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What You Need to Retire in Italy

What You Need to Retire in Italy

Not only those who want to work or start a business in Italy have the chance of immigrating here. Italy is one of the main destinations in Europe for persons who have reached the age of retirement and who want to live in another country than their own. Those who plan to retire in Italy have the possibility of doing that under specific conditions imposed by the government, among which applying for an elective residence visa. If you want to retire in Italyour immigration lawyers have prepared a guide on the conditions and documents you need for completing the procedure as soon as possible. Also, if you need assistance in immigrating to Italy, our specialists are at your disposal with detailed information and guidance.

 Quick Facts  
 How can foreigners retire to Italy?  If they apply for visas suitable for retirement purposes (these visas do not allow the right to obtain an active income in Italy) 

 Types of visas suitable for retirement 

 The Italian elective residence visa (does not allow to work in Italy) and the golden visa (it is used for investors who want to start a business here, but it can be used as a way to retire here as well if the conditions of the visa are met)  

 Income thresholds imposed (yes/no) 


 Minimum financial requirements  

– minimum annual income of EUR 31,000 for a single applicant (from sources such as pensions,savings and other types of passive income);

– EUR 38,000 for an applicant and his or her spouse;

– an additional 20% of the sum for each dependent child

 Types of income accepted 

A passive income, such as: shares, pensions, rent and others, but not income obtained  from employment 

 Who can apply for the retirement visa? 

Foreigners outside the European Union (EU) are entitled to apply for this visa as long as they do not plan to work in Italy.   

Where can the visa application be initiated?  

The visa application must be initiated from outside Italy.   

 Interview formalities (yes/no) 


 Documents necessary for the visa application 

The documentation for retiring to Italy is extensive and it includes:

– your valid passport;proof of having the minimum required income;

– information on the residency arrangements in Italy;

– a valid health insurance recognized in Italy;

– the completed visa application form;

– the proof of paying the visa application fee;

– additional documents varying based on the case (marriage certificates, birth certificates, etc.).  

 Validity of the visa  1 year  
 Renewal possible (yes/no) 


 Legal obligations upon arrival in Italy  

Within 8 days since the arrival, foreigners are asked to register their address at the closest police station in their region.  

 Right to permanent residence through retirement visa 

If you want to retire to Italy on a permanent basis, you need to renew your elective residence visa (it can be renewed many times) for a period of up to 5 years, when permanent residency formalities can be initiated.  

 Minimum age for suitable candidates 

 18 years old

 Duration of the visa processing   Up to 90 days 

It is also useful to know that the conditions for those interested in retiring in Italy are relatively easy compared to other countries. As a matter of fact, Italy is among the top 10 best countries in the world to retire to.

Conditions for expats retiring to Italy

In order to retire to Italy, a foreign citizen must comply with a few requirements. Among these, the foreign citizen must be retired and have a minimum annual income of EUR 31,000. For married couples seeking to retire in Italy, the minimum amount necessary is EUR 38,000. Additionally, if they want to immigrate to Italy with their children, at least EUR 20,000 will be necessary for each dependent child.

Persons who want to retire in Italy are required to apply for a visa, and in this case, they will need the elective residence visa. Even if it resembles the residence permit in Italy, this type of visa is only issued to individuals respecting the income requirements mentioned above.

Speaking about the income of those who want to retire in Italy, the amount of money can also represent the equivalent of the sums mentioned above in the currency of the applicant’s home country. Our immigration lawyers in Italy can offer more information on the conditions related to obtaining an elective residence visa when retiring to this country. Under specific rules, these can also be necessary for those applying for Italian citizenship.  

The elective residence visa in Italy

There are various types of visas that can be obtained by those who want to retire to Italy, however, for senior citizens of other countries, the work permit is not an option when these persons have surpassed the maximum age limit of employment. The elective residence visa was created for a category of persons that is not allowed to work in Italy. However, this work visa (or permit) is not available for people who have reached the retirement age; therefore, it is quite versatile.

Those who plan to retire to Italy and have the financial means to live here without burdening the social care system can apply for this type of visa, which is also called the Italy retirement visa. The elective residence visa is issued as a long-term residence permit and can be requested by those who want to relocate to this country permanently. With respect to the funds that must be evidenced by the applicants, these can have various sources, among which the accepted ones by the Italian Ministry of Interior are: pensions, savings and investments.

