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What is the Italy Golden Visa & How Can You Obtain One?

Simon Colwill - May 24, 2023 - 0 comments

Italy is known as a popular and beautiful holiday destination, but it also offers incredible potential benefits to those of a certain net worth who are looking to gain residence in an EU country. Italy’s Golden Visa, otherwise known as an Investor Visa, allows individuals to obtain a permanent residence permit in exchange for a sizeable investment in Italy’s economy. 

MSC Notaries break down who is eligible for this visa, how to obtain one and the key documentation required. 

What is the Italian Golden Visa?

Also referred to as ‘Investor Visa for Italy’, this type of visa was introduced in 2017 as a means to promote foreign investment in the country. It allows nationals with a high net worth from countries not in the EU to obtain a residence visa for Italy in exchange for a significant investment in the country’s economy. In addition to the benefit of obtaining a residence visa, investors and holders also benefit from visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Area and a special tax regime.

What is the Duration of an Italy Golden Visa?

Once granted, the Investor Visa is initially valid for a period of two years, however, this can be extended for a further three years after the initial period is over. After another five years, holders have the opportunity to become eligible for permanent residence in Italy, and five years after that can become eligible for Italian citizenship. 

Who is eligible for the Italy Golden Visa?

This program is aimed at wealthy, non-EU individuals who are able to make a single, significant investment into Italy’s economy. 

Investment Options and Requirements

To be eligible, you must make one direct investment into one of the following:

  • Government Bond issued by the Italian Republic, of a minimum of €2 million
  • A company incorporated and operating in the country, of a minimum of €500,000
  • An innovative startup in the country, of a minimum of €250,000
  • Philanthropic donation to an initiative that supports the public interest of Italy, such as culture, education, scientific research, preservation of heritage or immigration management, of a minimum of €1 million

Unlike many other Golden Visa programmes offered in other European countries, Italy does not offer investors a real estate option.

Other Eligibility Criteria

Other important eligibility criteria to note:

  • You must have no criminal record
  • You must be over 18
  • You must have valid health insurance
  • All financial assets must be in the applicant’s name, be transferable and have been acquired legally
  • You must make the investment within three months of the date of entry into the country
  • You must maintain the investment for the entire validity period of the residence permit, which is initially two years

What are the Benefits of a Golden Visa for Italy?

Besides the obvious benefit of being able to reside in the beautiful country of Italy with its diverse culture and an abundance of stunning locations and landscapes, there is a wide range of other benefits to obtaining Italy’s Golden Visa: 

  • Visa-free travel to countries in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days within a 180-day period
  • Permanent residency in Italy and the opportunity to be eligible for Italian citizenship after 10 years of residence
  • Special tax regime targeted at holders of the Golden Visa
  • Option to include family members (spouse, dependent children and parents) who receive all the same benefits at no additional cost
  • Access to Italian National public healthcare, education and the right to work in Italy
  • Business opportunities in the country
  • No minimum stay requirements in Italy
  • Fast, simple online application process in comparison to other European countries’ investor visas

Tax Incentives for Golden Visa Holders

In Italy, all tax residents must pay income tax on their worldwide income. Italy offers a special optional tax regime for wealthy individuals, such as those with an investor visa, whereby you can replace paying income tax on all income earned outside of Italy with a lump sum payment of €100,000 once per year. Those on this tax scheme can benefit for a period of 15 years and can choose to opt out at any time. 

To benefit, you must become a tax resident of Italy and must not have previously been a tax resident in the last nine years. The payment has to be made upfront in one lump sum before the 30th of June each year. This regime can also be extended to family members for an additional €25,000 per person per year. 

Application Process for Italy’s Golden Visa

The application process for obtaining an investor visa for Italy is actually one of the simplest in comparison to other European countries. Below, we break down the main steps to follow to ensure your application is successful. 

  1. Obtain a Nulla Osta (Certificate of No Impediment)

To obtain a Nulla Osta, you will need to visit the Italian investor visa portal online and create an account if you haven’t already done so. You can then fill in the required forms for your application and upload them onto your portal, before verifying these with an electronic signature. 

