What is Italy’s investor visa and how can you apply?

What is Italy's investor visa and how can you apply?
Investing in an Italian business is one way to get residency. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP
Italy is keen to attract foreign investment and prepared to cut some red tape to do so. Tuscany-based tax experts MGI Vannucci e Associati explain how investing in Italy could secure you the right to live here.

In recent years, Italian economic policies have invested particularly in measures to make the country more attractive to international investors by facilitating business initiatives and simplifying internal regulations in order to make the bureaucratic system more streamlined for those who want to start a business.

What is the Investor Visa for Italy?

This particular visa has been introduced in our country to attract foreign capital and talent. It therefore represents a measure which, together with the facilitated tax regime of the “flat tax”, allows foreign investors to enjoy important tax benefits and immigration concessions.

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Today these benefits are even more interesting. In fact, the minimum thresholds for investments in innovative companies and startups by foreign investors have been halved, so that they can invest in Italy and enjoy tax breaks even with a lower financial contribution.

The thresholds are now as follows:

  • For investments in instruments representing joint stock companies operating in Italy and maintained for at least two years, the minimum investment threshold went from €1 million to €500,000;
  • For investments in innovative startups registered in the special section of the business register referred to in article 25, paragraph 8, of law decree n.179 of 18 October 2012, the minimum investment threshold went from €500,000 to €250,000.

The reduction of the financial threshold makes Italy the most competitive nation in the European context.

Who is eligible?

The investor visa is valid for two years for non-EU citizens who choose to invest in strategic activities for the Italian economy and companies.

How do you apply?

To obtain a visa, non-EU investors must obtain a nulla osta (certificate of no impediment) issued by the Investors Committee for Italy (IV4I). The procedure is quick: it is concluded within 30 days of sending a complete application. It is free and entirely online. 

After obtaining the nulla osta, the application for an investor visa must be submitted to the diplomatic mission of your place of residence within six months.

Once you receive the visa, you have two years to enter Italy.

What does the investor visa allow you to do?

With the residence permit for investment you can:

  • Circulate freely for the Schengen Area for a maximum period of 90 days within 180 days;
  • After five years of regular residence in Italy, you can apply for an EU residence permit for long-term residents;
  • After ten years of residence, you can apply for Italian citizenship.

Are there tax incentives?

The Investor Visa for Italy programme incentivizes Investments in startups and innovative SMEs. The benefits consist of:

  • For individuals, a deduction from income tax (personal income tax) equal to 30 percent of the amount invested, for a maximum contribution of €1 million. Currently, based on the Relaunch decree, the percentage rises to 50 percent for investments up to €100,000.
  • For limited liability companies, a deduction from the taxable amount for IRES (corporate income tax) purposes equal to 30 percent of the investment, with a maximum threshold set at €1.8 million.

For more information, visit the Italian Ministry of Economic Development's website

MGI Vannucci e Associati are a team of English-speaking chartered accountants and tax experts based in Tuscany, Italy.
 


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