It should also be noted that this type of visa addresses non-EU residents, as EU citizens can freely relocate to Italy by registering with the local police station in the city they live in. As a matter of fact, once moved here, elective residence visa holders must also complete this step.

If you want to apply for an elective residence visa, you can request more details from our immigration lawyers in Italy, who are ready to assist you with in-depth information on the legislation in the field and the procedures you should follow.  We can also advise on the rules for obtaining  Italian citizenship.

What are the best places to retire in Italy? 

Although Italy itself is the home of numerous foreigners relocated here for various purposes, there is a tendency for foreigners to choose specific locations. Be it due to the fact that they already have relatives and friends living here, be it because they arrived here for employment purposes – and most of the employment opportunities are in large Italian cities, or be it because of the picturesque and beautiful places, one can find foreigners clustered in specific Italian regions

When we refer to retirement and foreigners who have opted to retire to Italy, there is observed a tendency for specific locations. Thus, currently, the best places to retire in Italy are the following: Sicily, Apulia, Abruzzo, Tuscany and Lazio and Lombardy. The decision to select one of these best places to retire in Italy should be taken based on the budget of the foreigner, as well as on the lifestyle preferences and other benefits and advantages the person wants and can find in a specific Italian region

For instance, Sicily is one of the best places to retire in Italy due to the fact that it has some of the lowest living costs available in this country, so it can be the ideal location for persons who are not necessarily high net worth persons, but who want to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle in a sunny Italian place

Apulia is also a sunny, coastal location, but it also has a small expat community and it is generally a place that is not very crowded with tourists. On the opposite side, Abruzzo is ideal for those who want to live in the mountain area and who want a relaxed and quiet Italian experience

For retirees interested in the local gastronomy, wine culture and culture in general, the region of Tuscany should definitely be on the list of the best places to retire in Italy; persons who want a more dynamic lifestyle can choose Lazio, where they can have a true urban Italian experience; also, retirees arrive here for the quality medical services. The advantage of the Lazio region is given that is has a large expat community. Still, it should be noted that, being an urban place, Lazio will definitely have a higher cost to retire in Italy

What are the costs to retire in Italy? 

Apart from the costs that you will need to pay during the process of immigration to Italy – costs associated with the fee of the lawyers, the issuance of the visa, the residence permit and any other immigration formalitypersons retiring here will have to calculate the costs of their stay in this country; our immigration lawyers in Italy have prepared a short presentation in this sense: 

  • for the region of Lombardy, the costs to retire in Italy by renting an apartment can be of EUR 660 to EUR 950 per month;
  • purchasing a property in the same region can have a cost of EUR 3,300 to EUR 8,700 per square meter;
  • Sicily has much lower costs to retire in Italy – renting an apartment can start from EUR 270 and reach EUR 390, while the purchase of an apartment can cost EUR 1,280 to EUR 3,050 per square meter;
  • as we said above, Lazio is a region that provides top medical services – in a 2000 report of the World Health OrganizationItaly ranked as 2nd most developed medical care system at a global level;
  • if you want to retire to Tuscany and rent an apartment, you will have to pay approximately EUR 500 to EUR 650 per month. 

Of course, to the costs to retire in Italy you should also take into consideration utility bills and the costs associated with purchasing goods and these can vary based on the lifestyle of the foreigner (for instance, those who will eat in a restaurant on a constant basis will have higher costs than the ones who simply purchase food from supermarket and eat at home). 

What are the steps for retiring in Italy? ​

In order to immigrate to Italy by applying for an elective residence permit, a foreign citizen must follow a few steps. Below, our team of immigration lawyers in Italy has prepared a short presentation, but if you need more details, feel free to contact our team. These are:

  • the procedure cannot be started while in Italy, therefore the applicant must contact the Italian Embassy or Consulate in their home country;
  • the applicant must first book an appointment with the Italian Embassy or Consulate;
  • the applicant is required to gather the necessary documents as presented by the Italian Embassy or Consulate representative;
  • the visa application form can be obtained online with the Italian Embassy or Consulate in the candidate’s home country.