Within 30 days, the Committee Secretariat will review your application and provide you with an answer, which can be:

  • Your documents are compliant and you will be provided with a Nulla Osta, available on your account in the portal.
  • Your application will be temporarily ‘suspended’ if further documentation is required to be completed and submitted to the portal. You must submit this additional documentation within 30 days. 
  • Your application will be rejected and a reason will be provided for why this is the decision. 
  1. Obtain your Investor Visa

Once you have obtained your Nulla Osta, you will need to visit your country’s Italian Embassy within a period of six months. You will need to take all your required documentation including your Nulla Osta and if successful will be provided with your Golden Visa and an initial entry visa to Italy. 

  1. Obtain your Italy Investor Residence Permit

Once your entry visa has been issued at the embassy, you must visit Italy within two years to obtain your residence permit. Upon visiting Italy, you must submit your residence permit application within eight days and must complete your investment or donation within three months. 

To apply for your investor residence permit, you will need to visit a local Italy police station or Questura with your passport and entry visa. After this in-person visit, you must add to your personal account on your visa portal:

  • The date you arrived in Italy
  • The date you visited the police station 
  • Location of the police station

Once you have visited a police station and submitted this online, you will need to carry out your chosen investment and upload proof of this to your online portal. The Committee Secretariat will again assess your investment proof and provide you with an answer, which can be:

  • You will be approved, at which point your residence permit will continue to be valid for a period of two years, or you will be issued one if you haven’t already.
  • Further documentation may be required, at which point you will need to provide further proof within a period of 30 days.
  • You will be rejected, at which point your residence permit will be revoked or won’t be issued if you don’t yet have one. 

Required Documents

There is a wide range of documents that you’ll need to obtain and have ready to present at various stages of your application.

To obtain your initial Nulla Osta, you will need:

  • A copy of your passport
  • Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)  including information on education and employment history
  • Bank statements to prove all financial assets are your own
  • Bank letter confirming the legitimacy of your funds and that they are transferable
  • Proof of no criminal record
  • A letter outlining the type of investment or donation and any information on previous investments, of a maximum of 1000 words
  • Proof of consent from the recipient of the investment or donation
  • Declaration of Commitment that states the amount being invested and where you will be staying in Italy

To submit your application to your Italian Embassy, you will need:

  • Original passport
  • Passport-sized and style photo
  • Nulla Osta copy
  • Original copies of all documents submitted to your online portal
  • Proof of where you will be staying in Italy
  • Bank statements or evidence of income from the preceding financial year to show that more than €8500 is earnt per year
  • Proof of residence

For proof of your investment, you will need:

  • Government bonds investment
    • Certificate of deposit of the securities in a financial institution in Italy
    • Copy of the securities dossier
  • Company or startup investment
    • Bank statements showing the investment amount
    • Letter of validation for the bank statement signed by an authorised representative of the entity
    • Certificate of Shares Deposit if you’ve acquired shares at an Italian bank or financial institution
    • Letter confirming the receipt of the investment and a copy of the Act of Transfer filed by the company if it is unlisted
  • Philanthropic donation
    • Copy of the public donation deed
    • Bank statements showing the investment amount
    • Letter of validation for the bank statement signed by an authorised representative of the entity
    • Letter confirming the receipt of the investment by the company

It is important to note that all documents submitted must be done so in English or Italian. If your documents are not in either of these languages, you will need to include verified translations for each document. 

Some of your documents may also need to be notarised and have an apostille stamp attached to prove their validity and legalise them for use in your application.

MSC Notaries are able to assist with providing professional document translations, notary services and apostille services for important personal and business documents at affordable prices. We can adapt our services where possible to suit tight or specific deadlines.

Application Processing Time

The processing time can vary depending on various circumstances, for example, if you are required to submit further documentation at any stage or if there is a delay in your application being processed. Generally speaking, the period of time from submitting your initial documents to receiving your Golden Visa and permanent residence permit can take from one to six months. 

Legalise the Documents for Your Application with MSC Notaries

MSC Notaries are able to assist with providing professional document translation, notarisation and apostille services for important personal and business documents at affordable prices. 

We can adapt our services where possible to suit tight or specific deadlines. If you have any questions or concerns about your Golden Visa application, please don’t hesitate to contact our team for advice to see how we can support you and ensure your application is a success.

Read more about other Golden Visa programmes

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