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Elective Residence Visa Italy

Learn about requirements and steps to apply for and obtain the Italian Elective Residence Visa.

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What is the Italian Elective Residence Visa?

The Italian elective residence visa is intended for foreigners who want to live in Italy without an employment contract, being able to support themselves autonomously (i.e. retired persons, persons with high self-sustaining incomes and financial assets). One of the basic requirements, in fact, is that the applicant cannot support the time residing in Italy through any type of work.

If you are interested in the tax incentives for foreigners retiring to Italy, take a look at our guide on how to retire to Italy.

Reason of application and duration of the Elective Residence

Any person who wishes to move to Italy can apply for the Italian Elective Residence Visa: however, they have to prove to have enough financial resources. The duration of the visa depends on the length of the stay.

For the mentioned purpose, it is granted for one year and can be renewed.

Requirements for the application

As previously stated, the basic requirement to apply for this visa is to possess sufficient financial resources to support your stay in Italy. The applicant needs be prove this through documented evidence: for a single person, the minimum financial requirement is €31.000 per year, though the threshold may vary at the discretion of the immigration authorities.

if you intend to move with your family, your monthly income must increase of 20% for the spouse and at least 5% for each child. Whether the latter is a minor or an adult dependent, is irrelevant.

Applicants shall provide adequate and documented assurances regarding the availability of a house to be elected as residence, and of ample autonomous, stable and regular economic resources, of which continuity in the future can reasonably be assumed.

In any case, you cannot work in Italy if you plan to apply for the Elective Residence Visa, so you must prove you can support yourself in ways other than work income (i.e. pensions, annuities, property income, income from joint stock or shareholding in a company, etc.).

Which documents do I need to apply for the Elective Residence in Italy?

Besides having sufficient financial resources, you shall also provide the following documents to file the application for the Visa:

  1. Application Formduly filled in – for a Long-Stay Visa in Italy (click here to access the pdf form)
  2. Passport: it must be valid for a minimum of 3 months after the Visa expiration date
    • Passport-size pictures;
  3. Civil Status documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, as applicable;
  4. Application letter stating:
    • Reason for the intended residence in Italy,
    • Length of stay,
    • Place of residence in Italy,
    • Name of persons accompanying the applicant (i.e. spouse and children);
  5. Police clearances from your home country (They MIGHT request it);
  6. Proof of accommodation such as:
    • Signed rental agreement according to Italian rental regulation, OR
    • Deed of ownership of a liveable apartment or house in Italy and proof of registration with the “Agenzia delle Entrate” (the Italian Tax Agency).

Do I need a health insurance to apply for the Italian Elective Residence Visa?

Yes, it is obligatory to purchase international health insurance before you apply for your visa. The insurance has to cover €30.000 a year and all medical expenses.

Holders of residence permit for elective residence, in addition to the right to stay on all the country’s territory and return in it for the period corresponding to the duration of the residence permit, may register with the National Health Service for insurance coverage of health care expenses, although the holder needs to have health insurance coverage prior the entry into the country.

Application and obtainment steps for the Italian Residence Visa

In order to apply for the visa you have to (in the following order):

  1. Book an appointment at the Italian Embassy or Consulate in your country to provide all the required documents. Have a look here for the competent Embassy or Consulate for your country of origin / residency.
  2. You will then need to pay the Italian Visa Fee (ca €116) and wait for them to process your visa
  3. The Consulate or Embassy of your home country will eventually issue the visa, allowing you to enter Italy.
  4. Within 8 days from arrival in Italy, it is necessary to apply for a stay permit for elective residence purposes.

The cohabiting spouse, minor children, adult children who are cohabiting and dependent, and, if financial capacity is adequate, cohabiting parents who are dependents of the visa holder, can obtain the same permit as the visa holder.

Conversion of the residence permit

In case of a conversion from another residence permit, the visa holder has to possess a residence permit for employment, self-employment or for family reasons. They will issue it as a conversion of the residence permit, provided that the holder receives a pension in Italy. The type of pension is not relevant, nor whether the body providing the pension is an Italian or foreign body or an international organization: the fact that it is a pension is what matters (i.e., a continuous economic benefit and that it is effectively received in Italy).

The application will not be accepted until all the required documents are presented at the time of your appointment. If all of the above items are not presented, the applicant will be required to book a new appointment.

If you are considering applying for the Elective Residence Visa, consider that the processing time takes up to 90 days. So, you might at least want to consider that based on your needs.

For more information on the other types of long-term visas in Italy, take a look at our guide on Long Stay Visa in Italy. 

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Regulatory Framework

Directive 1st of march 2000

Reference (Italian only)

Interministerial Decree 11th of May 2011 n.850

Reference (Italian only)

Decree of the president of the republic 31th of August 1999, No. 394

Reference (Italian only)

Other types of Italian Work Visas

Other types of Italian Visas

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