Navigating the Italy Golden Visa : An In-Depth Handbook

Apr 29, 2024

Italy Golden Visa : Your comprehensive roadmap written by Italian Immigration Experts

Italy Golden Visa, better known as the Investor Visa for Italy, is one of the best golden visas currently available in Europe & Schengen area. It offers an interesting opportunity to foreign investors and their families (spouse and minor children) to obtain an Italian permit of stay, without the need to actually move their residency to Italy.


Golden visas in Europe : The Italian Investor Visa

Golden visas in Europe, especialy those ones that pertain to the Schengen Area are popular visas among non-EU foreign investors. Italy has the “Investor Visa for Italy Program” offering a wide range of befefits including long-term permit of stay for the applianct and his/her family members (spouse and minor children), wide flexibility in their activities in Italy and much more!

Who can apply for the Italy Golden Visa? And What kind of investment shall I make to obtain the Italy Golden Visa?

Investor Visa for Italy can be applied by a non-EU national over 18 years old who choose to invest in one of the following strategic assets for Italy’s economy and society.

The investing option are:

  • Invest at least € 250,000 in equity instruments of a Startup company based and operating in Italy
  • Invest at least € 500,000 in equity instruments of a company based and operating in Italy
  • Purchase at least € 2 million in government bonds
  • Donate at least € 1 million in philanthropic funding supporting projects of public interest in the field of culture, education, immigration, scientific research, recovery of cultural assets and landscapes.

What are the requirements and what documents do I need to apply for the Italy Golden Visa?

The complete list of documents to apply for the investor visa may vary depending on each case. However, we can say that the following documents will be the key to the application.

  • A detailed Curriculum vitae (CV) of the applicant
  • Selection of the type of investment
  • Proof of ownership of the financial resources, in particular:
    • a recent and detailed bank statement;
    • a letter from the bank that must include a specific declaration that the bank has carried out all activities necessary under the FATF international standards on anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism;
    • a report of an independent third party expert in law or accounting, certifying the truthfulness of the information provided.
  • Certificates of non-existence of criminal convictions and pending charges

How to apply for the Italy Golden Visa?

We can say that the immigration process for the Italy Golden Visa can be divided in 3 steps.

  • Ministry Clearance Application(Online Application)
  • Investor Visa for Italy Application at the compentent Italian Consultate or Embassy)
  • Italian Permit of Stay (permesso di soggiorno) Application and executing the investment

Filing the online application for the Italy Golden Visa clearance (Ministry Clearance)

The Italian Government has a tailored webpage for those who intend to apply for the Investor Visa program for Italy. So, each investor must create their personal account on the Ministry of Enterprises and Made in Italy portal and apply for a clearance

Looking at the webpage, the whole application process looks quite straightforward:

  1. creating a profile
  2. filling in the forms (contact details, CV, selection of investment);
  3. uploading the required attachments
  4. downloading the final declaration; and finally
  5. Validating the declaration by electronic signature, and submitting the application.

However, filing an online application for the Investor Nulla Osta can prove to be a complex and time-consuming process.

About the Digital Signature when applying for the Italy Golden Visa

One crucial step in the process of applying for the investor visa for Italy is obtaining a digital signature. This step plays a vital role in ensuring the security and authenticity of your application.

Why do you need a certified Digital Signature to apply for the Investor Visa?

A digital signature is not only the electronic equivalent of your handwritten signature, but it also serves as a unique identifier for an individual or organization.

In the context of an investor visa application for Italy, a digital signature is essential two main reasons: security and authenticity of the documents. So, without a digital signature, it will not be possible to proceed with the application process.

Applying for the Italy Golden Visa at the compentent Consulate or Embassy

Investor visa enjoys priority processing. Therefore, applying for this visa category at the Italian consulate can be a bit more streamlined than a regular visa application, but there are still two main challenges to overcome.

Investor Visa Application

First of all, you should schedule an appointment with the Italian consulate or visa application center. It’s essential to book an appointment well in advance, as the slots for visa application can fill up quickly. Some consulates only take applications from external providers known as visa application centers.

However, not all visa providers know about this prioritization rule of this process.

Arrival in Italy: Applying for the Italian permit of stay for investors (Permesso di Soggiorno)

The investor visa holder must apply for a residence permit within eight working days of entering Italy. Investor Visa holders can make an appointment directly at the Questura (Police Office) of the place where they intend to stay.

After submitting the residence permit application, they will inform the Ministry through the dedicated platform about the date of entry into Italy and the date of the request of the permit of stay.

Executing the investment

The investor shall execute the investment within 3 months from his arrival. Then, s/he are required to demonstrate it by uploading in the platform (in case of purchase of Gov.t bonds):

(i) Bank documentation certifying the purchase (copy of securities dossier), with the indication of the type, issue date, and maturity date of the securities;

(ii) Certificate of deposit of the securities in a financial institution domiciled in Italy.

Italy Golden Visa and Corporate Investment

  • Q: Can I qualify for the Investor Visa for Italy if I use a foreign legal entity when investing?
    A: Yes, you can use a foreign legal entity. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you can externally commit the entity to make the investment in Italy.
  • Q: How can I demonstrate being legitimated?
    A: You shall submit the “Act of Appointment” confirming that you are the legal representative of the Company (which shall be issued by the Company). This document, in accordance with the deed of incorporation and the articles of association of the entity, shall prove that you have the powers to proceed with the investment in Italy.
  • Q: What language should the documents be in?
    A: All documents attached to the investor visa applications must be in Italian or English: if the original document is in another language, it requires a certified translation (e.g. sworn translation)
  • Q: What other documents do I need?
    A: We advise submitting also some documents proving the good standing of the foreign entity.

