Immigration Law

How to apply for elective residency VISA in Italy

If you are considering living in Italy for an extended period, applying for an elective residency permit may be a valid option. This type of permit is designed for people who wish to reside in Italy without working, studying, or doing business. Let’s explore the requirements and the application process.

What is an Elective Residency Permit in Italy?

An elective residency permit, also known as a non-working visa or non-lucrative permit, allows non-Italian citizens to live in Italy for an extended time without the need to work or study. The permit is intended for people who can support themselves financially and who wish to reside in Italy for personal reasons, such as retirement or to experience the Italian way of life.

elective residency italy milan
Navigli in Milan – Photo Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

How can a foreign citizen obtain an Italian elective residence permit?

To be eligible for this type of permit, generally one must be able to prove that they have a stable and regular source of income, such as a pension or investments. The income requirement varies depending on the region of Italy one plans to live in, but it is generally around €32,000 per year.

However, the permit of stay for elective residence is issued in four different scenarios.

1) To foreign citizens who have an elective residence visa

The elective residence visa allows entry into Italy to establish residence for foreigners who can demonstrate sufficient resources to support themselves without engaging in any work activity. The applicant must demonstrate the availability of a dwelling to be chosen as a residence and economic resources (pensions, annuities, real estate ownership, stable economic-commercial activities, or other sources apart from subordinate work). These resources must not be less than three times the annual amount specified in the Directive of the Ministry of the Interior dated March 1, 2000, which defines the means of subsistence for the entry and stay of foreigners in the country. Once the foreigner has entered Italy legally, they must submit within 8 days a specific application form to obtain a permit of stay.

A similar visa can also be issued to the cohabiting spouse, minor children, and adult children living with and dependent on the applicant, provided that the aforementioned financial capabilities are deemed adequate for them as well. 

2) To foreign citizens holding a permit of stay for subordinate work, self-employment, or family reasons, through conversion of the permit of stay 

The permit of stay for elective residence can be issued, through conversion, to foreign citizens who are already holders of a permit of stay for subordinate work, self-employment, or family reasons. This happens when the applicant ceases their work activity and becomes a holder of a pension (old-age, disability, social…) or annuities. Foreigners must demonstrate the ability to support themselves autonomously in Italy without engaging in any work activity, as they possess adequate financial means. The permit of stay for elective residence can also be issued to: the cohabiting spouse, minor children, cohabiting adult children, and dependent parents, always upon demonstration of sufficient financial resources. The evaluation of the adequacy of economic means for the support of oneself and family members is carried out by the competent police headquarters (Questura).

3) To “other family members” of a citizen

The permit of stay for elective residence is also issued to foreign citizens who qualify as family members of a European Union citizen, but do not fall under the definition of family members, particularly cohabiting partners of EU citizens. The stable cohabitation or relationship of kinship must be proven through suitable documentation issued by the state in which the EU citizen resided before moving to Italy.

4) To foreign employees of the Vatican State

Foreign employees, whether religious or lay, who work for Vatican entities and organizations but are located in Italian territory, obtain a permit of stay for elective residence because the income from their work is neither received nor declared in Italy. The holder of the permit of stay for elective residence, as a family member of an EU citizen, can engage in work activity.

Countries of origin of the beneficiaries

CountryElective Visas Released in 2020
Sri Lanka90
Elective Visa Released in 2020 – Total11921

The data above show how many non working visas have been released during the year 2020. Source: 

Advantages of Obtaining an Elective Residency Permit in Italy

One of the main advantages of obtaining an elective residency permit in Italy is the opportunity to experience the country’s rich culture and history, stunning architecture, art, and cuisine.

Another advantage of obtaining an elective residency permit in Italy is the ability to travel freely within the Schengen Area. With an elective residency permit, one can stay in Italy for up to one year and travel freely to other Schengen countries for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

non working visa
Alps in Cadore – Belluno – Photo Jonas Verstuyft on Unsplash

8 Reasons to appoint ILF Italy Law Firm for your Elective Residency Visa in Italy


  1.     Specialized Immigration Knowledge

ILF – Italy Law Firm has a dedicated team of immigration lawyers who specialize in Italian immigration law. They possess in-depth knowledge of the regulations surrounding elective residency visas.


