Italy Golden Visa: Your Complete Guide in 2024

Are you an investor wanting to gain Italian residency? The Italy Golden Visa is an attractive option for non-EU citizens to secure a life in Italy through investment.
April 18, 2024
Italy Golden Visa: Your Complete Guide in 2024
Ana Fankhauser
April 18, 2024

Are you an investor wanting to gain Italian residency? The Italy Golden Visa is an attractive option for non-EU citizens to secure a life in Italy through investment. This article will discuss the key requirements for obtaining the visa, the benefits that come with it, and the step-by-step process for making your Italian dream a reality.

Key Takeaways

  • The Italy Golden Visa program offers non-EU citizens residency in exchange for investments that benefit the Italian economy, with benefits including citizenship potential, free access to healthcare, and visa-free travel to numerous countries.
  • Eligibility for Italy Golden Visa requires applicants to be non-EU/non-Schengen Area citizens over 18 with a clean criminal record, providing a range of investment options from €250,000 in startups to €2 million in government bonds.
  • The Italy Golden Visa application process involves obtaining a Nulla Osta certificate, submitting necessary documents through the Italian investor visa portal, and renewing the residence permit every two years, provided the investment is maintained.

Understanding the Italian Golden Visa

Italian flag waving against a blue sky

Launched in 2017, the Italian Golden Visa program, also known as the Italy Golden Visa program, offers non-EU citizens a residence permit in return for substantial contributions to the Italian economy. This program, also known as the Investor Visa for Italy, is a gateway to Italy’s diverse cultural offerings, including a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a lifestyle that is envied worldwide.

Further enhancing the program’s appeal, Golden Visa holders gain from Italy’s strategic location, which provides easy access to Mediterranean countries, Asia, and Africa.

The Purpose of Italy's Golden Visa

Introduced as a part of the 2017 Budget Law, the Italy Golden Visa program has a specific objective: to draw non-EU nationals interested in contributing to Italy’s economy through strategic investments. This innovative approach is designed to enhance Italy’s appeal to the international flow of human and financial capital, thereby aligning with the broader economic strategy of attracting foreign investment to promote economic growth within the country.

Key Benefits of Italy Golden Visa

The Italy Golden Visa offers a plethora of benefits, making it a highly attractive option for potential investors. The program not only grants EU residency but also provides a pathway to potential citizenship. Golden Visa holders enjoy the right to live, work, study, and receive medical care in Italy, along with the privilege of visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to 174 countries, including the US, New Zealand, the UK, and Japan.

Family members included in the Golden Visa application have the following privileges:

  • The right to work in Italy
  • Visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone
  • The option to utilize the Italian national public healthcare system ensures comprehensive medical care.

Above all, Italy Golden Visa holders get to experience a high quality of life in a country that celebrates rich historical, cultural and natural heritage, diverse landscapes, and a favorable climate.

Should I apply for the Italian Golden Visa?

The Italian Golden Visa is an excellent option for European residence. Then you and your family can acquire Italian residency in the country and benefit from attractive tax laws in a safe and beautiful European state. If you decide to choose the Italy Golden Visa, it will be difficult for you to recover the investment assets until you have reached a certain time period.

The program is particularly appealing to those who wish to enjoy the lifestyle and culture that Italy has to offer while also making a sound financial investment. It's a chance to immerse oneself in the Italian way of life, to savor the world-renowned cuisine, to soak up the rich history and art, and to explore the diverse and picturesque landscapes, from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the stunning Amalfi coast.

Moreover, the Italian Golden Visa is not just about gaining a residency permit; it's about opening doors to a European life. The residency can lead to long-term benefits such as eligibility for permanent residency and even citizenship, subject to certain conditions. This can be particularly advantageous for those looking to relocate their family or business to Italy, as the program extends its benefits to the investor's immediate family, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the fruits of the investment.

Investors should also consider the long-term commitment involved in the Golden Visa program. The investment made must be maintained for a minimum period to ensure the renewal of the residency permit, which is an essential aspect of the program's requirements. This long-term perspective not only secures your status in Italy but also contributes positively to the Italian economy, aligning with the program's aim to attract and retain foreign investment.

In conclusion, if you are seeking a pathway to Italian residency, the Italy Golden Visa offers a unique combination of lifestyle and investment opportunities. It is an invitation to become a part of Italy's future while enjoying the privileges of residing in one of Europe's most enchanting countries.

Eligibility Criteria for Italy Golden Visa

The Italian Golden Visa program, also known as the Italy Golden Visa program, is open to non-EU and non-Schengen Area citizens who are above 18 years old, with no restrictions on their nationality. Notably, the program is open only to private individuals; legal entities are not eligible to apply.

