Italian Elective Residency Visa

Italian Elective Residency Visa

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Question: What are the requirements to apply for an Italian Elective Residency Visa?

Answer: The requirements, the process and timing for an Italian Elective Residency Visa are as follows:

Requirements and Process of the Italian Elective Residency Visa

  1. Where To Apply for an Italian Elective Residency Visa: You must apply at the Italian Consulate which covers your home (residency). Check this link to see which Italian Consulate is responsible for your residency at the time of application. You cannot apply for the Elective Residency Visa in Italy.
  2. 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 their provided form. 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). However., some Italian consulates might accept filing via mail (usually USPS only) after you sign the application in front of a U.S. notary public.
  3. Italian 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 Residency visa 2 to 4 months in the future. Usually no appointment is required if your Italian Consulate is accepting filing by mail.
  4. Photos: File two recent passport-size photographs on white background, full face and front view. Scanned or photocopied photos will NOT be accepted.
  5. Passport: Along with the application form also file 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.
  6. Financial Resources: File 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, or partners of a civil union, it is EUR 38,000. An additional 5% is necessary for each dependent child. However, each Italian Consulate might apply its own interpretation of the required financial thresholds and might require higher amounts. Check in advance the approach of your specific Italian Consulate and how to structure your application accordingly.
  7. Passive Income: The Italian Consulate wants to verify your documented ability to generate sufficient financial resources, other than employment income, which can be reasonably expected to continue over time. Some examples of passive income are: pensions, social security benefits, property rental income, corporate dividends, royalties, etc. The minimum annual passive income amount is EUR 31,000 for one person. For a married or civil union couple it is EUR 38,000. If your Existing Financial Resources (see item 6 above) are multiples of the minimum required amount, it does not per se satisfy the Passive Income requirement. However, as mentioned above, each Italian Consulate might apply its own interpretation of the required financial thresholds and might require higher amounts. Check in advance the approach of your specific Italian Consulate and options to structure your application to meet the locally applied requirements.
  8. Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificates: The requirements for applying as a married couple (or partners of a civil union) or an individual are different. As a married couple or partners of a civil union 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. It is important to note that, in spite of official regulations, some Italian Consulates require for the full individual financial threshold to be met by each spouse (EUR 31,000 per spouse or civil union partner).
  9. 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. Notice: An accepted purchase offer or preliminary purchase contract or compromesso are not sufficient to meet the housing requirement.
  10. 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 depend on age and coverage. For example, you can find insurance policies with annual premiums as low as EUR 350 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).

  1. Travel Ticket: Although it is not required to have your ticket for Italy at the time of the Italian Elective Residency Visa application, if you have it you can file it. If you have not finalized your travel arrangements at the time of filing the Italian Elective Residency Visa, you can simply indicate on the visa application your expected departure date.
  2. 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 website s 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 Residency Visa application form.
  3. Multiple Visa 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.

 Elective Residency 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 Residency 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 Residency 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 Elective Residency visa will show an issue datea 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 Residency Visa 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. However, we recommend entering Italy and starting the Permit to Stay process within the first six months after the visa start date.

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 Residency Visa usually is issued for one or two full years starting from the date of your filing your Permit to Stay application with the post office, regardless of the Elective Residency Visa expiration date.  In order to continue to live in Italy past the Permit to Stay expiration date, you will be required to renew it before at the latest, 60 days before its expiration. After renewing it for five years and meeting the applicable requirements (e.g., evidence of filing Italian taxes), you can apply for a long-term Permit to Stay. Check here to see what an Italian Permit to Stay looks like.

Registered Residency: After you complete the Police registration and obtain your Permit to Stay, you can file an application to become an Italian registered resident with the Italian Municipality where you are going to live.

When should I start planning for an ERV?

We suggest accounting for a minimum of 5-6 months for the entire process (that includes the 3 months, by law, that the consulate has to get back to you about whether your visa has been approved or not).

Let’s do the math: 

  • It’s February and you’re aiming to move to Italy in October.
  • That means that by April 1, you should be making your appointment with the consulate and starting to gather the required documents to submit (getting the appointment can be a challenge, in and of itself).
  • But what about the Italian typical August business “break”, when most work in the government grinds to a halt?
  • So let’s add another month for buffer and say you should start March 1.  That’s right around the corner so we recommend that you start thinking about this now.

Is this kind of roadmap on the consulates’ websites?  No, but this is what we know from our extensive experience in working on thousands of applications with consulates around the world.  It’s not just knowing the law, but the experience that informs the kind of guidance our team can provide.

We assist non EU citizens with immigration and visa matters, as well as residency registrations. We offer comprehensive services tailored to the needs of each case. Our services include advice on immigration law, cross-border implications related to dual citizenship, dual residency, change of residency, preparation of visa, permit to stay and residency applications, taxes, avoidance of dual taxation, etc.

Here is what 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.”

Contact us to discuss your specific case circumstances and receive personalized legal advice.

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