Applying for an Italian Elective Residency Visa?

Italian Elective Residency Visa

For most people, getting the Italian Elective Residency Visa is the most stress-producing part of the process of moving to Italy.

Lately I’ve been receiving numerous inquiries about getting a visa for a long stay in Italy. This includes student visas, family reunification visas, and work visas. But, overwhelmingly I’m queried most about the Italian Elective Residence Visa, and my experiences navigating the process.

if you’re like me, you’ve scoured the internet for rock solid clarity of what exactly is required, yet you’ve found the information either incomplete or confusing. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but hopefully I can shed some light on the process, and help lessen the stress.

Not all Italian consulates are created equal

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the Italian consulates scattered across the States are ticked and tied, and religiously follow the same procedures? From the numerous stories I’ve heard first hand, and from research online, it’s evident that each consulate has a different “personality”. Some are known to be friendlier for someone navigating the Italian Elective Residency Visa application process, and some are downright off-putting. The consulates in Los Angeles and New York rise to the top with reputations lacking any warm fuzzies in the process. On the other hand, I was under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco consulate, and I had a very positive experience – as did friends of mine.

Because you’re obliged to make your visa application only in the consulate of your jurisdiction, I strongly urge you to research the experiences of other applicants at your particular consulate, and plan accordingly. It becomes even more important to be super buttoned up with your documentation, though I recommend being hyper-vigilant regardless of your location.

I’ve heard of people actually temporarily moving their US residence to be able to make application at a different consulate, and to increase their odds for approval. Hopefully you won’t have to resort to this.

Communications with the Italian consulate seem to me to be the most common point of frustration. Emails aren’t usually answered in a timely or consistent fashion, and phone calls almost always go directly to voice mail. When I was trying to get clarity with the consulate, my first email went into deep space. My subsequent email was answered in two days. Go figure.

Having lived in Italy for several years now, I understand why the Italian consulates vary so much. In Italy, the regions differ considerably. For instance, in Veneto, the bureaucratic process is pretty fine-tuned and swift. Yet, in Umbria, bureaucracy can be painfully slow. This is because each region funds their offices differently. Veneto is a wealthier regions. Umbria, not so much.

Also, many government offices and functions have suffered cutbacks, leaving fewer people to do the same work. I suspect the people working at the Italian consulates are up to their eyeballs in work. So, it might helpful to approach the Italian Residency Visa process with this in mind, and not be quick to anger if things don’t run like clockwork.

Make it difficult for the consulate to say no.

You might be asking, “How the heck do you do that?” Three things in particular:

  1. Make sure there are no holes in the information you provide.
  2. Organize and summarize everything so the consulate’s work is minimal.
  3. Have a short cover letter, stating your intentions. Make it personal.

I’m anal-retentive. For my interview and application I summarized my financial information in a color-coded spreadsheet, showing my monthly income (from the different sources). I also summarized every account (checking, savings, IRA’s, brokerage). I had folders clearly labeled to back up each line item.

For all of the other required documentation, I had it organized in clearly labeled and tabbed folders.

The more the consulate is forced to “connect the dots”, the more you are increasing your chances for a problematic application. Remember, the consulate is dealing with a flood of visa applications, not just for the Italian Elective Residency Visa. And, the consulate deals with a fair number of people who haven’t done their research, and come ill-prepared with their required documentation. Don’t be one of those people!

Stated requirements can be frustratingly vague or inconsistent.

This is the single-most cited complaint I’ve heard from applicants. Communications from the different consulates are not always consistent, and the verbiage can be confusing or seemingly contradictory. Some consulates communicate in a way that I would describe as discouraging or intimidating. Perhaps this simply is a way to shake loose the applicants who have no business applying.

Below are two consulate communications that have been shared with me. The first was received from the consulate in Philadelphia, and I find it one of the better ones. Compare this with what was received from the Miami consulate, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Italian Elective Residency Visa

A recent set of requirements from the Italian Consulate in Philadelphia


Italian Elective Residency Visa

Requirements from the Italian Consulate in Miami














References to residing in Italy permanently can be the most confusing, since the same documentation speaks to the length of your stay. My best interpretation is that this refers to people staying in Italy for a year or more. After all, what if you’re applying for a two or three-year sabbatical?

Financial requirements is the biggest sticking point.

I found most of the other requirements fairly easy to interpret. Financial requirements seems to be at the whim of the individual consulates. It would be so nice if it was clearly spelled out. From the numerous experiences I’ve heard about, the consulate wants to see somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,200 to $3,500 a month (for an individual – I have no idea of requirements for a married couple) in dependable income. (I also heard, in response to this post that an Italian attorney advised a client they would need 5,000 euro a month – so you see, information is varied.) Such income can be comprised of rental income (for those of you leasing out your home in the States while you’re living in Italy), pensions, annuities, etc. You may be able to set up something with your bank or brokerage fund to pay yourself on a monthly basis from protected/guaranteed funds. If so, you’ll need some kind of official documentation to that effect.

Part of my financial picture was a deferred compensation plan I had set up with my last employer. If you have that option, and your time frame is a few years off, I’d recommend exploring it.

The consulate needs to see some kind of clear calculation (with back-up) of how you will be funding your life in Italy. Don’t leave it up to the consulate to try and figure this out through their own calculations.

Money in the bank and in investments can’t ensure you’ll sail through the process (if you don’t have enough of the other stated above) unless the amounts are substantial. A portfolio of $150k is probably not going to be enough to give the consulate assurance you can land in Italy without becoming a burden on the state.

The ironic part of all of this is the financial requirements for getting your permesso di soggiorno, when you arrive in Italy, are less stringent. To pass muster in that process, your income needs to be equal to a basic pension from the Italian governmnet – something around 1,000 to 1,200 euro a month – far less than what the consulate requires. Crazy, isn’t it?

You’re not allowed to work to fund your stay while living in Italy.

I encourage you to state in your letter, and in person, your clear understanding that the elective residency visa is a non-working visa. Doing freelance work isn’t spelled out or forbidden – especially if you’re doing work for clients back in the States. BUT, you can’t include that in any computation for monthly income. If you try to include that, you’re begging for trouble right out of the gate.

The Consulate will want to see that you’re committed.

Here’s the other tricky thing. In order to make an application you’re supposed to have an airline ticket for your intended date of departure to Italy, as well as a comprehensive medical insurance policy covering your first full year. You must show coverage that includes emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.

Then, there is proof of where you’ll be living. If you already own property, then show your deed from the sale, as well as a certifcato d’agibilità, which guarantees your dwelling is up to code for living. I recommend to people who are leasing to have this document as well, if at all possible.

If you plan to lease, you’ll need a signed lease or letter from you landlord, at a minimum, covering the year of your visa dates.

If you are being hosted by a friend, you’ll need a letter stating this, along with the property details, and stating that you will not be paying rent. Documentation to show that this is a legitimate property will be essential.

So, all the above are commitments that are required by the consulate for you to even make the application. Yet, the consulate clearly states your making the application doesn’t guarantee success. So, you may need to purchase refundable airline tickets, refundable insurance (if you don’t actually take the trip), and a lease or letter that stipulates you have no obligation if you are turned down for your visa.

Within eight (8) days of arriving in Italy you are required to make your application to the questura for a permesso di soggiorno.

Once you’ve made it through the Italian Elective Residency Visa process, your next step is applying for your permesso di soggiorno in Italy. Don’t put this off after you arrive. Make your application at the post office (same place you’ll get your application “kit”, unless you work through a free service provided by some unions), and that’s where your appointment with the questura will be made. You’ll receive a receipt to that effect. Don’t lose it!

When you go through immigration at your point of entry into Italy, make sure you show the Visa page in your passport, and they should stamp it immediately across from the visa. I was told by my questura that this serves as announcing my presence in the country. Some areas may expect you to go to the local questura, regardless, to announce your presence. It’s best to check.

The permesso process will seem much more straightforward, and the requirements less onerous. Hang onto copies of the paperwork you submitted for your visa application, since there isn’t much new documentation required (not that I can remember!). You will have to provide the most recent financial summaries of your accounts (not six months worth of statements as required for your visa application).

Whew! I’ve thrown a lot of information at you, but my hope is to provide a bit more clarity to a process that seems daunting. As always, I disclaim that this is all based on personal experience, and experiences shared with me, and may not accurately reflect what will be required of you in your particular situation. And, requirements by the consulate sometimes can be a moving target. It is incumbent for you to confirm requirements with your individual consulate.

I hope this helps, in some small measure, to help steer you towards a successful application for your Italian Elective Residency Visa!




By |2017-04-04T17:34:28+02:00April 4th, 2017|Getting Your Italian Visa|152 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Kris September 13, 2020 at 11:16 am - Reply


    Hi there, thanks for this information, I was going to look for someone having had the experience of ending up moving to Italy two days before the national LOCK-DOWN in March, which my American husband did. And reading about people having so much trouble with Italian consulates I wanted to add how it was worth it so much to drive the 3-4 hour drive from San Francisco (where the consulate absolutely did not have an appointment available for months to come) to FRESNO. They were so friendly and swift, (Edward and Eddie Fannuchi) and my husband got his Visa within a week or two. Even though we had not printed out the bank statements correctly, he waited to send our application in until we had FedExed the document from home the next day, and then he sent it to San Francisco and that was it.

    • Jed September 16, 2020 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      This is really good information for people, Kris. Grazie mille for sharing!

      • Eleanor Carrara September 20, 2020 at 2:46 pm - Reply

        Ciao Jed!!! Great and informative article!! When we moved to Umbria almost 5 years ago on an ERV information was very difficult to garner and I spent months researching.

        I have just one point to add. In the event that a couple has only one supporting spouse and he or she meets the monthly income requirement, the spouse with the income can sign a Declaration of Support of their spouse. This document was provided by the SF Consulate at our appointment.

        Maybe we will meet in the future. We live in Spoleto. And you?

        Ciao, ciao
        Elly Carrara

        • Jed September 23, 2020 at 9:05 am - Reply

          Thanks, Elly. This is good information to share for spouses applying together! We live in Treviso (20 min north of Venice) but have a home in Umbria, which is currently on the market. Hopefully our paths will cross one day!

  2. Marty September 10, 2020 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed! Let me be the most recent person to say thanks for this wealth of information! My wife and I bought a home in Umbria back in 2007. We typically spend about 10 weeks in the spring and 10 weeks in the fall every year and are just now getting around to doing the ERV followed by the Permesso. Question, to “prove” we own a home, (all of our purchase documents are at our home in Italy which we wont be getting there for a while) do you think if I include in our ERV application packet copies of the most recent gas, electric, water, insurance, IMU and Rifuiti bills and a printout of our italian bank account (with our names and codice fiscale on them) that this would be adequate to confirm that we are real “home owners” … (I do have an original of the preliminary contract of purchase with the bollo/stamp and original signatures on it here in the States … just not the final purchase documents) Thanks

    • Jed September 11, 2020 at 3:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Marty, Thanks for writing and I’m glad you like my blog. The Italian consulates can be sticklers for supporting documentation, so I’d advise against risking making application without a copy of the final rogito (deed of sale). If you are still in contact with the real estate agent or if you have the name of the notary who managed the closing, they should be able to obtain and email you copy of the necessary official documents. Be advised, you may also be asked for the certificate d’agilabilità (or documents showing the key house systems were updated and registered, if your house is older than 53 years and didn’t undergo a significant renovation that materially changed the house. Perhaps not, but I supplied one along with my deed of sale. People with lease agreements need to present a copy by L’Agenzia d’Entrate (stamped/certified) to show that it is a binding and true legal document. In other words, I’d plan on the Italian consulate taking your proof of ownership very seriously. Reach out to your notary and/or real estate agent. They should be able to solve this for you and provide you with the right documentation and give you greater confidence that your ERV application is truly fully buttoned up! Best, Jed

  3. Kevin September 2, 2020 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Excellent article Jed! Thanks for taking the time to share. I haven’t read all the comments so my apologies if this has already been asked/answered. Can you apply with a duration less than a year, for example 6-months? Do you have any feedback on experiences with the Embassy in DC? Thanks.

    • Jed September 3, 2020 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Kevin, if there is a visa for a six-month duration, I haven’t heard of it. There seems to be only the one-year visa, which is then replaced by the permesso di soggiorno. And, once a person applies for the elective residency visa, and if they let it expire without getting the permesso, getting another ERV is next to impossible. I don’t remember off-hand any particulars about the DC consulate, though I do know they’re not considered one of the easier ones (not than any of them ARE easy). You might want to check the numerous comments in this post to see if someone has commented about DC.

  4. Lynn July 31, 2020 at 6:31 am - Reply

    Appreciate all the comments, though I hope that Beth’s saga turned out well. Painful to read.
    Am perplexed, though. We would be applying through the (fearsome) New York consulate. Several attorney websites state a minimum passive income of 38000 euros for a couple, which does not at all square with what I read here. My actual question, however, concerns people’s experiences, if any, with using the assistance of an attorney. Advisable, helpful, waste of money?

  5. Rose July 29, 2020 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    Hello Jed,

    A little late to the party here but hoping that maybe with the excellent information on this article, maybe someone that reads the comments has or is in a similar situation. I find the stumbling block to be that neither of us are collecting social security yet. My husband could collect early in 2 years, for me early collection would be about 8 years. My husband draws a modest (read under the amount they claim they want) military retirement. My job is completely online I do not work in the office, however that income of course would be gone and doesn’t factor in. The huge software company I work for is based in UK with worldwide presence including Italy. I’ve read that you can request a personal transfer but I have no idea with the limited amount of work visas for Italy if that would even be a possibility.

