A guide to Italy's elective residence visa

Destination service provider Principal Relocation Company explains the main steps involved in obtaining an elective residence visa in Italy.

You might be interested in our new article: Residence permit card fees are reintroduced in ItalyThe elective residence visa only applies to individuals who possess a prolific amount of money and savings in their country of origin. Sometimes, proof property ownership in Italy may also be requested.Applicants will need to show portfolio of assets and the Consulate may request original financial statements from banks, investments/brokerage firms, social security, etc.It is important to note that current employment or any other work activities are considered to be unrepresentative for proving one’s income, as the deciding factor is wealth.There is no strict line, and each application is handled on a case-by-case basis. Some Consulates may ask applicants to show at least one million dollars in accounts, while some may prefer to judge the application according to a steady flow of monthly earnings (not derived from work), between $35,000 to $150,000 per year.The first task is therefore to prepare a written portfolio of assets. This way, the applicant’s relocation management company can assess whether the Italian Consulate is able to entertain the visa request.The holder of an elective residence visa is not allowed to work in Italy.  This is why the Consulate wants ensure that applicants possess enough revenues to finance themselves in Italy.This type of visa allows entry in Italy for an open-term long visit to aliens who intend to take up residence in Italy and who are able to do so, and to support themselves autonomously, without having to rely on any employment in Italy, whether they are dependent employees or self-employed workers.According to the Ministerial Decree of the 12 of July 2000, the spouse, the children minor of age (or of age, provided that they live with the applicant and are still dependents on him/her) and parents of the applicant (provided they live with the applicant and are dependent on him/her), can apply for an elective residence visa as well, provided that the applicant’s financial means are sufficient to maintain all additional family members.

Applying for Elective Residence Visa

Although they need to be double-checked each time with the relevant Consulate in country of residence, all applications for this type of visa generally require the following documents:
  • Passport or official travel document valid for at least 3 months beyond the validity date of the visa requested. The passport must have a blank page available for the visa to be affixed.
  • Visa application form to be signed by applicant in the presence of a Consular Officer.
  • One recent passport photograph (2x2 inches in size, full face, front view, color).
  • Proof of permanent residence in the country of origin.
  • Proof of support: original financial statements from banks, investment/brokerage firms, Social Security, etc., indicating current balances. Please note that the latter cannot be derived from current employment or other work activities; i.e., you cannot finance your residence in Italy through work. In addition, please note that these account balances must be more than substantial and must provide for continuous growth.
  • Proof of housing availability in Italy: rental agreements, proof of ownership (title deed), sometimes a government certificate of adequate housing.
  • International medical insurance valid in Italy.
  • Certificate of good conduct (Police record) issued by the local Police authority or by the FBI field office is required (only occasionally).
  • Certified marriage certificate and birth certificate of spouse/children

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Applying for a Permit of Stay

Once the visa is obtained and within the first 8 days after arriving in Italy, applicants will have to declare their presence and apply for a permit of Stay at the Post Office.The Declaration of Presence (Dichiarazione di Presenza) may be obtained in one of the following three ways:
  • For those who arrive from non-Schengen countries, the entrance stamp in the passport is equivalent to a declaration of presence and grants legal right to stay in Italy for up to 90 days for tourism, study or business reasons.
  • For those who arrive from Schengen countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta and Switzerland) and who stay in hotels, bed & breakfasts and other places where the host must register the arrival with the police, are not required to show any further documents. The registration at check-in will amount to a declaration of presence, therefore it is best for the guest to ask for a copy of this registration as evidence.
  • Those who arrive from Schengen countries and are lodging either with friends or family must go to the Questura (police station) and declare their presence within 8 days in order to comply with the new law. Passport plus photocopy of photo/entry stamp pages will be needed, plus a form issued by the Questura.
Once the 90-day declaration of presence gets issued, it is highly recommended to immediately begin applying for the Permit of Stay - also called Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno) - at the post office. Expatriates will receive a receipt as proof of submission, together with an appointment with the Questura, where they will need to be identified and their fingerprints registered. Typically, the following documents will be needed (please note that copies of the documents listed below will be needed for the application at the Post Office while the originals will have to be presented at the fingerprinting/identification appointment):
  • The original declaration of presence, and/or copy of passport entry stamp.
  • Application form (Form 209)
  • €75 Fee.
  • 4 - 6 passport style photos of the applicant.
  • Original plus copies of EACH page of family members’ passport(s).
  • The applicant’s spouse will need an original or certified copy of the applicant’s marriage certificate duly translated into Italian and legalized by the Italian Consulate abroad or by the Italian Tribunal. Please note that the certificate must be recently issued, as it is valid in Italy for only 6 months after being issued.
  • Applicants with children will need original or certified copies of the birth certificates duly translated into Italian and authenticated by the Italian Consulate abroad or the Italian Tribunal. NOTE: Please note that these certificates must be recently issued, as they are only valid in Italy for 6 months after being issued
  • Certificate of housing suitability (idoneità alloggiativa).
  • International medical insurance.
  • Proof of support: original financial statements from banks, investment/brokerage firms, Social Security, etc., indicating current balances.
  • Proof of housing availability in Italy: rental agreements, proof of ownership (title deed).
The Questura will eventually advise the applicant regarding the collection of their Permit of Stay and may request additional documentation.After being filed, the application generally takes between 3 to 6 months to be issued but it may occasionally take longer than this.For more detailed information, visit the Principal Relocation Company website.  For more information about Immigration, visit the Relocate Global Immigration homepage

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