Foreign high-net-worth investors and entrepreneurs seeking an expedited path to residency and access to Europe now have the Italian investment immigration program to consider. The program seeks to bolster direct investment and startup business activity in the country.
Italy Investment Immigration Programs Overview
Italy provides a stable economic environment and EU member status. Italy’s residency-by-investment program has three investment schemes with a minimum threshold of 500,000 euros, which increases to 2 million euros. Applicants can get a permit to remain in Italy for two years, after which they can apply for a longer permit (if they maintain the investment) and eventually Italian citizenship after 10 years of permanent residency status for non-EU citizens. The visa is also extendable to family members. Residence permits give holders the ability to travel visa-free around Europe. An Italian passport yields visa free travel to 178 countries.
Benefits of Italy’s residency-by-investment program include a flat tax rate where the amount comes to an annual sum tax of 100,000 euros on all foreign-sourced income, including from investments and financial assets, plus 25,000 euros per year for every additional family member, for a maximum of 15 years. The applicant has no duty to disclose foreign assets or income.
Although Italy does not offer a CBI program, successful residency applicants can obtain citizenship – and a well-regarded EU passport – after living and working in Italy for 10 years.
Italy’s Investor’s Visa program requires that investors put in 2 million euros in Italian government bonds, which needs to remain for a period of at least 2 years; or invest 1 million euros in equity instruments in a company that is operating or is located in Italy; or 500.000 euros if it is a start-up company; or 1 million in philanthropic funding in support of projects in the sphere of public interest in culture, education, immigration, scientific research, recovery of cultural assets and landscapes. Investors will get a 2-year residence permit with possibility of a 3-year extension.
Elective Residence Visa
The Italian Elective Residence Visa is for those who wish to settle in Italy and are able to support themselves in Italy without working. A single applicant must have a minimum legitimate income (not deriving from work) of at least 31,000 euros per year while a married couple qualifies with approximately 38,000 euros. The processing time for this type of visa can be up to 90 days. Within 8 days of arrival in Italy, the applicant must register at the local Police Headquarters "Questura" and obtain a Declaration to Stay (Permesso di Soggiorno). This document is the only document legitimizing the stay in Italy.
Resident Non-Domiciled Program
The Italian government has recently unveiled an attractive immigration and tax program to draw in wealthy individuals. Italy’s “Res Non-Dom Regime” is simply a yearly 100,000 euro lump-sum tax on all foreign sourced income. This can be extended to family members as well by paying a further 25,000 euros per person so long as their residence is transferred with the taxpayer. Approval for this program is confirmed by the Italian Tax Authorities after the specific option is elected during the investors annual tax return. This option can be effective for a maximum of 15 years. If the investor elects to opt out at any time, this option cannot be reactivated.
HOW TO APPLY
Applications for the Non-Domiciled Program are filed through the Italian tax authorities, who have 120 days to reply to the tax ruling request. For Italy’s Investor Visa program, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development has created an online portal for investors to apply for a Nulla Osta, a document necessary to apply for residency. Applicants must provide documentary evidence of funds and a written declaration of plans to use those funds for investment. The investor then has 6 months to apply for the Investor Visa at the closest Italian representation abroad. Finally, the application for the Italian Elective Resident Visa must also be filed at the local consulate, which covers the applicants home residence. This visa cannot be applied for in Italy.
An Italian passport gives visa-free or visa on arrival access to 178 countries and territories while a residence permit allows for travel throughout the Schengen Area.
Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and the 8th biggest economy in the world. Italy’s assets include its Mediterranean climate, cuisine, cultural history and beautiful surroundings, not to mention its position as a gateway to Europe.