The United Kingdom and Italy have a strong and diverse relationship in trade, education, security and regional development. The two countries share membership status in G8, NATO, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Approximately four to five million British nationals vacation in Italy each year, while one million Italian tourists visit the UK annually. There are about 120,000 Italian nationals currently living in the UK, and 30,000 UK nationals living in Italy. Membership in the EU means that there are no restrictions to transfer money from the UK to Italy and convert GBP to EUR.
As an EU member state, UK citizens do not require a visa to enter Italy, whether to do business, to study, or for tourism. British nationals will have to present a valid UK passport in order to gain entry. For more information on living in Italy as a UK citizen, please refer to the site of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Students from the UK are entitled to the same fees and privileges as Italian domestic students. Tuition in Italian tertiary schools varies according to whether the program is undergraduate or graduate and the particular school. Tuition in Italy is among the lowest in the world. The average cost of tuition ranges from €850 to €1,000 per academic year meaning the money transfer needs for tuition are relatively low.
UK nationals may be able to find scholarships for which they are eligible and can also work part time during their studies. Unfortunately, as a result of the lingering effects of the economic recession, the job market is very competitive and unemployment rates remain relatively high. Those looking to relocate to Italy should also consider that the cost of living is among the highest in the EU, but it can vary significantly between the northern and the southern regions of the country. Average monthly expenses can be as much as €975 for a single person.
There are no restrictions for UK nationals to purchase property in Italy. It is often advised that those looking to purchase property hire a lawyer with knowledge of both Italian and international property laws.
UK nationals are able to take advantage of agreements between EU countries, which allow for easy access to the public health care system. UK citizens can obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which grants them access to Italian state-run health care at a reduced cost. Many expats choose to sign up for private health care as well, which can be arranged through an employer. This is usually more costly but comes with the perks such as not having to endure long wait times.
Based on agreements among EU countries, UK expats in Italy will only have to pay taxes on income earned within Italy, provided that they have lived there for less than 183 days. UK nationals in Italy must register for a tax code number, which is necessary for employment, opening a bank account, processing any official paperwork, and signing contracts.
Italy has a progressive income tax system and UK nationals paying taxes in Italy will likely have to pay direct tax to the central revenue agency, in addition to local taxes at the regional level. Those working in Italy will also have to make social security contributions. The majority of this is generally covered by the employer. There are other regulations that apply to self-employed persons where social security is concerned.
The UK and Italy have different tax years, which may affect how British expats manage their finances. For the UK it is between April 6 of one year to April 5 of the following year; while for Italy it is from January 1 to December 31.
Italy has an efficient and modern banking system, which is one of the oldest in the world. This makes the process of transferring money from the UK to Italy simple, safe, and relatively fast. It is easy to open a bank account in Italy as a UK national. Most Italian banks pay interest and do not charge local interest taxes. British nationals will need to go in person with a UK passport in order to open the account. An application form will have to be filled out and, since these forms are usually in Italian, it would be best to be accompanied by someone who is fluent in Italian.
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