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Italian Residency: What It Is and How to Obtain It
Americans planning to move to Italy have two options: They can apply for Italian citizenship or residency. These two options have significant differences. Learn more about these differences and about the best way to obtain Italian residency.
What Is Italian Citizenship?
Citizenship entitles the holder to live in Italy for the rest of their life. It also entitles them to pass their citizenship to their children, leave the country for any length of time, and access healthcare, among other benefits.
What Is Italian Residency?
Italian residency allows you to live in the country for a specific amount of time as a legal alien.
Staying in Italy for more than 90 days requires you to apply for residency, officially called the Italian Residency Permit. A residency entitles you to live and work in Italy or attend school, among other activities.
The difference between citizenship and residency is that citizenship allows you to get a passport from a country and entitles you to the same benefits as those who were born and live in Italy. Italian residents are not permitted to vote, but citizens are.
The Advantages of Obtaining Italian Residency
Being an Italian resident, you’ll only have to pay 2% tax when you purchase a home. You’ll also enjoy reduced municipal taxes. Under the laws of the EU, Italian residency entitles you to social, medical, and schooling benefits, among many others.
Residents also have the opportunity to enroll in and benefit from the same level of health care that Italian citizens enjoy. Many of these services are free, and some require partial payment.
Applying for residency also allows you the opportunity to apply for citizenship should you decide you want to stay permanently.
How Do You Obtain Italian Residency?
You’ll need to complete the following to obtain residency:
Get an Entry Visa
For Americans, it is necessary to visit the Italian consulate in the U.S. to get an entrance visa before traveling to Italy.
The entrance visa allows you to stay in Italy for more than three months, which gives you enough time to apply for residency, which takes several weeks.Your entrance visa will be specific to why you are coming to Italy—i.e., for education or work.
Obtain a Permit of Stay
Italian law as it applies to Americans requires you to obtain a permit of stay, or permesso di soggiorno. To do this, request the application kit from the nearest post office, complete it, and return it to any post office designated to accept it.
Applying for a Permit of Residence
In order to ensure you can obtain residency before your entrance visa expires, it’s strongly recommended that you start the residency application process as soon as possible after entering Italy. Otherwise, you’ll have to leave the country and apply for another entrance visa.
Like your visa, your permit of residence will correspond to your reasons for being in the country. It will take between three and six months to process this application and will require proof of your reason for staying, such as enrolment in school or an employment contract.
The education, retirement, or work permit of residence must be renewed a minimum of one month prior to its expiry.
Applying for Permanent Residency
You’ll have to live in Italy under a permit of residence for five years before applying to permanently reside in Italy. This will require you to accomplish certain tasks under the integration agreement.
The integration agreement outlines your commitment to complete certain requirements as a resident in two years, such as learning the language. Once you have met these requirements and have demonstrated your knowledge, the agreement is considered fulfilled and permanent residency is granted.
Although it seems simple, you’ll need to complete many steps, including completing multiple forms, being interviewed, and gathering all the necessary documents and receipts. Your permit can be rejected even with one missing piece of requested information.
The process of Italian residency for non-EU citizens can be time-consuming and stressful, but The Italian American Citizen Assistance Program can streamline the process. We’ll assist you with getting necessary documents, completing paperwork, preparing for your interview, and much more. Visit us online or call to get started: (305) 812-5512.