Resource Links for Elective Residence Visa
Information for foreigners intending to go to Italy. This is a quick, select your circumstances from the dropdowns in the form that will give you a quick list of documents, and locations of consulates in the US.
There are strict residence rules for which embassy you can use. This is because the different consultates tend to follow different criteria and they want to prevent consulate shopping.
We are average Americans who wanted to retire to Italy. As we have no ancestral ties to Italy, we needed to pursue what is called an Elective Residence Visa. (If you are looking for information to reacquire Italian citizenship, you don’t want to be here, you want to go right to the Facebook page of US-Italian Dual Citizen.)
The Elective Residence Visa, in short, is a one year visa that gives you permission to live in Italy while you take the additional steps once there to go through all the steps to make your official application. Think of it as pre-screening, as the requirements to get the Elective Visa are much steeper than the requirements for your Permesso di Siggorno, which is the permission to live in Italy document issued by the local authorities in Italy.
There are three types of visa’s.
- Schengen Uniform Visa: This is the “tourist visa”. For Americans it is automatic. When you arrive, they stamp your passport. This is the visa and grants you 90 days to be in the Schengen Zone
- National Visa (This is the classification Elective Residence falls under. It is for people seeking to be in the country for more than 90 days. The various classification are work, study, family, self employed, working holiday (for people 18-30) and retirement.
- Limited Territorial Validity Visa: Basically your humanitarian visa.
What the Elective Residence Visa is not. It is NOT a go to Italy on an extended try it out vacation. You can only get the Visa once. If you are not near retirement age, you will not get the visa. If the consulate in any way thinks you are not serious about a permanent move to Italy, you will not get the visa. They will want to know your reasons for moving to Italy. If you tell them it is because you love the food, culture, language, they will tell you to use the ninety day tourist visa and take a nice vacation. Make it personal, find ways to show that Italy is where you need to be, not where you simply want to be.
So, here is a short summary of where you go and what you bring.
1. A Trip to an Italian Consulate in the US
2. Various personal documentation (Identification, proof of your current US residency)
3. Proof that you can meet minimum income requirements. I do not list a hard figure as this has been reported as being a floating number depending on which consulate you go to. However, it appears a common floor amount for an individual is about $38,000 a year, and this must be in a guaranteed income, like pensions, annuity, rental income, SSN. Just having a fat bank account is not enough as they do not place much weight on something that can be lost in one drunken spree in Monaco.
4. Proof of a place to live. Either a rental contract, or property purchase contract. Yes, you read that right you have to set up your place to live before you can get permission to live in Italy. This means you either have to have a deed to a house, or a registered rental agreement. A registered rental agreement means it has to be a documented rental document for the entire visa year. and registered with the appropriate authorities. It can be a challenge to get this as the registration part sort of interferes with the under the table aspect of many short term rentals.
5. Proof of medical coverage meeting certain minimum requirements. (No medicare will not cover you outside of the US) Some of the Consulates do not list this, however, it will be required in your Permesso application when you are in Italy.
If we could do it, you can do it. Make a plan, take things in manageable sections. Have organized paperwork, dress nice and smile!