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April 1, 2024
5 min

Italy Golden Visa: a Complete Guide

Brittany Collins

Being a country with a rich cultural heritage and one of the world’s top 10 economies, Italy becomes the place of choice for 70 000 immigrants each year. The Italian government launched the Italy Golden Visa program to encourage foreign investments.

This guide will provide you with detailed information on how to obtain Italy residency by investment.

Italy Golden Visa: a Complete Guide

Italy Golden Visa: a Complete Guide

What is the Italy Golden Visa?

The Italy Golden Visa, also called the Investor Visa for Italy, is a program launched in 2017 to stimulate foreign investments and economic development. Under this program, non-EU citizens investing in the Italian economy and their family members can obtain Italian residence permits just in a few months.

Investors choose one of four options to participate in the program. After investing, foreign citizens can benefit from the rights granted to residents, including the right to live, work, study, and receive medical care in Italy.

Investors get two-year residence permits that can be extended for three more years.

Benefits provided by the Italy Golden Visa

Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area. Italian residents can visit all the countries of the Schengen Area without visas and spend up to 90 days out of 180.

Right to live, work and study in Italy. Italian residents can enter the country at any time, even when the country borders are closed, and can spend as much time as needed in Italy.

Foreigners with Italian residence permits can enrol in Italian higher education institutions on the same conditions as the country’s citizens.

Special tax regime. Instead of regular taxation on all income obtained outside Italy, wealthy foreigners can choose to pay a fixed annual sum of €100,000. Furthermore, the investor can include their family in this special tax plan by paying an additional €25,000 for each dependent.

This special tax regime is valid for 15 years, given that the annual fixed payment is made yearly.

Opportunity to obtain residence permits for family members. The Golden Visa program allows the investor to get Italian residency for their spouse, dependent children and dependent parents.

Opportunity to obtain permanent residence and citizenship. After living in Italy for five years, the investment visa holder can apply for permanent residence and benefit from additional rights. These include the right to access Italian social security services and work or study in other EU countries without a special permit.

After residing in the country for another five years, or ten years in total, the Investor Visa for Italy program participant can apply for citizenship.

Once citizenship is obtained, one gets an Italian passport and can enjoy the full rights of the country’s citizens. Examples are the right to visa-free travel to more than 190 countries, voting and holding a public office.

Italy Golden Visa benefits

Italy has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 53 sites of cultural and 5 sites of natural heritage, making the country an attractive place to explore and live in

Who is eligible for Italy Golden Visa?

Non-EU citizens over 18 with no criminal records and who can prove the legitimacy of the funds they would like to invest can qualify for the Italy Golden Visa program.

The investor must provide a written commitment to investing in the Italian economy and prove having sufficient capital to reside in Italy: at least €8,500 of income obtained during the previous financial year.

The investor’s family members who can become Italian residents are the following:

  • the spouse over 18 and officially married to the investor;

  • minor children, including those of a spouse;

  • children over 18, unmarried, having no children of their own and financially dependent on the investor;

  • parents financially dependent on the investor, with no age limit.

Financially independent adult children and other family members of the investor are not allowed to participate in the Italy Golden Visa program.

Investment options for getting residency via the Italy Golden Visa program

1. Investments in an innovative startup. In this case, the investment is made in a government-approved innovative startup. When applying to participate in the program, the investor must provide a business plan.

Startups are the riskiest option, but it has a minimum investment sum — €250,000.

2. Investments in a limited Italian company. The investor can purchase listed or unlisted shares of an incorporated company operating in Italy.

The minimum amount of the investment is €500,000.

3. Philanthropic donation. In this case, the investment is made in a public interest project related to education, culture, science, immigration, and cultural and natural heritage preservation.

The amount of funds needed is €1,000,000.

4. Purchase of government bonds. Investors can buy bonds issued by the Italian government with a remaining maturity of over two years. These bonds include:

  • Zero-coupon Treasury Bonds (CTZ);

  • Treasury Certificates (CCT/CCTeu);

  • Long-Term Treasury Bonds index-linked to Eurozone inflation;

  • Long-term Treasury Bonds (BTP);

  • BTP ITALIA.

Bonds are the most secure option but also the most expensive one. The investment capital needed is €2,000,000.

Application process for obtaining the Italy Golden Visa

1

7+ days

Submitting a request for a Nulla Osta — a certificate of no impediment

The application and all the documents are submitted electronically via the portal of the Investor Visa Committee.

The required documents for application include the following:

  • a passport copy;

  • a copy of the CV;

  • documents confirming financial resources to be invested or donated;

  • documents confirming the lawfulness and transferability of the capital;

  • documents proving the absence of criminal charges;

  • a description of the chosen investment or donation option and the prior investment experience;

  • documents confirming the consent of the investment or donation-receiving party;

  • an electronically signed Declaration of Commitment to using the funds that states the amount to be invested and the commitment to invest no later than 3 months after entering Italy.

The application is submitted free of charge.

2

30 days

Obtaining a Nulla Osta

The Investor Visa Committee reviews the application, and either approves or rejects it or requests additional documents.

The certificate is valid for six months from the issue date.

3

7+ days

Submitting an investor visa application

The application is submitted to an Italian Consulate or Embassy in the country of residence.

