There is some interesting news for foreigners investing in Italy. The 2017 Budget Law has introduced an investor visa for Italy that allows those who wish to make a long-term investment in Italy or a donation benefiting the country to enjoy special treatment compared to what is usually the case for entering and staying in Italy. Article 26 bis of the Single Text on Immigration (Legislative Decree n.286/1998) regulates the requirements for concession, renewal or revocation of the new visa for investors. The operating procedures are defined by the decree DM 21 July 2017 and the Operating Manual of 16 November 2017.
The most important characteristic of this Italian visa category is that it allows entrance and stay in Italy for more than 3 months. Generally, each year there are quotas on the maximum number of foreigners to be admitted into Italy, as defined by the Single Text on Immigration. Investors benefiting from this new option will not have to undergo such restrictions, as long as they meet the requirements for obtaining this Italian visa. The program, called “Investor for Visa for Italy”, is aimed in particular at citizens of countries outside the European Union or Schengen region.
Requirements for the application process
In order to obtain the Italian visa for investors, foreigners should make:
- An investment of at least 2 million euros in Italian government bonds and keep this for at least 2 years;
- An investment of at least 1 million euros in “instruments of capital” (for example, shares) of a firm established and operating in Italy (500,000 euros in the case of an innovative startup) and maintain this for at least 2 years.
- A philanthropic donation of at least 1 million euros, supporting a project in the public interest, in the sectors of culture, instruction, immigration management, scientific research, or restoration of cultural properties or landscape features.
Furthermore, investors must:
- Show that they are the beneficiaries or actual owners of the amounts indicated above, and that the sums are available and can be transferred to Italy;
- Formally assume, by way of a written declaration, the intention of investing the above indicated amount and carrying out the philanthropic donation within 3 months of their entrance into Italy;
- Demonstrate that they have enough resources, in addition to the funds cited, in order to maintain themselves during their stay in Italy
How to obtain the Investor Visa
The procedures for requesting the visa and for further communications are entirely online. The online portal is available in both English and Italian, and allows an accelerated and centralized procedure (with a maximum waiting period of 30 days).
These are steps to follow for the application process:
- The foreign investor must present a request for the visa at the online portal. This request is then evaluated by an inter-institutional committee. Having verified that the request meets the legal requirements, the committee communicates the authorization for the visa within 30 days. After this, the visa can be picked up within 6 months from the competent diplomatic consular representative.
- Once in Italy, the investor must make the investment or the donation for which the visa has been granted:
- Within 8 days of entrance into Italy, request the biennial permit to stay for investors
- Within 3 months of entrance, upload at the dedicated site all the documentation demonstrating the investment or donation made. Failure to do this will result in revocation of the permit to stay.
Terms and conditions
The visa will be attached to a biennial permit to stay, with the words “for investors”. During this period the visa holder has the obligation of maintaining the investment. The visa can be extended for another 3 years.
A final feature of this arrangement is the possibility for the holder of the “visa for investors” to be accompanied by family members who have the right to be re-united, under the provisions of Article 29 of the Single Text on Immigration. These will be given a “visa for family reasons” in terms of Article 30 of the Single Text.
This article was originally published in Tuscany’s Grapevine Magazine with the title “Investor Visa for Italy”.