The Italian Ministry of Economic Development has created a digital platform to radically simplify the bureaucratic process for foreign investors. The Investor Visa for Italy will allow investors from outside the EU or the Schengen Area to easily apply for a two-year residence permit when entering the Italian market. The visa is renewable for a further three years and, after five years of legal residence in the country, foreign nationals are eligible to apply for permanent residency.
Launched on December 14, 2017, the new visa targets three types of foreign investors: first, those committing to stable investments of €2m in Italian governmental bonds that they can not sell for at least two years; second, investors buying a minimum of €1m in equity instruments of an Italian company (with start-ups, this figure is reduced to minimum of €500,000), and third those who donate at least €1m to philanthropic funding projects of public interest in fields such as culture, education, scientific research or restoration of cultural assets.
In contrast to the standard application process, the new platform is completely digital, using an online bilingual platform in Italian and English. Therefore, the length of the application process is reduced significantly and visas are granted after a maximum of 30 days.
The investor visa is part of Italy’s wider strategy of encouraging wealthy foreigners to move their fiscal residency to Italy. In March 2017, the country launched its Resident Non Domiciled tax regime, which has already succeeded in attracting high-net-worth individuals.
Carlo Calenda, Italy’s minister of economic development, said the new visa “is a commitment to make [Italy] a more attractive location for FDI, ideas and international talents. Italy is and aims to be a country open to FDI and... it has introduced a new useful tool useful to achieve [this].”
In terms of capital investment since January 2014, Italy is the eighth most popular FDI destination among Western Europe’s 22 countries, according to fDi Markets, a Financial Times service that monitors global greenfield investment.