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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Although we would love to eventually retire in Italy, after annual month long stays in Tuscany over the past 7 years, we have an oppostunity to stay with Italian friends for 9 - 10 months starting next fall. We are semi-retired, plan to keep our house and connections to the U.S. paying U.S. taxes, etc. We also plan to come home twice duing that time for doctor appts, to visit family, etc. We thought doing this would be relatively straightforward (if not easy) but after reading thru this forum we now have concerns:

1) visas - is it true you can stay as a "tourist" for 90 days - return home - then come back to Italy for 90 more days "legally"?

2) vehicle - I have read thru other forum questions re: leasing vs buying a used car. We want to do this the most cost effective way - but understand the restrictions re: need to register the car, etc. Sounds like we may have to impose on our friends to sign for the car? register it? suggestions?

3) Access to cash - ATM fees are high and daily withdrawal amounts restricted. We will do most business online thru our U.S. Bank - but what is less costly way to access our cash for Italian expenses? How difficult is it for a U.S. citizen to open a bank acct in Italy? Or is using an ATM, as we do when we travel, the best solution since we won't be purchasing large items like furniture, etc.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 

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As far as the visa is concerned, the 90 day "Schengen visa" works more or less like the US VWP. In essence, the idea is that you can stay up to 90 days in any 180 day period. The 90 days doesn't start over if you just duck out for a couple weeks.

However, as you've no doubt already noticed, border control on arrival in most European countries is nowhere near as stringent as it is in the US. Chances are that, unless you run into some sort of problem where it was necessary to produce your passport (as i.d., for instance), no one would really bother you for overstaying the 90 day limit.

As you've noted, though, being in Italy on a 90 day tourist visa you probably wouldn't be able to register a car in your own names (nor insure the vehicle). Chances are you could probably open a bank account, but it would be a "non-resident" account with some restrictions.

Check with your local Italian consulate to see what it would take to get a tourist visa in your situation. With your friends backing you, and appropriate documentation, it could be much easier in the long run to just get a visa and avoid the potential for difficulties should you run into problems.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As far as the visa is concerned, the 90 day "Schengen visa" works more or less like the US VWP. In essence, the idea is that you can stay up to 90 days in any 180 day period. The 90 days doesn't start over if you just duck out for a couple weeks.

However, as you've no doubt already noticed, border control on arrival in most European countries is nowhere near as stringent as it is in the US. Chances are that, unless you run into some sort of problem where it was necessary to produce your passport (as i.d., for instance), no one would really bother you for overstaying the 90 day limit.

As you've noted, though, being in Italy on a 90 day tourist visa you probably wouldn't be able to register a car in your own names (nor insure the vehicle). Chances are you could probably open a bank account, but it would be a "non-resident" account with some restrictions.

Check with your local Italian consulate to see what it would take to get a tourist visa in your situation. With your friends backing you, and appropriate documentation, it could be much easier in the long run to just get a visa and avoid the potential for difficulties should you run into problems.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks Bev for your quick reply.

Out of curiosity - what kind of restrictions are there for traveling around europe - in and out of other countries - over an extended period of time? Now that so many countries are part of the EU I don't even remember getting our passports stamped anymore when we cross borders (as when we traveled extensively years ago).

We do plan to visit other countries while there - with Tuscany as a base - and wonder if this makes any difference?
 

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Most of Europe is now part of one visa zone. The lack of border control is an actual problem if you get stopped. It's up to you to prove you haven't over stayed. If the only proof you have is a plane ticket six months ago then they'll assume you've over stayed.

Stick with ATMS. If you look around you'll find some with lower fees. Opening an Italian bank account will expose you to various fees that over whelm the ATM fees .

Look at the French lease programs. For nine months buying doesn't really make sense. You'll have to find an used car. Hope it's in good shape. Then in the end try and sell it. If you figure in the money you'll lose buying / selling an used car the lease program ends up more appealing. Plus you get a brand new car. A new car that shouldn't need any service in your nine month stay. Will likely get better gas mileage then the average used car. The one issue is unless you pick up and drop off in France you face a surcharge. Still Nice isn't that far a drive.
 

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Basically, there are no more border controls as long as you confine your travels to the Schengen countries. (If you visit the UK, you have to go through the whole lot.) The odds are that you'd never have to prove how long you've been in Europe. But, that all goes out the window should you have an accident, require medical treatment, or just run into a particularly unpleasant police officer on an off day.

