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Old 31st January 2013, 10:48 PM
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Hi everyone.
I am in my early sixties, a widow and have $2200. per month for retirement. Is it difficult to retire in Italy with this amount? I would rent or buy a small place with my sister. I have no debt. I am not able to find the min. amount required. Can anyone help with information?
Thank you.

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Old 1st February 2013, 01:54 AM
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Do you have EU status of some kind? Do you hold an EC Long Term Residence Permit, or do you have an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizenship? If you are in any of these categories (or perhaps a couple others), you would have an EU treaty right to stay in Italy, and your $2,200 per month would be sufficient to meet the legal requirement (which is simply having an income above government benefit/"welfare" levels).

On the other hand, if you're trying to get an elective residency visa, that's probably going to be difficult unless you have substantial savings otherwise. The minimum financial requirements for general (e.g. foreign tourist) entry into Italy are published here. However, those amounts are not the minimums for issuing ER visas. From what I've read elsewhere, the Foreign Affairs Ministry provides guidance to its consulates to require triple those amounts as minimums, and the consulates also have discretion to require more. Thus the amount they like to see demonstrated is presently 31,000 euro per year and up. If your sister is not a dependent (or vice versa) then they'll probably require her to qualify on her own ("household" income increases to minimum 62,000 euro/year guidance), but if she is a dependent (or vice versa) then the household income minimum guidance increases only about 20%.

The consulates are allowed to exercise some discretion, though -- up or down.

In any event, whether living in Italy on $2200/month is a good idea or not is a separate question. Plenty of people live on that amount or less in Italy, but they also don't live in expensive villas in Milan, dine at expensive restaurants, wear Armani fashions, own cars, etc. It's doable if you're reasonably careful.

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Old 1st February 2013, 02:45 PM
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BBCWatcher, Thank you for the information, it's much appreciated.
No, I am not a resident of any EU country, only a US citizen.
I do have other retirement monies, and I could meet the requirements. I would prefer not to touch any of it for another three years. I understand that $2200. per month would be a very lean living. I could also withdraw the amount required to meet the minimum, and put aside what I don't use. At this age, I don't look at the world through rose colored glasses, just bifocals.
My sister and I are not dependent on each other. I am also thinking that renting may be the better way to go, the inheritance laws are quite different in Italy than here in the US.
Again, thank you.

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Old 1st February 2013, 11:59 PM
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You only have to demonstrate sufficient financial income and assets to qualify for an ER visa. You won't have to touch your retirement savings unless you want to or need to.

Essentially what your local Italian consulate will do when you apply is take a look at your total demonstrated savings and calculate an annuity value, then add that to the monthly pension, Social Security, and other guaranteed monthly amounts you're already receiving. If that total annuity value is satisfactory (in their judgment), and you otherwise qualify, then you'll get an ER visa. It's the same process with your sister, although she'll have to qualify independently according to her own financial means.

Actually the inheritance laws in Italy are rather friendly to expats, as I understand it, but that's a longer discussion.

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Old 3rd February 2013, 12:30 AM
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BBCWatcher,
Thank you. My sister and I each have enough for the both of us to qualify. Next step is to investigate the right region for us. We plan on renting for six months to a year before buying.
I've been fortunate to be able to research qualifications to be met for retiring to Italy. It was just this one that seemed to be difficult.
Best regards.

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Old 3rd February 2013, 01:02 AM
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I think renting is an excellent idea. It'll give you plenty of time to discover and to find the attributes you prefer, and you'll also have time to find the best deal.

By the way, if Italy doesn't work out, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal also have elective residency, although they're structured a bit differently since they require buying a home. There may be other European countries that also allow elective residents. (I think Austria is another example, if memory serves.) With the exception of Ireland these are all Schengen countries, so you can visit Italy (and other Schengen Area countries) from your residence in one.

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Old 3rd February 2013, 02:44 AM
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Did you get many responses? I live in Santa Fe and am going to Italy in May for one month to try to answer the question in your post. Not sure where you want to be, but I am gong to look at Le Marche and Abruzzo regions as I like rural and there are lots of lovely old hill towns in both places. I can keep you posted, but I'd also be interested to see what your responses have been. I lived in SFO for 15 years, so for tomorrow GO NINERS!
JeannieH

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Old 3rd February 2013, 05:17 PM
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I knew if one bought a home of a certain value in Portugal it was easier to get permanent residency, not sure if it's still the same. Spain, my paternal grandparents came from Spain, not sure if that would help, I will be in Spain in September and October of this year, Perhaps I will be able to check out parts of it. Ireland is so expensive, one reason we scratched it from our list.
I have good friends in Austria and Germany, and Germany was my first choice, but again, too expensive.

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Old 3rd February 2013, 05:41 PM
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I think you would find Portugal less expensive, as I thought about Portugal also, but I couldn't get enthusiastic about it. I think Italy is probably more expensive, but for the most part I find Italian people so kind and the language is easier to learn and the food is better. The lesser known regions are much less expensive if you are on a tight budget. For me it's a matter of quality of life and I'll do without some things for that, so for me it's Italia.

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Old 3rd February 2013, 05:49 PM
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Hi JeannieH!
Go niners! Football right? I'm not a sports fan.
You are also planning to move to Italy? I know I would like to be within a short driving distance to the ocean, and I have thought about the hill towns. Will you be moving with your family?
Through the years I have lived in small isolated towns, and in the cities. For myself, I am very social and very active. I don't want to be too isolated and I love a mix of people. I am able to communicate with most, not fluent, but know enough Italian, German, and French, and I am not afraid of making mistakes. I don't mind asking quesstions. PM if you like. Do you have family in Italy?

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