Second Citizenship
August 1, 2023
Reading Time: 8 min

Italy Golden Visa guide: how to get a residence permit by investment followed by citizenship

Golden Visa, or the Italian Investor Visa, allows non-EU citizens to obtain a residence permit by contributing €250,000 or more to the country’s economy. The Italy Investor Visa program is suitable for people wishing to live in Italy or travel without visas in Europe.

The residence permit card is valid for two years and can be renewed for another three years. After five years of residence status, Golden Visa investors can apply for permanent residence in Italy.

After another five years, they become eligible for Italian citizenship.

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Explains the terms of Italy Golden Visa program

Italy residency by investment

Italy Golden Visa guide: how to get a residence permit by investment followed by citizenship

What is Italy Golden Visa?

The meaning of the Italy Golden Visa program is to obtain a residence permit in the country. It is the fastest way for wealthy people to become legal residents of Italy. A residence permit comes with guaranteed legal rights, including the right to live, work, study, and receive medical care in the country.

Italy Golden Visa is not the kind that is affixed to a passport. Investors receive it as a separate document: a residence card.

Another name for Italy Golden Visa is Italy Investor Visa. The rules for obtaining an Italy visa for investors are set in the “Entry and Residence for Investors” article of the Consolidated Act on Immigration.

Benefits of the Italy Golden Visa program

Visa-free travel to the EU and Schengen Area. Investors and their family members with residence permits in Italy may visit the Schengen countries without a visa and stay up to 90 days out of 180 days.

EU citizenship in 10 years. The Italy Investment Visa is the first step toward EU naturalization since Italy is part of the area. Italian citizenship can be obtained after 10 years of permanently residing in the country. If investors do not wish to obtain citizenship, they do not have to live in Italy.

Comfortable place to live, work and raise children. The Italy Golden Visa entitles investors and their family members to reside in the country, get employment with no restrictions, enrol their children in kindergartens and schools, open bank accounts, and seek medical treatment.

Italy is one of the most desirable countries to move to thanks to the beautiful cityscapes, magnificent nature, and friendly people. The country is famous for its cultural heritage — the unique architecture, music, and art — and is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites leader. More than 50 million people visit Italy every year.

European tertiary education. Children of investors with Italian residence permits can more easily enrol in an Italian university. Tuition and associated costs will be lower than for other international students.

Special tax regime. A person who spends more than 183 days a year in Italy becomes a tax resident. The new tax residents can apply for a special tax regime. Investors may pay an annual fixed tax of €100,000 for themselves and €25,000 for each family member and are exempt from tax on profits outside Italy. Gift and inheritance taxes will only apply to Italian assets.

Preferential conditions will be available to those applicants who have not been tax residents of Italy for the previous 9 out of 10 years and have previously obtained permission from the local tax office Agenzia Delle Entrate. The period of validity of this exemption is 15 years.

Access to one of the world’s major markets. Italy is the third-largest economy in the Eurozone and the 8th largest globally, with a GDP of around $2 trillion. Its domestic market offers diversity for business, with a population of over 60 million and a GDP per capita of over $35,000.

Italian residency by investment

Piazza Venezia, Rome. Ancient ruins of Trajan Forum, built on the order of the emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia after 106 AD

Who can apply for Italy Golden Visa?

Citizens of countries outside the EU and Schengen Area are allowed to apply for an Italy Investor Visa.

Requirements for the main applicant

  • over 18;

  • sufficient funds for the investment;

  • proof of the legitimacy of the funds;

  • written Declaration of Commitment that states the amount of money they are willing to invest, and where in Italy they plan to stay;

  • proof of sufficient funds to reside in Italy;

  • no criminal record;

  • valid health insurance.

The investor can include their immediate family members in the Italy Investor Visa application.

Family members that qualify for Italy Golden Visa

  • spouse over 18;

  • unmarried children, including children of the spouse, unmarried and under 18;

  • dependant children with a disability, over 18;

  • dependant parents — of any age if they do not have any other children in their native country, or over 65 if the other children can not support them due to health issues.

