Retirement in Italy

Italy is one of the greatest options if you’re thinking about retiring abroad. If you are looking forward to enjoying “la Dolce Vita” through the most delicious food, beautiful towns and amazing weather year-round, while spending far less than in other countries (like the U.S.), come to Italy!

Whether you’re into art history, natural history, or political history, Italy will keep you entertained and educated. The country holds the record for the most UNESCO heritage sites in the world. In fact, there are currently 58 UNESCO sites spread throughout the country from north to south.

Not only this. Italy is also known to have one of the best health care systems in the list of the countries with the top health system performance. Italy boasts one of the world’s best ratios of doctors to the general population, and the public health care system is  free (or at a very low cost) for residents in Italy.

Furthermore, a recent Italian law has extended the 7% Italian flat tax for pensioners who transfer their tax residence to Italy. The new regime is applicable under the following conditions:

  • you receive your pension outside Italy
  • your tax residence has been located outside Italy for the last five years
  • an international agreement on administrative cooperation is in force between Italy and the country where you were resident in previous years (e.g. the U.S.)
  • you have moved your residence to a city
    • within the territory of one of the following regions: Abruzzi, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Sardinia, and Sicily
    • with a population of no more than 20.000 inhabitants

Those who plan to retire to Italy should apply for a Elective Residence Visa.

This visa permits a long-term stay for foreigners who intend to retire in Italy. It has been introduced for individuals who are able to support themselves autonomously, without having to rely on employment while in Italy, whether as dependent employees, as self-employed employees, or employees working remotely online. 

You cannot finance your residence in Italy by any type of work. Resources must be derived from stable asset-based revenues (annuities or pensions), property ownership, stable economic/financial activities, or other sources not related to  employment.

For a single person, the minimum financial requirement is €31.000 per year. Be aware that the threshold may vary at the discretion of the immigration authorities. Note also that, if the holder of this visa purchases real estate in Italy, they will not have to prove the financial requirement of €31.000.

The applicant has the possibility to relocate with their family once they provide proof that their family’s lifestyle can be supported by them for the entire duration of the visa.

The procedure to apply for an elective residence visa is as follows:

  • Go to the Italian embassy or consulate in your official residence, submit the documents, and  pay the visa fee
  • Once the visa is issued, apply for a temporary residence permit within 8 days of arrival in Italy
  • Pick up an application kit for Italian residency at the Sportello Amico of a post office (Poste Italiane) near you.
  • Carefully fill the application form (MOD 1 or MOD 2) to correspond with the entry visa. Do not close/seal the application envelope, because the officer needs to review all the documents
  • Submit the application form and the following additional documents at the post office:
    • a Marca da Bollo stamp (duty stamp)
    • passport-size photographs
    • your valid travel document
    • a copy of your travel document bearing an entry visa
    • proof of health insurance (has to cover €30.000 a year and all medical expenses/repatriation)
    • a copy of a certification attesting your dwelling in Italy
    • documented and extensive financial resources, which have to belong to you, to be stable and regular, and which, it can be reasonably assumed, will continue over time, from sources other than paid employment
    • your tax code (Codice Fiscale)

The post office will forward the application to the responsible police station, and give you a receipt that serves as a temporary residence permit until the visa is issued. (Don’t lose it!) In the receipt you will find the summons date to go to the police station for identification (fingerprinting).

Do not miss the day of the summons to the police station (Questura). It takes a lot of time to rebook another date, and the issuance of the residence permit will be delayed. 

You will be summoned one last time to collect your residence permit.

If you can prove adequate financial capacity to maintain a cohabiting spouse, your cohabiting and dependent minors, or your adult children, the same permit may be issued also for them.