What is an Italy Golden Visa?
Italy Golden Visa is a program that allows non-EU nationals to obtain Italian residence permits by investment.
It offers four investment options that vary in terms of investment sum. The American investor can contribute to the country’s economy by investing at least €250,000.
Italy Golden Visa is not the kind that is affixed to a passport. The US investors receive it as a separate document — a residence card. It is valid for two years and can be renewed for another three years.
After five years of residence status, the US investor can apply for permanent residence in Italy. To obtain Italian citizenship, the American investor has to reside 10 years in the country. Italy allows dual citizenship, so renouncing American passports is unnecessary.
Investment options for the Italy Golden Visa
Four investment options encourage foreign investors to contribute to Italy's economy. You cannot combine several options to reach the required sum of investment. You must choose one of them.
Investment in an innovative startup €250,000+. A US investor can purchase stakes or shares of one of the innovative startups approved by Italian authorities. At the time of application, the US investors must provide a business plan and a confirmation of their financial resources.
Business investment €500,000+. The US citizen can invest in listed or unlisted shares in a company incorporated and operated in Italy. The company is considered working if it is in an active state and has already filed at least one balance sheet by the date of the investor's application.
At the time of application, the investor would also need to indicate the company's name and tax code.
Investment in a philanthropic organization €1,000,000+. The US investor can support an Italian project of public interest in culture, education, immigration management, scientific research, or preservation of cultural and natural heritage.
This option is the most popular among investors.
Purchase of government bonds €2,000,000+. The purchase of government bonds is the least risky investment option and requires the least involvement. The US citizen can invest in CCT, CCTeu, CTZ, BTP, and BTP ITALIA with a maturity of at least two years.
For each option, the investor must pay a processing fee of €116 and a fee for a residence permit of €112 per family member.
Step-by-step procedure for obtaining the Italy Golden Visa
It takes 6—8 months to obtain a residence permit by investment. The American investor can get legal support. Most steps can be carried out by the lawyers on a power of attorney.
Immigrant Invest offers a pre-check of the US investor through the international database, which helps indicate potential issues. This verification reduces the risk of visa refusal down to 1%.
The procedure is mandatory and completely confidential; the investor provides only a copy of the passport. Immigrant Invest signs an agreement with the US investor only knowing the check results. If there are any risks, we offer a solution.
Nulla Osta is a certificate which confirms the absence of obstacles to obtaining a Golden Visa. It allows the American investor to apply for a visa within six months from the date of Nulla Osta approval. The investor provides Immigrant Invest with all the necessary documents to get a certificate.
Lawyers translate documents and certify copies. Then they create an account for the investor on the program website, fill out a personal form and upload the documents:
- a copy of the passport;
- a certificate of professional experience;
- documents confirming the availability of investments;
- a signed application obliging the investor to transfer investments after getting a visa.
The application is considered within 30 days. The Committee may request additional documents or conduct a video interview. Nulla Osta’s results are notified to the investor’s account. The certificate is valid for 6 months.
During the Nulla Osta’s validation period, the US investor must apply for an Italy Golden Visa at the Italian consulate in their country and provide the following documents:
- 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 expenses the health care expenses — €8,500+;
- a photo.
The US investor also needs to pass fingerprinting and pay a consular fee. Immigrant Invest lawyers accompany the US investor throughout the procedure and help with the application.
The consulate checks the documents of the US investor and their family members. The maximum period of consideration of a request is 120 days. In practice, visas are approved within 10—20 days. The answer is sent to the investor’s email address.
The Italy Golden Visa is valid for two years. The American investor must enter Italy and apply for a residence permit during this period.
After entering Italy, the investor needs to:
- personally submit documents to the Migration Service — Questura within eight days. The investor provides a copy of a passport, two photos, a revenue stamp, and postage receipts.
- make an entire investment or a donation according to the investment option — within three months. Otherwise, the residence permit is canceled;
- upload documents confirming the fulfillment of the investment conditions to the website of the Program Committee.
The Migration Service of Italy examines the documents of the investor and their family. The investor has 30 days to provide the necessary documents if additional questions arise. The residence permit is valid for two years.
The procedure for a residence permit renewal is similar to the initial application. The application for a new residence permit card must be submitted no less than 60 days before the expiry date of the previous one. It is valid for three years.
Visa requirements for the US applicants and their family members
Requirements for the principal applicant:
- to be over 18;
- to have sufficient funds for the investment;
- to be able to show proof of the legitimacy of the income;
- written Declaration of Commitment to invest in the Italian economy;
- proof of sufficient funds to reside in Italy;
- no criminal record;
- valid health insurance.
US investors are allowed to include their family members in the application.
Requirements for the family members:
- spouse over 18;
- children, including children of the spouse, under 18;
- unmarried children, over 18, with no children of their own;
- parents — of no age limit and financially dependent on the investor.
Siblings and independent adult children can not be included in the Italy Golden Visa application.
What are the benefits of Italy residence for Americans?
Residency for family members. Italy Golden visa for US citizens allows the investors to add their family members to the application, and they will obtain residency as well. Among the allowed participants are a spouse, children under 18, unmarried or disabled children over 18 and parents.
