With its prime location in Mediterranean Europe, high quality of life, and incredible family-orientated culture, Italy is an attractive destination for expats and international families seeking European residency. Thanks to the Italy Golden Visa, foreign investors and their family members can become Italian residents in just a few months.
An appealing aspect of this Investor Visa for Italy is that after living in Italy for more than five years with this temporary residence permit, you can apply for permanent residence in Italy. This grants you similar rights that Italian citizens receive, such as the option to live and work in other EU countries without applying for a visa or work permit. In this Italy Golden Visa guide, you’ll find detailed information on the following:
What is the Italy Golden Visa program?
Launched in 2017 by the Italian government to encourage foreign direct investment, the Italy Golden Visa, also called the ‘Investor Visa for Italy,’ allows third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss) to obtain a residence permit in exchange for an investment in the country’s economy.
The last changes to the Italy Investor Visa program were made in 2017, with Italian immigration management offering a hassle-free application process.
Valid for two years initially and renewable for three additional years, this Investor Visa for Italy is ideal for international investors seeking to live in one of the cornerstone Schengen zone countries in the heart of Europe.
With arguably the most delicious cuisine in the world, its cultural and natural heritage seeping through all aspects of everyday life, and a wide array of beautiful landscapes; the picturesque setting of Lake Como, the unique geological structure of the Dolomites, and the rolling hills of Tuscany, Italy offers everything in the form of beauty and more.
Its strategic location in Mediterranean Europe and well-connected international airports, such as Malpensa International Airport in Milan, and Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome, also provide a lot of travel privileges. You have easy and cheap access to other Schengen zone countries in the Mediterranean, like Malta, Cyprus, and Greece, as well as Asia and Africa.
The Italy Investor Visa program is perfect for international investors and their family members looking for a place to reside in Europe that will offer stable returns while not breaking the bank in terms of living costs. Italian culture and lifestyle are almost unbeatable, with many historical monuments and art exhibitions on display. Furthermore, the fact it has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any country is a testament to its historical depth and preservation.
These benefits are without touching on the incredible climate and the country’s sheer geological diversity, from the Alps in the north, where you can enjoy skiing, to the sun-drenched south and turquoise waters of Capri. Then you have Sicily and Sardinia, among many other islands with a wealth of culture to explore – each place with its own traditions and unique cuisine. If you invest in Italy intending to obtain permanent residence, you will have a lot to discover and sink your teeth into.
What are the benefits of an Italian Investor Visa?
The Italy Golden Visa “La Dolce Visa” has attracted many expats and investors worldwide in recent years, offering excellent investment options and benefits for non-EU citizens.
Benefits of the Italian Investor Visa
- Enjoy a special tax regime as a foreign Italian tax resident
- Live, work, and study in Europe
- Freedom of movement in the European Union
- Residence extended to your entire family
- No minimum stay requirements in Italy
- Fast online process to obtain the Investor Visa
- Fantastic lifestyle in stunning Italy
- Permanent residence after five years
- Eligibility for Italian citizenship after ten years
This Investor Visa for Italy allows the main applicant’s spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents to become Italian residents without additional costs.
How to Get the Italy Golden Visa
There are several investment routes available to obtain the Italian Investor Visa:
Invest at least €2 million ($2.20 million) in government bonds
Make a minimum investment of €500,000 (about $549,000) in corporate bonds or shares
Make a minimum investment of €250,000 (about $274,000) in innovative startups
Make a philanthropic donation of at least €1 million (about $1.1 million)
In order to maintain your Italy Investor Visa, you must:
- Make the minimum investment or donation declared in the Italy Investor Visa application within three months of the date of entry into Italy
- Maintain the original investment for the entire validity period of the residence permit
Step-by-Step Guide to the Italian Investor Visa
1. Submit your documentation
2. The Investor Visa for Italy Committee evaluates your application
3. Receive your certificate of Nulla Osta
4. Apply for the Investor Visa at the Italian Embassy in your home country
5. Enter Italy and request an Investor Visa residence permit at the Questura
6. Make your investment
7. Renew your residence permit
- Submit all your documentation to the official Italian investor platform.
