STEP 1: Obtain the residency permit application forms from your local post office in Italy.
STEP 2: Complete the relevant forms and submit it at the same post office, along with copies of all the required documents. You will be given a receipt; insist on one if not supplied.
STEP 3: Visit your nearest police headquarters and submit the originals of all of your required application documents. Your fingerprints will be taken, and you may be asked a series of questions pertaining to your application, motivations and living arrangements in Italy.
STEP 4: The Police Headquarters (Questra) will notify you once your Italian Residence Permit has been issued. This correspondence may take place via SMS, so be sure to get a local Italian mobile phone number activated ahead of this process.
PROCESSING TIME: The Elective Residency Visa is one of the most regulated visa types in Italy, and immigration authorities may take up to 2 months or more to review your application once submitted. The entire process can take up to 8 months, so it is vital that you start your application in a timely manner ahead of your intended travel dates.