Moving to Italy is a dream for Americans because the country offers something for everyone. If you plan to immigrate with a young family, you will have the best growth opportunities there. Additionally, your family will get access to one of the best healthcare and education systems in Europe. Italy is also an ideal destination for retirees and high-net-worth individuals who want to live in sheer luxury. The alluring landscapes, incredible weather, and easy lifestyle beckon you. Moreover, the tax system of the country is favorable.
While there are so many reasons to move to Italy, you need to do it legally to enjoy these benefits and have a good life. Citizenship options are available if you have ancestral roots in the country, are married to an Italian, or have lived there for a decade. But what if you do not fulfill any of these conditions? Does it mean the end of your Italian dream? Fortunately, you can still move to the country by exploring the alternative of an investor visa. Let us discuss residency by investment in detail.
Residency by investment- Is it worthwhile?
The investor visa is a renewable visa for foreign citizens willing to invest or donate a large sum of money in Italy. The validity of this Golden Visa is two years, and you can seek extensions after this period until you become eligible for citizenship by naturalization. Since the investment required for this option is massive, it is apt for high net worth individuals. It mainly targets non-EU citizens looking to obtain permanent residence and eventually citizenship by investment. Since you will need to shell out big money for a Golden Visa, you expect to understand whether the option is worthwhile. It has several benefits that give you a valid reason to go ahead with the investment. Let us highlight a few for you:
- You get access to visa-free travel anywhere in Europe’s Schengen area
- You need not stay permanently in Italy but still have a valid residency status
- You can avail of high-quality medical care and education facilities
- You get the benefits of a flat tax structure
- You can explore the citizenship option after ten years of residence
- All your family members can come along without extra expense or effort
Eligibility for Investor Visa program
If you are interested in the program, you must know the eligibility requirements first. Of course, you will have to invest in Italy, but there are some essential requisites to fulfill first. The applicant must be over 18 years of age, have a good state of health, and have no criminal record. Further, you will have to pick one of the following investment options in Italy:
- Italian government bonds- A minimum of EUR 2 million
- Donation in projects of public interest, such as research and development, art culture, heritage, education, ecology, and immigration management- A minimum of EUR 1 million
- Italian corporate bonds or shares in a company incorporated and operating in the country- A minimum of EUR 500,000
- Innovative startup- A minimum of EUR 250,000
You must maintain the investment during the validity of the visa and residency in Italy, even on subsequent renewal. The good thing about Golden Visa is that you have to invest money only after completing the process. It makes the option one of the most secure you can find. While Golden Visa is the most popular option for aspirants seeking Italian residency by investment, there are other alternatives too. You can check the StartUp Program and cheaper alternatives such as self-employment residence permit and entrepreneur visa. Further, people planning to spend their retirement years in Italy can explore the elective residence permit. But the Golden Visa continues to be the most popular among these options.
The Investor Visa timelines and process
Like any other immigration option, the Investor Visa has its timelines and process you will have to follow. You can expect the process to take around 90–120 days from the application date, making it a relatively quick process. Once you get the visa, you will have to make the committed investment within three months of entering the country. Further, you will have to follow a series of steps to complete the process. You can visit www.mbersanilaw.com for a complete guide on the procedure from start to end. Meanwhile, we will highlight the steps you need to follow to secure your residency by investment to start a life here.
Step 1- Get a nulla osta
The first step is to apply for a nulla osta (certificate of no impediment), which is an online process. You only have to fill some online forms on the official website and submit scanned copies of required documents to go ahead. These documents include:
- A copy of your passport
- A Curriculum Vitae (CV) highlighting your academic qualifications and professional experience
- Valid proof of legitimate financial resources to invest or donate in Italy
- A description explaining the nature of investment or donation
- Proof of consent from the company/organization where you want to invest or donate
- An electronically signed Declaration of Commitment stating the amount you want to invest and where you intend to live in Italy
- Proof of clean criminal record and good state of health
Once you submit these documents along with a signed declaration, the Investor Visa Committee Secretariat will assess them. After approval, these documents move ahead to the Investor Visa Committee for further evaluation. They may ask you for additional documents if anything is missing. The decision on nulla osta comes within 30 days, and you can apply for the Investor Visa once you get the certificate.
Step 2- Apply for Investor Visa
The nulla osta is valid for six months, so you will have to apply for your Investor Visa within this period. You can apply at the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate with the following documents.
- Copy of the nulla osta
- Original hard copies of documents submitted for obtaining the nulla osta
- Your valid passport
- A passport-size picture
- Proof of residence in your country
- Proof of accommodation in Italy
- Proof of income from the last financial year, indicating you can support yourself and your dependents once you move to Italy
These documents should be in Italian or English to be regarded as valid for the process. If they are in another language, you will have to provide a certified translation. The Embassy/Consulate will review the documents and grant a visa valid for two years.
Step 3- Complete the formalities in Italy
You can fly down to Italy within two years of getting the Investor Visa. When you reach here, there are some formalities you will have to complete to get your residence permit. It starts with a visit to the local Questura (Police Headquarters) to apply for your Investor Visa Residence Permit. The permit is valid for two years from the day you enter Italy. Once you have your permit, it is time to fulfill your investment commitment. If you fail to do it within three months, the authorities will revoke your visa. You can renew the Residence Permit after two years, but you will have to maintain your investment or donation in the country. The subsequent renewals are valid for three years. You become eligible for long-term EU residency after a stay of five years and citizenship by naturalization on completing ten years in the country.
The benefits of expert assistance
Even as Investor Visa is an ideal route to obtain an Italian residency, the paperwork and process make it complicated. It is best to collaborate with a specialist to guide you through the entire steps of the process. Here are the benefits of having them around.
- The investment options are complex, and you may find it difficult to evaluate and find a legitimate one. An Investor Visa expert can help you pick one that is just right for your needs and budget.
- It is easy to be overwhelmed by the documentation involved in applying for the nulla osta and the Investor Visa. Missing out on any detail can lead to rejection, which is the last thing you will want to face. A specialist lawyer can evaluate the documents and ensure they are in place.
- The real challenge for people looking for naturalization in Italy relates to the complex visa and residency laws. You cannot be too sure about subsequent renewals unless an expert guides you.
- Having an Investor Visa expert gives you more confidence and peace of mind about doing everything right. They have the relevant knowledge and experience to ensure that the process stays on the right track.
The Investor Visa is your golden ticket to start a life in Italy, so you must not miss the chance if you have the resources. It is the best option to obtain subsequent citizenship of the country. At the same time, you can get access to most of the rights and privileges you expect even with the residency status.