    If I do have to lose the job to move I will have no retirement from that job just a small 401k, small IRA that of course I cannot draw on either till I think it’s 59. Our target areas remain Abruzzo, Molise, possibly Calabria though I am just amazed at what a small amount can purchase in those regions.

    Another question for any other military retirees that might have been through this. Does our military health insurance Tricare Select Overseas, fulfill the requirements for Health/Travel insurance?

    Jed thank you very much for your fantastic site. Hoping we aren’t thwarted before we begin since we are definitely on the very modest income end of the scale without my job and are before being able to claim social security.

    • Jed July 31, 2020 at 10:42 am - Reply

      Thanks, Rose, for adding important information and questions to this important topic!

  6. saeid April 2, 2020 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed,

    My question may be repetitive. There are many questions and answers and I could not read all of them. In this case , sorry.

    I would like to ask you

    How many days per year (minimum) an applicant must be inside Italy to be qualify for extension his visa for next year?

    Thank you

    • Jed April 3, 2020 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      At least more than half a year. And, I’d also recommend not being away from Italy for more than ninety continuous days. But, don’t take my word for it, be sure to check with your local questura!

  7. William March 5, 2020 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    My wife and I are in the process of applying for an Elective Residence visa, and like all the others, we are finding the details to be quite confusing. A few of the questions are:
    1. Do we need a Codice Fiscale number to have our landlord in Italy register the rental agreement, and can we obtain the Codice Fiscale before the rental agreemnt is prepared?
    2. Question # 30 on the Visa application asks for an intended Departure date from Italy. Is this required if we intend on staying in Italy?

    • Jed March 7, 2020 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Hi there, William. Yes, you’ll need a codice fiscale for your rental agreement to be registered properly. It’s pretty easy to get (and I think you can get it online, though you may have to supply an Italian address. I’m not familiar with question #30, as I don’t remember seeing that on my application that I made many years ago. Perhaps this is something new that helps them add an additional filter to which they consider your application. I approached my initial Italy stay as a five-year sabbatical (I communicated this in my cover letter), which also gave me an “out” if I found that the experience wasn’t working out. You could indicate “indefinite” on your application but be prepared for extra scrutiny of your finances for them to be sure that you are well set for a permanent stay. What’s crazy is that whether a person intends to live in Italy for five years or the rest of their life, they get the same ERV, with a validity of a year. Then, once you have your permesso di soggiorno, it takes over and this is how you stay in Italy (renewing it annually) without having to return to the States and go through the same intense scrutiny. Financial thresholds are different (lower) at the questuras than at the Italian consulates in the states.
      Hope this helps! Jed

  8. Chris February 16, 2020 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed, I’m thrilled to share my wife and I received our Elective Residency visas from the Consulate in San Francisco. I understand our next step is to apply for the permesso di soggiorno within 8 days of arriving at the local post office. The women we met with at the Consulate said we would also need to register at the Province level. Have you encountered this? We are staying in Orbetello in the province of Grosseto.

    Also, we have the year long lease for the visa requirement, but we plan on traveling and living throughout Italy while we are there to determine where we would like to live long term. Do you foresee this being an issue? I saw you mentioned the immigration police will visit your residency.

    Any information or advice you can provide on the permesso di soggiorno beyond what you wrote about in your article is very much appreciated.

    • Jed February 21, 2020 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Hi, Chris. Congratulations! What a wonderful adventure you have ahead. Yes, you are supposed to apply for your permesso in pretty short order after making entry into Italy. If you locate a CISL office close to Orbetello, they usually have a person dedicated to helping people complete the permesso application free of charge. But usually, it’s just one day/morning a week, so you might want to inquire about that. I did that and the guy who did this for me (three years in a row) checked to make sure I had all the appropriate documentation and he filled out the application on the computer, printed it out, and put it all together, along with instructions about getting the required bollo before going to the post office. Also, he told what I could expect to pay, which was useful information because I had to pay cash. You can fill out the paperwork yourself but I liked having someone to confirm I had everything in order. They’ll schedule your questura appointment at the post office. It can be a month or a couple of months later. Hang onto your post office receipt as that will be crucial for tracking your application and picking up your actual permesso once you receive the SMS from the questura that your permessos are ready to be picked up.
      As for traveling around Italy, I wouldn’t worry about that, especially while your permesso is being processed. But, once you get the SMS, you don’t want to miss the date they give you to pick up the permesso, though you can call and reschedule if absolutely necessary. THEN, with the permesso in hand, head to the Anagrafa office in the Orbetello Comune to be registered (showing your new permesso and your passport). There, they’ll enter all your information and then you’ll have to wait for the local police to come by your residence to confirm you are living there. They’ll ask a few other questions, but no big deal. So, the important time to “stay put” is once you’ve gone to the Comune to register as a resident. They will not usually issue your residency card (Carta d’identitá) until they complete the “at home” check. After that, you’re free to travel around Italy as much as you want!
      Keep in mind, if you decide to settle more permanently somewhere else, you’ll have to go to the new questura and comune to move your residency.
      Hope this helps! Jed

      • Chris February 26, 2020 at 1:39 am - Reply

        Very helpful information, Jed. The detail of your information is so great. Many thanks! One question, what is the CISL? Searching online it appears to be a trade union ( Is that what you were referring to? Thanks again.

        • Jed February 26, 2020 at 8:42 pm - Reply

          Yes, the CISL is a union, and one of their services (in most of their offices) is to provide free assistance with immigration/permesso applications and renewals. I’m not certain that all of their offices offer this service so if you can have someone contact the office on your behalf and find out the name of the person doing this and the day of the week (usually just half a day) and the hours when you need to go, that would be good. When I used them (for three years) I camped out 45 mins early since people tend to queue up quickly. Hope it works out for you!

  9. Mark Hinshaw November 26, 2019 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    Ciao Jed! I belong to several sites for American expats in Italy. I found your article and your responses to be the clearest and most direct of any others I’ve seen. I’m a retired urban designer and remain an active writer (with writing fees from the U.S.). I too was exposed to the history and culture of Italy many years ago. As I approached retirement age, it began to dawn on me that my wife and I could retire here. So, like you and others, we spent more than a year carefully developing a strategy and making sure we were complying with the rules for an ER Visa. Like you, we had every single document they asked for — tabbed, marked, summarized, and ready to slide over the counter during our appointment. We were there less than 30 minutes.

    I note that many people are frustrated by their experiences with different consulates. But we found the one in San Francisco to be very helpful. The officer even gave us his email contact and he usually responded within a few days. He also allowed us to mail in a missing minor document. So our experience there was a good one. (The requirement for an FBI background check added a degree of uncertainty, however, as we did not know how long that would take. It took 6 weeks.)

    Perhaps I can explain the mystery about the income question, as the consulate officer explained this to us and even showed us a chart they use internally. Apparently, they know full well that the cost of living varies greatly by region. So if someone indicates a modest income and says they will live in Rome or Milan, they know that won’t work. (This is true in the U.S., as well. It costs much more to live in New York than in, for example, Iowa City.) We were careful to choose a region, based on our extensive research and repeated visits, in which the cost of living is relatively low. Even though all we could show was steady SS income, albeit at the top of the range, that was deemed sufficient. We do think that showing proof of purchasing a house made a difference versus a rental agreement, as it showed the level of commitment. And I’m sure that my wife being half-Italian helped to some extent, as she is fairly fluent in the language.

    One thing that might be happening is a counter-reaction to U.S. immigration policies. Since the current Federal administration seems to be unwelcoming to immigrants, some other countries have been taking a similar attitude.

    Something we have learned that makes advice difficult to give is that the outcome of any dealings with Italian officials depends on two things: 1. the unique circumstances of the person applying and 2. regional difference in interpreting regulations. Individuals in bureaucracies seem to have considerable latitude. If they want to make it difficult, they can. Therefore, during these processes, its enormously helpful to be respectful of the people and the laws and not appear to be doing a work-around or to project a sense of entitlement. We have known people who were denied ER’s for both.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    • Jed November 27, 2019 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Mark, for sharing such detailed thoughts and perspective on the whole process. Your comments help reiterate the supreme importance of being buttoned-up and leaving the faintest sniff of entitlement back home. All of the Italian consulates vary, but they’re all over-worked. Anything an applicant can do to make their jobs easier will pay off. I agree that they look at where a person intends to reside and factors that in to determine what financial resources they deem necessary. And, having committed to owning a house also speaks well. On my application, I pointed out that my Umbria home was owned free-and-clear of any mortgage, thus lessening my expense load. Lastly, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re witnessing a bit of “payback” for the increased difficulties for immigrants coming into the States. I just applied for my citizenship early this year and the government, under Salvini’s direction, changed the law for citizenship processing to go from a maximum of two years to four years. So, I have a three years’ wait ahead of me!

  10. Chris October 9, 2019 at 2:48 am - Reply

    What an AMAZING article and what has turned into blog on people’s experience. So much helpful information! Thank you so much for taking the time to create this and engage with people following a similar dream to yours, Jed.

    My wife and I are in the process of applying for the Elective Residency Visa in San Francisco. Our appointment is December 11th. The primary thing we are challenged with is the need to rent a place for one year and present an original copy of a “Contratto di Locazione ad Uso Abitativo”, complete with proof the landlord has registered it with the Agenzia delle Entrate. The main challenge is we hope to live in multiple parts of Italy during the first year to enjoy all the amazing different regions and determine where we want to potentially purchase a home to commit to living long term. We are flying into Milan and plan to submit for our permesso di soggiorno in Milan. Given we need a 1 year lease for the Visa it presents a challenge that we will not be living in the apartment where we have the one year lease for 10+ months and that money will be wasted.

    Has anyone encountered a similar challenge? Is there any way around having to rent an apartment for a year that we won’t be using?

    Any insight, recommendations or opinions are much appreciated.

    Thanks again for this article and info!

    • Jed October 16, 2019 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Chris, I think you will have to establish a home base and residency (comune) in order to successfully navigate the ERV process. I’ve not heard of anyone presenting a visa application that reflects the applicant being “on the move” during the first year. Maybe there is someone who has done this, but if so, I’m not aware. The ERV process is already complicated and I expect they’re pretty rigid about needing to see the contratto for a full year. For their purposes, they need to see the “stake in the ground” in a single place, though you are certainly able to wander and explore other parts of Italy in search of the best fit long term. I’d recommend a smaller, less expensive apartment, in permesso-friendly region (meaning expeditious processing for it and for the tessera sanitaria – the timing and costs (for the latter) can vary considerably). I hope this helps!

  11. Erin October 4, 2019 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Hi. I am living in Italy on an elective residence visa. Do you know what we are required to do as far as taxes? Thanks for any insight.

    • Jed October 16, 2019 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Erin, It all depends on your individual financial situation, but as a resident, you are subject to paying Italian taxes. The U.S. and Italy have a tax treaty that prevents double-taxation, but you will need both a good Italian commercialista (accountant) and a U.S. accountant to identify and understand your liabilities. Some people aren’t aware of the annual IVAFE tax (this is apart from income tax) and it is an annual tax of .2% on foreign-held property (stocks, bonds, in real estate). In the case of foreign-owned real estate, you may be given credit for what you’re already paying and not owe anything additional. But, I’m not a tax guru or expert so I always point people to finding good accountants in Italy and one’s home country.

  12. John Samples September 3, 2019 at 2:24 am - Reply

    Thanks for the information. I notice that the Washington, DC, consulate is not discussed. Does anyone know how difficult or easy it might be for this task? Thanks.

  13. Ali July 30, 2019 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed – The information you provided and the question and answer series are super insightful.
    I have a question about the permesso di soggiorno. Do you know if the permesso di soggiorno,has to match your ERV? In other words, once your ERV is granted and you are applying for your permesso di soggiorno, my understanding is you can apply for a permesso di soggiorno, permesso di soggiorno autonomo/Indipendente (independent freelance workers) or permesso di soggiorno per dimora (for expats who intend to stay without working or studying) and there are many other permesso di soggiorno. If you enter on the ERV, do you have to apply for the permesso di soggiorno dimora or can you apply for another one like the independent /freelance stay permit? Here is my source on all the permesso di soggiornos:

    • Jed July 31, 2019 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      My understanding is that the type of permesso you get must line up with the type of visa you get. ERV will qualify you to apply for the permesso di soggiorna dimora (non working), at least initially. Otherwise, you’d have more people trying this “work around” since working permessos are even harder to get unless you have an Italian work contract and have a letter from the employer stating that the job is specialized and can’t be filled by local (Italian) candidates. Once you have your non-working permesso di soggiorno you may be able, in subsequent years, to switch to a different kind of visa. But, I simply don’t know, and I haven’t heard of anyone making this kind of switch. My advice is to contact a local CISL office and find the person who assists people (for free, usually one morning a week) making every type permesso application. Short of going to the questura, these people can be a great source for the latest and greatest information regarding your particular situation.
      If you do find out that you can immediately apply for a permesso that allows you to work as a freelancer, please let me know. I hope all works out as you hope! Jed

  14. Bradley July 4, 2019 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Hi Jed
    Thank you for posting your useful article online!
    Sadly however, it didn’t mention if the Elective Residency Visa will ever allow one to receive an Italian citizenship and passport.
    Could you elaborate on this issue, please?
    Many thanks
    Bradley Erasmus

    • Jed July 9, 2019 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Supposedly, after five years on a permesso di soggiorno a person can then apply for the carta di soggiorno, or permanent residency. Then, after another five years, that’s ten years in total, a person can apply for Italian citizenship (though they may have to show that that they have been paying income taxes in Italy during that time period. This isn’t quite clear and the stories vary by region). THEN, the application for citizenship now can take up to four full years after a law that Salvini passed (earlier this year) that extended the window from two years to four years. Plan on at fifteen years from first arriving with your ERV provided that you follow the defined protocol. If you have Italian heritage or if you’re married to an Italian, then you can apply for citizenship much more quickly (after two year), but the new four year wait applies to everyone. Hope this clarifies.

