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How to Retire to Italy from USA 

How to Retire to Italy from USA 

Although American citizens benefit from various immigration exemptions when arriving in Italy for short-term visas, when it comes to retirement in this country, Americans are required to apply for designated immigration documents. If you want to retire to Italy from USA, then you will most likely have to apply for the Italian Elective Residence Visa, which is the most popular way to arrive here for retirement purposes. We can also offer detailed information about how to immigrate to Italy.

 Quick Facts  
Visa for retirement to Italy  The Elective Residence Visa is the main visa that can be used to retire to Italy from USA. 

Types of rights granted by the retirement visa 

– to reside in Italy,

– to purchase or to rent a property,

–  to bring a spouse or any minor/adult dependent children,

– to apply for permanent residency after meeting all residency requirements. 

Documents necessary for the visa application 

 – evidence on the living arrangements in Italy,

– evidence of having sufficient financial funds obtained from passive income,

– a valid health insurance recognized in Italy,

– visa application form completed as needed,

– a valid passport,

– passport photos,

– documents showing the civil status,

– a recent police record issued by the authorities of the state where the person is a resident,

– proof of payment of the processing fee. 

Active income allowed (yes/no)

No – one is not allowed to retire to Italy from USA and obtain active income in Italy.    

Types of passive income allowed by the retirement visa 

– pensions,

– income from rented properties belonging to the applicant,

– dividends,

– royalties,

– income from various investments,

– any other type of income that is not generated through a work activity.  

Health insurance required (yes/no) 

Yes – it is mandatory to have a health insurance as a person who will retire to Italy from USA.

Proof of address in Italy  (yes/no) 


The minimum age for retirement in Italy 

Although this is a visa document that can be used by foreign retirees, the minimum age limit is 18 years old. 

Visa can be used by persons who are still active and who have the necessary financial resources to relocate to a foreign country without the need of developing a work activity.  

The value of pension in Italy  

In 2020, the minimum pension was EUR 515.58 per month, but the minimum value can vary based on the type of pension a person is entitled to. 

Minimum financial funds required per one year of stay in Italy for foreign retirees Minimum EUR 31,000 per year for a single applicant. 
Additional financial requirements for retiring with the spouse (yes/no) 

The minimum financial threshold required per year increases based on whether the applicant arrives here alone or with a partner. 

The minimum income required per year to retire with the spouse 

For those applying with their spouses, the minimum value required is EUR 38,000 per year. 

The minimum price of renting a property in Italy 

The minimum value of a rent is EUR 300/ month, but this applies to small and isolated properties. The average rent is around EUR 600-800/ month (for an apartment).

The minimum price of buying a property in Italy 

–  EUR 1, if they respect a set of minimum requirements, including to invest in renovations at least EUR 15,000. 

– the average price of a property is calculated per square meter, which can be estimated at EUR 1,800 (at a national level), while the lowest value can be approximately EUR 600 per square meter. 

Legal services offered to foreign retirees 

– legal assistance in preparing the visa application file,

– assistance in finding a suitable property for renting or buying,

– legal representation for signing the rental/purchase agreement,

– advice on the steps to follow in order to become permanent residents.  

 Legal obligations upon the arrival in Italy   After the arrival in Italy, Americans who want to retire there, have to initiate the steps for the issuance of a residence permit.  

 Validity of the elective residence visa 

 Persons interested in retiring to Italy from USA under the elective residence visa must know that the document is valid for 1 year (2 years in some cases).  

 Renewal of the elective residence visa (yes/no) 


 Validity of the renewal   2 years 
 Quota per year 

 Not applicable 

 Obligations for foreigners renting a property 

 The procedure on retiring to Italy from USA for those who will rent a property implies having a valid rental contract signed for a period of minimum 1 year.  

 Obligations for residency in Italy for visa holders 

 They need to be present in Italy for at least half of the time for which their visa was issued (minimum 6 months for 1 year permits or minimum 12 months for 2 years permits).  

