Katrin Milano: here’s how to prepare for life in Italy

Italy has always been attractive to foreign investors despite the global crisis. The prestige of “Made in Italy”, the opportunity to start your own business and expand into the EU market, all these factors make you think twice. As you can see, there are many obvious advantages when you do business in Italy. However, there is always a bureaucratic part and a complicated regulatory environment to deal with. Add to that the cultural differences, the linguistic barriers, dating gaffes, and rules about which pasta shape goes with which sauce. Many embarrassing moments come into play when you immerse yourself in the local environment.  Let’s look at the common difficulties that foreign entrepreneurs face today.

 Firstly, you need a visa to enter the country. The next step is to solve the accommodation problem. A convenient option would be to rent an apartment.  So, you have to become a resident in a rented property. Without it, you will never open a bank account nor get a work permit.  Next, apply for an Identity Card in the Municipality of the city where you live.

Carry out the following step to submit financial statements by the request to the Chamber of Commerce. For example, the capital of the organization in my case of Sole Proprietorship was €17,000. You will receive confirmation that there are no obstacles to your business in Italy.  In the application indicate the size of the authorized capital, address,  number of employees, and additional work equipment.  Determine the form of business organization. The minimum authorized capital for LLC is €1.  The minimum authorized capital may be increased in some cases.  For example, the capital of the organization in the case of Sole Proprietorship was €17,000. These are the most common forms of business in Italy.  For small taxpayers as freelancers and self-employed persons, the law provides for a special tax regime of 5% for the first 5 years of incorporation.

While you are going through the bureaucracy of the system you can apply to Nulla Osta. This is a work permit, for which you must prove your professional qualifications.  This can be done with your education certificate.  In Italy, people work in their profession. If you have an EU diploma, it’s an absolute advantage. If not, translate your education document into Italian.  I have 2 diplomas: Russian and Italian, it was no problem to get the work permit. Besides, you have to master the language as soon as possible.

Like all residents, you must apply for a tax identification number (Codice Fiscale). This whole process takes about one day. If you haven’t yet opened a corporate bank account, do it as soon as you receive all the documents.

The last step is to apply for the “Permesso di soggiorno per motivi di lavoro autonomo”.  In summary, it’s not necessary to contact intermediaries to open your business.  If you have time and interest, the whole process will take 3-4 months.

Don’t ever compare Italy to your own country. Try to change your attitude, otherwise, you will get stuck in an expat bubble. Living in a new country is a beautiful experience, but to fall in love with Italy you have to be open-minded. Remember it’s not the country you grew up in, so there will be many unexpected situations.

Katrin Milano