Obtaining an Italian residence permit (i.e. Permesso di Soggiorno) does not grant you a visa or valid immigration status in Italy. In order to work and/or effectively live in Italy (beyond the visa-waiver/ESTA), you will need a long-term immigration and visa solution. Navigating the Italian regulations for immigration, like any other country, should typically involve professional legal support.
At Davies & Associates, our Italy Practice Group is well-positioned to assess your individual immigration needs.
Elective Residency Visa
Italy Elective Residence Visa and Summary of the Immigration Process
The elective residency visa permits a long-term stay for foreigners who intend to take residence in Italy. Qualified candidates must meet various requirements, including proof of financial independence that does not rely on gainful employment within Italy.
To be eligible, individuals must submit documented proof of housing (to be purchased or rented) in Italy and an income of more than 32,000 EUROS of regular and stable financial resources which are likely to remain steady in the future.
Resources must derive from stable asset-based revenues (annuities, pensions), property ownership, stable economic-financial activities or other sources other than employment. In essence, the Elective Residency Visa allows qualified individuals to enter Italy for an indefinite period of time.
The process can be summarized in the following three stages:
|Elective Residence Visa Application||2-6 Weeks|
|Residence Permit Application||3-5 Months|
|Residency Registration||1-3 Months|
STEP 1: Elective Residence Visa
Obtaining the elective residence visa involves completing the relevant application form and providing necessary supporting documentation. The Consulate has the right to issue the visa within 90 days, but the processing time is usually between four to eight weeks, depending on the Consulate’s workload, time of year, and applicant’s nationality.
The applicant will need to show assets from a portfolio. The Consulate may request original financial statements from banks, investments/brokerage firms, or social security, all indicating current balances. Please note that balances cannot be derived from current employment or any other work activities. The deciding factor for Italian Authorities is showing a considerable amount of money and, even if the minimum income requirement set forth by the Ministry of Interior is met, there is no guarantee that the visa will be issued as each Consulate evaluates the applications on a case-by-case basis and has discretionary power to make any additional request.
STEP 2: Residence Permit Application
As soon as the Elective Residence Visa is issued, the applicant may enter Italy and apply for the Residence Permit, also called “Permesso di Soggiorno”, within eight days of arrival. It can be requested from any Post Office by submitting special forms and supporting documents. As soon as the application is filed, the Post Office will immediately issue a receipt, serving as proof of submission, which is valid as a provisory permit of stay.
The Post Office will forward the application to the competent Police Station that, usually after several months from the date of filing, summons the applicant to show up for an identification (fingerprinting) and document collection appointment.
It then takes several months (depending on the municipality) from the identification appointment to be summoned again by the Police, this time to collect the actual Residence Permit. Once the Residence Permit is issued, the immigration process is finished, and the applicant will have proper legal status in Italy.
STEP 3: Residency Registration
The final step to be taken by the applicant (if planning to stay in Italy for more than 6 months per year), is the registration of the personal residency address in Italy with the Town Hall. While some countries do not have a similar procedure, Italians and new residents are obligated to register with the Town Hall of the city where they live to establish residency.
This can be done as soon as the Residence Permit request is filed. Registering permanent residency is necessary for the following activities: lower fees on bank accounts; buying a car; issuance of an Italian ID Card (Carta d’Identità); getting a parking permit when living in a historic center; registering for the National Health Service; and Shipping of Personal Goods into the country duty-free.
ADDITIONAL NOTES ABOUT LIVING IN ITALY ON AN ELECTIVE RESIDENCY VISA
- Education: Free public education is available to children who reside in Italy (charges may be applied for school meals where applicable)
- Health Care:Holders of an elective residence permit can register with Italian National Health service by paying a registration annual fee (expiring on December 31st of each year). Being registered with the National Health Service entitles the foreigner to the same benefits as Italian citizens (choose a family doctor, access to all specialist tests and visits, be admitted to hospital etc.)
- Italian Citizenship: Holders of an elective residence permit can apply for the permanent residence permit after 5 years of legal stay in Italy. In order to be eligible, an applicant must have registered as residents and filed tax returns. After 10 years of legal residency in Italy an individual may be eligible to apply for Italian citizenship. In order to be eligible an applicant must have registered as residents and filed tax returns.
