Longer-term stays in Italy

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What do I have to do if I want to live in Italy for a year?

If you are a U.S. citizen planning to stay in Italy for more than 90 days in any given calendar year, there are specific steps you need to follow:

First of all, you will need to apply for a visa in your home country and obtain a Residence Permit within 8 days of your arrival in Italy.  It is crucial to identify the specific purpose of your stay in Italy before proceeding. Common reasons include work, study, family reunion or retirement. The type of visa you need will depend on your chosen purpose.

Depending on the type of permit you are seeking, you will need to gather specific documents. These typically include a valid passport, a visa application form, proof of financial means to support yourself during your stay, and documents related to your visa type (such as a job contract, university enrollment letter, or proof of accommodation).

A popular option among U.S. citizens who wish to establish Italy as their permanent residence is to apply for a “Permit of Residence by Election” (so called “Residenza Elettiva”). To qualify, you must live in Italy for at least 183 days per year and refrain from engaging in work activities within Italy. This option is suitable for retirees or individuals with financial resources from their home country.

Please also consider that if you plan to study in Italy, your Residence Permit for studying reasons allows you to work for up to 1050 hours per year.

Finally, some tax considerations. Living in Italy for more than 183 days in any calendar year may result in tax consequences, as you will be considered an Italian Tax Resident and may be required to pay taxes in Italy. Italy offers various special tax regimes for foreigners relocating their tax residence to the country, including options for newly residents (impatriati), retirees (pensionati), and high-net-worth individuals, who are subject to the “100,000 Euro Flat Tax” regime.

Keep in mind that visa requirements and regulations can change over time, so it is essential to consult the Italian Embassy or Consulate in the United States and seek professional advice when planning a long-term stay in Italy.

Send your questions regarding Italian law to cbortolani@aliantlaw.com and I’ll be glad to answer them.


The content provided in this Q&A column is intended solely for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. The information presented here is not tailored to any specific situation or transaction and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal counsel. Legal issues can vary widely based on individual circumstances and jurisdictional nuances. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a qualified legal professional regarding your specific case or concerns. Please be aware that no attorney-client relationship is established by accessing or interacting with the information provided in this column. The column’s author and publisher disclaim any liability for actions taken based on the information contained herein.


About Claudia Bortolani

Claudia is an attorney admitted to the bar in Italy in 1993 and in California in 1997. She is the managing partner of Legal Grounds, a Rome-based law firm that she founded in 2009, joining forces in 2019, with Aliant, a global law firm focused on cross-border transactions. Claudia concentrates mainly in real estate transactions in Italy. Aliant also assists foreign companies in setting up operations in Italy, including labor, immigration, tax and transfer price issues.

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