  15. Debra Ann Alfaro June 10, 2019 at 3:58 am - Reply

    Hi Jed,
    My PdS expires in July 2019. My ERV expired after one year but my attorney in Roma said I was still legal to stay because of my two year PdS, as you mentioned in an earlier comment. When arriving in Italy, do I need a valid ERV even though my PdS has not expired?

    • Jed June 18, 2019 at 4:01 pm - Reply

      No, you do not. The PdS takes over and the ERV is no longer required, unless you let your PdS lapse. You should be good to go!

  16. Robert May 28, 2019 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Hi there,
    My wife and I are planning our move to Italy. We are VA residents and we’ll be using Philadelphia office. Our main concern is health insurance. What are their minimum requirements for the health ins. policy? Also, do you have information on what are their minimum income requirements for a married couple?
    Thank you!

    • Jed May 28, 2019 at 3:27 pm - Reply

      I don’t recall the minimum coverage requirement. I think I took out a policy of $500k, though I believe a policy of $1 million is a safer bet. They want to see expatriation and medical evacuation adequately covered and spelled out.
      For minimum income required they look at you individually and you don’t get a different rate as a married couple. You need separate applications, though I’ve been told you can schedule your appts together. That said, they seem to be looking for somewhere between $3k to $4k a month (before taxes) per person. This can be less if you show significant savings in the bank. Unfortunately no where is this spelled out, leading to great frustration for applicants. There seems to be a factor of individual judgment based on the person and the consulate. Not great, but unfortunately, the reality.
      The good news is, once you’ve gotten your ERV and you switch over to the permesso di soggiorno process to maintain your stay from year to year, the financial requirements are substantially less.

  17. Scott Bolger April 11, 2019 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your article and also all the helpful follow ups! My question concerns proving income. I will be using rental properties. I can certainly create a spreadsheet of profit and costs but what sort of proof might he consulate look for? Did you provide tax returns?

    • Jed April 11, 2019 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      If you share a copy of your lease, and any bank statements or checks showing the incoming funds, I would think that would more than suffice. Many people base their financial “picture” in the ERV application on rental income. Just make it easy for them to see this (do the math for them) and organize your info for backup reference. I always disclaim that this isn’t an exact science, but as long as they deem your monthly/yearly income sufficient (in of itself an elusive number) you should be fine.

      • Lin August 5, 2019 at 6:56 am - Reply

        Hi Jed Thank you for the valuable information. I wanted to ask you if after getting the ERV do I have to go back to the USA to renew the ERV every year or can I stay in Italy and just renew the Permesso di Soggiorno in Italy
        Thank you!

        • Jed August 6, 2019 at 1:30 pm - Reply

          Hi Lin, Thankfully, once you’ve entered the permesso di soggiorno process and subsequent renewals, the ERV in your passport is no longer required. That’s why the visas are issued with a year’s validity because the consulate knows you will be obliged to apply for a permesso to be in full compliance. Yay! No return visits to the consulate in the U.S. unless you let your permesso expire and then you have to start from scratch again. Stay on top of your yearly permesso renewal and apply well ahead of your expiry date, especially if you are in a region notorious for lengthy processing times.

  18. Sara Olofson February 13, 2019 at 4:35 am - Reply

    Hello Jed, Thank you so much for such an interesting article and for a fascinating blog. My husband and I bought an apartment in Umbria in 2010. We are retired teachers and have recently applied at the Chicago consulate for elective residency. We had all of the required paperwork and we followed your valuable advice in preparing our application. The agent we spoke to was extremely friendly and did not indicate that there were any elements or credentials missing in our visa application. They reacted positively to our request. We left our passports with them along with all of the paperwork and fee payments. They told us that they had many applications to consider since it was the holiday season. Notoriously the Chicago consulate does not answer their phones (ever!) and email inquiries and questions seem to be ignored as well. My reason for posting on your blog is that we filed our application November 30, 2018 – almost 2 1/2 months ago. We have had no response and we are unable to make travel plans since they have our passports. We finally had an email reply three weeks ago saying that they were ‘processing the application’ and would let us know as soon as possible. My simple question to you and to your readers is: “Is this a typical wait period?!?”. We are accustomed to the slow Italian bureaucracy but this is getting ridiculous! We are thinking of making another trip into Chicago just to ask in person what is taking so long….Thanks for any insight. Sara

    • Jed February 14, 2019 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Sara, I can only imagine the frustration this is causing you. Sorry to hear this. I’ve heard different accounts of turnaround time based on the different consulates. I’ve heard of a few people having to wait in limbo for a couple of months. Mostly I hear that people are given a pretty fair indication of the viability of a visa application, which makes the wait more bearable.
      Unfortunately, the consulates give themselves a lot of processing latitude and they don’t generally publish or guarantee processing times. I know…grrrrrrr.
      It isn’t unheard of for an application to get “stuck” in a stack somewhere. Since you’re not getting answers, I’m afraid returning to the consulate in Chicago might be your wisest course of action. You certainly have good cause for going in person since you’ve been without your passports for 2 1/2 months.
      At the Italian Consulate in San Francisco I received only one reply to an email inquiry and that was after a previous inquiry that went off to no man’s land. Ultimately, I made the trek to get immediate answers, which meant being in line outside the consulate well before the doors opened.
      One would hope this whole process would be handled with better organization and communication.
      I hope you get your affirmative answer soon. Take solace in the fact that they seemed to view your applications favorably. Usually, if they don’t you can see it in their faces and questions.
      Please keep me posted so that I can share your outcome with other people.
      In bocca al lupo!

      • Sara Olofson February 15, 2019 at 6:16 am - Reply

        Jed, Thanks so much for your quick (and sympathetic) reply. It has been a frustrating experience and having someone like you reach out with such understanding has been wonderful. I am concerned that our application is ‘stuck’ in a stack somewhere like you said. Even forgotten (or, heaven forbid, lost). But we are in the lucky position to be within an hour’s drive of Chicago we we are now planning on heading in there soon to appear in person and see what we can find out. When I said that we had a positive sense of things going well during our application process in November, it is mostly because of the reaction that we had to our personal cover letter – an idea we got from your website. The visa officer we spoke to began sharing a wonderful memory of eating cinghiale sausage from our area in Umbria and we had an especially friendly exchange. She said that she would ‘call us’ by mid-January. We hope to find her when we go back next week and I guess we will find out whether our initial positive experience was reliable. I will definitely check back and let you know how it goes. We are so very anxious to have our passports in hand (hopefully with visas) so that we can return to Italy. Thanks again! Sara

        • Jed February 18, 2019 at 9:40 am - Reply

          Sending good thoughts for a speedy resolution! Thanks for sharing of your experience, as did Lynn!

        • Anastasia September 24, 2019 at 4:03 am - Reply

          Hello Sara, just curious to hear of an update. Was the outcome positive and are you in Italy? 🙂

    • Lynn Lewin February 14, 2019 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Sara,
      I read your post and wanted to share our experience with the Chicago consulate last spring. We also applied for an elective residence Visa. We were extremely organized with our application (we are a family of five). We left our applications, passports, etc 90 days prior to our expected departure (the first day they would let us apply). We had bought plane tickets, leased an apartment in Italy, sold our house, and quit our jobs. 2 weeks prior to our departure, we still had not hear anything back from them. We could not get an email or phone response so we went into the office and said we were there to “pick up our Visas”. After waiting some time, they informed us that our Visas were declined because we hadn’t proven enough monthly income (we set up an annuity to pay us monthly). We had used an amount we calculated from the resources available for a family of five. She said she “wasn’t quite comfortable with that number and wanted more”. We pressed her for an actual number (which she seemed to just make up). We also verbally clarified some other questions she had about our application. At the end of that meeting, we called our financial planner, set up an additional annuity, and went back to the office 2 days later. Our visa was approved and we had it in our hands the very next day. It was an incredibly stressful process and I think highly subjective. I would strongly advise you to go to Chicago if you can. I think the face-to-face meetings with the person who made the decision was invaluable to our success. Let me know if I can be of any other help. It was certainly worth it and in the end, we are truly loving our life in Torino.

      • Sara Olofson February 15, 2019 at 7:05 am - Reply

        Hello Lynn! This was such an incredible and helpful post. I can’t believe what you went through with the Chicago consulate. What a horror story. I was so relieved to hear that it worked out in the end for you. It’s just so difficult to imagine the stress and anxiety that you must have gone through for your family. You had so much more on the line that we do: you sold your home, quit your jobs and already had an airfare departure date fast approaching. In our case, we are keeping our home here in the states to have a place to stay when we come back to visit family here; we are newly retired with steady pension income; and our plans are thankfully flexible enough to be able to hold off buying airfare until we have passports in hand and until we know how long we can stay in Italy depending on the visa decision. My husband and I have decided that we are going to exactly follow your example by returning to the consulate in person next week (without an appointment since the first openings are in late March). We will simply state “We are here to pick up our visas.” just like you did. We are fortunate enough to be only an hour’s drive away and to have a retired person’s schedule so we will attempt to do another face-to-face to try to straighten things out. Were you living close to Chicago when you applied – or was your back and forth to Chicago a long-distance trip? I’m sure it is very inconvenient for many people who have to make the trek to Chicago because can be a long one for some Midwesterners. Again, thank you so much for your helpful post. Reading that we aren’t the only ones who have waited excruciatingly long (2 1/2 months now) for a decision and for our passports has been oddly comforting. We don’t feel as if we are the only ones sitting in a vacuum pounding at a brick wall with no reply. I appreciate being able to connect with you like this. And I’m grateful to Jed for offering this platform to share experiences. I was especially happy to read that you are loving your life in Torino. What an amazing choice you have been able to make for your family! We, too, have fallen in love with our lives in Italy, so we know the feeling. I’ll keep you, Jed and any of his interested readers informed as to what happens. Grazie!!

        • Sara Olofson April 15, 2019 at 5:23 pm - Reply

          Hello again, Jed (and Lynn)! I think it is about time that I update you on our elective residency visa application. As I wrote earlier, we applied in Chicago Nov. 30 and after posting our frustrations here more than 2 months into our waiting time, your suggestion to go in person to revisit the consulate sounded like a good one. We luckily found an open last-minute appointment Feb. 18 (President’s Day). There was one agent at the window and when it was our turn to talk with him, he immediately expressed surprise (almost shock) that it had been almost three months since we left our documents and passports there. He told us that by law they had to have the decision within 90 days. He did not know where our file was. He called the supervising agent who is the one who finalizes the visa decisions. (She was home for the holiday with her children.) She immediately seemed to know our names and told him that our visas would be approved and that she would email or call us the next day about the progress of the application. We drove home to wait.

          No call or email Tuesday, as promised, or Wednesday. I wrote one last ‘urgent’ email to her because we were becoming concerned that our passports were possibly lost or misplaced. Finally, Friday morning we received a short email stating that our passports and visas were ready and asking whether we would like to have them mailed to us or did we want to come pick them up. Since we had little trust in the speed of their work, we went back to the consulate to pick up the visas ourselves. There was no explanation as to why it had taken so long. And there had been no questions expressed or problems with our application.

          We just now returned to our home in Umbria and will now begin the process of applying for our elective residency through the Permesso di Soggiorno process. We are hoping that all of the documents that we had collected in order to get our visa from the consulate in Chicago will be enough to process the Permesso di Soggiorno. We are planning on going to the local CISL labor union office in Marsciano in the next few days because we understand that they will help us complete the forms and can help us tie up any loose ends which we may not be aware of. We are anticipating a long wait time for the actual PdiS from the Perugia questura, especially after reading your latest post, Jed. We are willing to wait.

          We have some (hopefully final) questions that maybe you can help us with: Are we correct in assuming the next steps for us will be: Submit our application for the PdiS. Once we receive it, (possibly several months of waiting) then we initiate the application for our Carta di Identita in our commune. Once we initiate this application for this identification card, the local officials will come to our home unannounced to verify that this is an actual legal residence of ours. Then, everything is finished for this first year of the permesso? Do you know when the application for the Tessera Sanitaria (health insurance) fit into this schedule? Whew. Thanks for any info anyone might be able to pass our way.

          Thanks, also, Jed for your wonderful website. We have been devouring so many articles that you have written – you have such similar views of the people and culture that we also believe makes our life here in Italy so magical. And your photos are beautiful!

