Retiring in Italy
Italy is tailor-made for the ideal retirement chapter. With its delectable food, fine wine, endless vistas and leisurely pace of life, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better settling-down alternative. Parks are well-kept, towns largely pedestrianized, open markets almost always accessible on foot and street cafés aplenty for morning and evening refreshments. What’s more, elders are highly regarded in Italy, and this is evident in any town throughout the country. Add a top-notch medical system and relatively low cost of living and your retirement package is complete.
Reasons to Retire in Italy
Italy offers retirees diversity in terms of both landscapes and style. From Lombardy to Sicily, Puglia to Lazio to Tuscany, there is a variety of lifestyle and budget options to choose from. Whether you seek the Almafi coast, Italian alps or abundant cultural stimulation throughout Italy’s bustling cities, you can find fairly affordable living here, there and in between. Always keeping in mind that the area you reside doesn’t need to be where you spend all your time as its geographical location and public transportation allows for effortless movement to explore Italy and beyond. Italy is a gateway to the rest of Europe with plenty of train and air travel options.
La Dolce Vita — simple and easy living is the root of life in Italy and this makes for a perfect retirement package. Simple, laidback, family oriented and centering around a delicious meal the essence of an Italian lifestyle.
Retirement Visa in Italy
Various visas are an option for retirees who wish to spend their work-free days in Italy. Notably, retirees from other countries are not able to obtain a work permit once they have reached retirement age in their home country. Those who plan to retire to Italy and have the financial means to reside in Italy without burdening the social care system can apply for the elective residence visa, which is issued as a long-term residence permit.
Applicants must verify that their liquid assets and monthly/annual passive income exceed a certain threshold. The visa is applied for and granted by the Italian consulate with jurisdiction over the applicant’s residence and can be accompanied by a serious interview in which consular officials do their utmost to ensure that the applicant will not engage in productive employment while present in Italy. Upon arrival, elective residents will apply for a permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) in the comune where the domicile is established. Once that’s complete, there’s little more to do beyond pouring a prosecco and planning stunning short trips around the peninsula to enjoy all the amazing things Italy has to offer.
Elective Residence Visa
The foreign citizen must be retired with a minimum annual income of €31,000. For married couples, this annual income amount increases to €38,000. If children will accompany the retiree/s, a minimum of €20,000 annually is required for each dependent child.
Additionally, the individual/s must apply for and receive an elective residence visa, issued only to individuals who meet the income requirements. The funds may also be verified in the currency of the applicant’s home country. The funds may derive from various sources, such as pension, savings, and investments. Elective residents of Italy – both EU and non-EU citizen – must register with the local police station of the comune. The elective visa process cannot be started while the individual is in Italy and the applicant will need to contact the Italian Consulate of their home country to book an appointment. Then, the necessary documents are compiled and submitted to the Italian Consular officer from outside the country. The visa application form can be obtained online from the Italian Consulate in the candidate’s home country.
After scheduling the consular appointment, elective resident applicants must prepare the following documents:
- Completed visa application form. For a married couple, each candidate must submit an application form.
- 2 passport photos
- Valid passport (at least three months prior to expiration date)
- Bank statement demonstrating the minimum annual required funds to qualify for the elective residence visa (€31,000 for individuals, €38,000 for married couples, €20,000 for each dependent child)
- Evidence of a lawful residence in Italy (e.g., a lease contract)
- Health insurance with a period of validity of at least one year, covering expenses of at least €30,000 per year
- Marriage certificate (apostilled and translated)
- Birth certificate (apostilled and translated)
- Paid visa application fee receipt for each applicant
The elective residence visa has a one-year validity period and can be renewed.
After the retiree arrives in Italy, they must register with the police department within eight days.
Retirees can also eventually apply for Italian citizenship after meeting eligibility requirements.
What is the Italian elective residency visa?
The purpose of the elective residency visa is to establish a permanent home in Italy. It is not intended for extended tourism, or a method to circumvent Schengen visa requirements. It does not provide a pathway to join family members or friends who are working in Italy. It stands as the most regulated Italian visa, subject to rigorous consular vetting and verification. The consular interview is stringent and thorough.
Once you are present in Italy with an elective residency visa, you must renew the permit to stay annually via the local post office and questura.
The more funds you can show for each applicant (around €45,000 each), the stronger your case becomes that you can safely and comfortably live in Italy without working.
You will need to provide an official letter from each financial entity from which you derive passive income – for example, banks, brokers, financial consultants, investment funds, and so on – together with your passport, the visa application, the last three years of your US tax returns, a signed Italian lease, proof of health insurance, your apostilled vital records of birth and marriage, an admission letter from the relevant Italian school (if applicable), an airline ticket, and a letter explaining why you wish to establish your life in Italy.
Am I able to work in Italy with the elective residency visa?
You must demonstrate the ability to financially support both you and your family without relying on productive employment. You are not eligible for employment in Italy to meet this requirement. Individuals must be able to sustain themselves financially using their existing financial assets, such as annuities, stocks, pensions, bonds, and so on.
However, you can own and direct a business in Italy — you can receive dividends and distributions from this company.
Remember, the key element of the elective residency application is the documented and detailed guarantee of substantial, stable, private income from pensions, annuities, properties, and investment funds, together with passive income from stable economic and commercial activities. Income deriving from active employment cannot be considered. Applicants must prove that they receive their income on an annual or monthly basis without engaging in any kind of employment activity.
Learn More About Retiring in Italy
Italy is often a dream European retirement destination, rightfully so as the balanced lifestyle it offers grants residents of all ages the freedom to stop and smell the roses. However, elective residency visa application can be complicated. We urge you to speak with a qualified immigration attorney to understand the requirements. The Relocate platform is here to connect you with just the right person.