ELECTIVE RESIDENCE FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS NOT BELONGING TO THE EUROPEAN UNION
In accordance with the provisions outlined in the current legislation (MAE Decree n. 850 dated 2011, Art. 13 attachment A), it is possible to issue national visas for elective residence to those intending to settle in Italy and who are able to support themselves autonomously.
1) to be a non-EU citizen intending to settle in Italy;
2) to be able to support oneself autonomously, without engaging in any gainful employment;
3) to provide suitable and documented guarantees regarding the availability of extensive, autonomous, stable and regular economic resources, which can be reasonably expected to continue into the future. Said resources cannot be lower than 31.000 euros p.a. and must come from the ownership of substantial income (pension, annuities), from the possession of real-estate properties, from the ownership of stable economic-commercial activities or from other sources. It is not possible to take into consideration sources of earnings deriving from subordinate work.
4) to provide suitable and documented guarantees concerning the availability of an abode to choose as residence, which may be rented or purchased. In this regard it is essential to remember that the Embassies and Consulates, in cases wherein a property has been purchased in Italy for residential purposes, will proceed in determining the extent to which the “minimum economic requirement” established by Italian legislation (31.000 euro p.a.) can be applied. The law does not contemplate the value of the property to be purchased in Italy when assessing the obtaining of elective residence; however, it is possible to assume that when an asset is of a cost equal to or greater than 300.000 Euros the request will be accepted.
In other cases, in accordance with the provisions established by law, the verification as to whether the requirements have been met is left entirely at the discretion of the Embassy.
Characteristics of the elective residence visa:
It can also be issued to a cohabiting spouse, to offspring who are minors or cohabiting adult offspring who are still dependent, on condition that the financial capabilities are deemed to be sufficient also for them: in the event of requesting a visa also for a spouse, the amount of monthly revenue but be increased by at least 20%, and by 5% for each offspring;
The duration of the visa is 1 year, renewable in Italy at the police headquarters having competent territorial jurisdiction, on condition that the original requirements continue to be in place over time; this permit of stay cannot be renewed or extended when there is evidence that the foreign subject has interrupted their stay in Italy for a continuative period of over six months, unless the said interruption has been the result of the need to fulfil military obligations or for other serious, substantiated motives (Presidential Decree 394/1999, Art.13);
within 8 days after arriving in Italy it is necessary – analogously with all types of long-term visa – to present the request for converting the entrance visa into permit of stay;
with this type of permit of stay it is not possible for the holder to carry out gainful employment in Italy; However, in the event of the elective residence being acquired due to the status of “other family member” of the elective resident, the connection to the territory is possible in so much as there is already a subject providing the guarantee that the family member can be supported in Italy with their own resources and distinct from those produced on the national territory, therefore the “family member” of the elective resident, under the terms of the legislation, will be allowed to carry out gainful employment in Italy.
After 5 years it is possible to request an EU permit of stay – for people staying long-term – which is permanent and allows the holder to enjoy substantial parity of treatment compared to EU citizens (Legislative Decree 3/2007, in accordance with EU Directive 2003/109 regarding the status of citizens of non-EU countries staying for long periods).
As well as the right to stay anywhere on the national territory and to return to the same for the period corresponding to the duration of the permit of stay, holders of the permit of stay for the purpose of elective residence can register with the National Health Service for providing insurance cover for health expenses.
Entrance Visas for purchasing property
To enter Italy in order to carry out site inspections for the purposes of purchasing property, the interested party must request a tourist visa, including in their request a letter explaining the motives or their intended visit to Italy and a letter of invitation written by a registered Italian real-estate agent. In the presence of this motivational letter, a visa can be issued that is valid for 6 months for stays up to 90 days.
For those intending to make a real-estate investment in Italy, in the event that the need to stay in Italy does not exceed 90 days for the six month period, namely that there is no intention to transfer residence to Italy, it is possible to request a Schengen visa for long-term tourism (valid for 5 years). It is necessary to present proof of having closed the purchase of property in Italy and of having already made use of a previous permit of stay in the Schengen zone.