          • Jed April 17, 2019 at 1:36 pm

            Ciao Sara, It’s so good to hear from you and to get the update. What a confusing and bumpy road to finding out you’d been approved for your ERV. All the “arghhh” moments aside, at least you got them!!! I’m hoping other of my subscribers who deal with the Chicago consulate will read your account and be duly prepared to be extra vigilant.
            As for next steps, you’re spot on. You can’t get your Carta di identitá until you have your real permesso in hand. In other words, they won’t put you on the comune register until they know you’ve been approved to stay in Italy beyond 90 days. As for the tessera sanitaria, I was not allowed to apply until I had both the permesso and the carta in hand. Otherwise, the A.S.L. office has no way of confirming that you are at the right office. That depends on your comune/frazione. There ARE stories of people getting their tessera sanitaria with just the permesso application receipt but I wouldn’t bank on that. The best thing will be for you to visit the A.S.L office and inquire. Also, you’ll want to ask them what financial documents are required to prove earned income since they base the fee you pay on this and a sliding scale. For people drawing social securing, a U.S. consulate certified 1099 form suffices. Other people who aren’t drawing social security are now showing their U.S. tax returns. I wouldn’t be wild about that since this would mean they are reviewing and possibly misinterpreting your tax return. But, maybe that’s just me being paranoid. I’m so glad, and lucky, to have my carta di soggiorno now through civil union and the tessera isn’t a yearly renewal!
            I’m so happy the website has provided valuable information to you. More photos being added soon!
            Stay in touch,

          • Sara Olofson July 6, 2019 at 11:55 am

            Hello again, Jed! We wanted to update the progress of our applications for the Permesso di Soggiorno. We went to the Marsciano CISL office in April and they were wonderful. Our forms were completed there and we went to the Post Office to send off our packet. We received the first available appointment at the Perugia Questura: July 5. We went to the Questura yesterday with files filled with documents and with our passports – prepared for any question or circumstance. Our appointment was at 11:24am. Not 11:25 or 11:30 – haha! We arrived 10 minutes early, gave our appointment receipt to the unfriendly clerk behind the sportello and proceeded to sit and wait until after 12:30. We were the last in the office to be called as others streamed in and took care of their business. There were long stretches of time when the office had 25 people waiting and no one at the windows to process anyone. We have to say that the crew working that day gave us our most unpleasant experience in Umbria. We have always felt welcomed here and have always been greeted with courtesy and kindness. Yesterday morning we experienced only rudeness and impatience.

            When we had our turn at the window, they requested only our passports, one small passport photo and the receipt we had received in April from the post office. They looked at our passport date stamp which we luckily had received in Rome and was stamped next to our visa page. They asked for a signature which we wrote below the passport photo. They asked for our cell phone number and said that we would receive a text message when our PDS was ready. (They told us one or two months, but we are prepared to wait longer.) They had no interest in any other documents (financial records, marriage license, proof of purchase of our apartment, copies of our passport pages, health insurance certificate) – nothing else. We are assuming that is because our application completed at CISL raised no further questions.

            Our index fingers were fingerprinted at their window. We were told to go outside and around the building to get full fingerprints made and to return with the document showing that we had done that. And that was it.

            The only positive thing that happened to us was that they processed my husband’s application at the same time. His appointment had been strangely enough for July 8. So, luckily, we only had to go there once.

            We hope that this information is helpful for anyone who is going to the Perugia Questura. It is truly because of your website that we were able to have the CISL office complete or forms so accurately. Because of you, we had all of the forms handy for the helpful agent at the CISL office and that part of the process went very smoothly. Thanks again for everything! We’ll update the next step of our process when it happens.

            Happy Italian summer everyone! – Steve and Sara

          • Jed July 9, 2019 at 10:55 pm

            Ciao Steve and Sara, Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the Perugia office. I’m so glad the CISL office came through as they did for me. I found that it gave me a greater sense of confidence submitting the application knowing that an expert’s eyes had perused its completeness. Once you’ve submitted the financial docs and the insurance docs with the application the questura is only interested in another copy of your stamped passport pages (at least that was my experience), fingerprinting, your photo, and giving you the Integration Agreement to sign (though, this latter item is implemented with inconsistency). So, your assumption regarding the completeness of your application is spot on.

            I’m sorry to hear you were greeted with such rudeness. I’m afraid the questura has been suffering under the effects of too few people to handle a large number of people immigrating. Even people stateside applying for their ERVs seem to be experiencing dimishing good will at the consulates.

            At least you got through the process. Now, hopefully, your permesso will materialize in the indicated time frame!

      • Anastasia September 24, 2019 at 4:11 am - Reply

        Hi Lynn, I was happy to read a comment about a family (of 5!) getting through this process successfully. I’m curious how you calculated how much income you’d have to show for your elective residency?

  19. Mia February 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    “If you are being hosted by a friend, you’ll need a letter stating this, along with the property details, and stating that you will not be paying rent. Documentation to show that this is a legitimate property will be essential.”

    I wanted to let everyone know that this information is no longer correct, at least for the Philadelphia Consulate. I went to Philadelphia this year (2019) with a properly filled out Host’s Declaration and they told me that it is not the correct form–I would need a lease. I asked why, if they just want to ensure that I have housing, why a lease was any better than a host’s declaration, and their answer was that a lease demonstrates “stability”.

    So I went back to their ER Visa requirements document and saw that they in fact do specify as a requirement:

    *Proof of housing: proof of property ownership in Italy (title, finalized sale contract) or rental lease for over a year. Both documents must be registered to the “Agenzia delle Entrate” (Italian IRS).*

    Now, according to my geometra, this lease can be a no-money lease, and it’s pretty easy to get a geometra to create one (I am in process of buying a house so I have a geometra); however, because of new requirements in Italy (so new that my geometra didn’t know about them), no-money leases require a manual signature (not electronic, which means you’ll need the document couriered to you if you are not in Italy), a 200 euro filing fee (paid at an Italian bank), and also must be filed manually. Money leases can be signed electronically and filed electronically but at minimum will cost 800 euros in taxes from what I was told AND the host will need a certificate from the electrical company (because you will be using electricity).

    So: a lease gives money to the Italian government, and a Host’s Declaration does not. The no-money lease gives less money, so you have to do more work to get it signed and filed.

    Hope this helps–please realize I have not actually been approved, so I’m considering all the lease info heresay until I’m successfully approved. I will update once I revisit the Consulate and let you know what more I find out.

    • Jed February 12, 2019 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Mia, for this important update. While it requires extra “hoops” I can understand why the consulate would want to go to these lengths to ensure living arrangements are indeed legit. And, it just goes to show, again and again, that documentation is everything. I’m finally getting the hang of it and have adjusted my expectations accordingly!

  20. Vi July 26, 2018 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Dear Jed,

    This is a highly informative article. Thanks a lot.

    I’m hoping to move to Italy next year to join my boyfriend on an elective residence visa of 12 months. I can organise a lease agreement (my boyfriend owns an apartment and I will live with him) and have savings of about 90k USD and pension deposit which are accrued to me when I quit my job. I work at an international organisation of the United Nations and my duty station is here in the US too. I have a couple of questions:

    1. When I apply for elective residence, should I just show my saving account statements or do you/ anyone else recommends putting it in some sort of deposit which pays me let’s say 5000 USD every month?
    2. Can I telework in my current job that is based out of the US? I don’t intend to show income from this job as proof of financial resources. I would just like to understand if one is allowed to telework/ work for an organisation outside the US and be paid in my American bank account.

    Let me know if this is not clear.


    • Jed July 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      Hi V, my experience is that the consulate wants to see regular, structured (dependable) income, so if you can demonstrate this through documentation (many people set up annuities). Some people use rental income. Having a clearly demonstrable income of $5,000 should be sufficient, but the Italian consulates can be frustratingly hard to pin down at times. My advice is to organize the paperwork, especially financial so that they aren’t left to try to translate. If you make it easy for them to see your bottom line then I think you’ll have an easier time. When you can show steady, structured income plus savings and investments, that’s a good mix. As long as you don’t show income from telecommuting for a company outside Italy as part of your ERV application, I doubt you will have problems. I advise conferring with both a U.S. accountant who is familiar with foreign residents, as well as an Italian commercialista to understand your tax obligations here. Hope this helps! Jed

      • mark January 15, 2019 at 3:02 am - Reply

        Hi Jed,

        I currently am going through the process of putting together the application and requirements for the EVR, I ran across this information and thought I would share it with all, there were some pretty help full links so maybe it can be helpful for others for the adventures with the application process,,LOL,
        here are the links,,,,
        the first link is quite informative, and also allows you to enter your current information,(citizenship, country of residence, visa type and length of stay) and then it will let you know the requirements depending on your details entered.
        hopefully it will be helpful,,
        thank you to all for sharing there stories.

        • Jed January 16, 2019 at 5:49 am - Reply

          Thank you so much for providing these links and information. So much available in one place to get started. And, it may help to clear up any confusion about documentation requirements that have changed in the past few years.

  21. Jennifer Johnson July 24, 2018 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    Can somebody PLEASE tell me if this minimum income requirement to live in Italy is gross or net income. It doesn’t say this anywhere.

    • Jed July 24, 2018 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      I wasn’t asked to show net income. I just showed gross. While this is not explicitly stated anywhere, my process of deduction leads me to believe that gross is all that is needed. The hefty requirements for income seem to have this factored in already, but I can’t be certain. Otherwise, the income requirements would be vastly unreachable for most people. The good news is that once you have your ERV, the financial requirements within Italy for a permesso di soggiorno are vastly more reasonable (and usually in line with what Italians would receive as a modest government pension. I wish I could provide ironclad guarantees of this, but much of what is published by the Consulate remains vague.

    • Avani July 25, 2018 at 1:43 am - Reply

      From our own experience so far, its gross but because we are relying on our business activities it becomes Net, so basically what we end up with and pay ourselves. We went to the consulate and asked what they needed, that is here in Australia. They wanted to know all our expenses in the business and basically said the profit income needs to meet the requirements. But as far as I understand income derived from pensions, rental income, investments, super etc are gross. I heard of one person arranging with her employer in Australia to give her 12 months sabbatical with half pay over the 12 months and they accepted this. I don’t know what her income was. As long as the income doesn’t rely on a person being employed and having to work to earn the income. For us, our business is derived from clients in Australia so we won’t be working within Europe/Italy. For us we have to provide business contracts to substantiate our business gross income, then our expenses are taken out, luckily its enough to meet the requirement. Yep its like we have to pass the gate keepers to get into Italy, then its a lot easier from within.

  22. Avani July 20, 2018 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Hi Jed, We are putting together all the finer detailed of our Visa application. One being health insurance. Someone we know said travel insurance would be sufficient. I wanted to know if you knew any expats who did the travel insurance thing instead of international insurance and at what point can we get health insurance in italy? Is it after the first year? thanks

    • Jed July 21, 2018 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Avani! I booked a year’s travel policy through Atlas Travel Insurance which I submitted with my ERV application. I had emergency evacuation and repatriation included. As for participating in Italy’s national health plan and getting your tessera sanitaria card, you normally are able to go to the local ASL office in your region of residency AFTER you have your permesso di soggornio and residency card (from your comune) in hand. BUT, I’ve heard varying stories as to how this all goes. My experiences have been in Umbria (first few years) and then Veneto (now), where I live now as a permanent resident. Regardless of when you make application for your tessera sanitaria, as a person on a permesso di soggiorno, you are charged the same amount. Yes, even if you apply in October you’ll pay the same total amount if you applied in January (no proration). For that reason some people choose to get an international healthcare plan (minus including the U.S. since that drives premiums through the roof) through someone like Cigna International. This is what I did as a “bridge” to applying in January for my Italian health insurance, and I found that they were reasonable (and way cheaper than what I was paying in the States. I purchase am Allianz travel medical policy for the U.S. trips.
      Now, for the other tricky part. My understanding is that in Umbria they now expect to see some proof of yearly income (i.e. certified tax reporting W-2 or 1099 form for Social Security pensions via the U.S. Consulate) in order for them to calculate what you pay for your yearly coverage through the national health plan. It’s on a sliding scale. Before that, people did a self-declaration. In Veneto, people on a permesso di soggiorno are charged a flat yearly fee and no income documentation is required (at this point). I think the yearly fee was around 400 euro (a screaming deal in my opinion).
      What this demonstrates is that the different regions fund and administer the tessera sanitaria differently, which is why I advise people doing some research on what to expect specifically in the area in which they tend to reside.
      One other tricky and often bothersome kink in the process is lining up the dates of validity of the yearly tessera sanitaria with your permesso di soggiorno. Let’s say your current peremesso expires at the end of June. The ASL most likely will only issue you your new tessara sanitaria (when you renew in January) to be valid through the end of June. As soon as you get your new permesso renewal you usually have to go back to the office to show them and they issue you the card showing validity through the end of the calendar year. You will have already paid for the full year, so you shouldn’t have to pay extra.
      I know this is a lot to absorb, but it’s not a simple process. But, once you have the tessera sanitaria, the Italian health care can be quite good. Yes, there are areas where the medical services are less robust, but that’s another story, and I’m not qualified to offer opinions.
      Hope all this helps! Jed

      • Avani July 22, 2018 at 9:57 am - Reply

        Thanks Jed, that’s great news about the travel insurance. The difference between travel insurance and international insurance (expat health insurance) is some $4000 per year! I’m wondering if I can simply extend my travel insurance to bridge the gap before getting the national health plan in place. Did you also get your international drivers license in the US before you came to Italy or did you sort this out upon arrival? Cheers Avani

        • Jed July 22, 2018 at 8:33 pm - Reply

          Hi Avani, Beyond a year’s travel insurance coverage I’m not sure if you can extend. I didn’t end up using Cigna for the full year and I was able to cancel the remaining payments because I hadn’t filed a claim. If you file a claim then you’ll be obliged to fulfill a year’s coverage payments.
          I did procure an international driver’s license prior to departing for Italy. I renewed it during a trip home so as to have it accompany my stateside license until I had passed my exams for the Italian driver’s license (you’re obliged to have one upon a full year’s residency in Italy. It’s debatable as to whether you actually need the international license but I err on the side of being over-prepared. It’s considered as a translation of your U.S. license and as long as you have it, the Italian authorities can’t use it as a sticking point. Getting an international driver’s license in Italy for trips back to the States was WAY more complicated (time and expense) and I’ve never been asked for one so I quit getting one for trips to the States. Jed

  23. Rob July 18, 2018 at 8:12 pm - Reply


  24. Rob July 18, 2018 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Thanks Jed. Not to cast aspersions, but is there a bit of a north/south divide in terms of efficiency/how long the process takes?

