Q Question: What are the requirements to apply for an Italian Elective Residence Visa?
A Answer: The requirements, the process and timing for an Italian Elective Residence Visa are as follows:
Requirements and Process
- Where To Apply: The first important thing to know is that you cannot apply for the Elective Residence Visa in Italy. You must apply at the Italian Consulate which covers your home residence. Check this link to see which Italian Consulate is responsible for your home residence at the time of application.
- Italian Elective Resident Visa Application Form: Before going to the Italian Consulate, obtain the visa application form. Beware that each Consular office might have its own unique application form. For a point of reference, find here the form for the Italian Consulate in New York. Please refer to the Italian Consulate for your specific location and use the form provided. Be sure to complete the form with your full name as it appears on your passport. Complete the Italian Visa application form, but do not sign it as you must sign it before an Italian Consular Visa Officer (more information below).
- Consulate Appointment: Set up an appointment with the Italian Consulate ahead of time. Often the Italian Consulate’s schedule is busy and they might book appointments for Italian Elective Residence visa six to eight months in the future.
- Photos: Bring with you two recent passport-size photographs on white background, full face and front view. Scanned or photocopied photos will NOT be accepted.
- Passport: along with the application form also bring a valid passport with expiration date at least three months after the end of requested visa period. Make sure the passport has at least one page that is completely blank (without stamps) to apply the visa sticker when issued.
- Financial Resources: bring documented evidence of sufficient financial resources, such as recent bank account statements. For a single person the minimum financial requirement is EUR 31,000 (or equivalent home currency amount). For a married couple it is EUR 38,000. An additional 20% is necessary for each dependent child.
- Passive Income: the Italian Consulate wants to verify your documented ability to generate sufficient financial resources, other than employment, which can be reasonably expected to continue over time. Some examples of passive income are: property rental income, pensions, social security benefits, corporate dividends, royalties, etc. If your Existing Financial Resources (see item 6 above) are multiples of the minimum required amount, evidence of it does not per se satisfy the Passive Income requirement.
- Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificates: The requirements for applying as a married couple or an individual are different. As a married couple it would be easier to meet the requirements of sufficient Existing Financial Resources (item 6 above) and Passive Income (item 7 above).
In particular, the qualifying thresholds per person are proportionally lower when applying as a couple than when applying as separate individuals. Therefore, in order to apply as a married couple and/or for a dependent the Italian Consulate requires valid evidence of your family relationship. Non-Italian marriage certificates or birth certificates that are not issued from the country where the Consulate is located need to be translated into Italian and validated (e.g., legalized, or with apostille certificate) before you submit them. Check with the local Consulate for their specific policy.
- Housing: you must provide evidence that you have a place to stay in Italy. For example, you can provide a certified copy of your property purchase contract, property gift transfer, life interest entitlement (usufrutto) or lease agreement.
- Health Insurance: the Italian government provides a universal healthcare system that covers Italian residents, regardless of nationality. However, Italian Elective Resident Visa applicants must give evidence that they have their own qualifying health insurance Make sure that the health insurance plan meets the following minimum requirements:
- Event: medical expenses (e.g., prescriptions, doctor visits, hospitalization, ambulance transportation);
- Coverage: at least EUR 30,000 per person per year;
- Territory: applicable in all European Union member States;
- Duration: 1 year.
If you do not have medical insurance meeting the requirements above, we will gladly assist you getting an appropriate policy. Premiums vary depending on coverage. For example, you can find insurance policies with annual premiums as low as EUR 150 per person to access the full Italian health care system. Private insurance upgrade is also available (prices range based on terms and conditions; for example you can get private insurance for EUR 1,500 per family per year, in addition to the cost of basic coverage).
- Travel Ticket: Although it is not required to have your ticket for Italy at the time of the Italian Elective Residence Visa application, if you have it you can bring it with you and file a copy of it as well. If you have not finalized your travel arrangements at the time of filing the Italian Elective Resident Visa, you can simply indicate on the visa application your expected departure date.
- Visa Application Fee: EUR 116 per person, cash or Money Order, payable to the Consulate of Italy, with applicant’s name and address on the money order. It is also possible to pay in local currency. Italian Consulates around the world periodically update their websites with the equivalent converted amount in local currency as per the applicable currency exchange rate. Check on the website of your competent Italian Consulate for the applicable fee in local currency right before submitting the Italian Elective Residence Visa application form.
- Multiple Applicants: If you intend to file an application for your spouse and/or child/ren, make sure to complete an individual application for each person.
Visa Specifications and Registration in Italy
- Visa Issue Timing: if your paperwork is in order you might expect the visa within 60 to 90 days. Check here to see what an Italian Elective Residence Visa looks like. The maximum term under the law is 90 days. However, in our experience, they take much less than three months to issue Italian Elective Residence Visas. Please bear in mind that during the entire process, from filing the application to when the visa is issued, the applicants’ passports shall be left with the Consulate.
- Visa Duration: the visa will show an issue date, a starting date and an expiration date. The visa start date will likely be the same or close to your departure date, if you filed a travel ticket along with your visa application. The expiration date of an Italian Elective Residence Visa in general is after 365 days from the starting date. If you must postpone your departure, you can do so, as far as you enter Italy before the visa expiration date. No further notice to the Consulate is required.
- Permit to Stay: Within eight days of your arrival in Italy (and before your visa expiration date) you must apply for a Permit to Stay (“Permesso di Soggiorno”). The Permit to Stay for an Italian Elective Residence Visa usually is issued for two full years starting from your Permit to Stay issue date, regardless of the Elective Residence Visa expiration date. Check here to see what an Italian Permit to Stay looks like.
- Registered Residence: After you complete the Police registration and obtain your Permit to Stay, you can file an application to become a registered resident with the Italian Municipality where you are going to live.
We assist EU and non EU citizens with immigration and visa matters, as well as residence registrations. We offer a comprehensive service tailored to the needs of each case. Our services include advice on immigration law, cross-border implications related to dual citizenship, dual residence, change of residence, preparation of visa, permit to stay and residence applications, tax aspects, avoidance of dual taxation, etc.
Here is what our clients wrote us about our visa application service:
“I wanted to let you know that the appointment [at the Italian Consulate] went as smooth as silk. The woman looked at me at one point and said, ‘well you have certainly done your homework!’. Everything you suggested I initially give them was all that they wanted. It was perfect. We watched four out of the five people ahead of us be told to get the proper documentation, make another appointment and come back. We couldn’t have nailed it the first time without your guidance in both the application process and the documents you obtained on our behalf in Italy. It feels wonderful to have our application successfully submitted”.
“The Visa came today and we are ecstatic! We got the full year and we are so thrilled to be going home to Italy in April. Thank you so much for your invaluable help. I don’t think we could have done this without you. Siamo pieni di gratitudine.”
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