- The Italian Investor Visa for Italy Committee evaluates your application
- Within 30 days of your application, the Investor Visa Committee will give you an answer. If the evaluation is positive, you will receive a certificate of no impediment (Nulla Osta).
- With the Nulla Osta certificate, you may apply for an Investor Visa at the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate in your country of permanent residence within six months of its issuance. Your Investor Visa is valid for two years.
- Within eight working days of entering Italy, you must apply for an Investment Visa residence permit at the local Questura where you intend to live. The permit is valid for two years from the date of entry to Italy.
- Once you’ve been granted your investor residence permit, you have three months from the communicated entry date to make your full investment or donation to the Italian government. If you fail to make the investment or withdraw your investment, the Investment Visa will be revoked.
- You can renew your Italy Investor Visa for three additional years as long as you maintain your original investment or donation.
Application Processing Time
Obtain Italian citizenship
After five years of holding the Italy Investor Visa, you can apply for Italian permanent residency. After ten years of total residence from the date your Investor Visa was granted, you may apply for Italian citizenship by naturalization and obtain an Italian passport.
The Required Documents for Italy’s Golden Visa
You must follow a set of steps to apply for the Italy Golden Visa. The first step is applying for the Nulla Osta application, and to do that, you will need to present the following documents.
Documentation for the Nulla Osta
- Your contact details
- Copy of your passport
- Your curriculum vitae
- The investment choice and the transferability and legitimacy source of your financial assets
- A clean criminal record
- A description of the characteristics of the investment/donation and proof of consent from the recipients
- A declaration of commitment to use the funds, validated with an electronic signature, including an indication of the amount you are willing to invest and the municipality where you wish to settle
Documentation for the Investor Visa
Once you receive your Nulla Osta application, the following documents must be prepared to submit to the Italian Consulate in your country of residence:
- A copy of the certificate of no impediment issued by the Investor Visa for Italy Committee, together with all the original application documents
- Proof of accommodation in Italy, including hotel bookings or rented apartments
- Proof of an income obtained during the previous financial year in your country of residence exceeding the minimum threshold required by law for exemption from healthcare expenses [currently equal to approximately €8,264 (about $9,075)]
- A passport photograph
- A valid passport
- Proof of residence in the relevant consular district
Note the following:
- All the documents you submit must be in original English or Italian, and if you have the original copies in different languages, ensure to include a sworn translation.
- Besides the primary documents you will need to prepare, some supporting documents differ according to the type of investment you’re choosing for the Italian Investor Visa program. Read the following table carefully to know the exact documents you will need for your case.
|Investment in Government Bonds
|1. Certificate of a deposit of the securities in a financial institution in Italy
2. Copy of securities dossier
|Investment in a limited company or startup in Italy
|1. Bank statements — must clearly indicate the investment has been made
2. A letter of validation of the bank statement — must be signed by an authorized representative of the entity
3. Certificate of Shares Deposit at an Italian bank or financial institution, if you’ve acquired shares
4. A letter that confirms the receipt of the investment and a copy of the Italian atto di cessione (act of transfer) filed by the receiving company, if you’ve invested in an unlisted company
5. A copy of your securities dossier if the investment has been made in a listed company
|1. The copy of the public donation deed
2. Bank statements — must clearly indicate that the donation has been made
3. A letter of validation of the bank statement — must be signed by an authorized representative of the entity
4.. A letter from the recipient organization that confirms the donation
Our Tips for a Successful Golden Visa Application
At Global Citizen Solutions, our team of migration specialists is available to provide foreign investors with expert advice to increase their chances of obtaining an Italy Golden Visa. This includes preparing a well-structured business plan or investment proposal and having the required level of proficiency in Italian.
Validity of Italy Golden Visa
It’s worth mentioning that the Italy Golden Visa – La Dolce Visa – is valid for two years, and you will be able to enter Italy during this time and apply for an Italy residence permit.
