Elective Residence Visa Italy, Overview and legal advice

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Overview of the Immigration Procedure and Elective Residence Visa in Italy

The elective residency visa allows foreigners who plan to reside in Italy to stay for an extended period and live permanently in Italy. Eligible applicants must fulfil several criteria, among which is the demonstration of financial self-sufficiency that is not dependent on paid work in Italy or elsewhere.

For qualification, persons are required to provide verified evidence of accommodation (either for purchase or rent) in Italy and a consistent income of over 32,000 EURO, which is expected to remain constant in the future.

The income should come from stable asset-based earnings (such as annuities, and pensions), property ownership (rental incomes), steady economic-financial activities, or other non-employment sources.

The procedure can be broken down into these three phases for the residence permit in Italy:

Please note that buying a property does not provide you with a visa or any legitimate immigration status in Italy. Connect to our lawyers in Italy to understand how you can work and/or study in Italy effectively (and stay beyond the 90-day rule of the visa waiver program).

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STEP 1: Acquiring the Elective Residence Visa

The process of acquiring the elective residence visa requires filling out the appropriate application form and submitting the required supplementary documents requested by the Italian consulate. The consulate reviews the application package and grants the visa within a 90-day period; however, the processing duration typically ranges from four to eight weeks, contingent on the Consulate’s workload, the season, and the nationality of the applicant.

The applicant is required to present assets from a portfolio. The Consulate may request original financial records from banking institutions, investment firms, or social security, all reflecting current balances. It’s important to understand that these balances should not be calculated from current employment or any other professional activities. The Italian Authorities’ decision hinges on demonstrating a significant sum of money. Even when the minimum income requirement stipulated by the Ministry of Interior is satisfied, visa issuance is not guaranteed. Each Consulate assesses applications individually and holds the discretionary authority to make any further requests. Click here to inquire about the Italy elective residence program.

STEP 2: Residence Permit Application

Once the Elective Residence Visa has been granted, the individual can travel to Italy and must apply for the Residence Permit, also known as “Permesso di Soggiorno”, within eight days of entry. You can apply at any Post Office by providing specific forms and necessary documents. Once the application is lodged, the Post Office will promptly provide a receipt, acting as evidence of submission, which is recognized as a temporary stay permit.

Typically, after a few months from the application date, the applicant is called in for an identification (fingerprinting) and document-gathering session at the closest Police Station.

The process then requires several months (based on the municipality) to receive the actual Residence Permit card. Upon issuance of the Residence Permit, the immigration procedure is completed, and the applicant attains legitimate legal status in Italy.

STEP 3: Registering Residency

The last action required from the applicant (if they intend to reside in Italy for over 6 months annually), is to register their personal residential address in Italy at the local Town Hall. Although not all nations follow the same protocol, it is mandatory for Italians and newcomers to register at the City Hall of their place of residence to confirm their presence and immigration status.

This can be accomplished immediately after the receipt of the Residence Permit Card. This registration will facilitate several activities, such as: opening a regular bank account; purchasing a vehicle; obtaining an Italian Identity Card (Carta d’Identità);


