Once you move to Italy, you may need or want to establish your legal residence in your new home in the peninsula, whether you have bought it or just rent it.
If you still have any doubts about residency and your stay in Italy, read this interview with lawyer Andrea Parisi, the principal of the “Andrea Parisi Law” firm, who talked to us about the subject.
1. What do you have to do to establish your residency in Italy?
“Well, as an EU citizen, you can stay in Italy as long as you want with your passport or your national ID card, but you need to inform the local central police station (the “Questura”), which will provide you with a permit in the event that you want to remain for more than three months.
So, if you are not staying in a hotel or a three-week holiday rental for example, but have decided to rent a house on a permanent basis, or have even bought your dream home in Italy, you should and can apply to establish your residency there within 20 days from moving into your new house. However, there is some paperwork that you need to submit to the General Register Office (Ufficio Anagrafe) of the town hall (Comune) where your property is located.
Firstly you must provide a valid passport or identity card from your country of origin, for yourself and for each of your family members if you want to obtain residency in Italy for them as well. Secondly, you must submit an application form to ask for residency or your change of residence and, if needed, an application form (in duplicate) to report the change on your driving licence or vehicle registration certificate. You can download these forms from the website of the town hall in which your new home is located or, if you prefer, ask for it directly at the General Register Office.
I should mention that you can use the application form to ask for a change of residence from one property to another, whether both properties are located in the same Italian town or in different towns in Italy, or if you are moving to your house in Italy from abroad.
Moreover, you will have to apply for a declaration that you are changing residence. This is required for payment of the TARI, which is the tax that covers the costs of collecting and disposing of waste in the municipalities. This means that you will need some extra information, such as your tax code (codice fiscale), your property’s surface area (in square metres) and the date when you bought or rented it.
After that, a town hall officer will check that your declaration is true: he or she will come to check that you’re actually living there.
Once residence is granted, you will be issued with a certificate of residence.”
2. But what about non-EU citizens? How can they obtain residency and how long can they stay in Italy?
“The same requirements that apply to European citizens apply to them as well. However, they also need to attach their Entry Visa (visto d’ingresso) when requested by Italian authorities in case there are no specific international bilateral agreements between Italy and your country.
If you want to obtain a “family residency”, you also need to include the visa for each family member, of course.
Bear in mind that people from a non-EU country can stay in Italy with a visa for 90 days: this is always necessary. If you want to remain for longer than three months, you need to ask for a residency permit (permesso di soggiorno) within 8 days from the time you arrive in the country. You can request it at the local “Questura” in the ‘boot-shaped’ country or at an Italian Embassy or Consulate in your home country before departure.
The residency permit will be granted on the same basis that you previously applied for the visa: for study, work or health reasons. Once you have it, you can stay for the duration of the visa. It will also allow you to visit the other countries belonging to the Schengen area and move freely around the Schengen Zone for no more than 90 days in any six-month period, provided you take your passport or equivalent identity document always with you.”
3. How long does it take to obtain residency in Italy?
“If you have a regular entry visa, you can obtain a residency permit from the Questura within 60 days. Once you have it, the town hall can grant you resident status within a further 60 days.”
4. Once you are a resident in my home in Italy, can you stay in Italy as long as you want? And what if you’re not yet a resident, how long can you stay before you must return?
“Well once you have obtained your residency in Italy, you can remain in Italy only until your residency permit expires. This means between 2 and 5 years. If you are not a resident then you can only stay for 90 days unless you have a special permit for study, work, health, or similar.”
5. How many months per year do you need to live in Italy to be considered a resident? On the other hand, if you want to stay at my property in Italy for a few months every year what will you need to do?
“To be considered a resident you need to live in Italy for at least 6 months and one day. If you intend to stay for less than this, then the period will depend on your entry visa.”
6. What if you have Italian citizenship but you’re living abroad (e.g., Argentina)? How can you obtain residency? Does that make the process easier?
“The same rules are applied as for European citizens. But as in this case you are an Italian citizen, the process might possibly be quicker.”
7. Can you buy or rent property, or start up a business in Italy, even if you are not yet resident in Italy? Can you obtain Italian residency even if you are not an Italian citizen?
“You can apply for residency if you have rented or bought a house in Italy, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not an Italian citizen, or if you don’t want to apply for Italian citizenship in the future. And of course you can buy a house even if you are not resident in Italy or you’re not an Italian citizen.”
“Should you need to obtain residency for business reasons you need to ask for a business visa at an Italian diplomatic representation in your country of origin. In this way you can stay in Italy for a short period of time, i.e., no more than 90 days. Usually you can obtain one by providing proof that you are travelling for business reasons, and guaranteeing you have adequate financial resources for the period of stay and health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000.00, as stated by the Ministry of Interior.”
8. What are the benefits of having Italian residency?
“Obtaining residency in Italy can bring you various tax benefits, such as a reduced payment of a 4% tax on the purchase of your ‘main home’ and reduced payment of other municipal taxes. For instance, you won’t pay the annual tax on the ownership of your property. In addition, as an Italian resident living in Italy you have the possibility of enrolling in the National Health Service and benefiting from the health care assistance provided to Italian citizens. When you register with the National Health Service, you receive a document called the “Tesserino sanitario personale” (Italian Health Insurance Card), that entitles you to a lot of free or part paid services (ticket sanitario) which can vary from region to region. These include general medical examinations in clinics and specialist medical appointments; medical visits at home; hospitalisation; vaccinations; blood tests; X-rays; ultrasound; medicines; re-education and prosthetic care.”
“In any case, whether you are a resident in Italy or not, you are entitled to receive some services such as social protection for pregnancy and maternity; protection of minors’ health; vaccinations; international prophylaxis actions; prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, and so on.”
9. Are there paperwork expenses for obtaining residency in Italy?
“You have to pay the revenue stamp and administrative fees for a total of about €150.00.”
10. Can you have double residency (e.g., in Italy and the Netherlands)?
“No, this is not possible. However, you can keep your domicile abroad even if you have obtained Italian residency. So, you are not limited if you earn income abroad, I mean, for example, pensions, income from financial investments, possession of rental properties and so on.”
11. In order to gain residency, do you need to learn Italian?
“This is not required. However, nowadays some town halls ask you to have a basic knowledge of the language, just so you know what is written in the documents you have to submit.”
12. If one owns property in Italy and has a daughter. We would like her to attend school in Italy. Do you have to be resident to do this?
“According to Article 45 of Presidential Decree no. 394/1999, non-Italian citizens, regardless of the legitimacy of their position, (resident or not), are entitled to access to education provided by Italian schools and all the schools have a consequent obligation to accept them. Registration can still take place even if the school year has already started, and non-Italian pupils subject to compulsory education are automatically entered into the relevant class for their chronological age, unless the teachers decide to allocate them to a specific class.”
Andrea Parisi is the principal of the “Andrea Parisi Law” firm. Qualified in Italy as an Avvocato in 2002, Andrea specializes in commercial litigation and Private International Law, providing legal representation before Italian Courts in complex and high-value cross-border disputes and can offer consulting services both in Italian and English.