Thinking about moving to Italy and want to know your Visa options!

Thinking about moving to Italy and want to know your options!

There are 2 different ways to gain residency in Italy for non-European citizens, the first is elective residency for property investment and the other is an Investment visa for those who are looking to gain entry for themselves and their primary family in order to obtain permanent residence. In the following paragraphs I will explain how to go about this.




The Italian government has recently introduced a specific discipline within immigration law, the so-called “Investors Visa”. The new Investors visa allows the entry and residence in Italy, outside of the entry quotas established annually by the government, to foreigners who wish to do one of the following:

  • invest at least € 2 million in securities issued by the Italian government, to be held for at least 2 years;
  • invest at least € 1 million in equity instruments of a company incorporated and operating in Italy, to be held for at least 2 years;
  • invest at least € 500.000 into an existing Italian innovative start-up company;
  • make a philanthropic donation of at least € 1 million to support a public interest project, in the fields of culture, education, immigration management, scientific research, recovery of cultural and landscape assets.


The Minister for Economic Development, in cooperation with the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, adopted on July 21st 2017, a decree implementing the provisions of article 26-bis of TUI. The implementing provisions clarify 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 for two years. The issuance and the validity of the Investor Visa are also subject to verification of the lawful source of the investment.

The implementing decree grants the power to issue the Investor Visa to 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.

Documents required

The foreign applicant 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 show the lack of criminal convictions and pending charges in the ten years prior to the application;
  • A declaration by which the applicant commits 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 favorable decision, the Inter-ministerial Committee will send the clearance to the relevant consulate that will issue the Investor Visa.

The Investor Visa holder 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).

Permanent residence permit

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

The permanent residence permit has no expiry date, must not be renewed but only updated, assigns the foreigner the right to enter Italy without a visa, and is not related to any investment or donation made in the past. The permanent residence permit may be requested by foreigners who:

  • are legally residing in Italy for at least 5 years;
  • are holders of a valid temporary residence permit;
  • have an annual income from legitimate sources equal, at least, to the amount established yearly by governmental authorities (€824,91 for 2017);
  • pass an Italian language test.


Entry visa for foreign nationals intending to come to Italy to inspect properties for purchase

An Elective Residence Visa allows entry into Italy for residence purposes, to foreign nationals intending to settle in the country, who have the financial resources to support themselves independently, without active employment. The Visa is issued only if all requirements have been met and all documents attesting to their reliability have been produced. It will be valid for 6 months, for short stays up to 90 days (valid throughout the Schengen area).

Having obtained an Elective Residence Visa and made entry into the country, the foreign national can, within 8 days and with all the indispensable guarantees, convert his Entry Visa into a Elective Residence Permit.

An Elective Residence Permit can also be extended to a cohabiting spouse, underage children and adult children both cohabiting and dependent, on condition that the above mentioned financial resources are also considered adequate and applicable to them. Financial resources are around € 31.000,00 per person per annum.

The task of assessing the adequacy of the foreign national’s financial means to support him/herself and family members is referred to the competent Police Authority.

Duration, Renewal and Cancellation

The Visa is issued for 1 year and is renewable in Italy by the Police Authorities with territorial jurisdiction on condition that all the original requirements continue to be met over time.

The residence permit cannot be renewed or extended if the foreign national has interrupted their stay in Italy for a continuous period of over six months, unless the interruption was due to military service obligations or other serious and substantiated reasons.

After 5 years, it is possible to apply for a long-term Residence Card valid for 5 years.

After 10 years it is possible to apply for Italian Citizenship.


Long term multi-entry tourist visa for a person investing in Italian real estate.

Anyone wishing to make a real estate investment in Italy who does not intend to transfer residence can obtain a long term Schengen visa (5 years), if the requirements of their stay in the country do not exceed 90 days every 6 months. The requirements needed to apply for this type of visa are the same as those needed to obtain a normal tourist entry visa, in addition to proof of having completed the purchase of a property in Italy.

The holder of this type of visa is allowed to travel freely throughout all the countries in the Schengen area.

Schengen Area

The Schengen Convention allows European Citizens from member states to travel freely through the 26 countries within the Schengen Area with a simple id card.

The area is made up of 22 EU member states:

Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia

and four participating countries (i.e. non EU member states):

Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein

(Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom are part of the EU but have not adhered to the Schengen Agreement – the United Kingdom will be leaving on the 29th March 2019)

Foreign nationals already resident in a Schengen State and holding a residence permit, do not require visas for stays not exceeding 3 months, on condition that entry into Italy does not occur for reasons of subordinate employment, salaried employment, self-employment or training.

If you should be interested in more information on any of the solutions aforementioned please do not hesitate to contact us at –



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