Italy has a oldest and long standing cultural heritage formed over 2,500 years, combined with its world-famous art, music, and food culture, gives Italy an unparalleled quality of life. Italy is ranked 1st at a global level for UNESCO World Heritage sites (53 as of 2017), and it is one of the world’s top tourism destinations, with over 50 million visitors each year. Italy offers goods and services with a strong ‘Made in Italy’ character are primarily appreciated for their quality and uniqueness.
Italy is a key gateway to the European Single Market and its 500 million consumers, but is also close to Northern Africa and the Middle East. Italy is the 3rd largest economy in the Eurozone and the 8th largest in the world, with a GDP of about 2 trillion dollars (IMF, 2016)
The Italian Golden Visa programs (“Invest visa'”) was launched in 2017 based on Budget Law of Italy regulates the entry and residence for investors. Nationals of non-EU member states or Schengen area countries may apply for the investor visa. The Italian investor visa scheme was launched in 16 November 2017 and the law was updated by the Committee on 14 September 2018.
On May 19, 2020, Italian government cut the minimum investment required for startups or companies by 50% to encourage foreign investors investing in the country due to Covid-19 pandemic. Investors and immediate family members qualify for long term residence permit it Italy which enables investors visa free movement in the Schengen area under the investor visa program.
The investment minimums to qualify for italian investor residence visa are
- € 250,000 in an Italian innovative startups
- € 500,000 in an Italian limited company
- € 1 million in a philanthropic initiative
- € 2 million in Italian government bonds
The investor residence permit is valid initially for two years which can then be prolonged to another three years. The investment must be maintained till the validity period of residence permit. The holder enters Italy within sand submits an application for an investor residence permit. The permit is valid for two years from the date of entering Italy.
The investor visa holder must maintain the investment for the entire duration of the residence permit, otherwise the permit will be revoked and it will not be possible to renew it.
The residence permit for investors lasts two years from arrival in Italy. Foreign citizens that hold all the requirements and have maintained the original investment can apply for a 3-year renewal. After five years of regular residence in Italy, foreign citizens can choose whether to renew the investor residence permit for a further three years, under the conditions mentioned above, or apply for an EU residence permit for long-term residents (permanent residency).
The Investor Visa for Italy Committee (the “Committee”) is the inter-institutional body responsible for ensuring that visa applications meet the requirements provided for by the law. I
An investor visa can only be issued for a single investment, falling into only one of the types described below. It is therefore not possible to combine investments directed to different subjects, nor different types of investment that individually have a nominal amount below the minimum threshold provided for each of the above mentioned cases. Investments executed, in whole or in part, before the visa application is submitted by the investor do not qualify for an investor visa.
1. Government Bonds issued by the Italian Republic
Treasury Certificates (CCT/CCTeu), Zero-coupon Treasury Bonds (CTZ), Long-term Treasury Bonds (BTP), Long-Term Treasury Bonds index-linked to Eurozone inflation, and BTP ITALIA.2 For each typology, a minimum residual maturity of no less than two years is required.
2. Companies incorporated and operating in Italy
Stakes or shares of limited companies, incorporated and resident in Italy pursuant to article 73 of the TUIR (DPR 917/1986). A company is considered to be “operating” (as provided for by art. 26-bis, art. 1, lett. b, TUI) if it is in active state and has already filed at least one balance sheet at the date of the visa application. The recipient company may be either listed or unlisted. Its name and tax code are a substantial and mandatory piece of information and must be indicated at time of application.
3. Innovative startups Stakes or shares in innovative startups,
The companies referred to in art. 25, par. 2, of decree-law no. 179 of 18 October 2012, converted with amendments by law no. 221 of 17 December 2012 and subsequent amendments. The official list of innovative startups, which is updated every week and accessible free of charge, is available on the portal startup.registroimprese.it, administered by the Italian Chambers of Commerce system.
4. Philanthropic donation
Donation supporting a project of public interest in the fields of culture, education, immigration management, scientific research, preservation of cultural and natural heritage.
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The application charges for investor visa is free of charge
The applicant first has to apply online and is informed of the outcome of the evaluation carried out by the Committee via the platform, within 30 days of application submission
The certificate of no impediment (“nulla osta”) to an investor visa applicant. The recipient of a Nulla Osta may apply for an investor visa at the responsible Embassy or Consulate of his/her country of permanent and continuous residence within six months of issue.
An investor visa issued is valid for two years. Visa holders shall enter Italy within this period and request an investor residence permit. The permit is valid for two years from the date of entry into Italy. The visa holder must apply for a residence permit within eight working days of entering Italy, by going personally to the Questura with responsibility over the place where s/he intends to stay.
Special Tax Regime
Italy’s Budget Law for 2017 has introduced several measures aimed at bolstering the attractiveness of the country for human and financial capital from abroad. One of them is particularly relevant for anyone interested in an Investor Visa for Italy: a special tax regime targeted at new residents holding substantial sources of income abroad.
Article 24-bis of Italy’s Tax Code (TUIR) provides for an optional tax regime that allows new residents to substitute regular taxation on their entire income generated outside Italian territory by paying, once a year, a €100,000 lump sum.
The new regime is applicable, upon request, to anybody who is willing to move their tax residence to Italy, under the condition that he or she has not been resident in the country for at least 9 out of the last 10 years. The person concerned may request a probatory ruling by the Italian Revenue Agency.
The €100,000 substitutive tax is to be paid in one instalment by 30 June of each year. Family members may also be covered by the scheme by paying an additional €25,000 for each dependent.
Once granted, the regime is valid for 15 years and the taxpayer can opt out at any time. The status automatically lapses in the event of failure to pay the annual lump sum, partly or in full.
The special regime also applies to inheritance tax – which only covers assets located in Italy – and to transfers of foreign assets from abroad, which are untaxed. Applicants can also decide to opt out of the special regime on income and gains realised in selected foreign countries, in which case ordinary legislation will apply.
The status is compatible with employment and other professional activities carried out in Italy and taxable according to ordinary provisions in force.
Investors, who are not EU citizens can apply for permanent settlement after five years of living
Italian citizenship after ten years of living
Italy has the fourth powerful passport in the world with visa free access to 188 world countries in 2018