How a foreign can become a property owner in Italy?

Buying a home is not as simple as it seems.

Or rather, it is not if you are not sufficiently informed about the fundamental steps to follow.

A problem that indiscriminately affects Italians and foreigners who decide to buy a house in our country.

With a further difficulty for the second one, who find themselves having to juggle between bureaucratic and administrative obligations in a technical language of which they are not always fully mastered.

Can a foreigner buy a house in Italy?

The foreigner can buy a house in Italy in the following cases:

1) non-EU foreigner not legally residing: only if an international treaty allows it or if the so-called condition of reciprocity applies;

2) non-EU foreigners residing regularly, their families and stateless persons in Italy for less than three years: with a residence permit for specific reasons or residence card;

3) UE foreigner and from the EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and stateless resident for more than three years: without limits.


  1. The condition of reciprocity

 The condition of reciprocity is the expression that indicates the principle for which the foreigner is allowed to enjoy the civil rights granted to the citizen provided that the same treatment is granted to the Italian citizen in the foreign state of origin.

On the basis of the principle of reciprocity, the foreigner can buy a house in Italy if in the country of origin of the foreigner is allowed also to an Italian citizen buy a house.

To check the updated list of countries in which the condition of reciprocity exists, consult the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the following link:


  1. General conditions for entry of foreigners In Italy

 The entry into the Italian territory of foreigners coming from the external borders of the Schengen Area is allowed only to the foreigner who is in possession of a passport or other equivalent recognized travel document valid for crossing the borders and has a valid entry visa or transit.


2.a. The entry visa

 The visa, which consists of a special “sticker” applied on the passport or other valid travel document of the applicant, is an authorization granted to foreigners for entry into the territory of the Italian Republic by transit or stay.

The visa issued by the Italian representatives abroad allows access, by transit or short stay (up to 90 days), both in Italy and in the other countries that apply the Schengen Convention, and takes the name “Uniform Schengen Visa” “(VSU).

The entry visa for long stay (more than 90 days) takes the name of “National Visa” (VN) and allows access for long-term stays in the territory of the State that issued the visa and, provided that in progress validity, allows free movement for a period not exceeding 90 days per semester in the territory of the other Member States.


2.b. The residence permit

The residence permit is the document issued to the foreigner who must remain in the territory of the State for a period of more than 30 days (Article 5 of Legislative Decree 286/1998, Article 10 of the Legislative Decree No. 394/1999).

If issued for certain, exhaustive reasons, the residence permit gives the foreigner the status of “regular residence”, which in practice equates him to the Italian citizen, recognizing him almost all the same rights.

Non-EU citizens holding a residence permit are to be considered legally resident:

  1. a) work reasons:

– autonomous

– subordinated

  1. b) family reasons

If issued for different reasons, however, the residence permit does not give the non-foreign citizen similar rights to the Italian citizen, unless the condition of reciprocity mentioned above applies.


2.c. The residence card

It is an administrative document that allows the foreigner to stay regularly in Italy, with the possibility of enjoying rights that are practically equal to those of Italian citizens.

It is more advantageous than the residence permit because:

– has an indefinite duration and, therefore, does not require renewals;

– allows all legal activities to be carried out, except for those that the law expressly forbids the foreigner or reserve for the citizen;

– allows access to services and services of the Public Administration.

However, it is only issued in the presence of stricter conditions than the residence permit:

– to the regularly residing foreigner who has been in Italy for at least 5 years, with a renewable residence permit without limits, that proves to have an adequate income;

– to the foreign spouse cohabiting of an Italian citizen or of a community citizen resident in Italy, or who has the requisites for reunification (articles 29 and 30 T.U. 286/98).

It is a valid identity document for 5 years from the date of issue.

It confers the status of “long-term resident”.

Foreigners dangerous to public safety are excluded from the recognition of status.


2.d. Evidence of financial resources in Italy

Foreigner citizens wishing to enter in national territory and, in general, in the Schengen area, must have financial resources that can guarantee their livelihood during their planned stay and return to their country at the end of the stay.

The European Directive establishes that the availability of financial resources can be demonstrated, by a foreign citizen, by showing cash, bank guarantees, guarantee policies, equivalent credit instruments, prepaid securities or documents proving the availability in Italy of sources of income.

Unless the rules provide otherwise, the foreigner must then indicate the existence of suitable accommodation in the national territory and the availability of the sum necessary for repatriation, which is also demonstrable with the presentation of the return ticket.

The exhibition of livelihoods to the extent required, in addition to being a basic requirement for the granting of certain types of entry visa, is required to foreigners at the time of entry into the national territory.


How to buy a house in Italy? The purchase agreement in front of the Public Notary

Once the foreigner has made regular entry into Italy and has chosen the house that best meets his needs,

it must proceed to the actual purchase agreement.

This transfer is made through a purchase agreement in front of a Public Notary.

It is necessary that the parties involved in the act that are already provided with a tax code, issued upon request by the Income Revenue Authority (Agenzia delle Entrate).

The purchase agreement is subject to registration at the territorially competent office on the basis of the residence of the notary receiving the contract of the Income Revenue Authority (Agenzia delle Entrate).

According to the notarial law, the purchase agreement must be written in Italian (article 54).

But this does not mean that foreigners who do not speak Italian can not make contracts – in the form of a notary – in Italy.

In fact, the notarial law provides that when the parties do not know the Italian language, the purchase agreement may also be written in a foreign language (which all persons participating in the act know) if and provided this is known by the witnesses and the notary.

If, instead, the notary does not know the foreign language, then the act can and must be done with the intervention of an interpreter, who reads the translation of the act prepared by the notary to the people and guarantees that the same people have understood the content and the legal consequences.


Can a foreigner receive tax breaks?

The Italian law wants to facilitate and encourage the purchase of the main house (first house), decreasing in various ways the taxes for those who buy it.

In particular, at the time of purchase, those who buy must pay 2% (registration tax calculated on the cadastral income of the property, with a minimum of € 1,000.00), if the seller is a private person or in any case the “non-constructor”  4% (VAT) if purchased from a company or company.

To the sum above must be added the fixed-rate mortgage and land tax (currently totaling 100 euros for private purchase and 400.00 euros for purchase) as a builder in addition to other € 200 as a fixed registration tax).

The foreigner is allowed to enjoy the “first home” facilities if he has the requisites requested for Italian citizens by law.

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