Siblings and independent adult children can not be included in the Italy Investor Visa application.

Ultimate comparison of Golden Visa programs

Practical Guide

Ultimate comparison of Golden Visa programs

Investment requirements for Italy Golden Visa

Applicants can choose one of four options provided by the Italy residency by investment program. The minimum investment requirement will depend on the option.

Innovative startup or limited company investment options. The minimum threshold is €250,000 for a startup and €500,000 for equity financing to an Italian limited company. These options require higher risks and extensive involvement but the least amount of investment. It is more suitable for those planning to move to Italy. Applicants must prepare a business plan and a cover letter confirming their financial resources.

Italy Golden Visa investment options

€250,000+

Investment in innovative start-ups

€250,000+

Investment in innovative start-ups

€500,000+

Equity investment in a limited company

€500,000+

Equity investment in a limited company

€1,000,000+

Investment in socially important projects

€1,000,000+

Investment in socially important projects

€2,000,000+

Purchasing of government bonds

€2,000,000+

Purchasing of government bonds

Philanthropic donation option. Funds are used to support a project of public interest in the cultural, educational, immigration, scientific, and natural heritage sectors. The minimum threshold is €1,000,000 when supporting culture and social projects. While this investment cannot be returned, this option is the most popular among investors.

Government bond purchase option. The minimum threshold is €2,000,000. This option comes with the least risks and involvement but is the most costly one. Investors can buy Italian government bonds with a remaining maturity of over two years, such as CCT/CCTeu, CTZ, BTP, Long-Term Treasury Bonds index-linked to Eurozone inflation, and BTP ITALIA. The annual yield for 5-year Italian government bonds is 2,3%.

To apply for an Italy Golden Visa, an investor will need to request a Nulla Osta or a certificate of no impediment:

List of documents for Nulla Osta

  1. Contact information.

  2. Passport copy.

  3. CV copy.

  4. Certificate of no criminal record or charges from every country of residence for the last 10 years.

  5. Proof of funds required for the chosen investment option, as well as proof of their legality and transferability.

  6. Description of the investment characteristics and proof of consent from the recipients.

  7. Declaration of commitment to use the funds, and make the relevant investment within 3 months after entering Italy, with an electronic signature.

In 30 days, the Committee will issue a decision to approve or reject the Nulla Osta application. If the certificate is approved, the investor can apply for an Investor Visa via the Italian embassy in their home country.

An Italian residence permit by investment is valid for 2 years. The status can then be renewed for 3 years, provided that the minimum investment is kept. A new Nulla Osta is needed for the renewal. After the renewal, the investor can apply for permanent residency in Italy.

Living in Italy permanently is required only if the residence permit holder wants to get Italian citizenship in the future. Italian language proficiency test is required only if the holder plans to apply for permanent residence or citizenship.

Individual cost calculation of the Italy Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of the Italy Golden Visa

Documents required for Italy Golden Visa

The investor applies for an Italy Investor Visa at the Italian embassy or consulate in their country of residence.

List of documents for an embassy application

  1. Valid passport.

  2. Photo in a passport format.

  3. Nulla Osta certificate and documents that were submitted to obtain it.

  4. Confirmation of accommodation in Italy, such as a hotel booking.

  5. Proof of at least €8,500 earned during the previous year in the country of residence.

  6. Proof of residence in the relevant consular district.

The applicant can prove the existence and legitimacy of their income with bank statements for the last 3 months, as well as with income tax returns. Other options include presenting income from renting out a property, running a business, or shares.

All necessary documents must be translated into Italian or English, notarized, and apostilled. The applicant can apply for a visa in person or via a lawyer.

How to get an Italy Golden Visa: a step-by-step procedure

1

1 day

Submitting a request

Applicant creates a personal account on the web portal of the Investor Visa for Italy Committee or the Italian Start-Up Committee. They enter their contact details and upload the documents required for Nulla Osta. The application is then verified with an electronic signature and uploaded to the portal.

