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Moving from and to Italy: Useful Advice from Field Experts

by Skaiste Kristina Rucyte

 

This article stems from the need to offer some clear advices so that a citizen residing abroad may face a removal from and to Italy in an organized way and stress-free.

We want to emphasize that a removal may represent a significant source of stress. Among the various causes that favor said stress, moving to another country, a different social environment and the relationships connected to it certainly play a decisive role. Moreover, a new job and the need to start from scratch in a completely different productive context certainly doesn’t help. Besides, in this kind of situation, one may have to tackle with problems simply linked to their removal, such as damages to furniture, items, delays in the delivery of the goods, the family left at the mercy of the events, etc.

The first advice that I would like to give you, therefore, is to choose a specialist. “A removal is a serious thing”; there are many variables at stake; it’s not just a matter of moving the goods from point A to point B, it involves actually the movement of people’s lives. You must therefore choose the right moving company.

Removals to Italy for foreign citizens

Documents and taxes for a removal to Italy

First of all, we may consider that a foreign citizen comes to Italy either for work or on vacation.

If he/she comes to Italy for work he/she will certainly need to:

  • Register at the Italian Immigration Office;
  • Obtain the Italian fiscal code card [tax code card]: a document that serves to identify unambiguously individuals residing in Italy irrespective of residency status;
  • Starting the procedure for enrolment in the city’s population register;
  • Self-certification (usually issued by the company handling the removal on behalf of the person concerned).

Furthermore, in order to obtain a Franchigia [extraordinary exemption of part of the payment] from the Italian Customs Office, it is necessary to have a fiscal code card (as mentioned above) and have filed an application for a residence permit with the local authorities at the city of destination.

On the contrary, if you intend to come to Italy on vacation or, in any case, to carry with you some goods without staying or working in Italy, the following payments must be made:

  • Customs fees: 22% of VAT (immediately);
  • Customs duties varying between 5 and 12%.

If, after reading the above requirements, you got the goosebumps, I can clearly say that you don’t have to worry, during your international removal you will not be left alone. With the support of the right partner, you will be advised and guided during all the phases of the removal, without any stress whatsoever, promise!!

What company should you choose?

 

Assuming that you are an American citizen (or a citizen of any other country) and want to move to Italy, you have two possibilities:

  • You can either contact a local company;
  • Or you can contact a company in the destination country.

Our advice is to make a choice only when you have all the information on the company and, based on such information, said company appears to be trustworthy.

For example: we, at Bliss Moving & Logistics, carried out many removal services for persons who contacted us directly from the origin country. Whether they are new or old customers, we know how to find the best solution for their removal. How?

  • Clarity in communication and assistance during the entire removal;
  • Worldwide qualified and specialized partners who handle the service (at origin or destination) on our behalf;
  • Qualifications and high performance standards;
  • Exclusive ancillary services.

Now, if you want to be sure that you have chosen the right partner for your removal, all you have to do is follow our advice and pinpoint the above characteristics.

Are my personal belongings safe?

Choosing the right removal company means also understanding the percentage of accidents that occurred during the last working year in the services it handled. Does it make any sense to choose a company with a percentage equal to or higher than 10%? I really don’t think so. Moreover, I must say that it is not necessary to pay attention only to this aspect, as the ideal thing would be to add to the removal contract an insurance policy which may reassure you on the integrity of your belongings during the shipment.

For example, Bliss Moving & Logistics has an accident percentage equal to 3% and we offer our customers, as an ancillary service, something that is much more than a mere insurance policy à the Bliss Protection Plan, an insurance plan with “all risks covered” through an ad hoc insurance policy entered into with the world leading insurance company as regards the transportation sector: London Lloyds. Plus other exclusive services.

Removals from Italy to other foreign countries

The above also applies to the different aspects of removals from Italy to other foreign countries:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • What are you taking with you?

Once the above two points have been pinpointed, you can contact the moving company and together you will find the right solution for the type of shipment and related documents!

What if I have a Pet?

I don’t think that in the year 2017 making an animal travel from one continent to another represents a problem. Of course, at first, this may seem quite “strange” or apparently dangerous. It is absolutely not so! Various authoritative statistics confirm that animals travelling by air are highly protected, in that they have a cabin dedicated exclusively to them with very high comfort! There are quite a few companies that can help you with the shipment of your furry friend. Bliss Pet Services is part of the Bliss Corporation group. It is a leading company specialized in the shipment of animals throughout the world, with a highly qualified, multilingual and certified staff and international partners, in order to guarantee an excellent origin and destination service and 5 offices in Europe:

  • Italy;
  • Germany;
  • Spain;
  • Portugal;
  • Switzerland.

Well, now, both you and your four-legged friend can sleep soundly!

