Relocation — The Song of Sirens
Recently, I spoke with an American lady who was very distraught to say the least. She was stopped by the police near Frosinone, where they discovered she had been driving on a state-issued license in Italy for three years, while being a resident here. She told me that she had read on an expat board that everything would be alright as she had an international driving license.
This is a case of amateur advise striking again — an international driving license is NOT a license. It is nothing more than a translation that accompanies your country, province, or state-issued driving license.
Sometimes I feel like I keep saying the same thing over and over again, but the message is very important. Information, advise, and suggestions found in expat groups and blogs should NEVER be interpreted or relied upon as solid, accurate professional / or legal counsel. The information shared is normally of a general nature, and, as such, should not be applied to a specific situation without the proper due diligence being carried out.
Here are some examples of dubious advice that I recently found being given in various expats groups and blogs about Italy.
- You can freely overstay your time Schengen and just pay a fine — no problem whatsoever.
- You can run a registered Italian business and pay your taxes wherever you want.
- It’s fine to rent a property in Italy with no contract as long as you and the landlord are friends.
- Even if you are a resident in Italy there is no need to get Italian license plates for a foreign registered car.
- Anyone and everyone can register with the Italian Health Service.
- Children born to Non-Italian parents are automatically Italian.
If you decide to move to Italy, please understand that there will be certain things for which you will need to pay a professional to follow. It is very important that your taxation and immigration in particular are followed by people who know what they are talking about.
There is not a day goes by that I don’t hear from an expat who went the do-it-yourself route and ended up with unexpected tax bills, immigration issues (one woman would not listen to me and is now banned from Schengen for two years), landlords who won’t give back the deposit, people left in very precarious situations when their relationship with an Italian broke down, and so on.
Please make sure that you protect yourself, so that you can have peace of mind and live well in Italy.
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