The New York Times. Reciprocal Legislation

The New York Times: Nationals from some countries face restrictions when buying property in Italy

In a recent article about buying property in Italy, The New York Times interviewed De Tullio Law Firm about reciprocal legislation. “Because of reciprocal legislation, citizens of some countries face restrictions when buying real estate in Italy, but those from the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia are not among them”, said Giandomenico De Tullio, a partner at the De Tullio Law Firm.

What is the reciprocal legislation referred to in The New York Times?

Sovereign laws, set by individual countries, have always been applicable when it comes to property purchases. If you buy property in Australia for example, Australian laws are applicable. Likewise in Canada, the USA and elsewhere.

Australia, Canada, the USA and Italy are all members of the World Trade Organisation who have signed up to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Commitments made by signatories allow nationals to purchase properties in each others’ countries. This is known as reciprocity. There are, therefore, no barriers regarding market access or treatment of foreign purchasers.

Reciprocal commitments within GATS establish a quid pro quo principle

Essentially, you can invest in Italy so long as your home country allows Italian nationals to invest there. In other words, ownership of real estate, establishment of companies, the acceptance of inheritance or gifts are not conditional on citizenship.

However, purchasing property or setting up a company in Italy does not automatically confer the right to reside in Italy. Nor does it automatically confer the right to work in Italy. To become resident or work in Italy, you will need to obtain an Elective Residence Visa and permits.

Finally …

If you are considering buying a property anywhere in Italy, you might find our property guide useful. You should always seek independent legal advice. At De Tullio Law Firm we are specialists in cross border and Italian property law. If you would like to discuss your situation, please get in touch. We are here to help.

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