Visas For Members

Step-by-step: How to get your Italian elective residency permit

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Step-by-step: How to get your Italian elective residency permit
Once you've received your ERV and arrived in Italy, applying for a residence permit is the next step. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

Once you’ve got your Italian elective residency visa, the next step is your residency permit. We look at how the process works in detail.


If you've been granted an elective residency visa to live in Italy, congratulations! The hardest part is over.

But there are still a few more steps to complete before you can relax - the most important being your application for a permesso di soggiorno, or residence permit.

You'll need to apply for your permit within eight days of arriving in Italy.

To do this, you'll go to your local post office, which has the application form you need to fill out and send to your questura, or police headquarters (which double as Italy's immigration offices).

Make a beeline for the post office's sportello amico counter. Not all post offices have these, so if yours doesn't, you'll need to track down one that does.

At the sportello amico you'll be given the residency permit application packet in a large envelope with a yellow stripe on it, known in Italian as the busta gialla or kit giallo ('yellow packet').

The form is around eight pages long and in Italian, so you probably won't want to fill it out there and then.

READ ALSO: Explained: What is Italy's marca da bollo and how do you get one?

If you're struggling to understand the questions, you can get help from a patronato - a government-appointed organisation that provides free assistance with bureaucratic tasks, including to foreigners applying for residency permits. Find your nearest one in the sidebar of this official website.

Once you've filled out all the forms, you'll need to return to the sportello amico desk along with four passport-sized photos, photocopies of your passport (photo page and the pages with your ERV), and a €16 marca da bollo proof-of-payment tax stamp bought from a tabaccheria, and your original passport, for the postal worker to check.

You'll need to pick up your residence permit application form at the post office. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP.

You'll also need to supply copies of the supporting documents you gave to the consulate when you made your ERV application, including proof of accommodation in Italy, a health insurance policy, and financial documents showing you meet the passive income threshold for the ERV.


You'll be charged €30 to send the application, plus a €40 fee for the permit itself (which has a validity of one year in the first instance), plus another €30.46 to pay for the permesso di soggiorno elettronico card, or PSE.

Once you've done all this, the post office will submit the application for you, and give you a small ricevuta, or receipt slip, proving that you've applied, along with your appointment date and time at the questura police headquarters and any documentation you may need to bring.

READ ALSO: Permesso di soggiorno: A complete guide to getting Italy's residency permit

It's very important to hold on to this slip, as it acts as proof of your right to stay in Italy until your residency permit is issued.

Be warned that you may have a long wait for this initial appointment at the questura: The Local has recently received reports of appointments being delayed by many months.

Some residents with pending applications have cancelled trips abroad over fears they might not be allowed back in the country. Brandon Bell/Getty Images via AFP.

When your appointment at the questura arrives, be prepared to do some more waiting around. Eventually, you'll be called to a counter and sent off for fingerprinting.

Once your fingerprints have been taken, you'll be given an alphanumeric reference code you can use to check the status of your application online using the Polizia di Stato’s online portal

READ ALSO: 'I feel trapped': How long waits for residency permits are affecting people in Italy

When the portal says your permit is ready and a green checkmark appears on the screen, you'll need to make one last trip to collect your permesso di soggiorno elettronico.

The questura is supposed to issue your permit within 60 days of your appointment.


Unfortunately, as an ERV holder you'll need to renew your permit within one year of applying, and you'll want to get a head start of at least a month before it expires; so you may find there's barely any gap between receiving your permesso and having to apply to renew it.

While this process might sound exhausting, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: after you've lived in Italy for five years, you can apply for permanent residency, after which you'll only have to renew your permit every 10 years.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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Christine 2024/02/19 10:07
“The questura is supposed to issue your permit within 60 days of your appointment.“ The process has become a joke. Our renewal appointment was March 3 2023. We are still waiting, and our very busy Questura refuses to entertain inquiries. Basically, we are stuck.
Max Alexander 2024/02/13 18:18
The current wait for the Questura appointment in Rome is 11 months. Not a typo. That means when your elective residency permit finally arrives, it will already have expired. So for the first year, Roman applicants cannot apply for a driver's license, a commune residency, state healthcare or a national ID card. Presumably once you have your expired permit and can show paperwork that you are in the system for a renewal, you can finally do all that stuff.
Max Alexander 2024/01/17 18:19
The price is now 80.46 (not 70.46) for an elective residency permit of 1-2 years. And my recent experience was that they no longer give you the date of your questura meeting at the post office--you need to wait for that to come in the mail. At least that's how it worked for me in Rome. Also the post office didn't ask for my photos even though I had brought them; they do that at the questura.

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