Obtain Citizenship by Investment in Italy

Updated on Monday 23rd August 2021

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There are several ways under which foreign citizens can immigrate to Italy. The good news is that in recent years, Italy has entered the ranks of countries which have enabled programs for obtaining citizenship by investment also known as golden visa for Italy. The latest change in the citizenship by investment program in Italy was introduced in 2017.7

Foreign citizens from non-EU countries interested in immigration by investment in Italy will first obtain permanent residence permits which can later be converted into Italian passports.

Below, our immigration lawyers in Italy explain the requirements for obtaining citizenship by investment/golden visa for Italy. We can help you in your endeavor of obtaining citizenship by investment in Italy. We can also help you prepare for applying for a residence permit in Italy.

The Golden Visa Program in Italy

The main program under which foreign citizens can obtain a permanent residence permit in Italy followed by citizenship by investment is canned the Investor Visa Scheme. However, this program often receives various names, among which citizenship by investment, golden visa in Italy and so on.

Apart from being dedicated to non-EU citizens, the Investor Visa Program targets high net worth individuals who can make a significant contribution to the Italian economy and community. This is why those interested in immigrating to Italy through citizenship by investment program/ golden visa for Italy need to make specific investments.

Our immigration lawyers in Italy can offer more information on the Investor Visa Scheme. We are experienced in the procedures for golden visa in Italy and can also help foreign businesspersons to apply for entrepreneur visas in Italy.

The golden visa is one of the best routes to Italian citizenship.

The main ways of obtaining Italian citizenship by investment

There are various ways through which foreign citizens can obtain citizenship by investment in Italy/ golden visa for Italy. The Italian immigration policies provide for advantageous conditions for all non-EU citizens who want to relocate here, as EU citizens have simpler requirements to comply with. To balance these simple requirements applicable to EU citizens with the stricter ones imposed on non-EU citizens, the authorities have created these so-called residence and citizenship by investment schemes for those looking to immigrate to Italy.

The main routes to citizenship by investment in Italy are the Investor Visa Program (golden visa for Italy) and the StartUp Program which is further divided into the Italia StartUp Visa and the Italia StartUp Hub. Apart from these, there are cheaper options for those who can immigrate to Italy based on the entrepreneur visa and the self-employment residence permit.

Each type of visa and program has its own advantages and provides various benefits. Our immigration lawyers in Italy also remind you about the elective residence permit available for those who want to retire to Italy.

You can obtain detailed information as well as expat support if you want to move to Italy based on one of the residence schemes mentioned above from our immigration lawyers who are specialized in the procedures for golden visa for Italy.

Conditions for obtaining Italian citizenship by investment

Those who want to immigrate to Italy through citizenship by investment need to comply with the following requirements:
  1. they must be at least 18 years old at the time they start the application procedure;
  2. they must have clean criminal records and be in a good state of health which must be documented;
  3. they must invest at least half a million euros in a start-up company which activates in an innovative field or;
  4. invest at least one million euros in an Italian company which meets certain criteria imposed by the government or;
  5. invest at least one million euros in a project which has a positive effect on the Italian economy or;
  6. invest at least 2 million euros by purchasing bonds approved and issued by the Italian government.

As seen above, the minimum amount of money under which citizenship by investmentgolden visa for Italy can be obtained is half a million euros and the funds must be backed by evidence that they were obtained legally.

You can read about the advantages of obtaining Italian citizenship/ golden visa for Italy in the scheme below:
The Advantages of Obtaining Citizenship in Italy

For complete information on the requirements to comply with when applying for Italian citizenship by investment, we invite you to discuss with our lawyers. They can offer you the required information about golden visa for Italy. 

Documents required for obtaining citizenship by investment/golden visa for Italy in 2021 

The procedure for obtaining citizenship by investment in Italy/ golden visa for Italy can be quite extended unless all the documents are prepared in accordance with the requirements imposed by the authorities. In this sense, a foreign citizen seeking to obtain a second passport by investment in Italy needs to obtain a no impediment certificate (nulla osta) before starting the procedure. This document needs to be obtained 6 months prior to entering Italy (this is also the duration for the investor visa to be issued).

The applicant must also have a valid passport, must file information about the funds destined for the investment (a bank statement) and proof of how the money was obtained. The health certificate will also need to be filed along with the other documents. Foreign citizens bringing family members to Italy under the citizenship by investment program/ golden visa for Italy must also file information about them.

You can obtain support for immigrating to Italy under the citizenship by investment program from our lawyers.

The StartUp Visa Scheme in Italy

The StartUp Visa Program in Italy is one of the most innovative residence by investment schemes in Europe, as the authorities here wanted to provide for various options for non-EU citizens seeking to immigrate to Italy by investment.

As mentioned earlier, this scheme is made of two programs, the StartUp Visa and the StartUp Hub. Even if they provide for similar immigration solutions, there are also a few differences between them. The StartUp Visa is based on the Italian StartUp Act entered into effect in 2012. The scheme allows non-EU citizens to obtain citizenship by investment/ golden visa for Italy by setting up a company in this country.

The following conditions must be complied with in order to accede to this program:
  • the innovative startup must be a newly incorporated company (no older than 5 years) operating in a technological sector;
  • the company must be a limited company which cannot be listed on the stock exchange;
  • it must have its headquarters in Italy or any other EU/EEA country, but in the latter situation it must have a branch in Italy;
  • the annual turnover of the company is below 5 million euros;
  • it will not distribute profits, nor had it distributed in the past in the case of older companies.