  • Education: Children living in Italy have access to free public education (fees may be imposed for school lunches where relevant)
  • Medical Services: Individuals possessing a discretionary residence permit have the option to enroll in the Italian National Health Service by remitting an annual subscription fee (which lapses on the 31st of December each year). Enrollment with the National Health Service grants foreigners the same privileges as those enjoyed by Italian nationals (such as selecting a family physician, availing all specialist examinations and consultations, hospital admissions, and so on).
  • Italian Nationality: After legally residing in Italy for 5 years, those with an elective residence permit are eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. To qualify, a candidate must have enrolled as a resident and submitted tax returns. An individual may qualify to apply for Italian citizenship after a decade of lawful residence in Italy. For eligibility, the candidate should be registered as a resident and have filed tax returns.
  • Employment Restriction: The bearer of an Elective Residence Visa is not allowed to work in Italy. Nonetheless, you can earn income from other sources, such as:
  • Possession/Shareholding in businesses and other properties.
  • For instance, shares or bonds in corporations;
  • Bank savings, given that the capital is secure (the Consulate will inquire about recent deposits, and the duration of the funds’ deposit)
  • Income from a business (not as an employee, but as the business owner; the applicant may hold company shares and/or serve as a non-executive director – without any managerial authority)
  • Income from real estate – possession of property that produces revenue (e.g., rental income)
  • Please be aware: with the approval of the Police Immigration Office, you can typically become a shareholder or director of a newly established Italian company under the Elective Residence Visa, as long as no wages are disbursed.
  • Driver’s Permit: Once a foreigner has resided in Italy for a year, their overseas driving license ceases to be valid. It becomes obligatory to obtain an Italian driving license after living in Italy for a year. Only citizens from certain countries have the privilege to convert their foreign driving license to an Italian one. Everyone else must seek a new Italian license. **Driver’s License:**
  • Tax Obligations in Italy: A person who secures an elective residence visa is exempt from paying taxes in Italy if:
  • The individual is not listed in the local Municipality (City Hall) of their residence;
  • Resides in Italy for fewer than 183 days within the tax year (January to December); and
  • They do not maintain their regular dwelling in the nation.
  • We can also discuss citizenship by descent and the Italian passport.
  • Renewal: In Italy, the Residence Permit can be extended prior to its expiry date. There’s no need for visa renewal since it’s superseded by the Residence Permit.
  • Update on Residency: It’s mandatory for applicants to refresh their residential status in Italy during their Residence Permit renewal application. Most Town Halls accept straightforward communication via registered post or fax, however, in certain instances, the foreign national might have to personally visit the Town Hall to affirm their continued residency in Italy.

Eligibility and requirements for elective residence visa for Italy

Applicants must be able to show they can relocate and live in Italy by showing a stable and passive income, such as collecting social security or other types of pensions, annuities, rental income, or interests/dividends from a brokerage account). Applicants also need to show the ability to live in Italy without seeking any sort of employment.

How we help you with the visa application process

Working with our Italian team would ensure that your application package includes all the necessary documents so that you have very high chances of being approved. Our lawyers based in our office in Italy can also make sure that all documents are properly translated and formatted to meet the requirements of the Italian consulates. Another big advantage of hiring Global Immigration Partners is the peace of mind we offer, because navigating the whole process is usually very stressful, and clients want to avoid any risk of delays or rejections of the petition. Having a knowledgeable Italian lawyer next to you simply means your case is handled with care.

Step-by-step guide: Applying for Italy elective residence visa

This process requires 2 main steps: the first is to prepare and file an application with the competent Italian consulate in your area, and the second step is to apply to obtain a residence card as soon as you enter Italy and have activated your immigration status through your Elective residence visa.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Italian Elective Residence

What is the Elective Residence Visa for Italy?

An elective residency visa is a permit that enables non-Italians to live permanently in Italy. Eligible applicants must fulfill several criteria, among them is the demonstration of financial self-sufficiency that is not dependent on paid work.

How can I obtain an elective residence Visa for Italy?

You must submit your application to the relevant Italian consulate in your region. Once you have your visa, you will be able to enter the country and file for the Residence Permit within a limited time frame.

Can I acquire Italian citizenship through the Elective Residence?

You can apply for Italian citizenship after you have lived in Italy for 10 years. Additional requirements apply, such as a minimum language proficiency.

Who is eligible to apply for an elective residence visa in Italy?

Anyone who can demonstrate a consistent passive income. Possible sources could be rental incomes, Social Securities, annuities, pensions, interests, and/or dividends generated from stocks and bonds, etc.

What are the income requirements for an elective residence Visa in Italy?

Individual applicants must prove they earn a minimum of 32,000 EUR. Different amounts are required if you have family members.

Is it possible to work in Italy with an elective residence Visa?

No, you are not allowed to engage in any work-related activities.

What is the duration of the elective residence visa for Italy?

The elective residence visa is valid for one year. The subsequent Residence permit will be issued for 1 year and then will be renewable every 2 years.

What is the minimum income to reside in Italy?

You need to show you have a minimum passive income of 32,000/year per person.

Do I need help with the elective residence visa for Italy?”

Since this is a difficult visa to have, we highly recommend you have the proper assistance of our professional lawyers based in Italy.


Global Immigration Partners | Italy Elective Visa: Free Consult | Global Immigration Partners

Global Immigration Partners PLLC is a specialized immigration law firm. Through our international presence we have specialist knowledge of the specific procedures in multiple embassies and consulates around-the-world.Book a free consultation