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4 Reasons Italy’s Investor Visa is the EU’s Most Flexible and Least Risky

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Out of all the ways by which you could immigrate to Europe, investor visas are the least costly in terms of time and effort.

Yes, you could get residency in the EU without investing anything at all through routes like work permits or independent means visas, but that doesn’t mean they’re free.

You still have to pay for these “free” types of visas, but you pay with your time and physical presence rather than with money.

This means, for example, that you can’t simultaneously remain in your home country to tend to your business. You can’t spend most of the year in various parts of the world because you have to be a physical resident of the new country. This is part of the opportunity cost of getting a “free” visa.

When a country offers an investor visa, on the other hand, it forgoes the tax and consumption revenue it would otherwise have garnered from your physical presence over several years in exchange for an up-front fixed investment.

The country is effectively saying, “If you make an economic contribution up front rather than over the course of several years, we’ll give you residency without making you stay here.”

This is what sets residence (and citizenship) by investment apart from all other categories of immigration. This is what makes it the most flexible and, for those whose time is more dear to them than money, the cheapest form of immigration.

And no EU investor visa is as flexible as that of Italy’s “Dolce Visa,” for four specific reasons:

1. No physical presence requirements whatsoever

Once you receive approval for your investor visa, you needn’t spend a single day in Italy to keep your residency. This compares favorably to Portugal’s golden visa, which demands that you spend at least a week a year in the country during the first five years and is on par with the physical presence requirements in Greece, Spain, Malta, and Latvia.

2. Invest in practically anything

Italy offers four broad categories of qualifying investments:

  • €2 million in Italian government bonds
  • €500,000 invested into shares of an Italian company
  • €250,000 in innovative start-ups
  • €1 million donation to projects of public interest in Italy

At first glance, you might think that only four types of investment options aren’t that many and that, moreover, Italy doesn’t have a real estate option, like other EU golden visas do.

But consider, for a moment, the EUR 500,000 company investment option: The rules mandate that you invest half a million in an Italian company, but that company can invest in practically anything, including real estate and even assets outside of Italy, as long as the company itself is domiciled in Italy. So, if you think you can’t qualify for an Italian investor visa by investing in real estate, think again. More on that in a subsequent article.

3. Applications are processed in under four months (often sooner)

Processing times for the Italian investor visa range between three and four months.

Compare this to Portugal’s golden visa, where, at current processing rates and unless something drastically changes, the government will be unable to clear its backlog until 2030. The Greek golden visa used to be faster but, in the last 18 months, its backlog of pending applications has reached a dizzying 28,000.

The less-promote Italian investor visa has far fewer applicants and, as a consequence, a much shorter waiting list for processing.

4. No investment until after you receive approval

Under the Italian Investor Visa, applicants make their investments after approval. Once they get the green light, they have three months to finalize their qualifying investment. To the best of our knowledge, Italy’s investor visa is unique among EU countries in offering this type of flexibility.

This serves to tremendously reduce the risk involved in participating in the program compared to competing golden visa schemes.

In other countries, you might have to wait years after buying a property before even finding out if you’ve been approved. Or imagine investing EUR 500,000 in a Portuguese fund, only to find out three years later that the fund didn’t qualify as a golden visa investment, leaving you embroiled in a legal process to get your money back. Maybe you bought a house in Spain to get residency there, but before you have time to apply the left-wing government cancels the real estate option.

We are not saying this is likely to happen to applicants who invest in those other programs, merely that for investors in Italy’s program, it can’t happen. Italy’s program was designed in a way that completely eliminates this type of risk.

Among Europe’s golden visa countries, none has a stronger brand than Italy

As pleasant as the Algarve coast is, not many people in Karachi or Bangalore have heard about it. Many a Maltese investment migration practitioner has had to point his country out on a map during roadshows to Chengdu and assure the listeners that, yes, the locals speak English. Spain is better known, but most Americans will be hard-pressed to name more than two or three cities in that country, much less in Latvia.

Italy is different.

Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan all feature at or near the top of the list of stops on any Euro-trip itinerary. From Beijing to Bogotá, you’ll find people who spend their hard-earned money on wares from Gucci, Prada, Armani, Bulgari, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace. Young men everywhere will stop to take their pictures next to a Lamborghini, Ferrari, or Maserati (perhaps not a Fiat). The works of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, or Verdi are universally recognizable, and there is no corner on this globe, however remote, where you can’t get a late-night pizza.

We could go on forever, but let’s not belabor the point: Not only is Italy bursting at the seams with world-class brands; Italy is itself a world-class brand. No promotion or marketing is needed. The country sells itself.

Some EU golden visas advertise themselves as an entry point into Schengen or into other EU countries. Italy isn’t a stepping stone to accessing some other locale. Italy is the final destination.

Italy is the apotheosis of what many consider the good life. Be it breathtaking coastlines, top-of-the-line ski slopes, or the richest of cultures and cuisines, very few of the finer things in life are not available in Italy.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more information about how you or your client can qualify for the Italian investor visa through investments in familiar, low-risk asset classes with predictable rates of return. These are investment migration projects in which the investment part is as rewarding as the migration.

Watch this space.

To know more about the Italian investor visa, reach out to Invest In Italy via our website or email us directly at enquiries@investinitaly.world