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Residence permit by investment in Italy at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic

September 6, 2021

6 minutes read

Resident document and covid certificate to Italy for the investor

Italy is one of the last EU countries to launch visa programs for investors, who decide to obtain a EU residence permit. And, despite the fact, that the country's government has always used immigration as a source of budget replenishment, the rates for Italian residence permit applicants have never exceeded those of the European Union.

The specifics of the Italian residence permit for investors

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly taken a significant hit on the Italian economy. The situation in the field of tourism, investment and residence permits has changed significantly. Under the influence of difficult circumstances, the Italian authorities had to make changes to the existing investment program in 2020. Changes and innovations were to increase the attractiveness of the Italian residence permit for foreign investors, as well as help the national economy to regain its former position.

The main features of the program for investors remained the same, as before the pandemic. Foreigners can still invest in Italian business, research and education, as well as in charity and government bonds.

Investors, who choose to become tax residents of Italy and are not EU citizens, are still entitled to take advantage of tax benefits. They still have access to the flat tax regime, which provides for annual tax payments of 100,000 EUR, regardless of the amount of income earned in Italy and anywhere in the world.

Changes in the investment program provisions

The basis for obtaining a visa is still the 4 investment options that the program has offered since its first days of operation. However, the minimum investment amount has been halved for the acquisition of shares in Italian companies or corporations, and is now at least 500,000 EUR. The new required amount of investment in start-up innovative companies is 250,000 EUR. As for investments in charity projects and government bonds, they remained at the same level: EUR 2 000 000 for bonds, EUR 1 000 000 for charity.

The previous version of the residency program for wealthy foreigners had legal restrictions, imposed by the Ministry of Economic Development, which dealt with the issuance of investment visas until September 2020. At that time, residence permits were granted to individuals, who invested their own money in the Italian economy. This restriction was abolished by Law No. 120/2020. Now the investment can be made by a foreign company, whose representative is the applicant for the residence permit.

When a representative of a foreign company submits an application for residency, the Investor Visa for Italy Committee will make a request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. After that, a check will be made on whether the condition of reciprocity, stipulated by Italian law, is fulfilled. The legal investigation shall establish whether Italian citizens in the applicant's non-EU country are granted the same rights that the foreigner receives in Italy.

Other changes

Another important change, made to the program at the legislative level, is the abolition of the mandatory minimum time of stay in Italy for foreigners to maintain their residency status. Now, the investor has the right to extend their stay in Italy, regardless of how many days they were actually in the country. In addition, the investment, originally made by a foreigner to obtain a visa or residence permit, is still not subject to rejection by the official authorities. Other Italian visas and residence permits do not give migrants such advantages.

There is no compulsion by the authorities for the investor to stay in Italy for a certain period of time, which is a great incentive for the growth of the investment program. Now, Italian residents are free to travel throughout the EU and stay in different countries for as long as they wish.

In addition, holders of an Italian visa or ID-card will be exempt from the obligations imposed by the "Integration Agreement". In other words, foreigners will no longer have to pass the Italian language and social structure test in order to retain their residence permit and be eligible for its renewal upon expiry. However, these requirements will remain for those foreigners, who have lived in Italy for more than 5 years and intend to stay in the country permanently.

Benefits for the Italian economy and investors

The benefits of the investment immigration program to the Italian economy are obvious. Thanks to it, talented and wealthy people from all over the world are investing in the country, attracted, among other things, by a favorable tax system for foreigners.

In order to increase the volume of foreign investments in the Italian market, which, along with other EU markets, is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Italian government has made important and fundamental changes to the current program of investment immigration.

The innovations were made with the hope, that external investors would have even more reasons to invest in the national economy. A strong emphasis in the updated version of the program was placed on giving wealthy foreigners more opportunities to pursue their projects in the territory of the European Union.

Source: UGlobal

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