Do I need a Visa to buy a property in Italy?


Can anyone buy property in Italy? What documents and/or permits does one need? What taxation should you expect? Is it possible to buy a house in Italy and get residency? And, above all, is it worthwhile to try and do it all yourself or should you have local legal assistance? Knowing the facts, and understanding the Italian laws and rules implied, is crucial for a prospective buyer.

First and foremost: you do not need to have a specific Visa, nor be a resident, to purchase property in Italy. The need of (or absence of need of) a Visa depends on the traveler’s citizenship, duration of the stay, and activities that he/she wishes to pursue whilst in Italy. But foreigners who wish to purchase property in Italy are not necessarily required to have a Visa nor be residents or pay taxes in Italy. 

So, can all foreign nationals buy a house, or other real estate, in Italy? The key issue is the purchaser’s nationality. All EU citizens, i.e. nationals of the countries that are in the European Union, are always allowed to purchase property on the Italian soil and are not subject to any restrictions or requirements. The same is true for all citizens of the EEA Member Countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). This because these nationals are officially recognised to be on an equal standing as Italian citizens.

italy property visa

Visas for Italy from USA and other nations

What about non-EU and non-EEA citizens? Pursuant to Legislative Decree N. 286 issued July 25 1998 all other foreign nationals are subject to the condition of reciprocity. The concept of reciprocity implies that a foreign national not resident in Italy may buy real estate in Italy if there is an international treaty that permits the material condition of reciprocity between their country of origin and Italy. Reciprocity Treaties are international agreements signed amongst sovereign states that rule what their citizens can do in the other state in terms of purchasing properties, owning company shares or other commercial relations.

In a nutshell: a foreigner is allowed to buy property in Italy if there is a standing international Reciprocity Treaty that authorizes Italians to buy a house in his or her country of origin. An excellent example is citizens of the United States of America, allowed to purchase real estate in Italy because Italians are allowed to do so in the US. Then, there are specific options to get Italy visa for US citizens.

Apart from EU and EEA nationals there are other cases in which the existence of the condition of reciprocity is not applicable. This is true for citizens of non-EU States who reside in Italy holding a regular immigration visa and a regular residency permit. Residency permits as mentioned may be issued via an employment contract, to self-employed foreigners, to sole traders and for family, humanitarian or educational reasons. The same non-applicability of the reciprocity rule applies to stateless persons and refugees who have been residing in Italy for a minimum period of at least three years.

Moreover, Italy fully respects and complies with the fundamental human rights as set forth and applied by international conventions and international law. This to say that all aliens present at the Italian border and/or within the Italian territory are entitled to the unalienable human and civil rights. 

Thus, an EU or EEA national, a reciprocity country national and or a special case as detailed above is allowed to purchase property in Italy independently of his/her residence in Italy and of where he/she complies with tax duties. All the above will, in any case, need to do obtain a Codice Fiscale, i.e. the Italian tax code number or fiscal code, an identification code for persons and businesses. The Codice Fiscale is assigned by the Agenzia delle Entrate (Italian Revenue and Tax Office), and all Italian citizens have a personal codice fiscale upon registration of their birth. Non-Italians planning to purchase real estate in Italy are required to obtain a Codice Fiscale. It is also mandatory to have an Italian tax code to engage in a variety of other activities in Italy, for example buying a car or a mobile phone, opening an Italian bank account, and even applying for a utility connection.

Foreign nationals can request to have a Codice Fiscale assigned by contacting the Agenzia delle Entrate (Italian Revenue and Tax Office). Non-resident individuals who wish to request a Codice Fiscale can directly apply for it from abroad by contacting the Italian consular authorities in their country of residence.

Is there any Italy property Visa?

What about Italian residency by buying property? Investors who can demonstrate an annual income over 100,000 euros per year can obtain an Italian Golden Visa. The amount drops to 35,000 euros per year if the person requesting the Visa is making a large real estate investment.

Our services

Based in Italy, knowledgeable and expert in both national and international law we can help you through the first phases of your property purchase. In detail, we can easily and swiftly assist you in the different stages, making it all easier, less daunting, and more straightforward.

What we can do for you is:

  • ascertain the standing international reciprocity treaties to find out and corroborate whether or not a non-EU national is allowed to purchase property in Italy, and thus facilitate the prospective purchaser’s decision making;
  • request and obtain a prospective purchaser’s personal Italian Codice Fiscale, expediting the procedure and avoiding delays which may incur in direct dealings with the Italian Revenue Agency;
  • provide VISA requirements’ advice for example suggesting prospective purchasers purchase property for commercial and trading purposes (i.e. establishing the relevant commercial entity/company);

Finally, when and if needed, we will be pleased to provide professional legal advice on obtaining a residency permit for foreign nationals whose aim is buying property to relocate in Italy. 

Contact us