    • Jed July 18, 2018 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      I can’t really say since my experience is only between two different regions. I’ve been told that in Abruzzo, which is pretty far south, things happen more expeditiously than Umbria. So many factors are at play, including the local questura. It’s hard to say what ends up affecting the overall processing time other than some offices are better funded and staffed than others. Maybe I should do a survey one of these days!

  25. Rob July 17, 2018 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    I’m curious, after you submitted yor kit at a post office within 8 days of arrival, how long did it take to get the appointment at the questura for a permesso di soggiorno and how long after they took your fingerprints was it before you actually received it?

    • Jed July 17, 2018 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      Hi Rob, the first year I applied, my appointment with the questura was approximately thirty days from submission at the post office. After my appointment and after fingerprinting, my permesso took a solid three months to appear (I received an SMS from the questura). The following year it took four months, and the third year closer to six months (quite exasperating). This was in Umbria through the Perugia office. I heard similar stories of increasingly slow turnarounds which is why I kept applying earlier and earlier for my renewal. All regions are not created equal in processing the permesso. I suspect the Perugia office was the hangup, not the office in Rome where I was told the permesso had to be “blessed” (more or less). In other regions, the turnaround can be much more expeditious. When I made application for my permanent residency card in Veneto, within forty-five days I’d received my document. Things to run with greater precision and speed there.
      I don’t where you plan to reside, but it if you can speak with other expats in your particular area to get the skinny on processing times, that would be advisable. Hope this helps!

  26. Avani July 5, 2018 at 1:20 am - Reply

    Hi Jed, We have found a rental property in Umbria without going there. Its was a monumental exercise but eventually found a good agent who spoke good english and knew what we needed. a couple of agents were difficult to get answers out of and some didn’t even reply. Anyway we got there in the end. So apparently now, We must apply for a tax code from the consulate so that the agent can write up the rental contract. First time I heard about this? Its a codici fiscali . Wondering if you know about it and if all expats need this. thanks Avani

    • Jed July 6, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Avani, I’m glad to hear that you were able to locate rental property from afar. A codice fiscale, a tax number that every citize and/or resident of Italy is obliged to have, can be procured by going to L’Agenzia Entrate and presenting your passport. A good overview can be found at this link: There’s no way around this. If you plan to be an expat in Italy you’ll need it for so many things, including your Italian tax declarations (including the IVAFE foreign owned asset yearly tax). According the article in the attached link, and in my personal experience, you can both apply for the codice fiscale and receive it on the spot at L’Agenzia Entrate office. Be sure your full name (including Jr. or Sr.) accurately reflects your U.S. passport, otherwise, you will run into many problems down the road. It’s really a pretty easy thing to do, but I suspect you will have to come to Italy OR visit the Italian consulate in your jurisdiction to get the card and the number. Hope this helps! Jed

  27. Ralph May 25, 2018 at 9:47 am - Reply

    This is my experience I went to the Philly office. we had all the documents i did a net worth statement and showed an income of $4100 usd and a net worth of $400k. Health care i sighed a statement saying i would get health care insurance here (my us health care covers me here but may not meet the criteria for the visa. My wife and i got the visa. When we arrived we used a CAF to complete the documentation its a free service do your self a favor use a CAF. We sent in the papers and now wait to get finger prints and id. You might pay tax on earnings here in Italy depending on how you earn your money.

    • Avani June 12, 2018 at 3:28 am - Reply

      Hi Ralph, That is helpful! Was the income of $4100 US per month for both of you or each? Did you need the accommodation contract or what did you do for this. We are about to submit for our visa here in Australia in July and just getting ready for it. Oh and what is. CAF ? thanks

  28. Bruce May 24, 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Hi Avani , we are in Melbourne and planning to move about March 2019. we spent a while in Lucca and may more around there although I am Aussie my wife was born in Trieste , (and unfortunately became an Australian citizen) , so she also need to get her Italian citizenship back and thats not easy. How have you found the Italian lawyer ? if good do you mind sending me their details if it makes the process easier!.
    Where are you planning to settle ?

    • Jed May 24, 2018 at 1:58 pm - Reply is also an excellent resource with lawyers experienced in this kind of thing.

    • Avani May 25, 2018 at 3:23 am - Reply

      We are in Brisbane. Apparently Melbourne is far better to deal with. However we did have our consultation with the Lawyer Camilla who was very nice and somewhat helpful. Feel free to email me

      This is what we learned from Camilla so this may save you some money. The Italian consulate is only interested in a ‘guaranteed’ income over the first 12 months you will be in italy. The income must be per month, per week it doesn’t matter but regular. They are not interested in savings because you can go to italy and just spend it in one go. Financial documents should be bank statements showing regular income and it can come from a business like in our case, letter from accountant as a confirmation of your income etc and some sort of contract or document that confirms the regular income (investment fund, shares, bonds, rental contract or business contract etc). For us it is a business contract that is ongoing with a certain amount of income. We have a portable business. It can also be pension income or super income. However the business income must not be dependent on you being in your home country of course. the only income they don’t like is from employment in a job that will cease once you go to Italy naturally, however it can come from a job whereby you still receive the income but are on a subabital or time off for 12 months etc. And as Jed points out the better you present it all so its easy for them to read and comprehend the more likely they will accept it. They are looking for the one or two documents that confirm a regular income of about 3000 Euros per person, there is no couple income unfortunately which is super strange but hey can’t argue that one. The lawyer did say the official income is a minimum of 2,800 Euros per person that they will accept. that equates to AUD $4334, US$3279 per month each. And yes must have a accommodation contract or have purchased a property to live in before you apply for the visa. However you can write the rental contract so that you have an exit and it being subject to getting the visa. Usually to get a rental contract in place you pay some deposit plus a couple of months rent I think she said so it is a risk but the other option is if you know someone who has a property or living and they can confirm in writing that you can live with them for 12 months then that is OK also. They want a confirmed place of residence. The other thing about Health Insurance is that you can opt to take out travel insurance as long as you are covered comprehensively for the whole 12 months. Tricky in a way because you pay upfront for 12 months to score a better price. Travel insurance compared to expat insurance is hugely different when it comes to price. I was quoted, i hope you are sitting down, $1500 bucks per month !!!! Who in their right mind would pay that. Oh and remember August is the annual holiday season for italians so if you apply in July or Aug you may need to wait an extra month until they return from holidays even in Australia. We booked our appointment at the consultant but couldn’t get in until July. I suggest you book in early enough to give yourself time. Camilla can’t put the application together but you must attend the consulate in person with the package. Fee was I think 1100 Euros for both of us. Consult was 150 Euros. We’ve hired her to liaise with realty agent for the apartment we found in Umbria.

  29. Bruce May 22, 2018 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed,
    I am in Australia , but need to apply for the same ERV from here , some forms look like I can only stay from 90-365 days. Is that right or is the ERV openended once it is obtained?

    • Jed May 22, 2018 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      Hi! The ERV is indeed valid for a year. It is not open-ended because you are expected to make application for your permesso di soggiorno permit once you have landed in Italy and properly announced yourself to the local immigration police (questura). When you pass through immigration upon entry, make sure to show your EVR and hopefully they will stamp it on the adjacent page. I was told, by my questura at the time, that this would suffice as announcing my entry. Then you’ll submit your permesso application at the post office and be scheduled for your questura interview (you’ll sign some integration agreement documents and be fingerprinted). Once you have the permesso di soggiorno (which could take a few months to receive) which renews annually (or bi-annually in some instances), it takes over for the ERV. No renewal of the EVR visa is then required as long as you stay current with renewing your permesso di soggiorno. Hope this helps!

    • Avani May 23, 2018 at 6:13 am - Reply

      Hi Bruce, We are in Australia also, just about to apply for our ERV in Brisbane. Actually we decided to hire an immigration lawyer in rome to help us as Brisbane Consulate is not the easiest. Apparently Melbourne is much better. In our view money well spent to save us some stress. Where are you located?

  30. Sina May 17, 2018 at 12:30 am - Reply

    Dear Jed, thank you again for your useful information and answering all the questions. I have 4 more questions!
    1. After getting ERV and then residency permit card, for renewal it needs stay 6 months of every year in Italy, is it enough to get permanent residency permit after 5 years? I mean 2.5 year staying in Italy of this 5 year period is enough to get permanent residency permit?
    2. Italian embassy didn’t ask me health insurance while applying, when and where I must get it?Is it necessary for getting residency permit card?
    3. I am not EU citizen, but I live in EU country, After getting ERV, how should I must prove my arrival to Italy? ( as you know there is not stamp on passport traveling in Schengen zone)
    4. My documents were not in English language, I made all translated to English, and Italian embassy accepted this. For immigration office in Italy, I must prepare translation to Italian or as the same previous procedure, it would be accepted in English?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Jed May 18, 2018 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      To be a bona fide resident you should be able to show that you’ve been residing in Italy over six months each year. I’m not sure how this applies to time in other EU countries, but I suspect you can travel within in the EU part of that time. Still, it’s best to confirm this with the questura/immigration police so that you’re doing things properly. The residency card is also essential to get as soon as you get your first permesso di soggiorno. As for qualifying to become a permanent resident, you may have to demonstrate that you’ve been paying income tax in Italy. This is what I was told by a union official whose sole duty was to assist immigrants in making their stay permit applications. So, I recommend you ask about this so you don’t get to the end of five years and find out you can’t convert to permanent resident status.
      If you are not an EU citizen, then you will still need a permanent residency visa to enter and stay in Italy beyond the 90-day tourist visa period. I’m assuming you’ve already made application for this visa and received it. If you are arriving in Italy from another EU country you will not be going through immigration, where they would normally stamp your passport. Within eight days, if my memory serves me correctly, you must go to your local questura (immigration police) and announce your presence so they can register it. I’d ask for something a receipt or a stamp in your passport to this effect in case you need to refer to it in the future.
      I’m not certain what the procedure is within Italy for translated documents. I wasn’t required to have my US documents translated into Italian, but that might not be true for other languages. When you announce your arrival at the questura, I’d recommend asking them to be certain what they will require. Then you can prepare you permesso application accordingly.
      Hope this helps!

      • Sina May 21, 2018 at 7:40 pm - Reply

        Thank you again.I found this link about taxation:

        As you wrote, I think it would be a must. But even without aiming permanent residency permit , is it necessary to pay tax in Italy for income in abroad?

        • Jed May 22, 2018 at 10:48 pm - Reply

          Thanks for sharing this link. I’m not an expert in taxes so I always steer people to speak with qualified tax professionals in both one’s home country and in Italy to fully understand the obligations depending on your specific situation. I encourage you to find an Italian commercialista (accountant) as soon as possible to get clarity on this!

  31. Ralph March 30, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    We just qualified for our elective residency visa. It was not as difficult as I had expected. We went to the consulate in Philly. We did have to go twice as the first appointment was snow out. I did a great deal of prep work collect all the documents asked for in the Philly site my retirement is ok but not a fortune less than some have stated you must have. We do have a good amount of savings and a condo worth a decent amount all and all net worth about 400k. We do own outright an apartment in Italy. I set up a spread sheet showing our 2 previous summer stays cost and used that to work up a monthly cost. We showed records of all investments even a home estimate for our house here and what it should rent for. One last thing, we dressed well for our interview formality counts in Europe and it can’t hurt to look nice. Also have a postal money order for the fee.

    • Jed April 3, 2018 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing your positive outcome. And, yes, I believe dressing well speaks well for showing respect, and that you take the whole process with seriousness!