Documents should be in English or Italian or have certified translations into one of these languages. Including the following:

  • a valid passport;

  • one photo in a passport format;

  • the Nulla Osta and all the original hard copies of documents submitted to obtain it;

  • confirmation of accommodation in Italy;

  • proof of income of at least €8,500 during the previous fiscal year;

  • proof of residence in the relevant consular district.

The consular visa fee is €116 per applicant.

4

Up to 120 days

Obtaining an investor visa

The Consulate reviews the provided documents and decides on visa issuance.

5

7+ days

Travelling to Italy and submitting a residence permit application

Within 8 days after entering Italy, the investor has to personally visit the Questura, i.e. the Police office, and request an Investor Residence Permit.

The investor needs to submit the arrival date, the location of the Questura and the date of application in the Questura via the Investor Visa Committee portal.

Costs at this stage are about €100.

6

Up to 3 months

Investing

Within 3 months from the application date, the investor must fully transfer the funds and provide confirmation documents.

In case this condition is not met, the visa is cancelled.

7

30+ days

Getting a Residence Permit card

After all documents are provided, and the investment is made, the Migration Service of Italy reviews the application and issues a Residence Permit card.

Documents confirming the investment

Depending on the chosen investment option, the Golden Visa applicant provides specific documents to qualify for the residence permit.

Investment option

Confirmation documents

Investment in an Italian startup or limited company

  1. Bank statements confirming the investment.

  2. A bank statement validation letter signed by an authorised representative of the entity.

  3. In case of a listed company investment: a copy of a securities dossier.

  4. In case of investment in an unlisted company: a letter confirming the investment and a copy of the act of transfer filed by the receiving party.

  5. In case of share purchase: a Certificate of Shares Deposit at a financial institution or an Italian bank.

Philanthropic donation

  1. A copy of the public donation deed.

  2. A letter from the receiving party confirming the receipt of the donation.

  3. Bank statements confirming the donation.

  4. A bank statement validation letter signed by an authorised representative of the entity.

Government Bonds Investment

  1. A certificate of the securities deposit in a financial institution in Italy.

  2. A copy of the securities dossier.

Italy Golden Visa validity and renewal

Initially, the Italy Residence Permit by investment is granted for two years. After its expiration, the residence permit can be extended for another three years.

A residence permit renewal is available only for investors able to prove that they have maintained their investment in Italy.

To renew the residence permit, the participant of the Golden Visa Program must obtain a new Nulla Osta, make an application and get a new residence permit card.

The application for a residence permit renewal must be provided at least 60 days before the permit expires.

Getting Italy citizenship through the Golden Visa

The Investor Visa for Italy does not provide a direct way of getting Italy citizenship. However, it significantly simplifies the process of becoming a citizen of Italy.

After five years of regular residency in Italy, program participants can apply for permanent residence. After residing in Italy for another five years, a resident becomes eligible to apply for Italy citizenship by naturalisation.

Italian law allows dual citizenship meaning that, in case the country of the current citizenship does not prohibit having a second citizenship, the investor can have two passports.

Getting Italian citizenship by residency

Italy was the fourth EU country that granted most new citizenships after Spain, France, and Germany in recent years. Italian citizens can travel visa-free to 192 states and territories

Frequently asked questions

  • Does Italy have a Golden Visa program?

    Yes, in 2017, Italy launched the Golden Visa program allowing non-EU citizens to get residence by investment in the Italian economy. A potential investor can choose one of four available options and can include their family members in the application.

  • How to apply for an Italian residence permit?

    To apply for an Italian residence permit by investment, you need to obtain a Nulla Osta certificate confirming the absence of obstacles to investment and obtain an investor visa in an Italian Consulate or Embassy in your country. Then you should enter Italy and make an investment, which gives you the right to apply for a residence permit.

    The Application process for obtaining the Italy Golden Visa section describes the procedure.

  • Can I get residency if I buy property in Italy?

    No, Italian law does not grant a residence permit based on purchasing a property. But you can get it by participating in an Italy Golden Visa program. The possible options are an investment in a startup or a limited company, a philanthropic donation and a purchase of government bonds.

  • How much to invest to get residency in Italy?

    The amount of funds to be invested in getting residency depends on the chosen investment option:

    1. An innovative startup investment €250,000.

    2. A business investment €500,000.

    3. A philanthropic donation €1,000,000.

    4. Purchase of government bonds €2,000,000.

  • How to get Italy citizenship by investment?

    According to the laws of Italy, investing does not grant the right to apply for Italian citizenship. But participation in the Investment Visa for Italy program allows obtaining Italy citizenship by naturalisation in 10 years.

  • How long does it take to get Italian citizenship after residency?

    Under the Investment Visa for Italy program, non-EU investors can apply for Italy citizenship based on 10 years of permanent residency in the country.

    The initial residence card is issued for two years, with the possibility of extending for another three years. After residing in Italy for five years, the investor becomes entitled to apply for permanent residence. Five more years later, i.e. ten years in total, the investor gets the right to apply for citizenship.

  • Are there any other Golden Visa programs in Europe?

    Yes, several other European countries offer Golden Visa programs, including Austria, Greece, Malta, Portugal, and Switzerland. The minimum required investment sum depends on the country, starting at €30,000.

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