 Where to initiate the visa application process 

 The procedures of retiring to Italy from the USA can be initiated with the assistance of our lawyers, specialized in immigration law. 

 How to apply for a residence permit 

 Upon arrival, Americans need to obtain a residence permit application kit, on which our immigration lawyers can provide all the necessary assistance. 

 Institution that will issue the residence permit   The police station (the Questura) located in the Italian region/town/city where the American relocated. 
 When can the visa holder apply for permanent residency? 

 After 5 years of stay in Italy 

 Right to apply for citizenship (yes/no) 


 Residency requirements for citizenship application  

 A foreigner can initiate the application for citizenship by naturalization after 5 years of permanent residency (and 10 years of overall stay in Italy). 

 Dual citizenship allowed (yes/no) 


 Fee for the issuance of an Italian passport    $124.70 (fee established for the period of January -March 2024). 

This visa type is very popular amongst seniors from countries which are not members of the European Union (EU) due to the fact that is a visa that does not grant the right to work in Italy and most seniors will not be interested in developing work related activities here. 

The Italian Elective Residence Visa is a great resource if you want to relocate to Italy, as, while living here, your income can be obtained solely from the following:

  1. passive income, such as the pension that you are entitled to after working in your home country;
  2. from shares, bonds and others that you own from participation in various corporate endeavors and so on.

Americans retiring in Italy are invited to receive in-depth legal advice and legal representation from our team of lawyersOur immigration lawyers in Italy have the necessary legal expertise to represent you in this process and can ease the procedures in case you move to Italy.

Documents to present if you immigrate to Italy from USA 

Any candidate who applies for the Italian Elective Residence Visa must prepare a set of documents, which are prescribed by the national law in Italy.

Besides the application form, Americans must prepare the same set of documents imposed to any other foreign national interested in this visa program. Below, our immigration lawyers in Italy have prepared a short presentation on this matter:

  • the valid passport and two recent passport-sized photos;
  • proof of payment of the application fee, charged for processing the visa application;
  • information on the location where the American will relocate to Italy;
  • proof of the address in Italy (rental contract, utility bills, property purchase agreement);
  • proof of having the necessary financial income, along with bank statements from the bank in America where the applicant has his or her account;
  • a criminal background check concluded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Having a proper health insurance is also needed. Please mind that the health insurance that you have in your country will not be recognized in Italy, therefore you will need to sign a private health insurance policy that is recognized by the Italian authorities

Americans retiring in Italy must also be aware that not having all the documents required for the application can lead to the rejection of the visa. 

This is why we highly recommend you to request advice from our immigration lawyers in Italy when starting the procedure.

Our team can explain the entire procedure and where and when you must conclude each of the steps required to immigrate to Italy.  If you need a digital nomad visa in Italy, contact us for legal assistance.  

Below, you can watch a video on how to retire to Italy from USA:

Important matters to know on the Italian Elective Residence Visa

The Elective Residence Visa is a suitable immigration document that can be issued as follows:

  1. to persons who want to immigrate to Italy on a long-term basis;
  2. to persons who are interested in residing here for a fixed period of time;
  3. to persons who want to relocate to Italy on an indefinite period.

This visa can only be issued to persons who are able to provide evidence on having the minimum amount of financial resources required by the Italian state and all suitable applicants must make the proof of being able to sustain their expenses in Italy for minimum 1 year.

This is given by the fact that the visa is first issued for a period of 1 year (or 365 days). All foreigners who receive this visa, including Americans who want to retire to Italy from USA, must apply for a residence permit.

The formalities for the residence permit (or permesso di soggiorno) are completed after the arrival in the country, at the police office working in the region/town/city where the person will reside.

There are certain conditions to maintain this visa throughout the years – the Italian authorities will verity on a yearly basis if the foreigner still meets the basic conditions under which the visa was issued.

If the person respects the minimum requirements for the elective residence visa, then a new residence permit will be issued.