    • Avani April 4, 2018 at 2:19 am - Reply

      Thanks Ralph that helps a lot. As a couple we are still preparing for our application to the Brisbane Consulate in Australia. I haven’t come across any couple or even single person who has been successful in Brisbane…. But dressing well definitely makes good sense. A lot of people here complain about the consulates not just in brisbane but in australia as well. But my guess is its harder not understanding the culture and what is polite and respectful…. We are learning Italian at present and this is super important according to our teacher who is native italian…. We went to see an Italian Lawyer in Brisbane who helps Italians more so but it was helpful in the sense that we got more insight to how they think…. We were told that as a couple we would have to provide evidence of a minimum of 31,000 EURO PER PERSON per year income (62,000 EURO), there is no ‘couple’ amount that is reduced like Spain or Portugal for example – 31EURO for first person then 20% for second person = 37,200 EURO in total. But my suspicion is that if you present well and provide more information than needed so they are clear about you and your income and what sort of person you really are (presentation and manners etc) they tend to look at the overall picture. Italians don’t always follow the rules but they certainly like it that you respect the rules. We don’t have property as assets but other investments, our application is rather challenging I suppose with only moderate savings and income….that is likely to reduce once we are there….so yes its dependent on us working in Australia however it does give us plenty to live comfortably in Italy. The lawyer did say that as long as we present well and justify our situation giving them confidence that we have enough to sustain ourselves then that is what they look for mostly. It really at their discretion. the main thing is the income , the savings is good but not essential and other assets are more to do with income than actual assets. What they seek is sustainable income that they deem is enough. Hope this helps others who are trying to navigate the visa terrain like us….its been a complicated journey so far but we are seeing the light at the end of tunnel….phewww!

  32. Sina March 2, 2018 at 12:13 am - Reply

    Hello Jed, thank you for answering me. As you wrote that an expert must check about documents, could you recommend any about this? I want to come to Rome for renting apartment, and lease agreement. But as it is just a necessary document and apartment won’t be in use until getting decision, I am thinking find a cheap one, then after getting decision and coming to Italy for living , finding something permanent rent. Which website I must search for apartment renting in Rome? One more question, after getting this visa, could my daughter go to public school?
    Sorry about my bad English

    • Jed March 3, 2018 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Hi, Sina, I’m not sure quite how to advise you regarding leasing an apartment in Rome. I can recommend going to Here you will find listings, and the names of agencies. The difficult part of the ERV process is how do you show that you have an apartment leased without having your visa approved. I’m hoping someone else will read this and offer advice. You could possibly contact one of the leasing offices and explain the situation, and see if it is possible to make the lease agreement says the agreement is contingent on the acceptance of the visa.
      Once you and your daughter have your visas I don’t see why your daughter wouldn’t be able to attend public school. My understanding is that once residency is established people are entitled to public services. But, I’m not certain about this as it pertains to schools. That would be a question for the questura (immigration police) and/or the comune office.
      Wish I could provide clearer, more reliable answers. Reach out to one or more of the rental agencies and maybe they can advise given your situation. It will also be helpful for them to know when you’re making your application and how soon you can expect to get an answer. Jed

  33. Sina February 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Hello and thank you for your advice. I want to apply for elective visa for Italy. I have an Italian friend and I asked her could we sign a lease agreement ( but not in real) for her apartment, but as her apartment is Airbnb rented,she is afraid it could be controlled and understood about fake agreement, Do you think the lease agreement could be controlled?

    • Jed February 23, 2018 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      I’m happy to provide whatever advice I can, though I ultimately urge people to check with the experts to be sure they’re following the proper course of action. Regarding providing proof of a place to live when applying for the ERV I highly discourage doing anything that isn’t authentic. I don’t know how much the authorities check to confirm the validity of things like a lease agreement, but often times valid leases are required to be registered, and that can be checked. Because the consulate understands (or at least they should understand) that a person making an application can’t fully commit to a lease without first having the ERV approved, perhaps a letter of intent from the landlord stating the agreement and terms (dependent on the success of the visa application) will suffice – or a fully executed lease stating the terms of the rental with a clause rendering the lease null and void should the visa application be rejected. In other cases, if a person is being hosted by someone in Italy, meaning they have someone who is willing to vouch they are providing a place to stay, a letter to this fact, with all contact information, can be provided. In all above scenarios, I would plan on submitting documentation assuming it will be checked and confirmed. If you try a workaround that isn’t legit, and this is discovered, you may very well be kissing goodbye any future chances on a successful application. Hope this helps, Jed

  34. Robert laggini February 20, 2018 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks Jed. That confirms my intuition and would love to hear if anybody has had a similar experience on reporting passive business income.

  35. Robert laggini February 19, 2018 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    I am looking for some feedback on financial requirements for the ERV which we will apply for in SF. My wife has ongoing business income from a business/consulting firm that she owns. She is not active in the business, simply an owner, but it does provide favorable income on a monthly basis. I would be curious from anyone out there who has a similar situation how they reported this as part of the ERV application. Our sense is to show the income as it is monthly and, from what I understand, the last 3 months bank statements. We could also include a copy of the contract stating the financial agreement though not sure if that is helpful. Thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Jed February 20, 2018 at 11:25 am - Reply

      As long as your wife isn’t actively working, I would think showing this steady income would be fine. I’d be sure, though, to be overly vigilant in calling this out on your cover letter, and on any spreadsheet you provide to help the consulate be clear about your financial picture. A copy of the contract stating the financial agreement wouldn’t hurt, in my opinion––anything to clarify for the mechanism of the income. It’s not so different from owning a house and receiving rental income from ownership. My bottom line advice is to be so organized and clear in the information you present that the consulate’s job is easy. When they have to ask too many questions or dig to understand something better…well, that’s when things can get tricky.

  36. Robert laggini February 19, 2018 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the information.I am curious how you reported your financials as a couple? W are in the process of preparing our information and I am trying to get clarity on that point. Did you repor income/assets as 1 number for both of you or did you in esnce divide everything in half? be interested in your thoughts

    • Jed February 20, 2018 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Hi Robert. I’m hoping someone who has applied as a couple will weigh in on this. I do know, even though you have an appointment together, you must submit separate applications, which would suggest that you’d need to call out on your financial sheet/recap that half of the resources/income support your application. Perhaps you can do one spreadsheet, with the 50% callout, and submit the copies in both applications (referring back to each other’s application”. Still, I’m guessing, and I hope someone will provide a concrete example.

  37. Dan February 10, 2018 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Avani, I think the big factor is the Consulate. The New York Italian Consulate is known to be one of the toughest and the New York Spanish one is known to be one of the easiest. Spain’s base annual income requirement for the Non Lucrative Visa is lower, but like Italy each Consulate can set its own higher number. And we were rejected by Italy even though we had more income than they require. Though we won the court case, it still isn’t clear why we were rejected.

    Our plan was to move to Torino. When we switched to Spain we moved to Barcelona. We love the city. Compared to where we lived, New York, the cost of living is dramatically lower. We are living on a greatly reduced income but we have a lovely centrally located apartment and a good life. Groceries, restaurants, and wine are all quite cheap comparatively. The culture here is extremely casual and laid back, which suits us well, and everyone is quite warm and friendly. It is a very easy ciity to adjust to. The primary language is Catalan, but it is officially bilingual and everyone knows Spanish, which my wife speaks well.

    • Avani February 21, 2018 at 2:01 am - Reply

      Thanks Dan, was the income about half of what was required for italy? We are now looking at both options. We also have independent business income as well as assets.

  38. Carmen Werder February 7, 2018 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Such a helpful thread. Thank you so much for facilitating it. I have an appointment with the Seattle Consulate next week. Has anyone had experience with Seattle?

    Thank you.


  39. Beth DeVincent February 6, 2018 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Wow Dan….Really!! Well I speak French, Spanish and Italian so Spain may be a good move!! Why not!!! I will definitely look into their visa process. Thank you so much!!

  40. Beth DeVincent February 6, 2018 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Thank You Jed….I will investigate Peter Farina and ItalyMondo. It is very frustrating and we are planning to wait a few more years and then give it another shot!!!

    • Jed February 6, 2018 at 3:30 pm - Reply

      Beth, I hope Dan’s reply is helpful and perhaps encouraging to explore resources like ItalyMondo, who has some expertise in surmounting these obstacles. Don’t let this experience dampen your love for living in Italy! Keep the faith!

  41. Andy January 23, 2018 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Hey Jed, this article has become the baseline of our growing lexicon of information – so thank you for taking the time to write it. I have one question I can’t seem to find an answer to: do the documents submitted with the ERV (marriage cert, documents etc.) have to be submitted in English or translated and certified in Italian? I’d read somewhere that translated documents will be required, but thought that was for the stay permit… any help appreciated.

    Separately, thought I’d share something from our recent appointment scheduling with the LA Consulate. I’ll paste the copy below – as it pertains to separate vs combined appointments. Based on the website, our family (me, wife, 2 kids) will have a single appointment together. I’m still assuming we all need separate forms, but I’ve read several times that each applicant must have a separate appointment. Not so, according to the LA Consulate. Text follows.

    Effective Sep. 1st, 2014, the Visa Office of the Italian Consulate General in Los Angeles will schedule a max of 11 appointments (+/- 20 mins each) for the mornings of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday. A max of 4 time slots will be allocated for Wednesday afternoon. We will be closed on Thursday. PLEASE NOTE: “maximum of 4 persons per appointment” ONLY (we repeat ONLY) applies to MEMBERS OF THE SAME FAMILY (father, mother, children), not friends or co-workers!!! As an example, a family of 6 (father, mother + 4 children) must book two (2) appointment “time slots” (4+2). Any other applicant who is not a member of a family must reserve and individual time slot.

    • Jed January 23, 2018 at 11:26 pm - Reply

      Salve, Andy. Thanks for your email and for sharing your the information about family appointments at the LA consulate. This is the first I’ve heard of this. I’m curious as to whether there can be a joint on family application. I’ve heard, from several sources, that for couples, each person must submit an application. Maybe that depends on whether they’re married or not. Perhaps the applications can be submitted together. If you find that there is such a thing as a joint or,family application, I’d love to know and get the message out! Jed

      • Andy January 24, 2018 at 12:25 am - Reply

        No joint application to my knowledge Jed – both wife and I will fill out the Italian National Application form, but we will be able to bring both forms to the same appointment. I’d read previously each applicant needs a separate *appointment* but that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer (for family members up to 4)… Just to be sure, I tried booking a separate appointment with my wife’s Consulate login passport number and the system rejected it saying “only one appointment is allowed”

        Separately, if you have an answer regarding translation of official documents for the appointment I’d be grateful!


        • Jed January 24, 2018 at 1:13 pm - Reply

          I wasn’t asked for translated documents when I made my application at the Italian Consulate in San Francisco. When I arrived in Italy and made my application for the permesso di soggiorno I didn’t present translated documents and I didn’t encounter any problems. Whenever birth certificates are required, or marriage certificates, I do believe those have to be translated, but I don’t think you need those for a stay permit. Maybe for a married couple that’s different.

          • Andy January 25, 2018 at 4:37 am

            Thank you again for the insights… apparently certified translations are only good for 6 months, so to be safe I think we’ll go to the Consulate appointment with recently translated birth (kids) and marriage certificate. I discovered the Consulate is one of the places that will certify a translation, so maybe 2 birds with one stone in time for lunch at the new Eataly in LA.

            I’m starting a gantt chart in preparation for our appointment – ERV paperwork prep, appointment day logistics, pet travel (we plan to bring our dogs), and permesso paperwork prep. Assuming I finish it in the near future, I’ll cleanse it of specifics and paste a link for any future folks who share our perhaps mutual proclivity for preparedness. We’re 4 months out from our appointment so hoping we’re ahead of the curve. Saluti!

      • Melissa Cicci February 18, 2018 at 4:36 pm - Reply

        Andy is correct. At the L.A. Consulate, you can have one appointment. My husband and I had our appointment in June 2017 (same time), but we both had to fill out separate applications for our ERV, and bring all accompanying docs as stated on the Consulate’s website. One appointment. Our experience: if you are prepared and have all necessary paperwork, the appointment goes smoothly.
        And as others have said, within 8 days arrival Italy you have to go to the Post Office to obtain a Permesso di Sogiorno kit, followed by an appointment (in our case 2 months later) at the Questura, followed by receipt (in our case another 3 months later) of our permessi. Just picked them up at our local Questura after nearly six months here.
        Whew, now I am trying to figure out how to renew my ERC from Italy.

        • Jed February 19, 2018 at 2:04 pm - Reply

          Thanks for sharing your experience, Melissa. Just to clarify the last sentence about your ERC. Did you mean ERV? If so, once you have your permesso di soggiorno, you just renew that. With a permesso di soggiorno in hand you no longer have need of the ERV. The permesso takes over (renewals don’t require a new ERV) and thankfully you will have no further dealings with an Italian Consulate in the States, unless you let your permesso lapse, sending you pretty much back to square one (but I’ve heard of a few people who’d let their permesso lapse a month or so and still were able to work things out with the questura). Jed

  42. Ralph December 3, 2017 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    Does any one know how you apply with your wife? Do you apply together on the same appointment or different appointments.
    also there is a number you can pay for info but it ask for mobile number but doesn’t appear to work from here.

    • Jed December 4, 2017 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Hi Ralph, From what I understand, possibly erroneously, you cannot submit a joint application as a married couple. I’d suggest writing the consulate of your jurisdiction (hoping they are timely in their response) to see if you can schedule your appointments together or back-to-back, explaining that you and your wife are both applying. Then, it will be important to prepare your applications, which most likely will contain much of the same financial information, in a way that outlines how you divide the assets and income to clearly show that individually you meet their financial threshold (which remains vague, unfortunately).

  43. Ralph December 1, 2017 at 12:37 am - Reply

    Thanks for your great advice

    • Jed December 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm - Reply


  44. Ralph November 29, 2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Does anyone know if owning property outright will be considered for the financial requirement. We own a property in Italy so we will have no mortgage or rent. I can rent may condo here in the states but couldn’t sign a contract until you know you can move. I would prefer to sell it but it would look better having income from it. We are to apply in Philly.