One of the key prerequisites for the Italy Golden Visa is a clean criminal record. In addition, applicants are required to submit a comprehensive CV that highlights their educational and professional background as part of their application. These requirements are designed to ensure that only individuals who are capable of making significant contributions to Italy’s economy avail of the Italy Golden Visa.

Investment Options for the Italian Golden Visa

Real estate investments

The Italy Golden Visa program offers a variety of investment routes, providing potential investors with the flexibility to choose the option that best aligns with their interests and financial capabilities. These options range from investing in government bonds, providing financial support to Italian startups, or making a philanthropic donation, with minimum amounts varying between €250,000 and €2 million.

Regardless of the chosen investment route, investors are required to complete their investment or donation within three months of arriving in Italy. Moreover, they must provide documentation, such as a letter outlining their investment intentions, evidence of previous experience in similar transactions, and documented consent from the investment or donation recipient.

Startup Investments

The startup investment route is an attractive option for those looking to support innovation in Italy. A minimum investment of €250,000 is required to qualify for the Italy Golden Visa through this route. Importantly, this investment must be upheld throughout the residence permit’s entire validity period.

This investment option is specifically aimed at startups that are recognized as innovative and are registered in the special section of the Italian Business Register. This presents a unique opportunity for investors to contribute to Italy’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, thereby playing a direct role in supporting innovation in the country.

Government Bonds

Italian government bonds with financial chart

For those interested in a more traditional investment route, the Italy Golden Visa program allows for investment in Italian government bonds. This option requires a minimum investment of €2 million. These bonds must be government-issued by Italy and kept in an Italian financial institution in order to qualify for the Golden Visa investment.

The proof of investment in government bonds is validated through a certificate of deposit from a financial institution in Italy. To obtain and maintain the Italy Golden Visa through this investment route, the investor must keep the investment for the initial two-year residence period, and it must be retained for renewal of the residence permit for another three years.

Philanthropic Donations

The philanthropic donation option under the Italy Golden Visa program allows applicants to make a significant positive impact on their chosen cause. This route requires a minimum donation of €1,000,000.

Applicants have the flexibility to choose the area where their donation can have the most impact. This not only allows investors to contribute to Italy’s economy but also provides them with an opportunity to support initiatives that align with their personal interests and values.

Other Investment Opportunities

Beyond the standard options, the Italy Golden Visa program offers alternative routes for prospective investors, such as the Italy Investor Visa Program. These include equity financing in an Italian limited company, which requires a minimum financial commitment of €500,000.

Another viable investment possibility is property renovation, which contributes to the tourism industry. Although the minimum investment amount for this option is unspecified, it presents an attractive opportunity for investors interested in the property market and tourism sector.

Application Process for the Italian Golden Visa

Passport with Italian Golden Visa

The application process for the Italy Golden Visa is straightforward and streamlined. It begins with creating a personal account on the web portal of the Investor Visa for Italy Committee to start the Italy investor visa application. Applicants are required to provide the following documents:

  • Personal contact details
  • Copy of their passport
  • Comprehensive CV
  • Declaration of their chosen investment

Once these details are submitted, the Investor Visa for Italy Committee evaluates the application and typically responds within 30 days. Following this, the applicant can apply for an Investor Visa at the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate within six months of issuance, and once issued, the visa is valid for two years.

Obtaining a Nulla Osta

The first step in applying for the Italy Golden Visa is obtaining a Nulla Osta certificate. This foundational document signifies ‘no impediment’ to the investor's visa application and is the cornerstone of the whole process.

To secure the Nulla Osta, applicants need to:

  1. Create an account on the Italian investor visa portal
  2. Furnish the necessary forms and documents
  3. Digitally sign their application
  4. Once the Investor Visa Committee conducts its review and approves the application, the Nulla Osta certificate becomes available for download
  5. The Nulla Osta is valid for six months, during which the applicant must visit the Italian embassy to apply for a two-year investment visa and declare their intended municipality of residence in Italy.

Submitting Your Application

Once you have the Nulla Osta, the next step is to submit your application. This includes providing:

  • A Declaration of Commitment
  • Proof of accommodation in Italy
  • Proof of sufficient income
  • A passport photograph
  • Proof of residence in the consular district

Based on the type of investment, specific documentation is required, such as bank statements or certificates of deposit. All documents should be submitted in English or Italian, accompanied by sworn translations if the originals are in other languages.

Following the Nulla Osta issuance, applicants have six months to apply for the investment visa at the Italian embassy in their country. Upon arrival in Italy, the applicant has eight days to submit their residence permit application to a local police station.

