Moving to Italy: Which Italian visa is BEST for me?

Jan 11, 2024

If you are interested in moving to Italy and you are not an EU citizen, you will need to obtain an Italian long-term visa.

Let’s explore the various visa options that are most suitable for high-net-worth individuals, retirees, and/or workers. (Please note that this guide primarily focuses on the main visa options available for these categories.)

Moving to Italy : Main categories of Italian Visa

Elective residence visa (ERV)

Preliminal requirements of the ERV:

  • The applicant must prove to have a “passive” income (not deriving from work). For futher information, please check our article:


  • The Elective Residence Visa does not allow any kind of work (includeing remote working)
  • It is also considered as a kind of retirement visa
  • The issuance of Elective Residence Visa is discretionary on each Consulate. Lately, the outcome of the application has become extremely unpredictable: (i) most Consulates require the applicant to prove a passive income 2-3 times the minimum set forth by the law; (ii) they also request the applicant to submit the latest tax returns, which must be clearly listed in the returns; (iii) in case the applicant has also income deriving from work, there are higher chances that the visa will be denied. (iv) in most Consulates it is very difficult to book an appointment for filing the visa application and when available appointments can be given after some months; (v) the processing time for the visa is by law up to 90 days (and the Consulate will keep the passport) and if the Consulates request more documents the time can be extended.

For further information, please check:

Italy Investor Visa

Preliminal requirements of the Investor Visa for Italy:

  • purchase at least € 2 million in Italian government bonds, funds to be kept for a period of at least 2 years; OR
  • invest at least € 500.000 in equity instruments of a company based and operating in Italy; OR
  • invest at least € 250.000 in equity instruments of a start-up company based and operating in Italy; OR
  • donate at least € 1 million philanthropic funding supporting projects of public interest in the field of culture, education, immigration, scientific research, recovery of cultural assets and landscapes.


  • it is not subject to quotas availability and it allows to work.
  • Once it is approved by the Ministry it is certain that you will be granted the visa.
  • The main advantages of this visa are: (i) investment is to be executed only after obtaining the visa; (ii) investor visas must be processed by Consulate with priority; (iii) If Investor spends in Italy less than 183 days/year, it will not have any tax obligations (subject to some conditions, check with your tax counsel); (iv) Visa can be extended to spouse and children up to 18; (v) Investor visa is the only visa that allows the investor not to spend any minimum time in Italy.

For futher information, please check:

Digital Nomad Visa

Latest updates! The Italian government has signed the implementing decree of the Italian Digital Nomad Visa. For further information, please check this article:

At this moment, this visa category is not operative yet.

For further information about the Italian Digital Nomad Visa, please check:

Self-Employment Visa (as a freelance)

The self-employment visa is extremely difficult to obtain because it is subject to the availability of quotas (for example, there are less than 500 quotas available for 2023) and in practice, most applicants receive a denial from the Consulate after having obtained the necessary clearances in Italy. A self-employment visa is very difficult to obtain because of the uncertainty on which authority in Italy should be contacted for the issuance of the relevant attestations/declarations and for the requirements that may be set by the Consulate/Embassy.

For further information about the self-employment visa, please check:

Representative Office Visa (ROV)

You probably read in some articles posted on the web that Italy is granting a visa to someone who register a Rep Office, as officer representative. What is not made clear in the articles is that self-employment visa commented in the article is exempted from yearly quotas but subject to some conditions (art. 40/22 Decree 394/1999), namely it is for employees of a foreign company who are sent to work in Italy to a subsidiary of the Group to work as “self employees”. To obtain this visa is necessary to obtain an authorization from the Labor office and to submit, amongst other things: (i) evidence that the individual is employed by the sending company; (ii) evidence that the company that hires the individual is affiliated with the company which registered the Rep Office; (iii )the parent company’s yearly financials that show that the company is in good standing and financially strong to support the assignment.The above requirements are identical to the requirements for obtaining an intra-company visa, eg a visa which is granted after obtaining a prior approval by the Immigration Office in Italy (art. 27a Immigration Law) thus avoiding the uncertainty linked to the art. 40/22 which, on the contrary, is approved/denied by the Consulate.

For further information, please check:

Visa for Company Directors (Visa for a director of newly established company)

Italy grants this visa only if a company has been in activity for at least 3 years.

Accordingly, establishing a branch/subsidiary does not entitle the owner or appointed director to obtain a visa. Even when a company is 3+ years old, the Consulate has the discretion to grant the visa looking at (i) if there are available quotas (a few hundred are allocated to this visa each year) (ii) the company’s yearly turn-over, registered capital, assets and reserves (which need to be substantial), number of employees. Also, this visa is subject to the availability of quotas.

For further information, please check:

Startup Visa

It is a visa option for those who want to start an “innovative” company in Italy.

Not all “newly” established companies are considered “startups” for this purpose. Law 221/2012 defines “innovative startup” as a new enterprise of a high technological value. Innovative is a company whose business model is characterized by a strong technological character and has an exclusive or prevalent corporate purpose the production, development, and marketing of innovative goods or services of high technological value. The startup visa is not easy to obtain because there are only a few hundred quotas available every year. The applicant will need to register in the Ministry portal upload all docs and prepare an innovative business plan, The Ministry is also very strict with the bank letter that needs to be submitted to confirm that the applicant has available funds. There is not an official sample letter but Ministry wants the letter to specifically include a declaration that the Bank has carried out all checks required by the FATF anti-money laundering rules.

For further information, please check:

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