The Italy Golden Visa program for UK citizens: an overview
The Italy Golden Visa, officially known as the Italy Investor Visa program, offers a unique opportunity for UK citizens to gain residency in one of Europe’s most culturally rich and economically vibrant nations. The Italian authorities launched the Golden Visa program in 2017 to draw foreign investors into their economy.
Potential applicants have multiple avenues available for investing under this program. The range is between €250,000 and €2 million, depending on the chosen form of investment — which includes bonds, shares, or donations towards innovative startups within Italy.
In essence, as you become part of the Italian residents' community, you gain access to healthcare services and education facilities while enjoying visa-free travel within Schengen countries. You'll also have legal permission to work or establish your business venture.
6 Key benefits of obtaining Italy Golden visa for UK citizens
1. Visa-free travel across Schengen Area countries without needing additional visas or permits. Italian residents can spend up to 90 days out of 180 there.
2. Creating a safe haven or moving to Italy. The Golden Visa gives an investor the opportunity to visit Italy at any time, even when the country’s borders are closed to foreigners. Residents can stay in the country as long as they want. Simultaneously, they don’t have to live in Italy if they are not planning to acquire citizenship.
3. Tax incentives are available for UK citizens residing in Italy, which means acquiring tax residency status isn't mandatory. Foreigners become Italian residents only if they spend at least 183 days a year there. To apply for a special tax regime, UK applicants for an Italy Golden Visa have to pay an annual fee of €100,000 instead of standard progressive taxes on their global earnings. This can be particularly beneficial if they possess significant wealth or high incomes outside of Italy. Additional family members can also opt into this regime by paying an extra €25,000 per person annually. The duration of a special tax regime is 15 years.
4. Residency for family members. The investor is able to add their close family members to the application, and they will also obtain residency. A spouse, minor children, disabled children over 18, and the applicant’s parents are among the people who can participate alongside the investor.
5. Lower prices for children’s education. Adolescents with Italian residence can enter Italian universities on the same conditions as Italian citizens. The tuition fee is lower for them than for foreign students.
6. Way to become an Italian citizen. Under the Italy Golden Visa program, a resident must continue investing in the economy of the country. Thus, residence permit is given to an applicant for two years, with the possibility of extending it for three-year periods. After ten years of residency in Italy, an investor and their family can become fully fledged Italian citizens.
Requirements for obtaining an Italy Golden Visa
These conditions, outlined by the Italian government, are designed to attract serious investors who can substantially contribute to Italy's economy.
Fulfilling financial commitments. Within three months after entering Italy with their Investor Visa, applicants need to make an investment of between €250,000—2 mln.
Maintaining residency status implies continuing to make sizable investments in the country's economy through chosen channels.
Economic activity and legal compliance requirements. Potential investors are also required to provide proof of active economic contribution via owning businesses, being self-employed, and maintaining legal standing throughout the entire process from application until the issuance of the residence permit card.
In addition, an investor must be:
- over 18 years old;
- with sufficient capital to invest;
- able to prove that the capital is legal;
- with no criminal records;
- with valid health insurance.
4 Investment options for securing an Italy Golden Visa as a UK citizen
Here are some of the investments UK citizens can make that will set them on course towards obtaining their Golden Visa in Italy.
1. Fostering innovation through startup investments. This route does double duty by providing potential economic returns while also stimulating innovation within Italy’s economy, thus contributing positively to its growth trajectory. This option requires investing at least €250,000.
2. Setting up or funding a limited company. This approach presents both residential status and potential growth opportunities under the Italian investor visa program. The applicant has to invest €500,000 in either setting up a new limited company or injecting funds into an existing one registered within Italian territory.
3. Donations towards cultural or environmental projects. Making philanthropic strides could be another pathway towards securing a permanent residence permit via the Golden Visa program. This option involves donating no less than €1 million to cultural projects like restoration initiatives or environmental sustainability programs endorsed by the Italian government.
4. Investing in government bonds. This path provides dual benefits: gaining access to residency through the investor visa committee while simultaneously supporting one of Mediterranean Europe’s most vibrant economies. Moreover, this option is the least risky. However, it requires €2,000,000 or more.
The added advantage here is that the investors are contributing significantly towards improving health systems, preserving heritage sites, and enhancing public facilities across the beautiful landscapes of Italy.
How to obtain Italy Golden Visa: step-by-step procedure
The process of acquiring an Italy Golden Visa for UK citizens takes 3-6 months.
