Italy’s Elective Residence Visa: what you need to know about it
The elective residence visa is one of the best types of visa to live in Italy, but it is sometimes referred to as a “rich person” visa because of the resources that are required in order to obtain one. It will be necessary to prove that you have enough passive income to sustain your life in Italy, that is, you will have to demonstrate that you can live in Italy without working, that you earn money from various financial resources, rentals and pensions. Other types of income are not considered passive.
You will need to earn approximately €31,000 per year for yourself. Married couples will have to add an additional 20% to that number plus an additional 5% per child. Parents of persons applying for this visa are also eligible though the money needed once again increases. However, this income is combined so if your income plus your spouse’s income far exceed that required amount then everyone is covered.
Elective residence also works in another way. If you don’t have enough money to meet the requirements of passive income, it can also be done through investing in residential real estate. If you purchase a property you can qualify for the elective residence visa, but part of the requirement is that the home is a permanent residence (either owned or leased). And, still, you are not legally able to work in any way, shape, or form. This is a visa for people who intend to reside in Italy permanently, not short term or even up to a year.
For more informations about this, read our articles about real estate taxes in Italy, and cost of buying a house in Italy.
To begin, it’s best to visit the website of the Italian Consulate closest to you to get complete information about all of the documents needed. Unfortunately each consulate may vary slightly in what they’ll absolutely require of you. You’ll need to schedule an appointment online for an in-person appearance at the consulate to apply for the Elective Residence Visa.
Also getting all the documents ready in the consulate want is not an easy task and we recommend you having an accountant following all the procedures.
Visa applicants will have to show a portfolio of assets and the Consulate may request original financial statements from banks, investments, social security, etc. The first task is therefore to prepare a written portfolio of assets. It’s always good to be extremely detailed and organized; it shows that you’re serious about wanting to relocate. Also, it might seem trivial, but dressing well for the appointments at the consulate never hurts!
Trust our experience on this one.
If any of the documents below are missing, incomplete or lacking in extra copies (for any bureaucratic process relating to Italy it is recommended to keep at least 4 copies of each document) you may be dismissed and have to restart the process. It’s also important to consider that for the visa process the embassy will keep your passport, so you won’t be able to travel outside of the country for the duration. Once you have submitted all the required documents, the Consulate will have up to 90 days to review your application and issue your visa. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need.
The list of documents you’ll need for this visa is quite long, and the authorities are able to request additional documents from you should the need arise.
● Passport, valid for at least 3 months beyond the validity date of the visa requested. The passport must have a blank page available.
● Visa application form. This must be signed by the applicant in the presence of a Consular Officer, not at home.
● One recent passport photo (2x2 inches, full face and in color).
● Proof of permanent residence in the country of origin.
● Proof of support (original financial statements from banks, investment & brokerage firms, Social Security with each showing current balances). Please note that these account balances must be substantial and provide for continuous growth.
● Proof of housing availability in Italy: rental agreements, proof of ownership, sometimes a government certificate of adequate housing.
● International health insurance valid in Italy.
● Certificate of good conduct issued by the local police or by the FBI may be required.
● Certified marriage certificate and birth certificates of family members.
After your arrival in Italy, you’ll need to register to the local police department within 8 days from your arrival date. To do so, you will have to fill a form and provide the address where you’ll be established. This is proved by presenting a rental agreement or other equivalent paperwork.
Please note that while the visa grants you the right to legitimately enter the country, you will need to further obtain a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), which is the only legal document that legitimizes your stay in Italy. It is issued by the local police department and can take quite some time to acquire. Once you have your visa, however, the process to obtain the residence permit should be easy enough.
The steps to go through in order to get your residence permit are generally the following:
● You first need to get the residence permit application kit from a local post office.
● Once you fill in the application kit and submit it (along with all the required documents), they will give you a receipt and an appointment at the nearest police department.
● On the day of the appointment, you will be asked to bring with you the originals of all your required documents. If nothing is missing, they will also take your fingerprints and ask you some questions (so brush up on that Italian while you’re still abroad).
● The police department will notify you when your residence permit card is ready to be picked up.
The residence permit usually lasts one year and can be renewed, following the same process explained above. I know I’ve thrown a lot of information at you this time, but hopefully it helps you to successfully receive the Elective Residence Visa!
Check out also our video about elective residency visa down below or our video about tax residency in Europe.
After moving back to Italy from the United States in 2013, I realized how much an accounting and tax firm was needed to help expats living in Italy to comply with the local tax regulations.