Italy Golden Visa and Family members of the Investor

Italian Investor Visa holders have the privilege of bringing their immediate family members to Italy. This typically includes the spouse, children under 18, dependent children aged over 18**; dependent parents**; or parents over 65 years of age** (**under certain specific conditions).

There are basically two available paths to apply for the Permit of Stay for family members.

  • Accompanying Family Member
    It requires to apply for a family clearance and family visa before entering Italy
  • Family Cohesion
    Family members can enter Italy with a tourist visa (or without a visa for Schengen visa waivers) and directly apply for the permit of stay in Italy.

TIPs: Which process is the best? The best option may vary depending on the details of each case. Our Immigration Consultants will assess your case to determine the best option for you.

Italy Golden Visa and Italian Citizenship by Residency

If the Investor becomes a tax resident and pays taxes in Italy (there are favorable tax schemes for HNW individuals, new residents, and pensioners), he/she will have the possibility to apply for the permanent residency after 5 years and for Italian citizenship after 10 years.

Italy Golden Visa and Italian residency rights

Who have applied for (or already obtained) the Italian permit of stay for investors can stay in Italy during the validity of their permit (which can be renewed or converted). Yet, they do not have any obligation to register their residency in Italy.

However, if the investor decides to tranfer his/her residency in Italy, one more process shall be done, which is “Iscrizione anagrafica (Residenza)”.

Transfering the recidensy can bring positive aspects but also implies paying taxes in Italy. So, we advise to consult a tax agent before transfering the residence to Italy.

Benefits of the Italian Golden Visa

So, let’s talk about some Benefits of the Italy Golden Visa!

General benefits

  • There is no need to do any investment before you actually obtain the Investor Visa. The investor shall execute the investment only after obtaining the visa, within 3 months from the arrival in Italy.
  • Italy Golden Visa is a visa category that enjoys priority. Per our experience processing time is max. 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Investors will obtain a 2-year permit which will allows them to travel freely within the Schengen area (for no more than 90 days in any 180-day period).
  • After 2 years the, the investors can renew the permit for periods of 3 years. To renew the permit, the investor have to mantain the original investment.
  • Residency registration with the City Hall allows the Investor to: (i) register with the National Health Service; (ii) have goods imported duty-free; (iii) purchase a car; (iv) open a resident bank account.
  • Italy Golden Visa is the only Italian visa category that grants investors the flexibility to not adhere to any minimum stay requirement within the country.
  • The Investor can invest also using funds of a company or trust, on condition to have the necessary powers to execute the investment (no need to be a shareholder or CEO).
  • There is no need to adhere to the Integration Agreement obligations (unless investors decide to apply for permanent residency). Therefore, they do not have any obligation to pass a language test.

Benefits from a Tax point of view

  • If the Investor spends less than 183 days per year in Italy, he/she may not be subject to any tax obligations (subject to certain conditions; it is advisable to consult with a tax counsel for further guidance).
  • If the Investor becomes a tax resident and pays taxes in Italy (there are favorable tax schemes for HNW individuals, new residents, and pensioners), he/she will have the possibility to apply for the permanent residency after 5 years and for Italian citizenship after 10 years.

Benefits for the Family members

  • Family members (spouse and minor children) of an Investor Visa holder can apply for family permit.
  • Investor and spouse can work in Italy. It is possible to convert it into a work permit if the investor meets the requirements for the relevant work permit.

Rewing your Italian Golden Visa

The investor visa holder must maintain the investment for the entire duration of the permit of stay. Otherwise, the permit will be revoked and it will not be possible to renew it. 

Also, the investor have to mantain his/her original investment. Even when the investor has already obtained the permit of stay. The holder may not alter the destination of the investment under any circumstances, to mantain his residency rights and to be able to renew it. 

The investor residence permit is valid for two years and the investor can renew it for further three year periods, without limitation. 

FAQs about the Italy Golden Visa

Questions about the eligibility and other key points

  • Are there any restrictions related to the nationality of visa applicants?
    No, but the applicant will need to provide evidence that the funds to be invested do not infringe anti-money laundering regulations.
  • After obtaining the investor permit of stay, is there a minimum required period of stay in Italy?
    There is no minimum amount of time applicable to this case. So, investor visa holder can decide the time they stay in Italy.
  • Can applicants combine different types of investments or divide their investment into multiple stages?
    No. An investor visa can be issued exclusively for a single investment. So, it is not possible to combine investments directed at different subjects, or different types of investments, which individually have a nominal amount lower than the minimum threshold set for each of the investment option. 

    Also, note that investments made, in whole or in part, before the submission of the request for approval for the investor visa will not be taken into account.

Questions about the process of the Italy Investor Visa

  • Can I apply for the Investor Visa before making the actual investment?
    Absolutely YES! Actually, the investment shall be done once the applicant obtains the Investor Visa for Italy and enters Italy. Besides, the investment shall be done within 3 months the investor had arrived to Italy.
  • Shall I transfer funds to an Italian bank prior to applying for the investor visa?
    While it’s not strictly required to transfer funds to an Italian bank before applying for the investor visa, it can streamline the process. Transferring funds to an Italian bank account may also facilitate the investment process and provide proof of the funds’ availability for investment purposes.
  • Can the target investment / Company / Organization be selected at a later stage, e.g. after the application has been submitted?
    No, the identification of the target company is an essential feature of the application. Therefore, the target company must be indicated at the time of submission, otherwise the application will be rejected.
  •  How long is the processing time of the Ministry Clearance?
    The processing time should be 30 days from the day of the application, however it may take up to 60 days.

For more FAQs download our Investor Visa magazine!

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