The Immigrant Invest lawyers help our clients prepare all the necessary documents and accompany the applicant and his family members throughout the whole process. Here is the step-by-step procedure for applying for an Italy Golden Visa.
Immigrant Invest has its own compliance department that carries out preliminary Due Diligence. It helps to indicate potential issues that might arise during the whole process and reduce the risk of rejection to 1%.
The preliminary check is completely confidential. The investor needs to provide only a passport.
Nulla Osta is a certificate of the absence of obstacles for obtaining an investor visa. It gives the investor the right to apply for a visa within six months. To obtain a certificate, the investor collects documents and submits them to Immigrant Invest.
Lawyers translate documents and certify copies. Then they create an account for the investor on the program website, fill out a personal questionnaire, and upload the necessary documents:
- a copy of the passport;
- certificate of professional experience;
- documents confirming the presence of investments;
- a written commitment to investing in the Italian economy after obtaining the visa.
The program committee considers the investor’s application within 30 days. It may request additional documents or schedule a video interview. As soon as the Committee makes a decision, a notice of the extradition of Nulla Osta will be sent to your personal account on the website.
Nulla Osta is valid for six months. During this period, the investor must apply for a visa at the Italian consulate in their country. They must provide the following:
- a Nulla Osta certificate;
- a copy of the passport;
- a contract of the purchase or lease of residential property in Italy;
- a confirmation of income that exceeds health care costs (€8500+);
- a photo.
Immigrant Invest lawyers accompany the investor and help them apply for a visa.
The consulate checks the documents of the investor and their family. The maximum period for consideration of an application is 120 days. Usually, visas are approved within 10—20 days from the date of application. The answer is sent to the investor’s email address.
The investor visa is valid for two years. During this period, you need to enter Italy and apply for a residence permit.
After entering Italy, the investor needs to:
- personally submit documents for a residence permit to the Questura (Migration Service), within eight days;
- transfer investments or make a charitable donation, depending on the option chosen, within three months.
The investor provides Questura with a copy of the passport, two photos, and a revenue stamp. After the transfer of money, the investor uploads documents confirming the fulfilment of investment conditions, for example, a certificate of securities deposit, to the website of the Program Committee.
The Migration Service of Italy examines the documents of the investor and their family. If additional questions arise, the investor has 30 days to provide the necessary documents.
The residence permit has to be renewed after 2 years of holding it. The procedure is similar to the initial application: one needs to collect the same documents and submit them online, pass fingerprinting, make an application, and obtain new residence permit cards. A new residence permit is valid for 3 years.
The application for renewal must be submitted no less than 60 days before the expiration date of the previous residence permit.
- The Italy Golden Visa program is a gateway to the Mediterranean lifestyle for UK citizens. It lets the investors enjoy constantly open borders to Italy and the states of the Schengen Area, where they can spend at least 90 days out of 180.
- The investment options for obtaining Italian residency through investment start at €250,000.
- There are four investment options: investment in innovative startups; buying shares of a company that is incorporated or operates in Italy; buying government bonds; or donating to philanthropic organisations.
- The Investor Visa provides a special tax regime that allows a UK citizen to pay a €100,000 fee annually instead of paying a progressive tax on their global income. The investor’s family members can also choose this tax regime for €25,000 per capita.
- The process of applying for the Italy Golden Visa usually takes 3—6 months.
- The Italy Golden Visa opens up opportunities for citizenship after ten years of Italian residency.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, purchasing real estate doesn’t qualify for an Italian Golden Visa. Investments must be in areas like government bonds, startups, or philanthropic donations.
Taxation depends on several factors, including residency status and the type of income. However, new residents can benefit from attractive tax incentives under this program.
A British passport allows short stays without a visa post-Brexit, but to reside long-term, you need to obtain legal residence, for example, through an Italy Golden Visa.
Your investment choice determines the minimum amount required. For instance, investing in a startup requires at least €250,000, while buying government bonds starts at €2,000,000.
Usually, it takes from 3 to 6 months to obtain an Italian residence permit. This largely depends on how promptly you are able to gather and submit all the necessary documents. However, generally speaking, you can expect to receive your Investor Visa in about 6 months from the date of your application.
Not necessarily. Even though regular tax residency demands spending more than 183 days per year within the country, there is no such requirement with the Golden Visa.
Yes, the Italy Golden Visa program offers residency to non-EU citizens who make significant financial investments in the country.
The initial Italian Golden Visa lasts two years, but it can be renewed every three years thereafter, provided investment conditions are maintained.