NickZ is absolutely right about the ATMs - bank fees in Europe are outrageous compared to those in the US, and you'll probably find that there is very little you can't pay for by credit card. For simple walking around money, just pay the ATM fee. It's much cheaper over the long term.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Basically, there are no more border controls as long as you confine your travels to the Schengen countries. (If you visit the UK, you have to go through the whole lot.) The odds are that you'd never have to prove how long you've been in Europe. But, that all goes out the window should you have an accident, require medical treatment, or just run into a particularly unpleasant police officer on an off day.

NickZ is absolutely right about the ATMs - bank fees in Europe are outrageous compared to those in the US, and you'll probably find that there is very little you can't pay for by credit card. For simple walking around money, just pay the ATM fee. It's much cheaper over the long term.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks Bev and Nick for the sage advice. We all know the unexpected is bound to happen and we should be prepared. (altho it's tempting to take the chance - we have gotten International Drivers' Licenses every year and have not been asked to show them to anyone yet!) I will contact our consulate to find out about the appropriate visa in this scenario.

Thanks again!
 

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Thanks Bev and Nick for the sage advice. We all know the unexpected is bound to happen and we should be prepared. (altho it's tempting to take the chance - we have gotten International Drivers' Licenses every year and have not been asked to show them to anyone yet!) I will contact our consulate to find out about the appropriate visa in this scenario.

Thanks again!
Hi, just one other thing, if you do intend on opening a bank account or buying a car you would need to get a codice fiscale first.
Bill
 

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Thanks Bev and Nick for the sage advice. We all know the unexpected is bound to happen and we should be prepared. (altho it's tempting to take the chance - we have gotten International Drivers' Licenses every year and have not been asked to show them to anyone yet!) I will contact our consulate to find out about the appropriate visa in this scenario.

Thanks again!
You should be pretty much a shoo-in for the visa. You've got your friends to support the fact that you're invited for a certain period of time and will have lodging. And as long as you can show that you're not looking to take up long-term residence in Italy and have the funds to support yourselves while you're there, it should be just a matter of providing all the documents.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You should be pretty much a shoo-in for the visa. You've got your friends to support the fact that you're invited for a certain period of time and will have lodging. And as long as you can show that you're not looking to take up long-term residence in Italy and have the funds to support yourselves while you're there, it should be just a matter of providing all the documents.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks for the good news! I have downloaded the visa application and read the consulate's fine print - and am now about to Skype our friends to start the ball rolling for a visa. (altho instructions clearly state that we cannot apply until 90 days prior?!) Still need to figure out the car thing - but have some time to do that. I appreciate everyone's input!

Most of our stays in Tuscany have been in the late spring, summer or early fall - we're getting excited about seeing this beautiful region during other seasons!
 

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I am fairly new to the studys required for Italy. I, myself, am interested in moving there.

Check into getting the extended stay permit for 6 months. I am not sure if you can go over on your regular 90 day visit and apply for the 6 month stay immediately upon arriving. I know you have to apply for residency within the first 8 days or so upon arrival. Since you already have friends there, you could maybe use their residence address for whatever you need (i.e. car leasing, etc.)

Opening a bank account is also new terriotory for me. Check with your U.S. bank to see if they have a foreign affliliate in the area where you will be staying. If so, most of the fees for ATMS can be alleviated, etc. Also, according to many resources the exchange rate is the best on the ATMs..

Enjoy your time there!
Kind Regards,
Charlotte Sainz





Although we would love to eventually retire in Italy, after annual month long stays in Tuscany over the past 7 years, we have an oppostunity to stay with Italian friends for 9 - 10 months starting next fall. We are semi-retired, plan to keep our house and connections to the U.S. paying U.S. taxes, etc. We also plan to come home twice duing that time for doctor appts, to visit family, etc. We thought doing this would be relatively straightforward (if not easy) but after reading thru this forum we now have concerns:

1) visas - is it true you can stay as a "tourist" for 90 days - return home - then come back to Italy for 90 more days "legally"?

2) vehicle - I have read thru other forum questions re: leasing vs buying a used car. We want to do this the most cost effective way - but understand the restrictions re: need to register the car, etc. Sounds like we may have to impose on our friends to sign for the car? register it? suggestions?

3) Access to cash - ATM fees are high and daily withdrawal amounts restricted. We will do most business online thru our U.S. Bank - but what is less costly way to access our cash for Italian expenses? How difficult is it for a U.S. citizen to open a bank acct in Italy? Or is using an ATM, as we do when we travel, the best solution since we won't be purchasing large items like furniture, etc.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 
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