Safe haven. The Italian residence permit allows US investors to enter Italy anytime, even when the borders are closed for foreigners.
There are no time limits for residents to stay in the country. At the same time, they do not have to live in Italy as long as they do not plan to obtain citizenship.
Special tax regime. After spending at least 183 days a year in Italy, the American investor becomes a tax resident. To apply for a special tax regime, the US investor with an Italian residence permit must pay an annual tax of €100,000 for themselves and an additional €25,000 for each family member.
They become exempt from taxes on profit outside Italy. Besides, they must only pay gift and inheritance taxes on Italian assets. The validation period of the special tax regime is 15 years.
Comfortable place to live, work and raise children. With an Italian residence permit, the US investors and their families may receive employment with no restrictions, open bank accounts, get medical treatment and enroll their children in kindergartens and schools.
US children with Italian residence permits can enter local universities under the same conditions as native citizens. The benefit is that tuition and associated costs are lower than for other foreign students.
Due to the hasteless and peaceful way of life, the Italians have a friendly and cheerful attitude towards foreign citizens. Such a tranquil and kind environment disposes to comfortable settling free of rush and stress. Italians are very helpful, so no matter which city the US family chooses to settle in, they will receive a soft happy attitude from the locals.
Cost and quality of life. The comparative cost of living in the US and Italy is significant.
Compared with the cost of living in New York, Rome's payments for goods and services are considerably lower, except for the basic utilities. The monthly cost for electricity, heating, cooling, and water is usually around $250, while in New York, the average price is $170.
Regarding rental housing, the three-bedroom apartment in the city center of NY is $7,500, while in Rome, the residents may find an apartment with the same requirements for $2,500.
A cult of food is very common in Italy. That's why the locals pay a lot of attention to its quality. Fruits and vegetables are fresh and ripe, and the price is not high — $1—2. Coffee is a must-have meal in Italy during the whole day. The price is around $1,70—2, while it reaches $5—7 in the US.
Besides, the local citizens are aware of different ways to save money. Coupons, stickers for purchases, stocks, outlets and huge sales of up to 70% may help US families manage their expenses economically.
Location and climate. Italy residence permit allows US citizens to travel around Europe at low prices. Not only are tickets affordable, but also many European cities are close at hand. The duration of the flights to other European cities is 1—2 hours. It is common among European citizens to travel just for weekends.
Italy is a warm sunny country with a Mediterranean climate, surrounded by the sea from all sides. Wherever you decide to live, reaching the seashore takes a maximum of 3 hours. The closest beach to Rome is Ostia, and you can get there by train for $1,6.
However, the most picturesque landscapes are located a bit far — towards the cities of Sperlonga and Gaeta in the south or in the north — towards Santa Marinella. There the beaches are cleaner, and the water is more crystal clear.
Italy is a versatile country where US citizens may enjoy its historical sites, spectacular landscapes, slow pace of life, and cozy ancient streets and roads along the seashores.
Best places for Americans to live in Italy
Italy is one of the desirable countries to move to due to its beautiful cityscapes, picturesque 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.
The settling place depends on your preferences and way of life, whether you prefer a hectic lifestyle with developed infrastructure and cultural background or a more tranquil environment with fresh air and a village atmosphere.
Rome is the capital of Italy and the largest city in the country. It's a comfortable and beautiful place to live, for it embraces all the necessary aspects of life: developed infrastructure, transport accessibility, magnificent architecture, nightlife, pleasant climate with up to 320 sunny days a year, a few hours to the sea and the Alps.
In Rome, the cult of food is of great importance. The products are always fresh and of high quality — especially wine, meat and cheese. You will never be deceived in a restaurant since Roman chefs take great responsibility for their work and fear failure.
Valle d'Aosta is a region in Italy located in the Western Alps, with borders along France and Switzerland. It takes only two hours by car to reach two famous cities — Milan and Geneva.
This region is considered one of the wealthiest in Italy. In addition, every year, the region's capital, Aosta, takes the leading position in the rankings regarding living standards.
Valle d'Aosta region has the lowest unemployment rate. This place is a wonderful choice for those loving an active way of life in the mountains throughout the year. Aosta is rich in high-quality local cuisine, ancient castles and picturesque lakes.
Amalfi coast is a southern coast of Italy along which runs a famous road — Amalfi Drive. It follows the coast about 50 miles from Salerno to Piano di Sorrento. Amalfi Drive is a narrow serpentine that runs through the hills and cliffs, old towns and lemon groves, and along beaches, coves and vineyards. On steep cliffs, the small colorful houses are located.
Settling on the Amalfi coast is the best choice for those seeking solitude and village neighborhoods. The population of the Amalfi villages varies from 800 to 5,000 citizens.
How to move to Italy from the USA: flights, documents, citizenship
Necessary documents. After getting the residence permit, the American investor receives their ID number, tax code, and Italian health card. These documents provide access to all public services, such as medical care, public schools, social security office, and opening bank accounts.