- Work Prohibition: The holder of an Elective Residence Visa
prohibited from working in Italy. However, you are permitted to derive
from alternative resources, such as:
- Ownership/Equity interest in companies and other assets. (i.e. bonds/stocks in companies;
- Bank deposits, provided that funds are stable (the Consulate will ask to see if they have been recently deposited, for how long funds have been in deposit)
- Company income (not as an employee, but as owner of company; the applicant can own shares of a company and/or be non executive director - with no managing powers)
- Real estate income – ownership of real estates that generates income (i.e. rent)
- Please note: subject to an authorization of the Police Immigration Office, it is generally possible to become shareholder/director of a new Italian company with the Elective Residence Visa, provided that no salary is paid.
- Driving License: After one year of residency in Italy, a foreign driver’s license is no longer valid. Getting an Italian driver’s license is mandatory after being a resident in Italy for one year. Only the nationals from some countries can convert their foreign driver’s license into an Italian license. All others must apply for a new Italian license.
- Driving License:• Taxation in Italy: An individual who
an elective residence visa shall not pay taxes in Italy if:
- The applicant is not registered in the Municipality (City Hall) of the place where he lives;
- Lives in Italy less than 183 days during the fiscal year (January to December); and
- Does not have his habitual abode in the country.
- Extension: The Residence Permit can be renewed before the
of expiration within Italy. The visa does not need to be renewed, as it is
replaced by the Residence Permit.
- Residency Update: Applicants are required to update their residency status in Italy when they apply for renewing their Residence Permit. Town Halls usually accept a simple communication sent by registered mail or fax, but in some cases the foreigner may need to visit the Town Hall to declare that he is still a resident in Italy.
Elective residency FAQs
The elective residency visa allows foreigners to take residence in Italy. Qualified candidates must meet various requirements, including proof of financial independence that does not rely on gainful employment within Italy.
You need to apply at the competent Italian consulate of your area.
There are several documents you need to submit, including 1 year registered lease.
Any person showing a stable passive income.
Single applicants need to show they make at least 32,000 EUR
You might have tax incentives based on where you want to relocate.
No, you can’t perform any work activities.
Contact Davies & Associates Offices in Italy
Check all of our locations around the world.
Piazza Gentile Da Fabriano 3 Rome, Italy 00196
Map and Driving Directions
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, n. 15 Milan, Italy 20122
Map and Driving Directions
Piazza Gen. C.A. Dalla Chiesa n. 3 43121, Parma, Italy
Map and Driving Directions
I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.
Thanks to them for handling my E2 visa very professionally. I had a study visa from F1 and changed it to E2. I encountered many problems during the application process. Verdie and Etta were very patient in helping me and it took a long time. I highly recommend this place.
Outstanding Immigration Attorney: Highly Recommended! Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) I had the pleasure of working with Verdie Atienza and his team at Davies & Associates , a top-notch immigration attorney in the United States. Their professionalism, expertise, and dedication throughout the process were exceptional. With in-depth knowledge of immigration law, they provided accurate advice and addressed all my concerns, instilling confidence. Verdie Atienza and his team meticulously reviewed my documentation and maintained excellent communication, keeping me updated regularly. What sets Davies & Associates apart is their unparalleled attention to detail. Communication with Verdie Atienza and his team in USA and Sukanya Raman in India was always prompt and efficient. They promptly returned my calls and emails, providing regular updates on the progress of my case. This level of responsiveness and transparency significantly reduced my stress levels, as I knew I could rely on their support and guidance throughout the entire process. Their personalized approach, ethical conduct, and genuine care for my success made them an outstanding attorney. I highly recommend Davies & Associates for all your immigration needs.
Getting my E2 Visa was a very in-depth process that took just over a year from when I committed to it, but 8 months from when I found a business I wanted to purchase. The only reason I'm giving 4 and not 5 stars is because the timeframe was a lot longer than expected from the initial information. Aside from the timing, Verdie and his team led me through the Visa process, providing all the guidance I needed to be successful, including advising me on the RIGHT type of Visa to suit my goals. Within the process I purchased a business and the greater Davies team included lawyer Rinat who helped me put the deal together. One of the biggest parts was my Business Plan which created from my info by Ana Ortiz, who did an incredible job. The process is certainly tedious and Verdie & Christina were always there to answer my questions, provide suggestions and advice and ensure I had all the documents I needed to support my application. I appreciated their patience with my questions and their advice and in the end, the application was so thorough the interview process was quick and easy. I highly recommend Davies & Associates and look forward to working with them again when it's time to renew my Visa.
