Can I work as a freelancer from the US as a resident of Italy?
Thread poster: RPLanguageServ.

RPLanguageServ.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:09
English to Italian
+ ...
Jan 25, 2013

Hello everyone

my name is Rossana and I am an Italian woman who has just decided to become a free lance translator, after some years of experience translating corporate documents for different PR agencies.

I am currently living in Italy, but in a few months I will probably move to the USA, to reunite with my husband (Italian) who was relocated there because of his job. If I decide to join him, I will enter the country under a non- immigrant status as wife of a non-immigrant worker and, unlike his status, I will not be allowed to find a job in the country.

My question is: may I eventually keep on working from there, paying my taxes to the Italian government as if I were in Italy? Otherwise, I need to consider not to go until or quit the business, which I have actually just started.

I know it's a quite delicate situation and hardly anyone would reply saying "I am doing the exact thing", but, if you don't want to refer to your personal story, can you at least give an opinion on this matter?

Thank you so much for helping.


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2013-01-25 15:51 GMT]


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Chinese to English
All a bit complicated Jan 25, 2013

There are two issues:
1) Can you work while you're in the USA?
2) Can you remain an Italian resident?

(1) has been discussed a couple of times. You could search the forums here. US officials will certainly tell you that you can't. But if you keep your financial affairs in Italy, they're very unlikely to catch you. With everyone on mobile devices these days, the idea of saying you can't do any work while visiting your husband has become absurd. Can't answer a phone call? Can't email a client? If you're working full time, then that's probably illegal, but as long as you're doing it at home...

(2) is also an issue. I don't know what Italian law says on this, but British law says that if you're not in the country for more than 6 months of a year, then you're not a resident, and they don't want to tax you. But of course, people rarely get investigated for paying tax when they don't need to.


Karen Wooddissee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:09
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
What kind of visa would you be on exactly? Jan 25, 2013

Hi Rossana,

There are different types of visas available, so (I'm sure you are) be very certain you know exactly which type your husband/you have. If you'd be on an 'H' visa, then officially, no, you can't do paid work in any capacity while living in the US. All the research I did on this before coming out here was pretty clear on that. I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who do manage to flout this one way or another, but it depends if you - and your husband - are willing to take the risk, since I expect it's likely both your visas would be revoked if you were found out. If it's a long term move and your husband ends up getting a green card, then you can apply for permission to work then - but it could be a long wait.

Accompanying spouses can work if they are on an 'L2' visa and apply for the EAD (work permit) - you do have to do this separately, and not until you arrive in the country. I was warned it would take a long time, but in fact it was only about 6-8 weeks (I may just have been lucky!).

An L visa can be an option if the person with the job is relocating with the same company they work for (ie from the Italian office to the US office or whatever), but companies don't always seem to know that it exists - we had to do our own research and ask my husband's company specifically to apply for the L rather than H visa so I could work. I don't know if it's relevant in your case (and may be too late now anyway), but perhaps it might be useful for anyone else in a similar situation.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do!


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:09
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Staying more than 6 months in Italy every year? Jan 25, 2013

It would be best to discuss this with your tax authorities or a tax advisor, but I reckon that if you do not foresee to be in Italy for at least 6 months every year (which defines you as a resident of Italy and therefore means that you pay your taxes there), it could be difficult to keep your resident status in Italy and pay your taxes there.

Just one thing I would explore is that you form a company in Italy who invoices for any work you do, and that this company pays you a dividend for the profit (the expenses of such a company should be low, mostly official fees for creating/keeping the company and your chartered accountant's fees). I reckon you would then pay taxes in the US for the dividend you get as a shareholder of your company, as well as the company tax to be paid in Italy. Maybe a bit too complicated depending on the actual work you expect to have while you are in the US...?


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