How To Get A Job In Italy As An American

It'll be hard, but not impossible.

How To Get A Job In Italy As An American
Portofino, Italy

U.S. citizens cannot simply move to Italy and work remotely or apply for local jobs—it's illegal for Americans to work here without a visa, and you probably won't find a job on the ground due to fierce local competition.

However, if you're diligent, resilient, and open to upskilling or taking a job in the tourism or language sectors, you'll eventually find work in Italy.

Visa Options for Americans Wanting to Work in Italy

U.S. citizens need a visa to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days and to carry out work within the nation's borders.

Before reviewing the visa options below, you should check if you qualify for Italian citizenship by descent or for citizenship in another European country. European Union (EU) citizens can freely live and work in other EU and EEA member countries without a visa.

If you do not hold dual citizenship with an EU or EEA member country, Italy offers the following visa options for Americans who wish to work in Italy:

  • Work Visa (for those who land a job in Italy)
  • Internship Visa
  • Self-Employment Visa (for those who wish to carry out their work in Italy)
  • Golden Visa (for wealthy investors)
  • Startup Visa (for educated innovators)

Keep in mind that Italy's self-employment or "freelancer" visa is only granted to 500 individuals each year and is notoriously difficult to get. For a chance at getting this visa, you'll either need a lot of capital or a career that is listed on Italy's skills shortage list.

The most common way for an American to work in Italy is by finding a company willing to sponsor their work visa.

How to Find a Job in Italy as an American

Nearly 17% of Italians under the age of thirty-five are unemployed, so it is definitely hard to get a job in Italy as an American. If you want to work in Italy, you will need an Italian company or an international company with an Italian office to sponsor your work visa.

I highly recommend securing a job before moving to Italy.

In our post-Covid world, remote work is abundant, and it's possible to learn almost any skill online. If you can prove that you have skills or certificates in a high-demand field—like IT, digital marketing, consulting, healthcare, or media—you can likely secure a work visa with an Italian company or an international company with an Italian branch.

I was born and raised in California and do not speak fluent Italian (full disclosure: I do hold dual US/Italian citizenship). I found my digital marketing job on LinkedIn before moving to Italy, and my poor Italian skills were not a problem. I work for an international company where everyone speaks English and works with English-speaking clients.

To find jobs in Italy for Americans, I recommend using the following websites:

Note: If you can't read Italian yet, Google Chrome and Safari have built-in translation services that can translate these websites into English.

Available Work in Italy for English Speakers

The work available for American expats in Italy will vary depending on your unique skillset, background, and years of experience.

Unskilled Positions

The most common unskilled employment opportunities in Italy for English speakers are in the education and tourism sectors.

Teaching English with a TEFL certificate can pay enough to keep the lights on, and working as an English-speaking tour guide is also a popular option. However, keep in mind that these jobs are highly competitive and might not offer visa sponsorship.

There are many English speakers in Italy—native and otherwise—who live here on student visas, spousal visas, and family visas and do not require visa sponsorship to work. Competing with these residents as an unskilled American job seeker will be tough unless you can find a way to stand out.

Skilled Positions

To stand out and secure a work visa, I recommend taking online courses in in-demand fields, like technology or digital marketing, and applying for skilled positions at English-speaking companies with a presence in Italy.

Northern Italy is home to numerous international companies including Deloitte, Apple, Media Monks, IBM, and SAP. For a comprehensive list of international companies based in Milan, browse this list by YesMilano.

The vast majority of jobs in Italy for English speakers will be based in the Northern city of Milan. If you're curious about what it's like to live and work in Milan, Italy, I recommend reading The True Cost Of Living In Milan As A Single Person.

Living and working in Italy since early 2022 has been a dream, and I don't regret swapping my home state of California for Milan's snowy mountains. Life in Italy has its own unique charm that could never be purchased or replicated in the United States.

Your salary in Italy won't be as high as your salary in the U.S., but in my opinion, this is a worthy trade-off, at least for a couple of years. It's worth breaking out of the American, hyper-capitalist bubble at least once in your life!