    • Jed November 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      I do think it helps in stacking the deck in your favor. It demonstrates a commitment to life in Italy, and with all the appropriate ownership docs, including the certifcato of agilibilitå, legitimate housing is covered. When you own a property outright, I believe it’s important to clearly state, in your submission letter and outline, that you have no debt regarding the house. For other people, any mortgage obligations may be considered in regards to overall financial situation – much like having rent as a monthly expense. As for renting your condo, a steady stream/source of income is something the Italian consulate looks for. But, as you state, there’s the Catch-22 of renting your condo without knowing if you’ve been approved for the ERV. I’m hoping someone who has navigated this balance successfully will weigh in in this thread. One option may be to have a rental contract in hand (close to the time of your visa appointment) with a clause stating that, in the case of not receiving your visa, the rental contract is void. If you’re in an area where rental properties are in high demand, you may be able to get a real estate agency specializing in rentals to provide a letter attesting to what properties such as yours would rent for. But, I simply don’t know. It sure would be nice if you could get some direction from the consulate in this regard!

    • Beth DeVincent February 5, 2018 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Ralph I am curious to know how the visit to the Italian Consulate in Philly turned out for you???? We had worked for a year to get everything together for our BIG MOVE to ITALY!! We put a deposit on a home….bought a car….rented out OUR HOME in Pittsburgh and shipped our goods over by boat. We were told by the Italian Consulate in Pittsburgh that out paperwork looked good….she signed off on it….and we shipped it to Philly. We waited and waited. One week before our flight was to leave….denied!!! We drove there….brought more documents showing more monies….DENIED again….3 days before we were to leave. It has ruined our life and we have lost 10’s of thousands of dollars. The consulate is will not answer any of my emails let alone pick up the phone. We were heartbroken!! I had read one other story about people trying to use the Philly consulate and they were also denied. I am wondering what your outcome was???

      • Jed February 5, 2018 at 5:35 pm - Reply

        Beth, this is so disappointing to hear. I’m hoping you’ll receive answers to this puzzling denial of your visa application.
        One idea, might be worth a call. They do a lot of work helping people,through the citizenship through heritage process, but they also help with many other matters AND they have a pretty thorough understanding of the individual consulates. Maybe they can shed light on what might be the sticking point. they offer a free consultation and you can at least see if there is any merit in employing their assistance. Please let me know what you learn. Jed

        • Beth DeVincent February 5, 2018 at 7:13 pm - Reply

          I’m pretty sure that the sticking point was that we were NOT millionaires!! We both have pensions…I have a survivor pension from my father…we have rental income and other assets. I am also eligible for dual citizenship however finding ALL the right documents has proved to be somewhat impossible in my particular situation. My grandfather did not leave ANY paper trail at all it seems. He is somewhat of a mystery. We contacted a lawyer who told us that we would have to go to court in ROME…it was going to be about 5000E per person and honestly he said…our case was not very strong. I have had other people tell me the same thing….that only the very wealthy can do this! I find this hard to believe since while in Italy we met many, many people from all over the world who came there with much less money. Now I realize every person and every situation is different. We were planning on buying the home that we put the down payment on. We wanted to fix it up. Garden. Make wine. Travel around and just live the simple life. I recently received a reply from the same person in the Italian Consulate who denied us. I created a new email address and emailed him the same question that I have been asking for the last year…with NO reply back. Suddenly there was a reply….he said that they look for at least 150,000 in the bank. We had that plus….

          • Jed February 5, 2018 at 11:58 pm

            Hi Beth. This is a head-scratcher. Lack of a clear answer for rejection of your application is particularly concerning. Many people feel as though the process is becoming increasingly discouraging because of the lack of clarity (as provided by the consulates) on things such as this. I urge you, even more so, to contact Peter Farina, or any of his team at ItalyMondo, not only because they might be able to shed some light on re-submitting your application, but because they have in-depth experience with applicants who are qualified for citizenship through heritage and may be lacking in documentation. I’ve spoken with Peter, the founder, as well as a woman who made her application at the LA consulate, which has a reputation for being a bit more stringent, and she was successful. Peter’s team can provide a no-cost consultation, and tell you, pretty quickly if, based on the details you provide, are a solid candidate for citizenship. Doesn’t hurt to try. I certainly hope the clouds will part and you will find a way through all of this! Jed

          • Dan February 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

            Beth, we applied to the New York Consulate last June and were denied even though we had more than adequate resources. We couldn’t get a reply so we hired an Italian lawyer. In November the Italian court overturned our denial, agreeing that we had indeed met the requirements.

            As soon as we were rejected last summer we applied to Spain for the same type of visa (using the same paperwork mostly). We were accepted in two weeks, and we moved here in August. We are extremely settled and happy here, so we’ didn’t move forward with the Italian visa after our court victory. But we do feel vindicated!

            So, my advice is to hire an Italian lawyer who handles these issues (it only cost 1,500€). And then move to another European country!

          • Avani February 9, 2018 at 12:55 am

            This is indeed a great threat to read. So sorry about your situation Beth, that is devastating!.
            Dan I wasn’t sure how to reply to your specific comment but Im very interested to know more about your experiences in Spain as an alternative. We are from Australia and yet to apply for our visa but the income is substantial as far as we know or can read between the lines….not so clear here either. We have spain as Plan B. However we found an italian lawyer her in Brisbane, Australia that can help us get super clear on how to be successful so we will do that first, see what happens then if no go we’ll apply for the Spain Visa. Please Dan if you can read this I’d love to know your experiences of the People, the culture, the living expenses, the rental situation etc for spain. Where did you move to exactly. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  45. Avani November 4, 2017 at 5:07 am - Reply

    Hi Jed, thanks so much for your informative article. It really helps.

    my husband and I are Australia and it seems the same here that the info is confusing. Our challenge is passive income more so however we run our own consultancy agency and we have several clients we manage on a monthly basis in Australia so our ongoing income is outside Italy. I’m wondering the following :

    1. Could we simply apply for the permesso Di soggiorno and renew every year instead of applying for ERV. How many years can we renew?
    2. Is it possible to apply for an extended stay once we in Italy beyond 90 days and are we best to do this asap upon arrival? Is this the same thing as above?
    3. If we are presenting our financials in detail spreadsheet as you mentioned and have bank statements showing regular income would it matter where it comes from… Are they more interested in being reassured we are self sufficient than where the income is coming from?

    Thanks Avani

    • Jed November 4, 2017 at 6:51 pm - Reply

      Hi, Avani, I’ve not spoken or corresponded with anyone who has been able to by-pass getting the ERV prior to coming to Italy and applying for one’s first permesso di soggiorno. I’ve been asked this question before, but it seems as though the Italian immigration police at the questura refer to there being an ERV in the first application. Once the first permesso is granted, and a person is in the renewal process the ERV is no longer a factor. Believe me, if people could come directly to Italy and apply for the permesso di soggiorno in their first 90 days without the ERV people would be doing it all the time instead of going through the Italian consulate. As for the source of financial sustenance, if an applicant is not receiving a monthly pension or income from an annuity or rental property, then the consulate usually expects to see substantial financial assets. Of course, “substantial financial assets” is not defined, which can make this frustrating. Add to that the different personalities and quirks of individual consulates, and you’re can still be scratching your head. If you can speak with someone who has gone through the Italian consulate in your jurisdiction or if you can seek the advice of an attorney who has guided applicants through the process at your Italian consulate, that might help clarify things. I wish I had the sure-fire, iron-clad answer to the financial assets/income question. It’s the question I’m asked the most! Jed

  46. Robert laggini September 11, 2017 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Hello, a point of interest with respect to the ERV, is income, however inconsistently defined. It is my understanding that each person has to file an application(husband/wife). However, what I have not read as of yet is how you show joint assets on the individual applications. If, for example there is an IRA of $100,000, does each person show $50,000? Similarly, if you have rental income of say $50,000, does each person show $25,000? Obviously, for things like Social Security or government pensions, those would be shown individually, but not sure how joint sets are shown? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Jed September 11, 2017 at 5:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Robert! Great question, and I hope someone will see this thread and weigh in with specific experience. I would think you would claim half of the assets and income on your individual applications. When I made my application I provided a rather extensive Excel spreadsheet summarizing my assets and income, and had all the required statements/documentation backing it up. I believe the representatives at the consulate really appreciate an applicant going to this trouble to show the math of how everything will add up to finance their stay in Italy. For them it then becomes a matter of checking the backup documentation. But they’re pretty adept at doing this quickly. I would also hope that you, as a couple, are allowed to schedule at least back to back interviews/applications with the same representative. And, in the cover letter (and spreadsheet) I highly recommend calling particular attention to your application only claiming half of the income and funds since your wife is claiming the other half. I can’t see how it would be done any other way since couples aren’t allowed to make an application as a couple. Bottom line, organize and detail your application in a super detailed way to minimize the work the consulate has to do. They appreciate it, and it helps you stand apart from people who arrive with poorly-organized documenttation that tests the patience of the interviewer. The consulate doesn’t specify that an Excel spreadsheet is required to summarize it all, but I urge all applicants to create one. Hope this helps!

  47. Alicia August 31, 2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed! I just found your article, and it is so helpful! I’m planning to apply for the Italian Elective Residency visa next year, likely through the Italian consulate in Chicago, and was wondering if you had heard anything about whether this is one of the easier or more difficult consulates to go through? I also read Angela’s comment about transitioning from an Italian student visa to an Elective Residency visa, and was wondering if that process might be easier or simpler than going through the Italian consulates in the US, or if you would still have to amass all the same documentation? Thanks again for your many insights… can’t tell you how helpful this thread of discussion has been! 🙂

    • Jed August 31, 2017 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Hi, Alicia! Thanks for writing. I don’t know of anyone specifically who has entered Italy with a student visa and then was able to convert it to an elective residency visa while still in Italy. So, I’m not sure if it can be done. Maybe the school you are planning on attending has experience with this or could point you in the right direction to get a reliable answer. If you can do it while in Italy, the process should be much easier. I suspect, since the student visa and the elective residency visa are so different, you’ll be dealing with the consulate in Chicago. Fortunately, I haven’t heard any negative stories about Chicago. I just know, in general, they pay particular attention to how you plan to finance your stay “permanently” (which is a word the consulate uses without great clarity).
      I do know one woman who was on a student visa and was hoping to get the elective residency visa, but her plans were uncertain. I’ll reach out to her to see what happened. If I hear from her I’ll be sure to pass on what I learn! Let me know if you have further questions! Jed

      • Alicia September 8, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

        Thanks so much for your reply, Jed! I’d love to hear more about what happened with your friend who was hoping to convert her student visa to an elective residency visa… all these insights are so helpful! Thanks again for the invaluable information!

        • Jed September 11, 2017 at 4:44 pm - Reply

          Hi Alicia, I’m reaching out to my friend to hear an update, but nothing as of yet. I’ll keep you posted. Please let me know if you discover anything in the meantime!

  48. Claudia Oliver July 28, 2017 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Spotted a lot of surprises in here I wasn’t expecting. Are you experiences related to you being from the US? I’m from the UK and I wonder if being in the European Union (as we are for I don’t know how long) makes some of these requirements redundant.

    • Jed July 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      Hi, Claudia. Yes, these are pretty much the experiences an America has to go through. For citizens of the EU it’s much easier, and more a matter of registering with the comune and getting your residency card, if you do indeed plan on living in Italy. Lucky you regarding the driver’s license, since you’ll just transfer yours through an agency here. I’m happy to answer any specific questions and try to let you know what I know as to how it might effect someone from the UK. I have very good friends who’ve lived here full time for well over ten years. I easily can reach out to them and ask, if necessary. Best, Jed

  49. Daniel June 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    HI Jed,

    Great article.

    I have one question, is the financial dollar requirement before tax or after tax?


    • Jed June 18, 2017 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      Before tax is my understanding. I wasn’t asked to calculate the “after-tax”. I sure wish the consulates were more clear on all the financial requirements! In bocca al lupo!

  50. Robert Laggini June 16, 2017 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed…great information here. I am in the process of retiring and plan on doing so in Italy. I have relatives there and can arrange housing easily. I also speak fluent Italian. While I understand the 2 VISA processes (simple Permesso di Soggiorno) and Elective Residency Visa, it seems like the former is simpler and can be renewed each year. I am assuming the ER Visa must be renewed each year also and is far more complicated and subjective. If I am correct, why go through the ER Visa when the former is simpler? Can you provide insight on what I am missing?

    • Jed June 18, 2017 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Robert, I’m posting your question since I believe many people will benefit from it. It’s a good question, and I know many people would be happy if they simply could avoid the Visa application process for elective residency (I wish I could have skipped it!_, and just apply for the permesso di soggiorno here in Italy. To get the first permesso, the questura (immigration police) will look to confirm you have the visa. Once you are in the permesso renewal process you don’t need the visa and you don’t have to get it renewed, unless you have let your permesso lapse (even then, the questura usually cuts you some slack). For people already in Italy who are being sponsored/supported by family members, the stay permit is more easily granted without having gotten a visa first (I’ve heard of at least one instance). Jed

      • Vanessa April 19, 2019 at 7:17 pm - Reply

        Hi Jed.. Well I went for my appointment on the 5th and the residence is still not out.. How long do I have to wait?..

