Passport of American citizens | ITALY'S ELECTIVE RESIDENCE VISA


Italy’s Elective Residence Visa: what you need to know about it

​The elective residence visa is one of the best types of visa to live in Italy, but it is sometimes referred to as a “rich person” visa because of the resources that are required in order to obtain one. It will be necessary to prove that you have enough passive income to sustain your life in Italy, that is, you will have to demonstrate that you can live in Italy without working, that you earn money from various financial resources, rentals and pensions. Other types of income are not considered passive.

 You will need to earn approximately €31,000 per year for yourself. Married couples will have to add an additional 20% to that number plus an additional 5% per child. Parents of persons applying for this visa are also eligible though the money needed once again increases. However, this income is combined so if your income plus your spouse’s income far exceed that required amount then everyone is covered.

Elective residence also works in another way. If you don’t have enough money to meet the requirements of passive income, it can also be done through investing in residential real estate. If you purchase a property you can qualify for the elective residence visa, but part of the requirement is that the home is a permanent residence (either owned or leased). And, still, you are not legally able to work in any way, shape, or form. This is a visa for people who intend to reside in Italy permanently, not short term or even up to a year.
For more informations about this, read our articles about real estate taxes in Italy, and cost of buying a house in Italy.

The Process

To begin, it’s best to visit the website of the Italian Consulate closest to you to get complete information about all of the documents needed. Unfortunately each consulate may vary slightly in what they’ll absolutely require of you. You’ll need to schedule an appointment online for an in-person appearance at the consulate to apply for the Elective Residence Visa.
Also getting all the documents ready in the consulate want is not an easy task and we recommend you having an accountant following all the procedures.Visa applicants will have to show a portfolio of assets and the Consulate may request original financial statements from banks, investments, social security, etc. The first task is therefore to prepare a written portfolio of assets. It’s always good to be extremely detailed and organized; it shows that you’re serious about wanting to relocate. Also, it might seem trivial, but dressing well for the appointments at the consulate never hurts!
Trust our experience on this one.

If any of the documents  below are missing, incomplete or lacking in extra copies (for any bureaucratic process relating to Italy it is recommended to keep at least 4 copies of each document) you may be dismissed and have to restart the process. It’s also important to consider that for the visa process the embassy will keep your passport, so you won’t be able to travel outside of the country for the duration. Once you have submitted all the required documents, the Consulate will have up to 90 days to review your application and issue your visa. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need.

Passport of American citizens | ITALY'S ELECTIVE RESIDENCE VISA
Passport of American citizens

Required Documents

The list of documents you’ll need for this visa is quite long, and the authorities are able to request additional documents from you should the need arise.
●      Passport, valid for at least 3 months beyond the validity date of the visa requested. The passport must have a blank page available.
●      Visa application form. This must be signed by the applicant in the presence of a Consular Officer, not at home.
●      One recent passport photo (2×2 inches, full face and in color).
●      Proof of permanent residence in the country of origin.
●      Proof of support (original financial statements from banks, investment & brokerage firms, Social Security with each showing current balances). Please note that these account balances must be substantial and provide for continuous growth.
●      Proof of housing availability in Italy: rental agreements, proof of ownership, sometimes a government certificate of adequate housing.
●      International health insurance valid in Italy.
●      Certificate of good conduct issued by the local police or by the FBI may be required.
●      Certified marriage certificate and birth certificates of family members.

Example of Carabinieri Station | ITALY'S ELECTIVE RESIDENCE VISA

Example of Carabinieri (the Italian local police) station in Italy.

After Arriving

​After your arrival in Italy, you’ll need to register to the local police department within 8 days from your arrival date. To do so, you will have to fill a form and provide the address where you’ll be established. This is proved by presenting a rental agreement or other equivalent paperwork.Please note that while the visa grants you the right to legitimately enter the country, you will need to further obtain a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), which is the only legal document that legitimizes your stay in Italy. It is issued by the local police department and can take quite some time to acquire. Once you have your visa, however, the process to obtain the residence permit should be easy enough.

The steps to go through in order to get your residence permit are generally the following:
●      You first need to get the residence permit application kit from a local post office.
●      Once you fill in the application kit and submit it (along with all the required documents), they will give you a receipt and an appointment at the nearest police department.
●      On the day of the appointment, you will be asked to bring with you the originals of all your required documents. If nothing is missing, they will also take your fingerprints and ask you some questions (so brush up on that Italian while you’re still abroad).
●      The police department will notify you when your residence permit card is ready to be picked up.

The residence permit usually lasts one year and can be renewed, following the same process explained above. I know I’ve thrown a lot of information at you this time, but hopefully it helps you to successfully receive the Elective Residence Visa!

Check out also our video about elective residency visa down below or our video about tax residency in Europe.