The investor residence permit is also valid for two years, starting from the day you arrive in Italy. After two years, you can apply for a three-year renewal.
Documentation for the Italian residence permit
Once you arrive in Italy, you will need to start the process of applying for an Italian residence permit, and the following documents should be present with you.
- Receipt of payment of the €30.46 (about $33) postal bulletin for the printing of the electronic document
- Receipt of payment of the €50 (about $55) postal bulletin as a contribution to the issuance of the residence permit
- A photocopy of the entire passport
- Two passport photos
- A €16 (about $17.50) revenue stamp supporting evidence about the accommodation status of the applicant in Italy
Renewing your Italy Golden Visa
The main condition for you to renew your Italy Investor Visa is keeping your investment in the country to maintain a valid residence permit. With at least 60 days before your current residence permit expires, you can apply for a new three-year residence permit. Make sure to have a new Nulla Osta application before applying for a renewal.
You should also know that the Italy Investor Visa renewal is subject to approval or rejection by the Italy Investor Visa Committee, so prepare your documents carefully.
Italian Citizenship Through the Italy Golden Visa
The Italy Investor Visa isn’t a fast or direct way to Italian citizenship based on Italy immigration law. However, by living in the country for ten consecutive years (five years through the Italy Investment Visa and five after obtaining permanent residency), you can petition for Italian citizenship by naturalization to become an Italian citizen and acquire an Italian passport.
Italy Tax Incentives for New Residents
When looking into the Italy Golden Visa tax for applicants, new residents can benefit from a special tax regime if they are willing to transfer their tax residence to Italy and pay income tax in the country.
If they have not been tax residents in Italy for at least nine years over the previous ten, residents may opt to pay an annual substitute tax of €100,000 (about $110,000) on income earned abroad. This concession can also be extended to family members by paying an additional yearly substitute tax of €25,000 (about $27,400) per family member. The scheme has a maximum duration of 15 years.
Should I apply for the Italian Golden Visa?
If you are looking to obtain European residency through an online Golden Visa program with a fast application process, the Italian Golden Visa program is a good option. In exchange for a qualifying investment, with investment options such as Italian government bonds, an Italian limited company, or a donation, you and your family are able to obtain Italian residency and benefit from an attractive tax regime in a safe and beautiful European country.
You should know that choosing the Italy Golden Visa won’t allow you to retrieve your investment funds at the end of the required period for the investment program. Still, choosing your investment wisely can yield significant returns on your initial qualifying investment.
Alternatives to Italy Golden Visa
As previously mentioned, the Italian Golden Visa program is a very appealing investment program, and many non-EU citizens choose to obtain the Italy Golden Visa. However, other European alternatives can guarantee similar options and facilities.
If you are looking to acquire an Investment Visa with more diversified economic routes, check out some programs in other countries – such as the Portugal Golden Visa or the Spain Golden Visa programs. These schemes offer very attractive and affordable investment routes. There is no Italy Golden Visa real estate option, whereas the Spain Golden Visa can be acquired by purchasing real estate.
Note that the Portugal Golden Visa is coming to an end. If you are looking to apply for the program, you should lodge your application now. You can read more in our article: Portugal Golden Visa Ending: Everything We Know So Far.
There is also the Greece Golden Visa. Although it also requires you to stay in Greece for a minimum of seven years to become eligible for citizenship, it offers a real estate acquisition route starting from €250,000 (about $274,000) [increasing to €500,000 (about $548,000) on 1 May 2023].
Italy is a fascinating European country that receives many expats and investors annually. The Italy Golden Visa provides many benefits to investors looking to secure EU residency. So, if you’re a non-EU citizen and want to be freely eligible to move inside the Schengen Area and enjoy European residency for yourself and your family, start your application now.
At Global Citizen Solutions, our team of experts in Investor Visa programs and immigration services is happy to help guide you through the process and discuss the available options that best suit your needs. Get in touch with us today to book a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Italy Golden Visa
What is the Italy Golden Visa?