  1.     Tailored Legal Solutions

ILF understands that each client’s situation is unique. Carefully assessing your specific circumstances, they will craft a customized legal strategy to maximize your chances of obtaining an elective residency visa in Italy.


  1.     Extensive Network

ILF has established strong connections with relevant authorities, including foreign embassies, Italian consulates and immigration offices. This network allows them to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and procedures, ensuring that your application aligns with the current requirements.


  1.     Document Preparation and Review

One of the most critical aspects of a successful visa application is the accurate preparation and review of supporting documents. ILF’s experienced team will meticulously gather, organize, and review all the necessary paperwork, minimizing the risk of errors or omissions that could jeopardize your application.


  1.     Language Assistance

Language barriers can complicate the application process. ILF offers multilingual support, providing services in English, Italian, and other languages as needed. Their team will ensure clear communication, eliminating any misunderstandings and ensuring accurate representation of your case.


  1.     Timely Application Submission

ILF’s experienced lawyers understand the importance of timely submission. They will guide you through the application process, ensuring that all documents are prepared and submitted within the specified deadlines. This proactive approach maximizes your chances of a smooth and efficient visa processing experience.


  1.     Comprehensive Legal Support for the Relocation

Beyond the visa application process, ILF provides comprehensive legal support for your entire relocation journey. From assistance with finding suitable housing to advising on healthcare and taxation matters, their team is committed to making your transition to Italy as seamless as possible.


  1.     Regular Case Updates

ILF recognizes the importance of transparency and communication. Throughout the visa application process, they will provide regular updates on the status of your case, keeping you informed at every step. This open line of communication ensures that you are always aware of the progress made on your behalf.

What other residence permits allow living in Italy?

The Consolidated Immigration Act (Legislative Decree No. 286/98) and its subsequent amendments, and the Implementing Regulation (Presidential Decree No. 394/99Normativa Consolare) provide for other types of residence permits in addition to the permit of stay and the EC long-term residence permit.

These include:

Declaration of presence

It replaces the permit of stay for foreigners who already hold it or hold an equivalent permit issued by the authorities of a European Union member state, valid for their stay in Italy. The declaration must be requested from the Questore (Chief of Police) following the procedures and within the deadlines established for the permit of stay application (Article 5, paragraph 7, Consolidated Act). 

The tourist permit of stay has been abolished and replaced by the declaration of presence. It must be made at the border authority upon entry or within 8 days after entry to the questore of the province where the foreigner is located (Law No. 68 of May 28, 2007).  

Diplomatic or service identity card, which replaces the permit of stay, is issued to foreign nationals who entered Italy with a diplomatic visa. The card allows the holder to enter and exit the Schengen area and move freely for a period not exceeding 90 days per semester.

relocating south italy
Tropea, Calabria – Photo Nemanja Peric on Unsplash


The application for the issuance of the permit of stay is submitted at authorized post offices on specific forms, along with the following documents:

  • photocopy of all pages of the passport or other equivalent document.
  • photocopy of documentation proving the availability of a residence in Italy (land registry extract or deed of purchase and sale, lease agreement, etc.).
  • photocopy of documentation proving the possession of adequate financial resources from annuities (pensions, annuities, ownership of real estate, or other sources of income apart from subordinate work).
  • receipt of the payment of the postal bulletin (27.50 euros) for the issuance of the electronic permit of stay.

For the collection of the permit of stay, documentation proving compliance with health obligations must be presented to the Police Headquarters. To this end, the applicant can provide documentation of an insurance policy with Italian or foreign institutions or voluntary enrollment in the National Health Service.

Duration, renewal, and revocation of elective residency permits

This type of visa is valid for 1 year and can be renewed in Italy at the competent Police Headquarters, provided that the original requirements are still met. The permit of stay cannot be renewed or extended if it is found that the foreigner has interrupted their stay in Italy for a continuous period of more than six months, unless the interruption was due to military obligations or other serious and proven reasons. After 5 years, it is possible to apply for a Long-Term Residence Permit, valid for 5 years. After 10 years, it is possible to apply for Italian citizenship.

Want to know more about relocating to Italy? Read here.

Declaration of Presence

Download for free the 'Declaration of Presence for EU Citizens' you will need to fill and hand over to Italian police department

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