Andrà Tutto Bene. Italy and the Corona Virus


Andrà Tutto Bene. It means – Everything is going to be ok. This has become the unofficial response from ordinary Italians to this nationwide and worldwide crisis. These homemade banners have been appearing everywhere.

As of today, we have officially been on nationwide lockdown for a week. These steps have been taken for several reasons. We know that we cannot simply stop the virus, but the hope is that it can be slowed dramatically. Up in the north, in the region of Lombardy in particular, the hospitals were getting close to collapse. The Corona Virus attacks the lungs, and in people with respiratory problems, or other immune system weaknesses, it does not just send them to the hospital, it sends them to the ICU, and the ICU cases rapidly progress to where a respirator is needed. There have been a few heartbreaking stories where doctors were faced with situations where they had more patients than respirators and there were none to be had from anywhere else. It turned into what they described as battlefield triage where they were forced to decide who would get access to the machines. (Side note, this story may have been the source for some disgusting tabloid garbage I have seen going about social media about Italy denying care to people over 65. This is a Catholic nation for heavens sake!!) So the lockdown is a last chance attempt to slow the spread to a manageable rate, and also to try and stop it from racing down to the south of Italy where the percentage of older people is much much higher than in the north and the hospitals are not as well equipped.

How are the Italians reacting to this? Frankly, I am incredibly proud of the country I am now calling home. Overwhelmingly people have taken this calmly. It is kind of spooking seeing the streets so empty though. There has been no panic buying like in the United States. The stores are fully stocked.

I took this photo in the local supermarket, the toilet paper isle. They only let a certain number of people into the store at one time. We line up outside and the security guy sends us in groups of two or three. I waited about ten minutes to get in. The store had maybe about a third of the normal amount of people usually in it.

Come to Abruzzo! We have toilet paper.

This is the produce section. Hard to see, but maybe a dozen people total were in this section. Knowing that there are no shortages in the stores goes a long way to reassure people that they don’t need to panic or horde. Plus there seems to be more of a ‘us’, mentality in Europe than there is in America where so many of the posts seem focused on people taking a how does this affect ‘me’ mentality.

The Italians have faced this crisis with resilience and defiance. A week ago there was a nationwide movement to all go to our balconies and play music or sing. All over Italy people came to their balconies to say and sing in unison. “Yes, we are still here!” 

The rest of the world seems to be about three weeks behind Italy for some reason, Perhaps it is the amount of tourism. The measure of a people is not how they behave in the best of times, but how they deal with the worst of times. 

Documents and Registrations

Italian Digital Nomad Visa

The Italian Digital Nomad Visa.  It seems one cannot open a news or travel site without seeing an article about the new Italian Digital Nomad Visa. Sadly, the articles are mostly clickbait and offer few if any details other than putting the worlds “available to highly qualified” in quotes. These articles are already attracting a fair amount of people thinking they have found a work around for the Elective Residency visa. I did some looking as to exactly what is required. Clearly this program is in no way the Influencer/Blogger golden ticket to Italy. I provide a summation of the requirements. Of particular consequence is the section on Education, Work Experience and Work Contract. You must have a university degree in the field, you must have at least six months experience working in that field and you must have either a contract with a company, or, if freelancer, must show contracts and letters of engagement. 1. Who is eligible: highly-skilled people (see #3 below) who work through remote technology either as a freelancer or as an employee on the payroll of a business based either in Italy or outside of Italy. 2.Digital nomads and remote workers: the regulations, for the purposes of this visa, refer to freelancers as “digital nomads” whereas they refer to employees as “remote workers”. The requirements to apply for and get the visa are almost identical for the two categories, with a few exceptions, described below as applicable. 3.Skills and Education: applicants must prove they have a university or college degree (minimum 3 years) from an accredited institution, an accredited professional license, or accredited superior professional experience. 4.Work Experience: applicants must document at least six months of experience in the industry in which they intend to work remotely. More experience (up to five years) is required for applicants without a university degree. 5.Work contract: remote workers must provide evidence of an existing employment contract, or a binding employment offer, requiring the employee to possess skills consistent with a higher level of education as defined above. The regulation does not say anything about proof of contracts for digital nomads. However, it is possible the Italian Consulate will ask for engagement letters, retainers, or other evidence of contracts between the freelancer and his/her clients with respect to the required high skills work. 6.Criminal background affidavit: remote workers must file an affidavit with the Italian Consulate signed by their employer stating the latter has not been convicted of specific immigration crimes within the past five years. The regulation does not provide any information about a criminal background check with respect to the visa applicant himself/herself. Therefore, we do not expect Italian Consulates to ask for it. However, we have seen that some Italian Consulates require a criminal background check certificate for some types of visas although the respective regulations do not list it as a requirement. Therefore, it is possible some Consulates might ask for the applicant’s background check as well. 7.Annual Income: applicants must prove to have an annual income of EUR 28,000 or more. The law does not require the applicant to prove that such income is generated through his/her freelance or remote working employment. Therefore, it can be income from any source, for example, rental income, corporate dividends, royalties, etc. However, each Italian Consulate might apply its own interpretation about qualifying sources of income and might require a higher amount as well. Check in advance the approach of your specific Italian Consulate and options to structure your application to meet the locally applied interpretation. 8.Housing: applicants must provide evidence of a place to stay in Italy. For example, some Italian Consulates have indicated that they will accept even a 30+ day hotel reservation or letter of hospitality from a relative or a friend. But make sure to check with your specific Consulate. Some might ask for a 12-month lease agreement in your name. Bear in mind that an accepted purchase offer or preliminary purchase contract or compromesso are not sufficient to meet the housing requirement. 9.Health Insurance: The Italian government provides a universal healthcare system that covers Italian residents, regardless of nationality. However, Italian Digital Nomad Visa applicants must provide evidence that they have coverage of medical treatment and hospitalization for the duration of stay, in the form of medical insurance. A private medical insurance usually costs EUR 350-EUR 700 per year. The coverage of a private medical insurance is limited to its terms, hence its cost is lower than the amount required for the registration with the National Health Service, which provides unlimited medical coverage. However, voluntary sign up with the Italian National Health Service (EUR 2,000 per year) is not available for Digital Nomad visa applicant. Therefore, you can only apply for this type of visa if you have evidence of some other Italian medical coverage. If you wish to get a private medical insurance policy meeting the visa requirements, we will gladly assist you getting an eligible policy. Premiums depend on age and coverage. For example, you can find insurance policies with annual premiums as low as EUR 350 per person meeting the basic coverage required for the purposes of the visa. Private insurance upgrades are also available (prices range based on terms and conditions). For example, you can get private insurance for EUR 1,500 per family per year, in addition to the cost of basic coverage. Here are the minimum medical insurance coverage requirements for the Italian Digital Nomad Visa:Event: medical expenses (e.g., prescriptions, doctor visits, hospitalization, ambulance transportation);Coverage: at least EUR 30,000 per person per year;Territory: applicable in all European Union member States;Duration: 1 year. 10.Digital Nomad Visa Duration: The digital nomad and remote worker visa is valid for one year. However, once in Italy, you can renew your immigration permit. Below more information about the renewal process. 11.Where To Apply for an Italian Digital Nomad Visa: You must apply at the Italian Consulate which is competent for the geographical area where you have your home (residency). Check this link

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