2

Up to 30 days

Obtaining authorisation

The Committee may approve the application, request additional documents, or reject the application.

If the application is approved, the applicant will be able to download their Nulla Osta on the portal. The certificate is valid for six months from the issue date.

3

Up to 90 days

Applying for an Investor Visa

The investor submits their Nulla Osta and other documents to the Italian consulate in the country of residence. They also submit biometric data and pay the consular fee.

4

Up to 8 days

Entering Italy and applying for a residence permit

Within eight working days of entering Italy, the investor submits an application for an Investor Residence Permit at the local immigration office Questura, a police station. The investor also needs to log in to the Visa Committee portal and submit their date of arrival in Italy, the date of application to the Questura, and the location of the Questura.

5

Up to 90 days

Making the Golden Visa contribution

The investor must make an entire investment or donation within three months after arriving in Italy. Otherwise, their residence permit will be cancelled.

6

Up to 30 days

Obtaining a residence permit

The investor uploads the investment confirmation on the Visa Committee portal. The Committee evaluates the evidence of the investment and issues a residence permit. The residence permit is valid for two years.

7

Up to 30 days, after 2 years of residency

Renewing the Italy Golden Visa

At least 60 days before the residence permit expires, the investor can repeat the previous step and renew it for another three years. A new Nulla Osta is required, as well as proof that their investment has been kept in Italy.

Conditions for obtaining Italian citizenship

It is not possible to obtain Italian citizenship by direct investment. After participating in the Italy Golden Visa program, investors get permanent residence in Italy and then citizenship by naturalisation under general conditions.

To obtain Italian citizenship by naturalisation, Golden Visa investors must have lived in the country for at least 10 years: five years based on a residence permit and five years based on permanent residence. They also pass a language test and maintain a clean criminal record.

Conditions for getting a permanent residence status and subsequent citizenship in Italy

  • rent or own residential property in Italy;

  • have a stable income and pay taxes in the country;

  • know Italian at the B1 level;

  • have no criminal record;

  • have no tax or public levy debt.

Applicants for Italian citizenship by naturalisation can not leave the country for longer than 6 months in one year. They can not be absent for more than one year in the 5 years before the application. These rules exclude foreigners who leave the country for studies or medical treatment.

Italy allows dual citizenship. Italian citizens may hold more than one citizenship, as long as this does not contravene the laws of other states.

Is the Italy Golden Visa worth it? Watch the video and find out

Other Golden Visa programs in Europe: conditions and investment requirements

To obtain Italian citizenship, an applicant must have lived in the country for ten years. This route is not for everyone.

Some European countries offer investors the opportunity to get a residence permit and permanent residence much faster. Investors can live, study and work in their chosen country, enjoying the right of visa-free entry to other countries.

The programs’ conditions are less strict than in Italy. In Portugal, for example, investors are granted citizenship after living in the country for five years.

gr-flag Greece offers a residence permit by investment for 5 years, with a chance to apply for citizenship in 7 years. The minimum investment is €250,000. The obtainment period takes 2—6 months.

pt-flag Portugal offers a residence permit by investment for 5 years, with a chance to apply for citizenship after that period. The minimum investment is €250,000. The obtainment period takes 8—10 months.

cy-flag Cyprus offers permanent residence by investment. Investors can renew their status every 2 years, or apply for citizenship in 5 years. The minimum investment is €300,000. The obtainment period takes 3 months or more.

ad-flag Andorra offers a residence permit by investment. The status can be renewed after 2 years for another 2 years, and then for 10 years. Citizenship can be obtained only after 20 years of living in Andorra.

The minimum investment is €400,000. The obtainment period is 2 months.

es-flag Spain offers a residence permit by investment. The status can be renewed after 2 years for another 5 citizenship. After this, investors can get permanent residence, and apply for Spain citizenship in another 5 years.

The minimum investment is €500,000. The obtainment period is 2—3 months.

