In the recent years Italy has increasingly attracted the interest of investors who are willing to actively enter the market through the set up of company in Italy or the acquisition of existing entities in various sectors in which Italy has its forte such as fashion, mechanical or automotive sectors, to name a few. Since many years Italy has desired to facilitate and attract foreign investment by guaranteeing the issuance of a special visa. For the first time in the year 2017, Italy launched its program to introduce the so called Visa for Investors, also called as “Golden Visa”, which is a five-year title reserved to those make strategic investments in Italy.
However, this type of visa is subject to certain conditions and types of investments, particularly when the foreigner intends to invest his capital in any of the following ways:
- Investment of at least 2 million euro in Italian government bonds or;
- Investment of at least 500,000 euro in an Italian company (limited liability company or joint stock company) or;
- Investment of at least 250,000 euro in an innovative Italian start-up or;
- A philanthropic donation of at least 1 million euros in the fields of culture, education, immigration management, scientific research, or conservation of cultural heritage and landscape.
For the first three cases, the investor must undertake not to release the invested capital for a minimum period of two years.
For the purpose of issuing the visa, it is necessary to set up an online procedure in a dedicated portal at the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) which will carry out a prior assessment of the project before deciding on its acceptance or rejection and thereafter issue the visa. Among the documents to be submitted there are those relating to the project as well as some personal assessments on the applicant, for example an assessment of one's professional experience and a check on the funds that must be of lawful origin and transferable.
Once the investment has been approved and the Golden visa has been obtained, the investor has the obligation to make the investment within three months from the date of entrance into Italy, in the absence of which the visa can be canceled.
The visa that is issued to investors has a two-year duration with the possibility of being renewed for another three years. For the purposes of renewal, the Authorities verify the existence of the initial conditions, including the actual realization of the investment and the maintenance of the same for the prescribed time.
The investor visa can be defined as a facilitated visa as it is not subject to the maximum entry quotas on Italian territory for foreigners and does not provide for an obligation to stay on the territory for a certain period of time.
This opportunity reserved for investors is combined with other measures to attract foreign investments such as the provision of a preferential tax regime for high net worth individuals resident in Italy. The results of these policies are positive: from an initial report on the MISE website, from the beginning of the program until the end of 2021, over 40 million euro of investments related to the visa for Investors were attracted, counting the issuance of 50 visas against 64 applications, with a success rate of 78.1%, in strong growth for the following years.
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