Rome Day Trip - Villa Oplontis

Picture it - an outdoor pool the size of a football field.  Indoor and outdoor kitchens for those hot days sweltering under the southern Italian sun.  Open waterfront views from your luxurious bedroom, as you are lulled to sleep by a gentle breeze across the Bay of Naples.  All this as the sleeping giant, Vesuvius, looms on the horizon.  You think I’m talking about ancient Pompeii or Herculaneum?  Close but no cigar miei amici.  I’m talking about Villa Oplontis, one of the largest villas in the ancient world and just a train stop away for the perfect day trip outside Rome.

Rome day trip Villa Oplontis

I first discovered Villa Oplontis on my daily commute between Sorrento and Naples.  I asked my local friends about it who all answered with that charming shrug of the shoulders in a display of friendly ignorance.  Now that I know better, it’s probably because Oplontis is situated in Torre Annunziata, a Camorra stronghold and not the safest stop on the glued-together Circumvesuviana train line.

Archaeologists believe Oplonti was the summer villa of Poppoea Sabina the Younger (her Mom being the Elder), Nero’s second and notorious wife.  She was truly a local girl from Pompeii made good.  She had been married twice before getting pregnant by Nero who divorced his then wife and married Sabina.  Oh, for a juicy ancient soap opera!  The year he married her, 62 AD, it’s believed the then 160 year old structure underwent a major overhaul caused by a massive earthquake.

Villa Oplontis outside RomeSabina went crazy decorating.  She loved zebra stripes, I mean truly obsessed over them.  They decorate every hallway.  She was ahead of her day for sure.  The baby’s nursery, adjacent to her waterfront boudoir, was lovingly decorated in Pompeiana red with flying dinosaurs on the walls.  It makes you realize that ancient paleontologists did study fossils.  You see all you can learn on a day trip outside of Rome?  The nursery even had a rudimentary, yet acoustically groundbreaking intercom system.  It allowed Sabina to hear the baby from distant corners of the massive structure.  Ancient Roman architecture at its finest and built to outlast earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and still receiving visitors more than 2,000 years later.

The site is much better preserved than the crumbling facades at Pompei.  There are Italian guides who barely speak English except to tell you the cost of a tour, but you get the gist.  I enjoyed a one-on-one with my guide.  He showed me the indoor ovens, the sacrificial altar, la dispensa full of amphora for olive oil, extra virgin, of course, and so much more.  All of it frozen in time on August 25, 79 A.D., some 14 years after its mistress was allegedly kicked in the stomach while pregnant and killed by Nero himself.  Scandal, drama, luxury living with a view of Capri.  What more could you ask for?

Torre Annunziata is not the safest neighborhood for blinged-out, American sneaker-wearing tourists but if you have enough street sense to travel safe, Villa Oplontis is so worth the visit and a perfect day trip from Rome.

ON ARRIVAL FROM NAPLES:  Step off the train and immediately out of the station turn left.  Walk to the end of the short street and turn right.  Villa Oplontis is about a 10 minute walk, straight ahead on your left.  There are signs posted along the route but as with anything, they are sadly subject to graffiti and theft.

Attorney Lisa Fantino

 

Lisa Fantino is a US-based author and chief cook, bottle washer and travel concierge at Wanderlust Women Travel, specializing in bespoke journeys and honeymoons to Italy.  Her travel memoir, “Amalfi Blue - lost & found in the south of Italy,” has been on Kindle’s Top 10 list in three countries.

Cross Border Estate Planning in Italy

What to do When Inheriting Property in Italy!

Expats living la dolce vita may happen upon distant relatives in Italy or make new friends who want to leave them property when they die.  Hey, it could happen.  So, what do you do when you inherit an apartment in Rome or a villa on the Amalfi Coast?  Transferring title is not as easy as you may think and it's essential to be aware of international law and have a cross border estate plan.

In the United States, people may leave or not leave their property to whomever they choose under the terms of their will.  (Yet, you can't disinherit your spouse, but that’s fodder for another discussion.) That’s not the same in Italy.

In Italy, spouses, children and sometimes ascendants such as parents, aunts and uncles, inherit automatically under the law of “forced heirship.”  They can even “claw back” gifts to get their rightful share returned.  It’s an ancient premise that basically keeps real property in the same family for generations no matter what someone declares in their will.  So, if Mamma, Nonno or Zio Vincenzo dies and leaves you property in Tuscany, the first thing you should do is seek legal counsel at home and in Italy to make sure that your rights will be protected.

In the United States, the process of administering a will through court is called probate and is only handled by attorneys admitted to practice in the states, unless you act pro se or on your own behalf. In Italy, the process is called succession and is generally not handled by attorneys.  That’s where problems can occur if the heirs are in different countries and may not be Italian citizens.