Which Golden Visa to choose depends on your goal, budget, and plans for obtaining citizenship in the future. Portugal, Greece, and Spain Golden Visas allow visa-free travel to Schengen Agreement countries for 90 days within any 180 days. Andorra residence permit allows visa-free entry to France and Spain.

Portugal and Cyprus Golden visas allow applying for citizenship after 5 years, provided that the residence permit or permanent residence is maintained and the necessary examinations are passed.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain a Italy Golden Visa?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a Italy Golden Visa?

Frequently asked questions

  • What is an Italy Golden Visa?

    Italy Golden Visa program, also known as Italy Investor Visa, is a way to obtain a residence permit in the country by investment. A residence permit comes with guaranteed legal rights, including the right to live, work, study, and receive medical care in the country.

  • How long is the validity of an Italian Investor Visa?

    Two years, after which it can be extended to three years if the investment is maintained.

    To renew the Italy Golden Visa, the investor must obtain a new certificate of no impediment Nulla Osta from the Investor Visa for Italy Committee. The renewal application must be submitted 60 days before the expiry of the existing residence permit.

  • What are the benefits of an Italy Golden visa?

    The Investor Visa allows you to reside, work, and study in Italy. You and your family can visit Schengen Area countries without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days out of 180 days.

    There is a special tax regime for new residents in Italy. They pay a flat tax of €100,000 and are exempt from tax on profits earned outside Italy.

  • Who can apply for an Italy Golden visa?

    Foreigners from countries outside of the EU and Schengen Area are allowed to apply for Italy Investor Visa.

    An applicant has to be over eighteen years old, without a criminal record, and with sufficient capital to invest, proven licitly.

  • Is my family eligible for the Italy Golden Visa program?

    The investor’s spouse and children under 18 may be included in the Italy Investor Visa application. Parents, regardless of age, and children over 18, may only be included if they are mentally or physically disabled, cannot live alone, and are therefore dependent on the investor. Siblings can not be included.

  • Can I work in Italy on an Investor Visa?

    Yes, you can. There are no limitations on work for investors. Foreign citizens with an investor residence permit can run a business, work as employees or be self-employed.

  • Can I obtain Italian citizenship?

    Yes, you can. A residence permit for investment allows requesting permanent residence after 5 years. After 10 years of residing in the country, it is possible to obtain Italian citizenship by naturalisation under general conditions.

  • Does Italy allow dual citizenship?

    Yes, Italian citizens may hold more than one citizenship, as long as this does not contravene the laws of other states.

  • Are there any other Golden Visa programs in Europe?

    Yes. Several European countries offer residence permits or permanent residence by investment: Adorra, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Spain are among them. Their conditions vary depending on each country’s minimum investment and residency requirements.

  • Can you buy Italy citizenship?

    No, it is impossible to buy Italian citizenship or get it by direct investment. But a residence permit can be obtained through the Italy Golden Visa program.

  • Can I get residency in Italy if I buy a house?

    Purchasing real estate in Italy does not entitle foreign citizens to a residence permit in the country. But you can choose other investment options via the Italy Investor Visa program.

  • How much money do I need to invest to get permanent residency in Italy?

    If you take part in the Italy Investor Visa program, the minimum threshold will be €250,000. All investment options are as follows:

    • €250,000 or more for investing in an innovative start-up;

    • €500,000 or more for equity financing to an Italian limited company;

    • €1,000,000 or more as a philanthropic donation;

    • €2,000,000 or more for a purchase of government bonds.

    Italy Investor Visa is a two-year residence permit that can be renewed for another three years. After that, you can apply for permanent residence.

  • What is the duration of an Italy Investor Visa?

    At first, you will receive a residence permit card for 2 years. When these 2 years pass, you will be able to renew the card for another 3 years. After 5 years of residence status, you can apply for permanent residence in Italy.

  • Is there a language requirement to obtain Italy Golden Visa?

    No, there is no mandatory language requirement for the Italy Golden Visa program.