Posta Elettronica Certificata (PEC)

What is a PEC?

PEC stands for posta elettronica certificata. It is essentially a certified email, which has a legal value, like a digital version of a registered letter (lettera raccomandata).

A PEC guarantees legal certainty of the sender’s identity as well as the date and time the email was sent.
A PEC also guarantees that the recipient receives the email and its contents. When the recipient opens and reads your PEC email, you will receive notifications.

Why is a PEC address useful?

PEC is widely used in Italy to send official documents to public administration organisations and private companies. In fact, it is mandatory for Italian companies, public administration organisations and professionals such as lawyers, notaries and accountants to have a PEC address. You can check an organisation’s or professional’s PEC address here.

Although there is no obligation to have one, a PEC email is useful if you have an urgent matter, particularly if you are abroad. The recipient will receive  your PEC email almost immediately. You will therefore get a faster response.

Certain Italian public administration bodies must respond to correspondence within thirty days of receiving it. Whereas it might take several days for a recipeint to receive a registered letter, sending a PEC email will speed up the process yet, it has the same legal value as a registered letter.

In Italy you can use a PEC for a wide variety of official matters such as, requesting official appointments, information or documents. You can also send legal contracts and invoices.

How do you get a PEC address?

To send PEC email, you need to set up a PEC account. Italian providers include LegalMail, ArubaPEC, Postecert,, Libero.

To obtain a PEC address, you will need to visit your chosen provider’s website and follow the instructions to open your PEC account. This consists of inputting your personal information and uploading a copy of your identity document. Sometimes you will need to add your Italian tax code (codice fiscale). You then choose an address such as and a password – just like any other email account.

Costs start from a few Euros a year for a basic PEC account, which usually includes limited storage. The more services you require, for instance you might want additional storage, the more you will pay.

Finally …

If you need help setting up a PEC address, we are here to help. For over 55 years, De Tullio Law Firm has been providing international clients with independent legal advice. We offer services in all the major fields of Italian law

Get in touch at


You may also be interested in Insider Tips for Buying A Property in Italy

Italian Elective Residence Visa (ERV) Refused – Case Studies

Applying for an Italian elective residence visa

There are two main requirements when applying for an Italian elective residence visa (ERV). Firstly, the availability of a dwelling, which an applicant has elected as their residence in Italy. This can either be an applicant’s own Italian property or a rental property with a tenancy agreement.

Secondly, by law, an applicant must have a financial flow corresponding to approximately Euro 31,000 per annum. The law further requires that finances be ample and autonomous financial resources. These finances should continue into the future – for the duration of the applicant’s residence in Italy.

An Italian consulate in the applicant’s home country is responsible for evaluating the above criteria. While the consulate’s decision is discretionary, the evaluation cannot be arbitrary.

In other words, a consulate cannot refuse to grant an ERV in the absence of valid reasons to do so. Furthermore, an applicant must be able to understand the logic behind the decision-making process of the relevant authority.

An applicant can challenge a consulate’s refusal to grant an ERV in court.

Case studies: appeals to overturn refusals of an Italian elective residence visa

Every year, a number of ERV applicants receive ERV refusals. Here, we examine two such cases and discuss Judgment no. 1396 of 5th December 2018.

The ERV applicants in both of these cases lodged appeals for the refusal of an ERV against the Italian Consulate General in New York. The cases took place at the Administrative Court of Lazio.

Case 1: applicants successfully challenge consulate’s refusal of an Italian elective residence visa

In the first case, no. 6421, the applicants had applied for an ERV with the intention of permanently establishing their residence in Turin.

The consulate refused the application on the grounds that the applicants did not meet the income requirement set by Italian law for an ERV.

In this case, the applicants had an annual rental income corresponding to USD80,000.00 deriving from a property in Brooklyn. They also had additional annual income corresponding to USD60,000.00. The applicants received this income on a monthly basis from an insurance company. Their financial resources clearly exceeded the amount set by Italian law.

When they refused to grant an ERV, the consulate generically referred to the value of assets being subject to market fluctuations. They neither specifically analysed the sources of income nor did they explain their reasoning for refusing an ERV. The consulate simply said that the declared incomes appeared to be steady and continuous over time but they considered them insufficient to counterbalance the possible fluctuations of their value.

For this reason and in light of the documentation provided by the applicants, the Administrative Court ordered the consulate to review its decision.

Case 2: The court confirmed the consulate’s decision to deny an ERV

In the second case, no. 1396, the consulate also refused an ERV. In her application to the Italian consulate in New York, the applicant had declared starting a professional activity as a consultant in 1999. She maintained that she therefore had sufficient savings to fund her lifestyle without needing to work.

After having her application for an ERV rejected three times, the applicant decided to challenge the decision. She based her case on a lack of due diligence and arbitrary decision-making.

The Italian consulate in New York made the following statement regarding their ERV refusal:

“The information you provided on the automatic withdrawal from your investment account shows that the amount of 0 is monthly paid into your checking account, generating a yearly income of USD 36,000 (approx. Euro 32,000). This barely meets the minimum required amount of Euro 31,000 per annum, as set forth by Italian law, for the issuance of an ERV, especially considering that these funds are subject to fluctuations in Euro/USD exchange rates.

Also, your financial assets – although substantial – are mostly invested in stock funds and investments that, by definition, fluctuate significantly with the financial markets and demonstrate a high level of volatility. Therefore, your funds do not correspond to the documented and detailed guarantee of substantial and stable private income, which must be of a regular nature and reasonably certain in the future, as the law requires”.

Three main elements formed the basis of the consulate’s refusal of an ERV in this case.

In the first instance, there was an absence of adequate and documented guarantees. That is to say, there was no evidence concerning availability of large, autonomous, stable and regular financial resources. In addition, there was no reason to assume that the applicant’s financial resources would exist into the future.

Secondly, the applicant’s declared income, corresponding to USD36,000 (approximately Euro32,000) barely met the legal annual requirement in Italy (Euro31,000).

Thirdly, as the applicant’s financial resources were mostly invested in stocks, they were subject to foreign exchange rate fluctuations.

The Administrative Court in Lazio refused the applicant’s appeal. The court judged that the consulate’s refusal to issue an ERV did not appear to be unreasonable.

According to Italian case law, a bank account, unless extremely significant, does not constitute evidence of ample financial resources with future continuity

The court in this case, therefore, upheld the consulate’s refusal of an ERV. The applicant’s assets, although significant, did not generate sufficient income to warrant the issuance of an ERV. The court also concurred with the consulate regarding the volatility of stock markets and foreign exchange risks.

In Conclusion

An applicant for an Italian elective residence visa can always contest a consulate’s refusal of an Italian elective residence visa. If you believe a consulate has misinterpreted or misunderstood your application, we would recommend that you seek legal support in contesting the consulate’s decision.

The Italian Elective Residency Visa (ERV) – Case StudyShould you need further information concerning an elective residency visa, please feel free to contact De Tullio Law Firm at the following email address

You may also be interested in Elective residence Visa Italy: general information