The Italy Golden Visa program is an Investor Visa for Italy, allowing non-EU citizens to obtain a residence permit in exchange for an investment in the country’s economy. Qualifying investments start at €250,000 (about $274,000), and there are four investment routes available to foreign applicants:
- Invest in Italian government bonds
- Invest in innovative startups
- Invest in corporate bonds
- Make a philanthropic donation
How long is the Italian Investor Visa valid?
The initial Investor Visa for Italy is valid for two years from the date of issuance and is renewable for three additional years.
Is my family eligible for the Italy Investor Visa?
The spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents of the main applicant are eligible for Italian residency under the Italy Investor Visa without additional costs.
Can I work with an Investor Visa?
Yes, there are no work restrictions for investors. Foreign citizens with an investor residence permit can carry out activities as both employees and self-employed professionals.
Can I obtain Italian citizenship?
There are no work restrictions for investors with a Golden Visa in Italy. Foreign citizens with an investor residence permit can work as employees and self-employed professionals in Italy.
What are the other European Golden Visa programs?
There are several European Golden Visa programs available to foreign investors. Among the most popular are the Portugal Golden Visa, Spain Golden Visa, and the Malta residency and citizenship programs.
Can I obtain Italian citizenship?
You are able to become an Italian citizen by naturalization ten years from the date you have been granted an Investor Visa for Italy, provided you meet all the program’s requirements.
What are the other European Golden Visa programs?
There are several European Golden Visa programs available to foreign investors. Among the most popular are the Portugal Golden Visa, Spain Golden Visa, and the Greece Golden Visa programs. These Golden Visa programs offer alternative investment routes, such as residency by purchasing real estate.
Does Italy offer the Golden Visa?
The Investor Visa for Italy is a type of Golden Visa offered by the Italian government that allows non-EU citizens to acquire a residence permit in exchange for an investment in the country’s economy. The Italy Golden Visa price starts from an investment of €250,000 (about $273,000).
What is a Golden Visa in Italy?
In 2017, the Golden Visa was introduced in Italy to encourage foreign direct investment. The program allows non-EU citizens to obtain residency in exchange for a qualifying investment in the country’s economy.
Can you buy citizenship in Italy?
Italian citizenship cannot be gained through direct investment. The Italy Golden Visa allows you to gain residency in the country in exchange for a qualifying investment. The option for the Italy Golden Visa, which is half the price of the second cheapest option, is an investment in a Startup in Italy. This option has a minimum investment of €250,000 (about $274,000).
Obtaining Italian citizenship and a golden passport can be achieved by naturalization ten years after the date you were granted a visa, provided that you meet all the Italy Golden Visa requirements.
How much money must I invest to gain permanent residency in Italy?
The Italian Golden Visa – officially the Italian Investor Visa program – requires a minimum investment of €250,000 (about $273,000). There is no Italy Golden Visa half-price option, but applicants can benefit from a special tax regime that allows them to pay reduced income tax. After the investment has been maintained for five years, you can apply for permanent residence in Italy.
Can I live in Italy if I buy property?
If you are a non-EU citizen and buy property in Italy, you are only permitted to remain in the country for a limited time period. You would need to apply for a special visa, like the Investor Visa for Italy, to obtain a temporary residence permit; then, you can live in Italy. At present, there is no Italy Golden Visa real estate investment option.
How hard is it to get permanent residency in Italy?
The Italy Golden Visa program makes permanent residence easy to acquire in Italy. Provided he applicant maintains their initial investment and fulfills the residence permit requirements, they can apply for permanent residency after five years.
How long does it take to get residency in Italy?
How long it takes to get Italian residency depends on the type of residency visa you apply for. The Golden Visa, for example, takes around six months to be issued. After which, investors enter Italy and obtain their residency permits.
Italian residence permits are generally offered with three periods of validity–six months, one year, or two years, depending on your permit. For example, the Italian Golden Visa is valid for two years, whereas a Seasonal Work Visa is valid for six months.