        • Jed April 23, 2019 at 2:40 pm - Reply

          Your appointment with the questura or are you asking about having made your application for you residency card (carta di identita)? If it’s the former it could take months depending on your region of residency. If it’s the latter, the local police should come to verify your place of residence within a few days. Once that has been confirmed the comune anagrafe will issue your card on the spot.

          • Vanessa April 23, 2019 at 4:52 pm

            I’m talking about the permission di soggiorno card.. I have already applied.. I thumbprinted on the 5th of March.. and it’s still not out

          • Jed April 23, 2019 at 6:16 pm

            Ok, now I understand. If you’re in a region like Veneto, where things progress more rapidly and with more precision, the permesso is usually delivered within 90 days, that’s three months. Other regions like Umbria currently are taking up to nine months, which is a sad state of affairs. Without knowing where you are residing I can’t really make a guess. I suggest you check in with other people on a PdS in your area and see how long it took for them. This varies considerably all over Italy.

  51. Dan May 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Hello Jed,

    I’m wanting to move to Italy. I can afford to live there without working.
    But I don’t want the option to work to be wiped out entirely.

    Is there a route for this?

    • Jed May 25, 2017 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Hi Dan,
      With the elective residency permit, you are stating and agreeing you will not work. I’ve not found a clear answer on this, but you may be able to do some freelance type work for clients outside of Italy, or receive payments for small freelance projects. The main thing is not doing work that is taking work away from an Italian, and not using such work to fund your ability to remain in Italy. An Italian commercialista (accountant), one who is familiar with expats, may be able to advise you on what is acceptable. I believe, perhaps erroneously, the big issue is having a work contract/employer here in Italy. If you stay in Italy for over five years, technically you are supposed to be able to apply for permanent residency, which may then allow you to work in a more traditional sense. It’s worth researching what the carta di soggiorno might allow. After ten years of living in Italy, and after having your carta di soggiorno, it’s my understanding you become eligible for applying for citizenship (dual citizenship is allowed) and then you are free to work as you please.
      I’m not an expert in these matters, so you’ll have to get an official answer from someone who is qualified and/or someone who has the elective residency yet is able to do a certain amount of work that doesn’t jeopardize one’s ability to stay in Italy. Hope this helps!

  52. Angela April 19, 2017 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Hello Jed ! How are you ?

    I have been waiting for this topic ! …… thank you for the useful information as always.

    It is my second year to stay in Italy as a student and I now have not only permesso di soggiorno but also
    Carta d’identità and tessera sanitaria.

    I am hoping to renew my visa to elective residency visa for next year.
    Do you think I still need private medical insurance even though I will pay and renew my tessera sanitaria ?

    I am greatly appreciated for your opinion about this.

    Thank you and have a good day !

    • Jed April 19, 2017 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Angela, I’m good! Thanks for asking and thanks for writing. Seems as though you’ve already cleared some important steps, and hopefully the change to an elective residency permesso will go smoothly! When I made my permesso application and renewals I showed proof of medical insurance – initially with a private policy I got through Cigna (in order to get me to the beginning of the next calendar year, then I was able to cancel in January, since I had not claims against the policy, and got my tessera sanitaria). Thereafter, I showed a copy of my tessera sanitaria as proof of insurance for my permesso renewal, and everything was fine. Some people continue to take out private medical insurance in order to be able to see specialists more swiftly, if needed. Still, with the tessera sanitaria, you can always opt to pay to see a specialist sooner (if the system doesn’t get you in as soon as you’d like) out of your pocket (it’ usually no where as expensive as in the States to do this). It’s often the very same doctor you’re scheduled to see later, and you may find it less expensive to do this vs. taking out a full private medical insurance policy.
      I don’t know the particulars of your situation (including which region you’re in). For some people who intend to go back to the States, they get a US based policy there that covers them abroad, and this helps them to not have a lapse in coverage. I find the national health plan here very good, and I don’t have a private policy (and I don’t intend to move back to the States). I have a friend who has lived here many years, and just recently had two significant operations, and all went well. She paid very little (mostly the Rx).
      I hope this helps, even though I have to disclaim that this is just based on my unique experience, and not necessary applicable to your particular situation and location.
      In bocca al lupo! Jed

      • Angela April 23, 2017 at 10:43 am - Reply

        Thank you, Jed.. your opinion and comments are so useful.
        I wonder if the cost for permesso di soggiorno is the same for student and for those who
        applied for elective residency visa…I paid €110.46 this year for my permesso as student.
        Do you pay the same amount ?
        All the forms were filled in and provided by the school office so I don’t know how I can find out.
        Would post office clerks know ?
        I don’t want to pay less and be in trouble at questura:-).

        • Jed April 23, 2017 at 10:59 am - Reply

          Hi, I think I paid a bit more for my permesso di soggiorno, but I’ve been told by friends who recently renewed, that the cost has come down. The post office will make sure you pay the correct amount. You can visit the post office and they can tell you the cost of the marca da bollo, and the fee for the permesso, since they are obliged to collect the right amount of money and make your questura appointment date. They also do a double check to make sure everything is in order. Some union offices (like CISL) offer a free service of helping to prepare the permesso application. They very kind unionfellow who helped me in Umbria, always told me what marca da bollo I needed, so I wouldn’t have to get out of line, and go to a tabbacheria to get one in the correct amount. I’d advise taking a bit of extra cash for the permesso fee, in case something has changed. Once the post office has accepted your application, made your questura appointment, and given you your receipt (don’t lose it!), you’ll be good to go!

  53. Barry April 11, 2017 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this information. Your insights are very useful. My wife and I are planning on a five month stint in Italy in 2018 following our retirement. While we’re planning on going through the cumbersome, Elective Residency Visa process, a question comes to mind. Given we’d be o.k. staying for first 90 of the days, could we just leave Italy for the following week then re-enter Italy for the rest of our stay and not need the visa? We’re not ones to do anything illegal but, the Elective Residency Visa seems designed for more permanent stays. Your thoughts?

    • Jed April 11, 2017 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you’ve found some useful information on my blog. Yes, the visa process is cumbersome, and unfortunately there is no way around it. My understanding of the 90 day stay is that “technically” a visitor isn’t supposed to be in the country for more than 90 days within a 180-day period. I’m not certain, but that might be an overall EU rule. I’ve heard of people leaving and coming back as you describe, but if they get caught, they could be banned from returning to the country indefinitely. You don’t want to risk that!
      Hope this helps! Don’t hesitate to ask more questions if necessary. In bocca al lupo! Jed

  54. Dan April 8, 2017 at 7:01 pm - Reply


    Thank you for this post—it is certainly one of the most helpful of the millions of things we’ve read so far! You are now our go-to source for Visa information.

    We have an appointment at the New York consulate to apply for an Elective Residency Visa for our family (husband, wife, a teenage boy). We plan on moving to Turin. We have two specific questions that we hope you can weigh in on:

    1) For the personal letter, is it a good idea to mention that I will be researching and writing a novel set in Turin during World War II? On the one hand, this speaks to a strong personal motivation for living in Turin (a “necessity” is what the Consulate asks for). On the other hand, we worry that it might be construed as ‘working’ in Italy and therefore a violation of the Visa. I am unpublished, so expecting any income from the endeavor is wishful thinking, but anything is possible. What do you think?
    2) Our son is attending a science research program in Spain for two weeks this summer and therefore needs his passport back. Can we request that he keeps his passport if we show evidence of his participation in the program? If so, can we request that one of us keeps their passport in order to accompany him on the trip? (To be honest, our reason for travel would be to go to Turin to do some pre-move preparation.)

    Thank you in advance for any advice, information, or suggestions that you can share. It is all greatly appreciated.

    • Jed April 8, 2017 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Dan,
      When I made my visa application several years ago, nothing was published from the SF consulate about a “necessity”. I’ve only recently seen that word come up in Italian Consulate correspondences shared with me by my readers. A lot of people “retire” in Italy who don’t really have a necessity, so this one is a head scratcher.
      When I applied, I focused on fulfilling my dream of living in Italy (a dream born after studying art in Tuscany while I was in college). I communicated that I was at a point in my life that afforded me the ability to do this (speaking to finances – and referring to my attached spreadsheet to point out that my stay would be properly funded). I also stated (in bold type) that I understood this was a non-working visa, and I would not be allowed to work in Italy. What this means isn’t exactly spelled out, but it does mean you are agreeing that you will not be working for a company in Italy (for this type of visa), and your funds are not predicated on any type of work.
      Because I am an artist, I did share a few printouts of my paintings, and I stated a big part of my dream was to live in Italy and paint. Like painting, writing can be viewed as a passion – and I don’t think there is anything forbidding a person doing their own creative work. Nothing about my plans was based on painting AND selling my art work. I think you can navigate this without it becoming a problem – as long as you don’t say you’re seeking income out of the project down the road in order to support you and your family. When you talk about Turin as being the setting to your novel, that could be a good thing
      Regarding your son, I guess it pretty much depends on when you application appointment is, how long the NY Italian Consulate communicates the visa processing can take, and the dates of your son’s trip. You can state, in your cover letter (towards the end), that you son is attending the program in Spain (with the dates, and you might want to attach an official confirmation of the program specifics), and request the return of his passport in sufficient time for the trip. You can also talk about it in your interview, but I’d recommend clearing the other hurdles first. I don’t know all the particulars of your application, but the first line of consulate’s defense is turning people away because of insufficient finances. Once they clearly see you and your family aren’t a “stretch” in that regard, the rest should go more easily.
      In my case, my visa was ready in less than two weeks. I’ve heard of other people waiting two months, while biting their fingernails. There simply are too many factors to consider, including time of year and the number of applications they’re fielding.
      I’m also not familiar with the NY consulate. I just urge everyone to be super buttoned up and make the consulate’s job easy.
      As always, I disclaim that this advice is based on my unique experience, so I don’t profess to be an expert. Everyone’s situation is different.
      Still, I hope this helps!
      Please keep me posted. I was very, very fortunate with my visa application, and I hope you end up having a good and successful experience!

      • Dan April 9, 2017 at 8:24 pm - Reply

        Thanks, that was very helpful. We will certainly mention my novel writing as part of our motivation.

        We are in a bit of a quandary on the financial front. Based on what we’ve read, we have adequate annual income (from investments, etc.), but we worry we might be slightly under what is asked for. We are wondering if we should set up a monthly payment from our savings, as you mention. Can you clarify how you did that? Can we arrange transfers from savings to checking, or does it need to be from another type of account?

        Sorry to bombard you with questions!

        • Lynn Lewin January 17, 2018 at 9:17 pm - Reply

          Thank you so much for your very thorough information regarding the elective resident visa. We are in a similar situation and just starting the process of trying to secure a Visa for our family to live in Turin for 1-2 years. I am planning on moving from Chicago with my husband and three children (11, 8, and 5) in June. My husband works remotely for a US-based company and we are hoping to provide a letter from that company stating that he will continue to work from Turin. In parallel, we are also trying to demonstrate steady-income from other sources to meet the more traditional requirements of the elective residence visa. We have a good amount of savings – has anybody had success in setting up monthly payments from a savings-type account (not an annuity or a retirement account)? I’m not sure the best way to go about that process. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

          • Jed January 23, 2018 at 11:11 pm

            Hi Lynn, I hope people will weigh in with their experiences. Having a clear, regular source of income seems to be the most important thing. But, “substantial savings” can have a big effect. The frustrating thing, as you surely have discovered by now, is that nothing is published to help applicants know they’re going to be viewed in good stead. Add to that the varying personalities of the Italian consulates, and it can feel like navigating murky waters. It certainly did to me. Some companies offer deferred compensation plans, and for people who can take advantage of that and set aside several years of deferred payments, that’s also a good option. But, that requires a few years’ headstart in most cases. I’d love to know if people have found success in setting up an account which automatic payments. If a bank is willing to spell out the structure in a letter, that may work—anything that is official and formalizes it.
            I’d be cautious about applying for an elective residency visa by justifying the stay by working remotely for a US company. Warning lights go off when the consulate sees an applicant financing their stay by continuing to work. They want to see that applicants are not dependent on work to stay. And, then there can be the question of the legality of working, even though some people do continue to work for clients outside of Italy.
            If you can set up some sort of regular income and have a healthy savings and retirement accounts, you should be good. I urge people to provide a spreadsheet to show clearly how they will live. Hope this helps, Jed

  55. Kit April 4, 2017 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    This article is really helpful. The one thing missing is expected annual income. As of this past January, I communicated with an attorney in Rome to verify passive income requirements which currently is 50,000E per person, no break for married couples.
    I certainly think we might have had a slim chance of getting further, had we had your information on how to present our financials. The New York consulate is one of the toughest offices to work with.

    • Jed April 4, 2017 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you found the article helpful. Yes, the NY consulate is one of the toughest. None of the consulates communicate an exact amount of income expected (not that I’ve found), which is frustrating. But, as you found out through the attorney, experience with that consulate gives you more of a ball park. Maybe this is because NY is also one of the more expensive areas of the country. I don’t know. Without substantial “money in the bank” even more emphasis is placed on passive income. Whens the consulate clearly sees that you have “protected” money for your stay, that helps tremendously – which is why annuities or scheduled method of paying yourself (as set up with a bank) can be looked upon more favorably. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. Hopefully you’ll get another crack at applying.

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