February 1, 2022

Reading Time: 4 min

Italy issued 4 times more residence permits to investors in 2021

But there were only 40 residence permits, although 73% more than in 2020. In total, Italy received 64 applications during the four years of the investment program and earned about 18 million euros.

We tell you why the program is not as in demand as other similar European programs.

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Head of the Maltese office, MBA

Residence permit in Italy, Portugal and Greece by investment: program statistics for 2021

Italy issued 4 times more residence permits to investors in 2021

The residence permit by investment program has been operating in Italy since 2018. To become a resident of the country, participants choose one of four investment options:

  • €250,000+ — investments in innovative start-ups;

  • €500,000 — investments in a local company;

  • €1,000,000+ — investments in socially significant projects;

  • €2,000,000+ — a purchase of government bonds.

The statistics of the program was published by the Ministry of Economic Development of Italy.

How many investors received a residence permit in Italy

Italy approved 50 investor applications out of 64 that were submitted during the residence permit program. Most often, participants chose the option with investments in Italian companies, in second and third places are the purchase of government bonds and investments in startups.

50 investors

Became Italian residents from 2018 to 2021

The number of submitted applications varies by year. Demand has skyrocketed in 2021. The reason is that Italy halved the minimum investment amount for two options in May 2020: these were investments in Italian startups and companies.

The Italian government has also abolished the mandatory residence requirement in the country. Until December 2020, investors had to live in Italy for at least 183 days a year in order to maintain the residence permit.

Residence permit in Italy by investment: how many investors have applied for participation in the program

Most of the applications for a residence permit in Italy were submitted by Russians and Americans, in second place in terms of the number of participants is the United Kingdom, and in third is Canada.

Top 5 countries whose citizens participated in the Italian investment program

Investor’s citizenship

Number of program participants

ru-flag 1. Russia


us-flag 1. USA


gb-flag 2. UK


ca-flag 3. Canada


sy-flag 4. Syria


cn-flag 5. China


il-flag 5. Israel


When applying, investors also got divided on which region of Italy they wanted to settle. The most popular destinations are Milan, Rome, Florence, Sassari and Como.

Which EU countries issue residence permits by investment

Investors can obtain residence permits in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus.

The annual statistics were published by the migration services of Greece, Italy and Portugal. To draw objective conclusions about the demand for the program, you need to compare the results for the same period. Therefore, below we compare the statistics for the programs of Italy, Portugal and Greece for the period from 2018 to 2021.

Italy issued the least residence permit by investment: 50 applicants received a residence permit in the country.

Portugal granted resident permits to 4701 investors, 865 of them got the status in 2021.

Greece issued the most residence permit cards over the past four years: 7401 investors have become residents of the country. The figure is approximate, the statistics for 2021 may still change: the migration service will add to the reports investors who have already bought real estate, but did not have time to receive residence permit cards.

The number of approved investors’ applications for residence permit programs in the European Union: in Portugal, Greece and Italy in 2021

Why investors choose Greece and Portugal

An opportunity to buy property. Investors most often choose the option of buying real estate in order to obtain a residence permit in Greece or Portugal. For example, in 2021, 87% of investors bought Portuguese property to become residents of the country. Italy does not issue a residence permit by investment in real estate.

A residence permit in Portugal can be obtained for the purchase of real estate in one of two ways:

  1. The purchase of one or more new residential or commercial real estate in the amount of €500,000.

  2. The purchase of an object older than 30 years for restoration for €350,000.

If an investor wants to buy a property in a region with a low population density, the value of the property can be 20% less: €400,000 for new properties and €280,000 for historical properties.

Greece offers to obtain a residence permit by investments in real estate in the amount of €250,000. At the same time, it is allowed to buy the entire object, rent a hotel or apartment in a resort complex for 10 years, and also purchase a land plot for construction.

The cost of real estate for obtaining a residence permit by investment



pt-flag A residence permit in Portugal

gr-flag A residence permit in Greece

Investors own real estate for five years in order to maintain a residence permit in the European Union. After five years, the object is allowed to be sold and the money invested to be returned. If real estate prices in Portugal and Greece grow steadily during the ownership of the property, the investor will also earn on the difference in value.

A faster path to citizenship. An investor can apply for Portuguese citizenship if he has maintained the status of a residence permit for five years. To do this, the investor complies with the terms of the program and spends at least seven days a year in the country.

An investor can obtain Greek citizenship after seven years of permanent residence in the country. Five years after the residence permit, it is allowed to apply for permanent residence, after another two years — for citizenship.

Investors receive Italian citizenship by naturalization on a general basis. After five years of owning a residence permit card, an investor can become a permanent resident, and after another five years, they can apply for citizenship.

Terms of obtaining citizenship after a residence permit by investment

5 years

7 years

10 years

pt-flag in Portugal

gr-flag in Greece

it-flag in Italy

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for residence permit programs in Portugal and Greece. If you want to buy real estate and become a resident of one of the EU states, please contact investment program experts for advice.