also has access to a good private healthcare system. Private health insurance can be purchased by expats to gain access to these services.

Importing and Registering Vehicles

Before importing and using a UK vehicle in Italy, there are regulations and laws you need to be aware of.

To drive in Italy permanently, you will need to exchange your UK driving license for an Italian license. You will not need to complete an Italian driving test to do this.

Importing a Vehicle

The best way to import a vehicle from the UK to Italy is via sea freight. To ship one car to Italy you will need to use a 20ft container. To ship larger or multiple vehicles, a 40ft container would be required.

The average shipping costs are:

  • 20ft container - £800
  • 40ft container - £1,950

You will likely need to pay for import charges, customs duties and emission testing. Ensure you have all the relevant car documentation before shipping. This includes a European Certificate of Conformity (C.O.C).

Registering a Vehicle

After obtaining a residency in Italy you can drive your current car for 60 days. After this period, you will need to exchange your UK license plates for Italian ones. It’s best to register your car as soon as possible.

Once your car registration is being processed, you can't use your until it has Italian number plates.

Here are the registration costs according to EuroCoc:

  • Automobile Club d'Italia (ACI) fees - €27
  • Stamp fee - €32
  • Department of transport fees - €10.20
  • Stamp fee - €32

You will need to take consider the license plate and region fees for change in ownership costs.

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Italy is well known for both its culture and art. It's historically a country that has had a big influence on culture, art, and fashion.

With roots in ancient Rome, Italy has always been influential and popular. It's still filled with thousands of years' worth of history, from the Roman empire to the Renaissance.

There’s a big emphasis on family and food in Italy, which has influenced culture and food across the world.

Religion plays a big role in many Italian national’s lives. Catholicism is popular in the country, being home to the Vatican. The majority of the Italian population is Roman Catholic.

There are many art galleries and museums in Italy such as the Vatican Museums, Uffizi Gallery and the Egyptian museum in Turin. Italy is the birth country of opera and has many incredible opera houses.

Italian culture is different to what most British citizens are accustomed to. With its own native language, those moving from the UK should make an effort to embrace the laid-back Italian culture along with its language.

Is it Worth Moving to Italy from the UK

If you're looking to move to a country that's full of history, has a warmer climate and is more affordable then it may be worth moving to Italy from the UK. Even so, there a several aspects to take into consideration.

Here are some pros and cons to consider regarding whether moving would be the most suitable decision for you:


  • Warm climate
  • Affordable living costs
  • Lower property prices
  • Good healthcare system
  • Great culture and food
  • Good education system


  • You will need to have a good understanding of the Italian language
  • There are more job opportunities in the UK
  • National healthcare system isn't completely free
  • Cost of shipping furniture overseas

All costs listed in this article are correct at the time of writing. Costs may vary slightly and this is just an estimated number.

Ashleigh Williams

Having written book reviews and content for For The Love of Books for over five years, Ashleigh now creates advice articles for Compare My Move, focusing on all things home-related.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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