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Residence permit in Italy for financially independent individuals

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Italy
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Italy grants residence permits to financially independent individuals that earn high passive income. Wealthy foreigners may obtain a special elective residence permit or Residenza Elettiva.

€31,000 a year

minimum passive income

4 months

time to obtain a residence permit

10 years

time to obtain Italian citizenship

The elective residence visa for financially independent individuals is a migration programme offered in Italy since 1999. A foreigner willing to obtain a residence permit of this type must prove high income and rented or purchased housing in Italy. Unlike the participants of the business migration programme, a holder of such residence permit will not be entitled to work or carry out business in the country. 

Prerequisites for elective residence permit 

  • Earning high passive income — at least €31,000 a year

The income requirement is 20% higher for applicants seeking residence permits for spouses too. Another 5% is added to the qualifying income amount for each child included on the application.

Foreign applicants must prove to the Italian authorities they earn high income that will remain continuous in the future and does not depend on the place of residence. Potential sources of income might be rent, interest on deposits, securities, income from business activities, pension. Employment income is not taken into consideration. 

  • Buying real estate or renting for a long term

An applicant for a Residenza Elettiva must convince the Italian authorities of its financial solvency in case of real estate selection too. There are no official requirements for the price of purchased or rented housing. However, it is important that the property should be of proper quality rather than cheap. Real estate owners have an advantage over tenants. It is sufficient to submit a letter of intent for purchase of property and a down payment receipt.

Important note: Foreign holders of a residence permit may be granted a benefit for purchase of the first housing (Prima Сasa) if this would be the main place of residence. They may also reduce tax expenses by 50-75%.

Programme particulars

No investments. It is not required to make investments into the economy of the country to obtain a residence permit of this type.

Available for the entire family. A residence permit for Italy is also available for family members: a spouse, child/children (under-aged, unmarried, or financially dependent on the applicant), and parents.

No right to work. This residence permit is issued without the right to work, carry on business, or enjoy social security benefits in Italy.

Permanent stay. This residence permit entitles to live permanently in Italy and travel without a visa throughout the European Union. If a foreigner stays away from the country for more than six consecutive months, renewal of an elective residence permit (Residenza Elettiva) may be refused.

Renewal of residence permit. A residence permit on the ground of financial independence is first issued for one year and then renewed for a period of up to two years. It would be required to prove that the passive income is retained in order to renew a residence permit.

No right to permanent residency. A residence permit for financially independent individuals does not give the right to obtain permanent residency. A residence permit of this type is to be regularly renewed before Italian citizenship is granted.

Citizenship. Those who have lived in the country for ten years on a residence permit may apply for Italian citizenship.

No conversion. A residence permit for financially independent individuals may not be converted into residence permits of the other types, such as the residence permit to carry out business or to work in Italy.

No requirement for knowledge of Italian. It is not required to prove the knowledge of Italian in order to obtain or renew an elective residence permit.

Tax residence. A holder of an elective residence permit that stays in the country for more than 183 days a year becomes a tax resident of Italy and is as tax liable as Italians, even if the income is derived outside of Italy.

Wealthy foreigners in Italy are subject to special tax treatment. There is a single flat tax applied to all the income irrespective of the amount that is earned abroad. The flat tax rate in Italy amounts to €100,000 annually for each applicant and €25,000 annually for each family member.

Steps to obtain an elective residence permit

  1. To submit documents to a visa centre or Italian consulate in your home country in order to obtain a long-term D visa on the grounds of elective residence. It is necessary to prove high income and rented or purchased housing in Italy.  All the documents must be translated into Italian. The visa processing period is 90 days.
  2. To make an application for the elective residence permit — Permesso di soggiorno per residenza elettiva — within eight days from entering Italy on a type D visa. Documents proving housing and passive income are submitted to the local police office Questura. It is also required to do biometric screening.
  3. To obtain a residence permit card in 20 days after the application is made.

Documents for the residence permit

  • Passport.
  • Documents for real estate in Italy: letter of intent for purchase of real estate and down payment receipt, sale and purchase agreement or long-term lease contract.
  • Documents proving passive income for the past year: rental payments, royalty fees, income on bank deposits, income on securities, pension.
  • Payment receipt for state duties levied for issue of a D visa and a residence permit.
  • Personal statement in English or Italian explaining the desire to live in Italy.
  • Documents proving the relationship — a marriage certificate and a birth certificate (-es) for a child (children).
  • Medical insurance valid in Italy.

All the documents are submitted in the original and in copies with translation into Italian.

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