Can I Live in Italy if I Buy a House?

With all the great schemes Italy has been offering: one-euro houses, paying you to move to a remote town, tax incentives, superbonuses, etc. It seems like purchasing property in Italy is the right move right now – right?! Plus, grabbing a great Italian villa would mean you could come live out your dream life in the Italian countryside. But with all these schemes and sales going on you might find yourself asking – wait, can I live in Italy if I buy a house? Well…. not exactly. Let’s look into it a bit.

Housing Schemes in Italy – Are they worth it?

Listen without knowing much about investment and housing markets – I don’t think I am the right person to give you a clear answer on this one. But at just a little glance and calculation I have to say, I don’t really think they are.

Most of these housing schemes come with rules – sure you don’t pay anything on the house, but it has to be renovated to a certain standard within 5 years or the like. Well, if you get to know Italian bureaucracy and contractors, you’ll soon learn that that timeline, ain’t gonna happen. But even if by some miracle you do make the time work, remember the amount of money you will have to put into that house – it will be way way more than a euro.

Then other schemes say something like- the town will pay you x amount if you move here and set up shop. But these businesses have to be something that will help the local economy grown – sounds great, but again, timing is a bit of an issue, you might find you run out before the deadline. Then there’s the problem, maybe you have a GREAT restaurant or store idea, so you set it up and are ready – but you’ve just set it up in a town that no transportation reaches, so how can you bring in money?

While I wish I had some great success stories to share with you, unfortunately, the ones I have heard either went south or are still in the time frame that we don’t know the outcome yet.

So, can I live in Italy if I buy a house?

Well, are you a citizen? No? Then you need a visa no matter what.

Buying a house in Italy, or owning a house outright in Italy, does not guarantee you a visa, in fact even if you try to set up residency there you would still need to get a visa.

So what are your options?

If you are in line for dual citizenship, you can work on that.

If instead you are retired, or have extensive passive income you could work towards an Elective Residency Visa. This visa is reserved for anyone who meets the passive income requirements, and demonstrates they will come reside in Italy. You need to establish residency at your new house, however know that you won’t be able to work or study in Italy under this visa.

If you need to create a business for the house purchase, or you plan on coming to work freelance, you will need to get a Visa for Lavoro Autonomo. This is the freelancer visa, it requires setting up a Partita IVA, and then obtaining a Nulla Osta.

There are other types of visas available to you, however these include things like study visas, work contracts, mission trips, etc. I am assuming it is more likely you fit into the categories above.

Am I allowed to own a house, without a visa?

Yes! The visa determines your right to stay in Italy long term, however if you buy a house you can still use it as a vacation house, or have someone else manage it as a business property.

Using it as a vacation house will only require you settle paperwork for things like the bills and trash collection, to do this you will probably have to get your Codice Fiscale. Also if you only visit a few weeks of the year, I would suggest finding someone local to keep an eye on it for you.

As for running it as a business -this gets a bit complicated. You might be able to open a business in Italy, but without a valid residence permit or visa, you might run into blocks. Have a look at this article to learn more about opening a business in Italy.

Evelyn Hill

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