A Guide to Retiring in Italy. The Italian Retirement Visa.

by | Nov 9, 2020 | Immigration


In this article we will discuss a certain long-stay Italian visa available to foreign nationals who desire to permanently move to Italy and who have a stable source of passive income to support themselves, and possibly their family. This visa is called Elective Residency Visa, and it is most commonly referred to as Italy Retirement Visa.

Italy is undoubtedly among the most beautiful countries in the world, with its beautiful cities, towns, nature & countryside, waters, history, culture and food, in one word the sweetest lifestyle you can possibly find (“La Dolce Vita”, the sweet life).

Further, if you are used to the American lifestyle and prices, you will realize how much cheaper is living in Italy compared to the US. For instance, in Italy you can rent or buy real estate literally at a third of the price you would pay in the US.

This also true for food & wine, restaurants, clothing and a wide array of other products or services. Among other things, hiring a top Italian lawyer, god forbid you will need one, will cost you probably ten times less than the US.

All of the above makes Italy particularly appealing because it allows you to enjoy a much better quality of life by spending substantially less than the United States. Definitely, you don’t need to be a millionaire to fully enjoy the greatest Italian lifestyle.

Italy Elective Residency Visa key features & requirements

Key features and requirements for the Italian retirement visa are as follows:

  • Permanent relocation to Italy for yourself and your family
  • You will need the Retirement Visa if you are not a EU (European Union) citizen.
  • Must have sufficient funds to provide for yourself without working (passive income, savings, investments, or pensions).
  • You cannot perform any type of work in Italy
  • Once you enter Italy on the Retirement Visa you have to promptly apply for an Italian Residence Permit (“Permesso di Soggiorno”). The request for the Permesso di Soggiorno should be filed with the local police precinct within 8 days of your arrival.
  • You need to show you have a place where to live in Italy. You can rent or buy an apartment.
  • International health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 a year for all medical expenses.
  • Valid passport expiring after the expiration of the visa.
  • Italy Long-Stay Visa Application Form. Duly completed, dated, and signed. The application form can be found here.
  • Vital records, such as birth or marriage certificates and the like.
  • FBI background check.

Income Requirements for the Italian Retirement Visa

In order to apply for the Italian Elective Residency Visa you will have to show a minimum income of € 31,000 per year, if you are applying alone, and € 38,000 if you are applying for you and your wife together. For any other dependant that comes with you the minimum amount is increased by 20%.

As you are not allowed to work under the Elective Residence Visa status, it is crucial to show that you can support yourself through a passive source of income, such as pensions, annuities, income deriving from real estate properties, passive partnership in a company, stocks etc.

Steps to apply for the Italian Retirement visa

In order to apply for the Elective Residence Visa, first the applicant should contact the Italian Embassy or Consulate in their home country; this application cannot be filed while the applicant is in Italy.

The second step is to make an appointment at the Italian consulate or embassy located in the applicant’s country of residence.

Afterwards, the applicant is required to gather all the necessary documents, including the visa long form that can be found on the Italian consulates’ websites.

During COVID-19 and until further notice, all appointments with Italian embassies or consulates have been cancelled and everything will happen virtually. You still have to schedule an appointment, but in reality you will not show up and you will send the documents via mail.

List of documents to be provided

Here’s a list of documents to be provided with the application for your Italian retirement visa.

  • Passport or travel document accepted by the Schengen countries valid for a period of 3 months beyond the applicant’s last day of stay abroad (minimum one year past your planned date of arrival in Italy).
  • Proof of physical residence in our jurisdiction, such as a photocopy of driver’s license, state ID, or utility bills.
  • Long stay visa application form completely and clearly filled out.
  • Residential lease or proof of purchase of real estate in Italy (deed). The lease should have been recorded with the local tax authority by the landlord and you have to provide proof of that. Please note that a third party’s offer of hospitality or a hotel long term stay is not
  • Proof of private income (including pensions or annuities) from property, stable economic and commercial activities or from other sources and proof of financial means, such as letters from the applicant’s bank indicating the financial status of their accounts, including amount of money in each account, copy of last pension check received etc.
  • FBI Criminal Background check, which requires fingerprinting.
  • Bank statements for the last six months.
  • Two reference letters from major banking institutions or chartered accountants.
  • Tax returns for the past two years.
  • Cover Letter from applicant detailing the purpose for permanently staying in Italy, the place where the applicant plans to reside, and the names of individuals accompanying the applicant, such as spouses or children.
  • The national visa application fee, which adjusts every three months based on the government’s official currency exchange rate.

How to apply for the Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno)

In order to apply for the italian Permesso di Soggiorno you must collect the application kit from a local post office.

Complete the application kit, enclose the required documents and bring the paperwork back to the post office. The post office will give you a receipt.

Go to the local police precinct (Questura) and file the application. If everything checks out the police will issue your resident permit.

The residence permit will be issued for a term of one to two years, with the opportunity to renew it. After holding the temporary residence permit for at least five years, you become eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. After living in Italy with a permanent residence permit for ten years, you will be eligible for Italian citizenship.

Contact Bardazzi Law

Contact Bardazzi Law for your Italian Retirement Visa. Schedule a free consultation with our lawyers by filling out our contact form.

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