US-based attorneys working with an Italian firm specializing in cross border estate planning can help navigate the complex minefield of notaios who rule the property transfer process in il bel paese.  You’ll need to provide documents to further the succession in Italy including affidavits, death certificates, powers of attorney, among others. That sounds easy enough but unless the American documents are drafted appropriately, they will be rejected outright in Italy, often by local processors who have no experience with international estate law.

Further, drafting correctly is only half of the process. Under the Hague Convention, in order for the American documents to be recognized by a court in Italy, they must be notarized and apostilled by the US State Department, through a local Embassy, or with an individual Secretary of State and their deputies. That is supposed to provide assurance to foreign authorities that the documents may be relied on but time and again I have seen them rejected. The problem is that in Italy, non-attorneys process succession and more often than not, they are unfamiliar with international laws and protocols.

Attorney Lisa FantinoWhether it's money, art or property at stake in Italy, it's best to retain attorneys on both sides of the Atlantic rather than lose your rightful inheritance in Italy.  There’s a lot more to it and I hope to meet many of you this fall in an AICR presentation with my colleague, Avv. Nick Metta, from Studio Legale Metta in Rome.

Lisa Fantino, is a US-based attorney with a cross border practice, admitted in New York and Connecticut.  As traveler-in-chief, Lisa's company, Wanderlust Women Travel, specializes in bespoke honeymoons in Italy and she is the author of the best-selling travel memoir, "Amalfi Blue: lost & found in the south of Italy."

 

Top 10 Considerations for International Buyers

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This blog post was created using the works of Carolyn Delli Santi.

1. Objectives
Clarify and find the primary objectives in order to filter and narrow down options.

2. Intended use
Discover how often the property will be visited to understand the intended use of the property.

3. Location
“All real estate is local” applies, if not more, to other countries. Be sure to establish connections with people who can offer valuable assistance such as attorneys, notaries, inspectors, and local real estate agents.

4. Property Type
Know what the buyer wants. Newer homes typically have less charm and character, come with higher price tags, and potentially include taxes. Offer buyers a distinct set of trade-offs, especially for landlords.

5. Rental Potential
To determine whether a residence will meet an owner’s minimal rent income goals be sure to capture all related property ownership/rental expenses, including agent fees, taxes, insurance, and housekeeping services. Above all, make sure local laws permit owners to accept rentals and that the property is conveniently located in an attractive tourist area.

6. Legal Factors
Language barriers will often arise and can become a serious problem in legal documents. Before signing ANY documents, buyers may wish to translate all written documents using a translator. To attract buyers, sellers may be willing to conduct transactions in the buyers preferred language. Also consider if the contract includes related financial obligations (such as condominium/community fees), restricting local laws, and any restrictions on using the property for rental income. Buyers should review local laws to confirm that legal documents in a non-local language are legally binding.

7. Purchasing Costs
Numerous expenses will be added to the purchase price, such as attorneys, inspectors, appraisers and financial/tax professionals. Closing costs vary by country but can sometimes include sales/transfer taxes and title/notary services. If the purchase is financed, mortgage origination expenses will be added to the closing costs.

8. Continuing Expenses
If a property is financed, monthly mortgage payments will likely by an owner’s largest expense. Other factors are utilities, condominium/community fees, taxes, insurance, security, maintenance and travel. Important notes about utilities are that not all utilities that are available back home are automatically available abroad.

9. Costs to Sell (or Inherit)
Before entering into a purchase, buyers should have a solid understanding of their exit options and created expenses.

Questions to consider:
-When this property is sold can the proceeds be freely moved out of the country without taxation?
-What are the tax implications of repatriating an investment back to the home country?
-If a property moves into an estate, how will ownership and taxation be treated amount the heirs?
-Will inheritance/transfer taxes be avoided by including heirs on the deed?

Carolyn Delli Santi encourages planning ahead and seeking expert advice on the most effective way to handle such matters before signing a sales contract. Laws are always subject to change, making it essential to have a reliable source to guide the buyer through their term of ownership.

10. Other Factors
Currency fluctuations
Will cross border transactions always involve an element of current risk that can enhance or detract from an owner’s related income and expenses?
Transportation
Are there convenient and economic options between major transportation hubs?
Medical facilities
Young buyers should keep this in mind if their long-term goals include retirement.
Emergencies can happen at any age
Government
Does the country welcome and encourage foreign investment?
Are social services available to foreigners?
Do property owners gain special visa or residency status?
Is the overall political climate stable?

Carolyn Delli Santi is an AICR member and a licensed Real Estate Agent in both Italy and the United States. If you would like to reach Carolyn, you may contact her at +39 393 6460187.