  1. When looking at my closest Italy consulate’s visa page, they don’t list the Elective Residence Visa anywhere. Is it still valid?

  2. when i get the elective resodence visa card italy, how long should i stay per year in italy, like other countries no less than 183 day,
    what is the case here, and if so, does it have to be uninterrupted?
    thank you

  3. I think I’m getting conflicting information from social media with regards to the proof of income. One source, for a single person, says about $33k in investments/stocks/etc. as well as $33k in a bank account. This seems to be incorrect. What you’re saying and other sources, is $33k of ‘income’ regardless where it’s coming from. What is correct?

      1. If I obtain an elective long-stay visa, am I free to travel in other countries for long periods of time, or must I physically be present in Italy for 183+ days each year to maintain my status as a resident?

          1. I’m an American on an elective visa, my bank and investments and taxes are all in the US (Washington State). I am awaiting my soggornio which should be ready within a few months (just visited the local questura). What is my obligation to file and pay taxes in Italy, I have no assets here or even a bank account. I will be definitely living here more than 183 in the calendar year while still returning to the US for months at a time.
            Thank you

          2. In your case you are required to file and pay tax to Italy, deducting any tax paid overseas

      2. Nicolò,

        We have a significant investment portfolio and derive our annual income from withdrawals (exceeding the €33k requirement )but given the low interest rate environment our dividend income is lower. Will we still qualify for the elective residence visa?

        1. Unfortunately withdrawal from funds are not deemed as income sources. However note that capital gains also qualify as passive income sources

  4. Robert Williamson

    I am in the final stages of my application for elective residence. How does this affect my tax situation and ownership of properties in the UK?

    1. Once you acquire residency to Italy you should disclose your property ownership in the UK, as well as pay income tax on rentals received

  5. It is not explicit in the guidance, can I obtain the elective residency and be working in other countries? i.e. work the remaining 365-183 days (or so) in England and take a salary there?

  6. I have an investment of more than Euro 33k in a national (Govt.) savings scheme. I receive monthly income in a form of interest from that. My annual income from that investment is less than Euro 10k, I don’t have any other income. Will I qualify for Elective residence?

      1. Nicholaus Curphey

        I make about $39,156 per year on my military retirement. Under the conversion rate of 1.30 that the consulate uses, that would put me at 30,120 Euros per year. Is that enough to try for the ER Visa? Or should I try to buy a house instead?

  7. 2 questions:
    1) After getting to Italy and applying for and receiving a resident permit (example in the first year). Can I travel freely through the EU for the remaining 182 days that same year (365-required 183 days in Italy)? As an example it I wanted to go to Germany for the remaining 182 days could I do that?
    2) If my income comes from Dividends from stock each year which exceed 31,000 Euro – can that count as my income?

    1. 1) yes you can even travel 365 days, and remain a tax resident of Italy if you are registered here
      2) Dividends and stock gains count as passive income source

  8. On August 29, 2021 Azza asked, “when I get the elective residence visa card Italy, how long should I stay per year in Italy?” You answered. “You need to stay 183 days.” On Oct 21,2021 Heffie Tabor asked, “Can I travel freely through the EU for the remaining 182 days that same year…?” You answered, “Yes you can even travel 365 days, and remain a tax resident of Italy if you are registered here.” These answers conflict, or at least need more explanation. Which is it?

  9. Will we be eligible for an elective visa in Italy:-

    We are going to buy a house in Italy
    We will have about £70,000 left in the bank after the house purchase.
    We own a house in England (no mortgage) worth about £180,000 which we intend to rent out for £650+ a month (£8,000 a year)
    We have a stock dividend income of about £2000 per year
    We were intending to live on our savings, not work or have any claim on the Italian benefits system.

  10. Am I correct in understanding that NO work can be carried out with this visa?

    For example: I work remotely as a freelancer with all my work in Australia, UK and US and pay the applicable taxes. Would this constitute working in Italy, even though none of my work is in the country?

    Would I be ineligible for this visa?

      1. Hi Nicolo,
        It is very interesting and informative reading your replies to all the questions – and thank you for this.
        Your answer of Q1 seems to contradict what you have stated previously. Please can you confirm how many days per year you are permitted to be outside Italy under the ERV?

  11. Hi, Nicolo. We have 2 questions:
    1. If person has $250K in bank account and own property in USA $300K (going to sell) but no monthly income -will be this acceptable to get elective visa ? Once person reach age 62 in 7 years there will be income of $1100 Social Security pension monthly.
    2. Person has mildly autistic ( disabled) son age 33 as dependant. Can this son also obtain elective visa as family member ?

      1. Will having a decent retirement portfolio in excess of $3MM but not yet taking income from it and also having excess of $1MM is savings suffice. Not yet old enough to draw on US SSI but when I am the SSI income alone circa $3700 per month should meet the requirement. Looking to become an elective resident now then a resident in 5 years and live on savings and investments until full US retirement age in 10 years time

        1. Unfortunately the ERV does not account for savings. You need to have minimum € 31,000 of income per tax year coming from a passive income source (financial, rentals, pensions etc.)

