Is the Elective Residence Visa (ERV) the easiest visa option for those who want to move and live in Italy?

Jul 25, 2023

What are the requirements for the Elective Residence Visa (ERV)?

To request the ERV (officially known as Visto per residenza elettiva), applicants are required to have:

  • a suitable accommodation; and
  • a minimum “passive” income of not less € 31,000/year (+ 20% for the spouse and 5% for each child)
  • 1 year of health insurance with a minimum € 30,000 coverage
  • some Consulates require a criminal record certificate
  • letter explaining the reasons for moving to Italy

Note: For a complete list of documents to be submitted, it will be necessary to consult the website of the Consulate where the applicant will submit the application.

ERV is an interesting visa option when moving to Italy

Yet, it has some red flags as outlined in the guidelines of most Consulates, the ERV:

  • is for those who wish to reside permanently and intend to establish a permanent home in Italy;
  • it is NOT for extended tourism. It is not an end-run around the limited validity of Schengen tourist visas or the visa-waiver program, nor is it for letting you join family members or friends who have accepted temporary jobs in Italy.

How can I prove my economic resources?

The applicant must submit documents proving substantial and steady economic resources, such as:

  • Letters from banking institutions stating currently available funds. The type of account, the account balance, and monthly earnings. These funds must be more than substantial and must generate revenues.
  • Documents from other sources that will provide you with additional financial revenues, such as Social Security pension or other types of pension, property ownership, lease agreements, business ownership, and related documentation;
  • The visa applicant must show solid bank account/s and a set monthly income.

What about the accommodation in Italy?

You do not need to own or purchase a property to be eligible for the ERV. A signed rental agreement will suffice but the contract must be for at least 1 year and duly filed at the Registry Office (Ufficio del Registro).

Multiple bookings for houses/hotels, AirBnB contracts, and third-party offers of hospitality cannot be accepted for this type of visa.

Can I work in Italy with a Retirement Visa?

The answer to this question is “NO”.

In the last few years, it has become a popular query whether it is possible to work from Italy “remotely”. In this regard, Italian consulates provided more detailed guidelines by specifying that:

“the holder of the visa cannot work whether as dependent employees, as self-employed employees, or employees working remotely online. You cannot finance your residence in Italy through any type of work.”

What are the obstacles or difficulties when requesting the ERV

It has become increasingly difficult to obtain this visa for several reasons:

1. The visa is for those who have chosen Italy as their country of permanent residence. It can be denied and it is difficult to obtain for those who show to have an activity in their country and want the visa only for the purpose of not being limited by the 90/180-day rule;

2. Italian Consulates are strict in requesting the applicant to prove to have a steady “passive” income (from pensions, revenues derived from investments or properties) and most if not all Consulates request the applicant to submit the last 1–2 years’ tax returns;

3. Being able to prove the € 31,000/year minimum income set forth by the law cannot be enough. Consulates expect a “substantial” income and they have a wide discretion to assess whether the applicant’s income is adequate. Many Consulates are now requesting the applicant to prove an income 2–3 times higher than the minimum set forth by the law;

4. If you do not already own a property in Italy, you will need to submit a minimum 1-year lease agreement. Accordingly, you will need to sign a contract without being sure of the date when you will be able to move and also without being sure if your visa shall be issued. Furthermore, many landlords are reluctant to sign a lease for 1 year only (and Airbnb contracts are not accepted);

5. To run the property as a B&B would be considered “work” and therefore would cause the visa to be denied;

6. it can help if the applicant shows to have some past links with Italy, such as having attended Italian language courses or having lived in Italy in the past;

7. in most Consulates it is very difficult to book an appointment for filing the visa application and when available, appointments can be given after some months;

8. the processing time for the visa can be up to 90 days (and during this time the Consulate will keep the passport) and if the Consulates request more documents the time can be extended.

What are the steps after you obtain the ERV?

1. within 8 days from entry, apply for the “Permesso di Soggiorno” at the Post Office;

2. after 2–3 months the Police will summon you and give you an appointment for fingerprinting (the waiting time can be longer)

3. after 2–3 months the Police will inform you that your permit is ready to be collected (the waiting time can be longer)

4. You must also register with the City Hall (Comune) where you live and apply for Italian residency

5. Residency in Italy brings some tax liabilities and you should contact a tax counsel to obtain necessary advice. The Italian tax agency provides information about possible tax benefits for those who move their residency to Italy. From 1 January 2019, pensioners residing abroad who move their residence to certain municipalities of the Centre and South Italy can benefit from the optional scheme for non-national pensioners(IT), which provides for a substitute tax of 7% on all income generated abroad. For more information see Individuals — Personal Income Tax — Irpef — Personal income tax rates and relief — Agenzia delle Entrate (

6. after you register with the Comune you can apply for registration with the National Health Service. For holders of an ERV registration, this service is not free but they will be asked to pay a charge in proportion to their income.

How long can I stay out of Italy?

The permit cannot be renewed or extended if the holder has left Italy for more than 6 consecutive months OR in the case of two-year permits if the holder has left Italy for more than half the validity of the permit consecutively (e.g. 12 consecutive months for a permit with a validity of 24 months). Exceptions may apply in case of required military service abroad or other serious grounded motives.

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