To feel safe and secure while waiting for the residence permit, you may prepare extra copies of your documents, such as the following:
- the written Declaration of Commitment to investing in the Italian economy;
- documents confirming the availability to invest, reside in Italy, and cover health expenses;
- the marriage certificate translated into Italian and legalized;
- the written proof of family status translated in Italian and legalized, and its copies;
- written proof of no criminal record;
- valid health insurance;
- a Nulla Osta certificate;
- a certificate of professional experience;
- the contract of the purchase or lease of residential property in Italy.
Flights. The average price for a direct ticket with luggage is $1,300. The price is around $900 if you purchase it in advance. With transfers and without luggage, one ticket can cost $500. The duration of a direct flight is 8—12 hours.
Italian airports are located near Venice, Naples, Bologna, Verona, and Florence. Speaking of Rome and Milan, the nearest airports are 30 miles away. You can fly from the US to Italy from almost any airport in Washington, Atlanta, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities.
The flights are direct, not to all of the airports. It depends on the city of departure and arrival. But even if there is a transfer, usually it is short — from 1 to 3 hours.
Moving pets. To move animals to Italy from the US, obtaining a European Community veterinary certificate for each pet is mandatory. American citizens may enter Italy with up to a maximum of five pets from the list:
- birds — small birds except for parrots;
- small fish;
- common frogs;
- common reptiles;
- rodents — except rabbits and hares;
- common lizards and green lizards;
- small turtles.
Birds might be subject to veterinary controls at the point of entry and can only be introduced through Milan Malpensa Airport or Rome Fiumicino Airport. The US passengers with a bird are responsible for contacting the Veterinary Authorities at the port of entry in advance to schedule an appointment.
Citizens from the United States can check all necessary information about the pet's transportation at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Cats and dogs must be over three months old and can travel from the United States to Italy as long as they have the following:
- a valid Veterinary Certificate — stating the owner's details, a description of the animal, details of identification and vaccinations;
- a valid rabies vaccine — if this is the animal's first vaccine, then it must wait for 21 days before entering the country;
- a tattoo or a microchip;
- the cage or carrier labeled with the owner's name, address and contact numbers in Italy.
Once in Italy, an Italian vet can issue an EU Pet Passport, allowing one to travel with cats, dogs and ferrets within Europe. If you are traveling with any other pets, check the country's national rules for information on the entry conditions.
Driving in Italy. The American citizens registered as residents in Italy must apply for an Italian driving license within one year of the date of obtaining a residence permit. There is no agreement between the US and Italy for reciprocal recognition of these documents.
It means that US citizens cannot obtain an Italian license in exchange for their domestic one and must go through the standard procedure, including a written test, a driving test and a medical examination.
Conditions for obtaining Italian citizenship. Investment does not allow US investors to get Italian citizenship directly. However, under certain conditions, the investors have this opportunity after 10 years of residing in Italy: five years based on a residence permit and five years based on permanent residence.
Requirements for getting permanent residence and citizenship in Italy:
- rent or own a residential property in Italy;
- have a stable income and pay taxes in the country;
- pass an Italian language test at the B1 level;
- have no criminal record;
- have no tax or public levy debt;
- leave the country for no longer than 6 months per year;
- be absent in Italy for no more than one year in the five years before the application — except for studies and medical treatment needs.
Processing time for Italian citizenship applications takes from three months to three years, depending on the queue and each case. As long as all the application conditions are met, the government employees set a date for the original document transfer.
Italy allows dual citizenship. Italian citizens may have more than one, as long as this does not contradict the USA requirements.
- Italy Golden Visa is the first step for obtaining an Italy residence permit for US citizens and their families.
- To obtain an Italy residence permit by investment, the American investor must choose one of the investment options: an innovative startup, a business investment, a philanthropic organization, or a purchase of government bonds.
- The cheapest investment option is investing in an innovative startup — €250,000+. The most popular is an investment in a philanthropic organization — €1,000,000+.
- The US investors must reside for 10 years in Italy to become eligible for Italian citizenship.
- Italy allows dual citizenship. It means the investor does not have to renounce the American passport.
- Italy residence permit offers the US investor many benefits, such as a special tax regime, education for children and an opportunity to live in Italy for the validity period of the Golden visa.
Frequently asked questions
All non-EU citizens, including Americans, can apply for the Italy Golden Visa.
No. It is only possible to invest in an innovative startup, business, philanthropic organization or government bonds.
The investment amount varies from €250,000 to €2,000,000 depending on the investment option.
Italy Golden Visa is valid for 2 years. After that, it can be renewed for the next 3 years.
Investment does not lead to Italy citizenship directly. But after residing for 10 years in the country, the US investor can apply for an Italian passport.
The US investor needs to get a residence permit in Italy, reside for 10 years and then they can apply for Italian citizenship. The investor does not have to renounce American citizenship.
No, buying property does not permit the investors to reside. Italy residence permit can be obtained by one of four investment options.
The US investor can include a spouse, children under 18, unmarried or disabled children over 18 and parents.
Our company cannot guarantee obtaining of Italy Golden Visa since each case is different. However, Immigrant Invest offers preliminary Due Diligence, which reduces the risk of visa refusal down to 1%.