what is a golden visa

What is a Golden VISA?

The Investor VISA, or so-called Golden VISA, has been introduced by Italian law in 2016 in order to attract foreign investments in Italy. In particular if you are an investor, this specific regulation, within immigration law, allows you the entrance and the accommodation in Italy for periods exceeding three months, outside the quotas system. This is possible if the you make:

  • an investment of at least € 2.000.000,00 in securities issued by the Italian government;
  • an investment of at least € 500.000,00 in equity instruments of a company incorporated and operating in Italy;
  • an investment of at least € 250.000,00 into an existing Italian innovative start-up company; or
  • a philanthropic donation of at least € 1.000.000,00 to support a public interest project, in the fields of culture, education, immigration management, scientific research, recovery of cultural and landscape assets.

Therefore, an investment in a non-regulated Italian limited liability company that will carry out activities like the acquisition of interests, shares, shareholdings in other companies or assets, would be considered a valid investment that meets the Investor Visa requirement.

Who can make the investment?

Both foreign individuals and legal entity can make the investment. The Law no. 12 of September 11, 2020 converting the so-called “Simplifications Decree” has introduced an important novelty for the Investor Visa, by extending the Visa also to foreigners who invest in Italy through corporate vehicles of which they are legal representatives.

It follows that investments or “qualifying” donations can also be made through corporate bonds or foundations.

How can I apply for it?

Before to submit your application, you need to know that:

  • The issuance of the Visa and the relevant residence permit are subject to verification of an actual investment or donation, provided that it is kept for at least two years;
  • The issuance and the validity of the Golden Visa are also subject to verification of the lawful source of the investment;
  • the Golden Visa is issued by an ad hoc Interministerial Committee. The decisions of this Committee will be approved by a majority of the members, except those concerning the release of the certificate of no impediment (nulla osta) to entry in Italy which will be approved in the absence of opposing votes.

Which documents do I need to apply?

In order to apply you shall submit to the Committee:

  • Copy of a passport valid at least 3 months beyond the Visa validity;
  • documentation proving the beneficial ownership of the sums used for the investments and that these sums are available and can be readily transferred in Italy;
  • A certification proving the lawful source of the funds, which consists in
    a) a self-declaration of the applicant and
    b) a copy of the applicant’s criminal records that shows the lack of criminal convictions and pending charges in the ten years prior to the application;
  • A declaration by which you commit to make, within three months from entrance in Italy, the investment and to keep it for at least two years. The declaration must also include a description of the recipient and the characteristics of the investment.

The Committee will render a decision within 30 days from the submission of the application. In case of a favourable decision, the Interministerial Committee will send the clearance to the relevant consulate that will issue the Investor Visa.

How can I apply to the Electronic Residence Permit, once I have got my Golden VISA?

You must request the release of the corresponding electronic residence permit within 8 days of your entrance in Italy with your one year multiple entrance Golden Visa, presenting yourself in person to the competent post-office. In that occasion you must have:

  • an identity card;
  • the completed postal-kit with the payment of tax issuance;
  • a copy of the Security clearance to your entrance in Italy;
  • a copy of your Visa;
  • the whole passport.

The competent desk will issue a receipt with the data of the first appointment to the competent police Headquarters for your personal appearance and the fingerprints. After this appointment, the police headquarters will contact you for the withdraw of your electronic permit card.

How long will my first Residence Permit be valid?

If you are an Investor Visa holder, you shall receive a 2 years valid investor residence permit, renewable for further 3 years, subject to verification of the maintenance of the investment in Italy. Indeed, the issuance of the permit is subject to the verification that the investment has effectively been completed within 3 months of entry in the country. The permit can be revoked even before its expiration date, if it is ascertained that the investment has been withdrawn before the 2-year term (or 3-year term in case of renewal).

Can I renew my Residence Permit?

Yes, you can renew it for further 3 years. In this case, the competent Administrative Authority shall verify that the all intended sum has been invested within 3 months from the entrance in Italy and that this sum has been invested in the financial instrument stated in the regulation.

How many time I need to renew my permit before applying for the Italian Permanent Residence Permit?

You can apply for your EC residence permit for long term residents after 5 years of continuous residence in Italy, without considering your long term stay permit and its conversion, if any.

How can I apply for a permanent Residence Permit?

As per the current law provisions, after 5 years of legal stay in Italy, you can request a permanent residence permit (i.e. EC residence permit for long term residents).

The permanent residence permit has no expiry date, it must not be renewed but only updated. It assigns the third-country nationals the right to enter Italy without a Visa, and it is not related to any investment or donation made in the past. You can apply for the permanent resident permit if you are a third-country national who:

  • are legally staying in Italy for at least 5 years;
  • are holder of a valid temporary residence permit;
  • have an annual income from legitimate sources equal, at least, to the amount established yearly by governmental authorities (€ 5.977,79 for 2020);
  • pass an Italian language test.