The process to obtain permanent residency in Italy is rather long and it is subject to a number of regulations. Among these is that owning a property in Italy does not automatically allow you to reside in the country permanently. Nevertheless, there are different types of visas and residency permits that allow non-European citizens to stay in Italy for a long period of time. Having said this, it will be the aim of the article to provide key information for those of you who are planning on purchasing a property in Italy and wish to enjoy your property without any restrictions or time limitations.

In essence, as already mentioned above, if you buy the house of your dreams in Italy and wish to enjoy your property all year round, you should be aware that owning a property does not entitle you to a visa (although it may facilitate the obtainment of some specific visas). In fact, individuals from non-Schengen countries which  are not part of the visa waiver program need a tourist visa; this visa allows you to stay in Italy for a maximum of 90 days. By contrast, if you are an EU citizen you can move freely between EU countries and live, study or work in any of the EU’s member states without the need for a visa.

Therefore, if you are a non-EU national and you plan on living in Italy for a period of time which is longer than 3 months, you should apply for a visa and for a temporary residency permit upon arrival in Italy (within 8 days from your arrival); this can be done at your local police headquarters (“Questura”) in Italy. The residency permit allows you to stay in Italy for a period of time which ranges from 2 to 5 years, and which generally allows you to travel to other Schengen countries for up to 3 months every 6 months. You can apply for a temporary residency permit if you enter Italy with a specific visa, among these are the following:

 

  • Employment and self‐employment Visas
  • Elective Residence Visa
  • Study or Vocational training Visas
  • Family Reunion Visa

 

If you are a non-EU citizen who has resided in Italy without interruptions for 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residency permit after 5 years. In order to obtain this residency permit, you need to show evidence that you have lived in Italy for 5 years without any interruption, that you have a legal address in the country, a set income, and that you have no criminal records.

Although the ownership of a property in Italy does not entitle you to a residency permit, it can certainly help to obtain an Elective Residence Visa, which is rather popular. This type of visa is especially designed for foreigners who have enough financial resources to support themselves without relying on employment while they are staying in Italy. One of the requirements to apply for the Elective Residence Visa is owning a property or renting one. However, as many landlords are reluctant to rent properties to people who do not hold a visa, if you own a property in Italy you have a great advantage. Once you obtain an elective residency visa through your local Italian consulate, you will be granted the related residency permit upon arrival in Italy. This permit is generally valid for one year only, but it can be renewed every year provided that you still meet the requirements at the time of the renewal.

In conclusion, if you are a non-EU citizen and you purchase a property in Italy, you can stay in Italy for a limited period of time unless you hold a special visa that allows you to apply for a temporary residency permit and thus stay in the country for a longer period of time. Finally, after 5 years of uninterrupted residency in Italy, you can apply for a permanent residency permit. It is also worth pointing out that if you have Italian ancestry and wish to apply for Italian citizenship, when you will be recognized as an Italian citizen you will be issued an Italian passport and you will be able to stay in Italy without any restrictions or time limitations.

If you are planning on moving to Italy and you need information or help with the bureaucratic intricacies of purchasing a property, do not hesitate to contact us at info@italianrealestatelawyers.com . We will be more than happy to assist you.

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