It is important to note that the company cannot be the result of a merger, acquisition or takeover, it must have as a main object of activity the development, production and marketing of innovative goods or services.

Other requirements to meet by those seeking to obtain citizenship by investment in Italy through this scheme are:
  • at least 15% of the annual costs or turnover (whichever has the greater value) must be directed to research and development (R&D) activities;
  • at least 1/3 of the employees must be Ph.D. students or Ph.D. researchers or at least 2/3 of the employees have a Master degree;
  • the company has a registered patent or software which falls under the intellectual property requirements.

The application for the StartUp Visa Program in Italy can be submitted online and our immigration lawyers can assist with the procedure. The StartUp visa comes with a residence permit in Italy.

The StartUp Hub Scheme in Italy

By comparison, the StartUp Hub provides for the same criteria for the company, however, it addresses non-EU citizens holding an Italian residence permit. In order to be eligible for this program, the applicant must have at least 50,000 euros to inject in the company.

The advantage of this scheme is that it addresses the following categories of residence permit holders in Italy:
  • residence permits for students;
  • EU residence permits;
  • scientific and research visas;
  • dependent employment permits;
  • family reunion residence permits;
  • residence visas for investors.

Both the StartUp Visa and the StartUp Hub programs have similar advantages, among which we remind that the entire procedure of submitting the documentation is completed online and all authorities involved in the program are centralized. Moreover, the procedure and documents submission can be completed in English and the Certificate of No Impediment for the applicant is issued in 30 days.

With respect to the documents that need to be filed when applying for citizenship by investment in Italy under this program, they can be listed by our immigration lawyers who can also help applicants in preparing them.

We invite you to watch a short presentation regarding the process of obtaining Italian citizenship by investment

Why choose Italy for citizenship by investment?

Italy is the 3rd most powerful European country when it comes to obtaining a second citizenship, according to a report of Henley visa index in 2018. Italy is also unique in Europe because:
  • it has the only residence through investment program which provides for flat tax rates and 0% rate for those retiring here;
  • Italy is the 3rd largest economy at the level of the European Union, with a GDP of 2 trillion dollars (according to the MIF’s report of 2016);
  • it is the 2nd largest manufacturing economy in the Eurozone, after Germany;
  • Italy has more than 20 universities in the top 500 academic institutions of the world;
  • for businesspersons, Italy offers access to a market of more than 500 million consumers.

You can rely on us if you plan to move here and want to apply for Italian citizenship.

The investor visa requirements in Italy in 2021 

As mentioned above, the Italian government has recently introduced a specific discipline within its Immigration Law, the so-called “Investor Visa”. The recently enabled investor visa/ golden visa for Italy allows foreign citizens to enter and live in Italy, based on several entry quotas which are updated on an annual basis by the government, to foreigners who wish to:

  • invest at least € 2 million in securities issued by the Italian government, to be held for at least 2 years;
  • invest at least € 1 million in equity instruments of a company incorporated and operating in Italy, to be held for at least 2 years;
  • invest at least € 500.000 into an existing Italian innovative start-up company; make a philanthropic donation of at least € 1 million to support a public interest project, in the fields of immigration management, education, culture, recovery of cultural and landscape assets, scientific research.

Our company registration consultants in Italy can offer more information on the Investor Visa program/ golden visa for Italy.

Although, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous European countries have imposed new rules for those who were foreigners, Italy included, with regards to the Golden Visa program for 2021, there aren’t any new provisions that foreign investors should be aware of. The same investment thresholds have been maintained as it was in the past, and the same requirements have to be met by investors; for advice on how to obtain a Golden Visa in Italy in 2021, we invite you to address to our team of immigration lawyers

Italy’s resident non-domiciled package

The Italian government has recently implemented a tax package and fast-track VISA procedure to attract wealthy individuals that intend to relocate to Italy.

This package includes a € 100,000 flat tax on all foreign income for individuals who become Italian residents after at least a 9-year period of residence outside of Italy. This flat tax is paid on an annual basis for a maximum of 15 years. The tax package is integrated by a fast-track visa procedure for investors and their relatives.

According to the Res Non-Dom Regime, eligible taxpayers can choose which country or countries income to tax with the substitutive flat tax (the so-called “cherry picking” principle). Any income sourced in the “non-chosen countries” (if any) is excluded from the Res Non-Dom Regime (as well as the Italian sourced income) and, therefore, is subject to ordinary Italian taxation and will benefit from tax credit on taxes paid abroad (under ordinary limitations) and from relevant tax treaty protection (if any).

Visa exemptions in Italy 

According to the immigration legislation available in Italy, certain nationalities are exempted from obtaining a visa when relocating to this country. As described above, EU citizens benefit from this exemption, but the rule is also applicable for the citizens of the following countries: 
San Marino
Vatican City
The regulation is applicable for a period of 90 days, as further on it will be required to apply for permanent residency in Italy. Our team of lawyers in Italy can provide legal advice on the documents that should be submitted when applying for permanent residency

If you are thinking about immigrating to Italy through citizenship by investment, please feel free to contact our immigration lawyers for personalized assistance.