Elective Residence Visa and taking Residency in Italy

Feb 08, 2023

The Italian Revenue Agency confirmed (in response to inquiry no. 119 of January 20, 2023) that taking a Residency in Italy is a requirement for those who have entered Italy with an Elective Residence Visa (hereinafter, ERV).

Background of the inquiry

A British citizen, who holds an Elective Residence Visa sent an inquiry to the Revenue Agency, indicating that “He is a resident in Switzerland (where he habitually resides and where his main business and interests are located), and he owns two real estate properties in Italy where he goes to spend the holidays”. He also specified that he has never requested an Italian permit of stay once entering Italy nor he has registered his residence in Italy. Therefore, according to him, he is not taxable in Italy. 

The Italian Revenue Agency’s answer to the Inquiry from an Italian Immigration law point of view

First of all, the Italian Revenue Agency indicated that they are not the competent authorities to evaluate and assess the requirements once the foreigner enters Italy with an ERV.

However, it specifies that the simple fact of having an Elective Residence Visa does not automatically imply that the foreigner is taxable in Italy. On this point, it is highly important to note that the Italian Revenue Agency is talking about the holders of an Elective Residence VISA and not about the holders of a permit of stay for an Elective Residence Visa. The issue is a bit technical, yet there is a big difference between these two terms. 

  • An Elective Residence Visa holder can just have obtained a visa, without having used it. (if one obtains a Visa, it does not mean that this person is obliged to enter the country, and therefore, this person just has a visa without making use of it)
  • A person who has obtained an Elective Residence Visa and entered Italy with this Visa is legally required to request a permit of stay (e.g. Police registration) within 8 days of his/her arrival. 


Besides, the Italian Revenue Agency explained that an Elective Residence Visa, as its name says, is for foreigners that voluntarily choose to live and reside (permanently) in Italy. 

Generally speaking, this answer (response to inquiry no. 119 ) of the Italian Revenue Agency can be a little bit confusing, especially for those not familiar with the Italian Immigration system, yet, what it did was practically reconfirm that establishing residence in Italy is a requirement when a foreigner obtains an ERV and enters Italy.

Why is the issue of taking residence an important matter?

There are many reasons, yet mainly it is important because of the following reasons:

  • In Italy, as a general rule, foreign nationals living in Italy stably on a permit of stay (permesso di soggiorno) are also required to register as residents. (For example, the ministry of foreign affairs website also reports that (https://vistoperitalia.esteri.it/obblighimotivisoggiorno/it/D/5_0_D) non-EU nationals holding a valid residence permit are required to apply for residency registration at the town hall where they intend to reside (legislative decree 286/98 art. 6 c 7 and DPR 394/99 art. 15).
  • In order to have some services (public or private), you need to demonstrate your residence.
  • The individual should consider and take into account the tax implications of registering as a resident

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