When the American will start the formalities for the issuance of the retirement visa, he or she must add to the file a letter in which it is explained the reason for relocation to Italy, especially when the American will apply for permanent relocation.

Other than this, the applicant must include in this letter information regarding the following:

  1. the place where he or she will reside;
  2. the names of the person (or persons) that will relocate to Italy with the applicant;
  3. their family connection to the applicant (the spouse, for instance).

If you need further information on how to retire to Italy from USA, you can always request more details from our lawyers. Our immigration lawyers in Italy can advise on how to become a permanent resident, as well as how to become an Italian citizen and the legal options available for citizenship in this country.

What is the legal framework for retirement in Italy? 

If you want to retire to Italy from USA, you might be interested in how the retirement system works in this country. Retirement in Italy is divided into four main categories – old age pension, early old pension, minimum pension and early retirement allowance.

Over the years, various policies and measures were taken in this matter, but currently, the following apply: 

  • those who qualify under the old age pension can retire when they reach 67 years old, regardless of the working category that they are in;
  • this is the age that is regulated until 2026 for all categories of employees who qualify for the old age pension;
  • pension for this category of persons will start 3 months after receiving the entitlement to pension;
  • Italians are entitled to request pension after 20 years of contributions, in certain situations;
  • depending on the type of pension one is entitled to receive, the monthly pension can vary from EUR 1,500 to EUR 6,702. 

Of course, Americans retiring in Italy will not benefit from this system and this is why they must make the proof of having sufficient financial funds from various sources.

Currently, the minimum amount required for one year of living in Italy is of EUR 31,000. Provided that you retire to Italy with a spouse, the amount will slightly increase to EUR 38,000. 

Americans visiting Italy – main highlights

Americans represent one of the most important group of foreigners in Italy, as there are many Americans living in Italy or traveling in this country.

For instance, in 2022, it is estimated that the tourism recovery in Italy will be mainly driven by the American tourists who opted to visit various regions of the country.

The estimates for the summer of 2022 are the following:

  1. the number or Americans estimated to have visited Italy in the summer of 2022 is of 2.2 million visitors;
  2. their participation in Italian tourism is estimated at EUR 2.1 billion;
  3. the estimated value is 20% higher compared to the same period of 2019, before the pandemic started.

How many Americans live in Italy?

There are more than 15,000 Americans living in Italy. Most of them have chosen as the place of residence popular, large Italian cities, such as Milan or Rome, but they can also be found in other Italian regions.

The decision to choose an Italian region/city is, of course, influenced by the lifestyle one wants to have while relocated here, but also on the available budget.

In general, large cities tend to have a higher cost of living, while regions such as Palermo or Genoa are more suitable for persons who have a lower income.

However, Americans benefit from a good purchasing power when arriving here, even though Italy is one of the most developed economies in Europe, so choosing a destination such as Rome or Milan is quite common.

If you need further information on how to retire to Italy from USA, please address to our lawyers

Our immigration lawyers in Italy can offer an in-depth presentation on how to relocate here and you can also benefit from our professional assistance in the procedure of purchasing a property, if you are interested to relocate here on a permanent basis. 

Our lawyers can also advise on the ways through which Americans can acquire citizenship in Italy. The manner through which this procedure can be completed is based on the relationship of the American with Italy.

Provided that the person is not related in any way with Italian nationals, then one can start the citizenship by naturalization process. If there is a connection between the American and Italians, then the citizenship by descent is possible.

However, for American seniors the citizenship matter will most likely will not be of interest, but for younger Americans who will move to Italy using the Elective Residence Visa, citizenship might be of interest.

If this is the case, our immigration lawyers can provide in-depth legal assistance on how to start this procedure. Our team can assist in preparing the application file.

Our lawyers can also represent Americans in the process of applying for the Golden Visa in Italy, in the case in which they want to relocate here for business purposes.

This visa allows relocation with close family members, who are entitled to live, work and study in Italy and to obtain other benefits, including permanent residency. The program also provides a faster visa application process.