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US citizen wife will join Italian husband "ricongiungimento Familiare" what does the

My wife is American and I am Italian. She will come to live in Italy with me "ricongiugimento familiare" what are the pitfalls we will encounter regarding her status with the US government. What will she have to do to insure a smooth transition. She is getting Social security payments. What to do about that as well in order to continue to receive them here in Italy. Please let me know.
 

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....what are the pitfalls we will encounter regarding her status with the US government.
I assume she is not expected to appear in court in the United States. ;)

There's nothing new, really. She continues to have U.S. tax and financial reporting obligations after her move, primarily confined to IRS Form 1040 (and related attachments) and FinCEN Form 114. (Though she may be able to avoid FinCEN Form 114 -- see below.) My understanding of the U.S.-Italy tax treaty is that her U.S. Social Security benefits are U.S. taxable but not Italian taxable. But she'll probably still have Italian tax filing obligations, at least Form RW.

Depending on the state she moves away from she may have to take certain steps to make sure she is not still considered a tax resident of that state. For example, if she has a state driver's license (or state ID) she'll likely have to terminate that license. Whether she obtains an Italian patente is a separate question, but of course she could if she passes the exams.

What will she have to do to insure a smooth transition. She is getting Social security payments. What to do about that as well in order to continue to receive them here in Italy.
She simply contacts the Social Security Administration to notify them of her move. I believe she can continue to receive her Social Security benefits into her U.S. bank account, and there might be some merit in that if she would prefer not to open a bank account in Italy. (If she does not have any financial accounts outside the United States -- and is not a joint account holder with you -- then she does not have to file FinCEN Form 114.) You may wish to obtain a low cost Italian supplementary credit card for her, a credit card in her name but tied to your account, that she could use at least for emergency purposes.

It's probably a good idea for her to obtain one low cost U.S. ATM/debit card and one low cost U.S. credit card (with the full balance paid off automatically every month) so that she can tap into her U.S. dollar savings (and Social Security if she wishes to continue receiving benefits into her U.S. account) for spending in euro in Italy. My current favorite low cost U.S. ATM/debit card is issued by Charles Schwab Bank (though that account must have a U.S. mailing address), and my current favorite low cost U.S. credit card is Capital One's Quicksilver (with no annual fee). However, there are several other low cost options.

Note that you are eligible to receive a spousal retirement benefit from U.S. Social Security as early as age 62 (your age). Sometimes marrying an American has its privileges. ;)

She can register with the U.S. State Department's Web site so the U.S. embassy knows where she is. That's a prudent step and at least puts her on the U.S. embassy's e-mail list.
 

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She'll also have a decision to make, assuming she's currently Medicare eligible, whether she continues to participate in the premium-based parts of Medicare. Generally she should cancel the premium-based parts of Medicare and stay enrolled only in the free Medicare Part A, but she should be aware that when/if she returns to the U.S. she'll have to pay a higher premium for the fee-based parts of Medicare. How much higher depends on how many years she has not paid Medicare premiums.

If she's on Medicare (and/or Medicare Advantage) then she probably has emergency medical coverage in Italy for some period of time after she arrives. (She should check that.) Consequently she should wait to cancel Medicare (except Medicare Part A) until she is properly enrolled in the Italian public medical system.

If she travels to the U.S. (or elsewhere outside EHIC countries) to visit she will likely need good quality travel medical insurance, and that's sometimes difficult to obtain for U.S. citizens who travel to the U.S., particularly as they age. (Though there are a couple companies that sell such insurance.) Medicare Part A is not enough U.S. coverage for most people. If she visits the U.S. frequently (or could) then that might weigh against ending her premium-based Medicare coverage and argue for keeping it, though perhaps at a reduced level (if she's paying extra now, above the minimum Medicare premiums).
 
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