It is useful to know that the interview for an elective residence visa for Italy must be scheduled a few months in advance, which is why our immigration lawyers recommend you not to wait too long when you have decided to apply for such a visa. Below, we have prepared a short presentation on how foreigners can retire to Italy:

Documents needed when applying for an Italian elective residence visa

In order to be able to retire in Italy, as a foreigner, you will be required to prepare a set of documents. Once the interview is scheduled, the candidate to retire in Italy must prepare the following documents when filing the application:

  • the visa application form issued by the Italian Embassy or Consulate which must be duly completed;
  • two passport-size photos which must be recent (no copies or printed photos are accepted);
  • the passport which must be valid at the time of filing the application (a 3-month validity is required);
  • a recent bank statement which shows the applicant has the required amount of money to qualify for the elective residence visa;
  • evidence of having a place to stay in Italy is also required (a lease contract will suffice);
  • health insurance which must have at least a one-year validity period and which must cover expenses of at least EUR 30,000 per year.

The candidate must also submit the marriage certificate and the birth certificate. Also, where the application involves a married couple, both candidates must file their own visa application form. For each candidate, a visa application fee must be paid. All foreigners have to pay the same fee, regardless of the country from which they arrive to Italy. The fees are published by all Italian embassies and consulates

It must be noted that the elective residence visa for those who want to retire in Italy has a one-year validity period and can be renewed. Once the candidate arrives in Italy, he or she must follow the same steps as when applying for an Italian residence permit, meaning they need to register with the police department in the city they live within 8 days.

Elective residence visa in Italy – validity period  

Those who want to retire to Italy can obtain long-term residence visas which enable them to live there for more than 90 days, however, just like an ordinary residence permit, this visa has a validity of 5 years. If the visa holders decide to remain here, the permit can be renewed. After living for 10 years in Italy, these can apply for citizenship. If you want to immigrate to Italy and have any questions about retirement options, our specialists are at your service for detailed answers.

The Golden Visa – another option for those who want to retire to Italy

Another possibility for those who want to retire to Italy is the Golden Visa Program which can be accessed by those willing to make a significant contribution to the local economy. This scheme is more flexible when it comes to procedure, however, the financial requirements must meet the investment criteria of the program. There are several investment possibilities available under the Golden Visa Program, and these are:

  • business investment in a start-up company where the minimum amount required is EUR 500,000;
  • EUR 1 million in a business venture which meets specific requirements imposed by the Italian government;
  • EUR 1 million in a special project that has a significant contribution to the Italian economy;
  • the purchase of the government-approved bonds worth at least EUR 2 million.

These options are generally of interest for foreigners who have a high net worth value and who want to retire to Italy or relocate here for various purposes.  More details on the conditions related to moving to Italy by investment can be provided by our immigration lawyer. Under these residence schemes, foreigners can also have the possibility of applying for citizenship. 

Assistance in retiring to Italy

In order to make the best choice when deciding to retire to Italy, it is good to have the support of specialists who can guide you. Our immigration lawyers through the expat support they offer can be your guide during the application and post-application procedures.

Considering the visa application procedure must begin in your country of origin, you should know that each Embassy or Consulate can request more or fewer documents, which is where our lawyers can provide information in accordance with the Italian immigration regulations applicable to your situation.

Once you submit the application file, our immigration lawyers in Italy can guide through the next steps so that you can move right after the visa is issued, followed by registration with the local police station. After this, you will be issued a residence permit in Italy.

FAQ on how to retire to Italy

Is there a minimum or maximum age under which an elective visa can be obtained?

The minimum age for applying for an elective residence permit is 18, however, there is no maximum age limit for this type of visa. Please feel free to request more details on this subject from our team of immigration lawyers in Italy.

Can I work in Italy if I retire here?

No, you cannot, as the elective residence visa is not meant for those who want to work in Italy. If you want to retire to Italy and you arrive here for this sole purpose, you will not be able to apply for a job in this country through which you will receive a monthly income. 

Can I buy a property if I retire to Italy?

Yes, you can purchase one or more properties if you retire to Italy. Also, you can live in one of them and rent the other and thus earn a passive income. The law on owning a property in Italy as a foreigner does not impose restrictions, especially for citizens who retire to Italy from other EU member states.  

How long does it take to obtain a visa if I want to retire to Italy?

The processing of the elective residence visa can last minimum 3 months and maximum 6 months. If you need more information on how to retire in Italy, do not hesitate to contact us. We can help in various matters related to immigration to Italy.