  12. What if I own a business in New York and live as a tax resident in Italy qualifying for an elective resident visa using only my passive income? Can I continue to own the business and draw money from it and will it be subject to Italian tax even if it’s sourced in New York?

  13. I still so confused as to what qualifies for ‘passive income’. I’m a USA resident. Would like to apply for a ER Visa. I have approximately 400,000 in investments (stocks, 401K, mutual funds) and receive approximately 2300. per month in social security. Do these qualify as passive income?

    1. According to the law, the following items are considered passive income:
      – pension
      – dividends
      – interests
      – capital gains
      – royalties
      – rentals

      I think all of your income sources are passive

  14. If I plan to apply for Italian citizenship after living in Florence for 3 years on an elective resident visa (shorter time for me because my Grandfather and Grandmother are Italian), can i remain in Italy while waiting for a decision on my citizenship application using “in attesa di cittadinanza” instead of having to continue renewing my ERV?

  15. Nicolò– If I plan to apply for Italian citizenship after living in Florence for 3 years on an elective resident visa (shorter time for me because my Grandfather and Grandmother are Italian), can i remain in Italy while waiting for a decision on my citizenship application using “in attesa di cittadinanza” instead of having to continue renewing my ERV?

  16. Interesting! I have one question: what if I am planning to stay 4-5 months a year in Italy after obtaining the elective residence visa and spend 7-8 months in Canada. In this case I will have the tax residence it Canada. Is it possible to maintain / renev the visa / elective residence even if not being a tax resident in Italy?

    1. This is quite complicated as there are few court rulings saying that if you hold the ER VISA you claim your tax residency to Italy

      1. Hello Nicolò
        My wife and I own a house in Italy. Following Brexit we decided to be tax resident in the UK. This step meant we are restricted to 90 day visits to our Italian house out of 183. We have been looking for ways to be able to stay in Italy for 120/150 days maximum while still remaining uk residents for tax purposes.

        Would this pensioners visa be suitable for us? Our income would meet the criteria.

  17. Hi, We are in the process of buying a house in Italy. I have Irish citizenship and my husband UK. We will have around £300,000 in the bank after property completion. I have a pension income of £23,000. My husband will have around the same pension if he can’t work remotely in Italy, though he would like to continue to work until his state pension starts in the UK in 2025. Is this possible?

    1. It is possible to work remotely from Italy, however he must be compliant and claim a legal employment contract in Italy or turn into a freelance

  18. I am retired and have social security income of $42,000 and interest of about $100,000 a year on investment and would like to retire to Italy on a elective residence visa while I wait for my Italian citizenship. One catch—my adult son, who I support because he cannot work for health reasons—needs to live with me there on an elective residence visa as well. Can this be done?

    1. There is a particular VISA for Italian citizenship seeker that intend to undertake the process while in Italy. In any case, you can also claim the ERV for your and your son if he is unable to work at the moment. Please get in touch through our form and we can start the process

  19. I am a British National and I own a property in Italy. I am retired and I meet the annual income requirements for an elective residency. I would like to be able to stay in Italy for six months from April to October each year but I am confused as to what sort of visa is appropriate. Can I get a visa for 6 months or do I need to get Elective Residency?

  20. Applying for ERV for the first time. Do we need to fill out both Modelo 1 and 2 because 2 asks for income? Is Modelo 2 required if all income is passive? Also, do you know if the PLF (Passenger Locator Form) has replaced the Self Declaration form or if both are required to enter the country?

  21. Up to how much time can you spend outside of Italy once you are living there with the electice residency visa? Is the minimum passive income requirement before or after taxes?

    1. The passive income requirement is before taxes, and you are not required to spend any time in Italy for such period

  22. I am 66 and own a house in Italy and would like to retire there next year. I plan to spend more than 183 days in Italy but would like to travel to the US a few times a year for à month each time. Is this possible? I will have the required retirement income to qualify ( about $70K) but can i earn income from the US as afreelance writer?

  23. Thanks for your informative post Nicolo. Could I ask your opinion as to the best way forward in my case?

    My partner of 7 years is Italian, we are not married and both resident in the UK. Her father has recently suffered a heart attack and we would like to relocate to Italy for a year to help. I have a company with c. £30k available for dividends to myself, and am happy to write my next book during this year to pitch next year. Is there any visa I could apply for in this scenario? ER seems to not quite fit, being a 1 year plan.

  24. Me and my partner are both of working age, looking to purchase a property in italy around £100k to move to permanently.

    We will then have around £150k in savings after. We were then looking to buy a rental property also in italy around £50k leaving us wit