The investor visa also extends to foreigners who invest in Italy through corporate vehicles of which they are legal representatives. This is the main novelty of article 40 – quater of the Simplifications Decree (Decree Law 76/2020), introduced by the Senate in the process of converting the decree into law, which is now being examined by the Chamber of Deputies.
The provision provides for changes to the regulations contained in Article 26 – bis of Legislative Decree 286/1998, inserted by the 2017 Budget Law, which introduced the special tax regime for “new residents”. This particular visa allows entry and stay in Italy for periods of more than 3 months for foreigners who intend to do so:
a) an investment of at least 2 million Euros in Italian Government bonds maintained for a minimum of 2 years;
b) an investment of at least 500 thousand Euros in companies established and operating in Italy to be maintained for at least 2 years, or at least 250 thousand Euros in the case of innovative start-ups (the thresholds before were, respectively, equal to one million Euros and 500 thousand Euros and have been recently revised by the Relaunch Decree);
c) a philanthropic donation of at least one million euros to support a project of public interest.
Investors must prove that they have at least the amounts requested and freely transferable in Italy. In addition, they must document sufficient resources for their maintenance in Italy. A written declaration must be submitted in which they undertake to use funds to make the investment or donation within 3 months from the date of entry into Italy. The procedure for obtaining a visa can be activated online and must be completed within 30 days of receipt of the application.
The main novelty introduced by the Simplifications Decree is the extension of the visa also to foreigners acting “on behalf of the legal entity they legally represent”. It follows that investments or “qualifying” donations can also be made through corporate bonds or foundations. Upon the outcome of the assessment of the existence of the legal conditions, the “Investor Visa” committee transmits the authorization to the competent diplomatic or consular representation that issues the visa.
In the case of authorisation requested by the legal representative of the foreign legal entity, Article 40-quater introduced in Decree Law 76/2020 provides for a preliminary verification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the existence of the condition of reciprocity ex Article 16 of the withdrawals. The visa holder is issued a two-year residency permit, renewable for a further 3 years, but revocable even before the ordinary expiry date when the conditions are no longer met.
Finally, the new modifications provide that the investor who holds the residency permit can exercise the same rights as those who obtain a visa for self-employment and, for 5 years from the first issue, the exemption from the signing of the so-called integration agreement and from the obligations of continuity of residency in Italy.