We were in a hurry and Verdie and the team were highly responsive and supportive, even when we threw in some curve balls along the way. We had our visas approved without any issues and felt confident and well prepared for document submissions and the interview. I'd certainly recommend this team for an E2 visa process.
Several lawyers told me I would not be able to get a TN visa. Two weeks after contacting Davies & Associates I was working in New York, visa in hand.Individual seeking 'Impossible' TN Visa
D&A was very detail-oriented and was very thorough in what they did” L1 Visa Client. There was a lot of work on my case and worked on it 24/7 and was very patient answering all my questions.E2 Visa Client
My case felt complex but D&A managed the whole process carefully and helped me move seamlessly from one stage to the next.E2 + CBI Client
D&A was my guiding light through the entire EB5 Process.EB5 Visa Client
I would definitely be a big advocate for the rest of my life for anyone wanting to explore the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme leading to the E2 Visa. The most important thing is a good team behind you.. with Davies & Associates you’re in safe hands… you need someone who can give you all the support at the ground level and, again, you are well take care of by D&A. The people are really warm, very helpful and quite openminded when it comes to business… Not to mention as a passport it’s great from a travel perspective…It’s just 4/5 hours from New York.Grenada CBI + E2 Visa Client
The entire process of getting an EB5 visa is handled in a professional way by Mark Davies and his team. EB5 is a wonderful option for anyone considering moving to the United States if you have the means. I was hoping to use the H1B route for my children, but it became unreliable and so I looked to the EB5 Visa instead. It is great for anyone who has the resources. Mark gives you the first meetings himself which gives you great comfort. Both Mark and Sanjay are abundantly available and I even had the pleasure of hosting them at my house.Parent of 2 EB5 Visa Holders
I'm in a process of extending my L1 visa. I submitted a few questions regarding my case and he contacted me back almost immediately both by e-mail and telephone. Unlike other attorneys I met before, he gave me the impression of knowing from the top of his head what kind of visa I have, and what actions had to be taken to extend it. He is very thorough and clear regarding the process and what to expect in terms of timelines and issues that may arise. He is constantly in contact, so you definitely know he's working on your case.L1B Visa Holder
Mark Davies is a joy to work with. His extensive knowledge, speedy response and attentive service took away all my fears of dealing with immigration and visa applications. He is very generous with his time in explaining every step along the way and I have already and will in the future recommend him to anybody who is looking for an immigration lawyer.E2 Visa for Small Professional Business With International Offices
Davies & Associates assisted us with an immigration emergency involving my brother's fiancée who was outside the United States. They assisted us in an highly professional manner, working with the relevant US embassy, US immigration and the governments of two other countries. As a result of their efforts the individual involved is now working in the United States. While their knowledge of the law is exemplary what really distinguishes this firm and attorney Davies from any other firm we have worked with is their dedication to customer service and their unrivaled level of professionalism.Complex Fiancée Visa Need Involving Multiple International Jurisdictions
Several lawyers told me I would not be able to get a TN visa. Two weeks after contacting Davies & Associates I was working in New York, visa in hand. I have recommended this firm to several friends and colleagues, they do an excellent job every time.Individual Seeking 'Impossible' TN Visa
I was qualified as a physician in a foreign country. Being on a J1 visa I was facing having to leave the United States and return to my home country. Davies & Associates secured one of only 30 J1 visa waivers available in my State, allowing me to work for a US hospital and remain in the United States.Doctor Seeking J1 Visa Waiver
I am very satisfied with the services Mark Davies has provided me. He has a very extensive knowledge in immigration laws and has a thorough approach to any case.U Visa Applicant, A Victim of Crime
Looking to relocate or having trouble with a visa applicaton?
We are known for our creative solutions that obtain "impossible" visas, we solve the most complex immigration problems for business, investors, individuals and families.Request Free Consultation