Receiving Your Residence Permit

Upon receipt of the Investor Visa, the ensuing step is to apply for a residence permit. This requires visiting a local police station within eight days of arriving in Italy.

To apply for the permit, you must submit the following documents:

  • Payment receipt for document printing
  • Photocopy of your entire passport
  • Two passport photos
  • Revenue stamp
  • Evidence of accommodation in Italy

Once these requirements are met, the residence permit is issued, valid for an additional two years from the date of entry. During this period, you must maintain valid health insurance covering all risks within Italy.

Family Members and Italy Golden Visa

The Italy Golden Visa program places great emphasis on family unity. As such, family members can be included in the application, enabling them to join the main applicant in obtaining family reunion visas.

The main applicant’s spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents are eligible to obtain Italian residency under the program, without requiring an additional investment. These family members enjoy the same residency benefits as the main applicant, including the possibility of working in Italy, access to public healthcare, and eligibility for permanent residency and citizenship, contingent on adhering to the investment program’s stipulated residency timeline.

Renewing Your Italy Golden Visa

The initial validity of the Italy Golden Visa is two years, after which it can be renewed. To be eligible for renewal, the investor must demonstrate a commitment to maintaining their original investment for the full two-year residence permit period.

It is important to submit the renewal application at least 60 days before the current residence permit expires. This will ensure a smooth transition and avoid any gaps in your residency status.

To renew your residence permit, follow these steps:

  1. Apply for a new Nulla Osta through the official Italian investor platform.
  2. The entire process is subject to the approval of the Italian Investor Visa Committee.
  3. Additional requirements include a clean criminal record, valid health insurance, evidence of accommodation in Italy, and meeting certain income thresholds.

Make sure to gather all the necessary documents and submit your application in a timely manner to avoid any delays or complications.

Once the application is successful, the residence permit can be renewed for three additional years, as long as the original investment is maintained during the validity period.

Path to Italian Citizenship

Although the Italy Golden Visa doesn’t provide a direct path to citizenship, its holders can apply for naturalization and become Italian citizens after 10 consecutive years of legal residence. This requires maintaining permanent residence in Italy for at least 10 consecutive years without absences longer than six months in any given year and not being absent for more than a year over the five years before applying.

Italy acknowledges dual citizenship, enabling investors to maintain their original nationality alongside Italian citizenship without restrictions. Moreover, Italian citizenship can be passed down to future generations, ensuring that children and grandchildren may automatically acquire Italian nationality if the Italian bloodline remains unbroken.

Tax Incentives for Italian Golden Visa Holders

Italian countryside

The Italy Golden Visa program comes with attractive tax incentives. New tax residents can opt to pay a substitute tax on foreign income, offering a lump sum tax payment of €100,000 annually. This exempts the individual from regular taxation on foreign-sourced income, with a €25,000 fee for each family member included.

To be eligible for this special tax regime, individuals must not have been tax residents of Italy for at least nine out of the last ten years before opting into this system. Moreover, the €100,000 lump sum must be paid in full by June 30th following the year for which the tax is due; otherwise, the special tax status will immediately lapse.

In addition, Italy offers the ‘Impatriati’ tax regime, which provides a 50% tax exemption on income from employment, up to a maximum of €600,000 per year, provided certain conditions are met.

Alternatives to the Italian Golden Visa

While the Italy Golden Visa program offers an array of benefits, it’s worth exploring other alternatives too. Several European countries offer Golden Visa programs, each with diverse investment options and different requirements. Some of these countries include:

  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Malta
  • Cyprus

Considering these options will allow you to choose the program that best suits your needs and goals.

Countries like Spain and Portugal offer real estate investments as a route to their Golden Visas, attracting foreign investors, whereas countries like Malta and Ireland have options involving government bond investments or charitable contributions.

Countries like Bulgaria and Turkey offer distinct investment paths, with Bulgaria allowing for EU regulated fund investments and Turkey promoting real estate purchases for their citizenship programs. Additionally, some programs, like the Portugal Golden Visa, offer a more lenient path to citizenship, requiring a shorter residency term.

Tips for a Successful Italian Golden Visa Application

Achieving a successful Italian Golden Visa application necessitates meticulous planning and thorough preparation. Here are some key steps to consider:

  1. Develop a well-structured business plan or investment proposal.
  2. Ensure you have a proficient level of Italian, as this can significantly enhance your application.
  3. Work with a qualified immigration lawyer or consultant who can provide valuable guidance throughout the process.

Ensuring your investment complies with Italian and EU regulations and that the source of investment funds is transparent and traceable is crucial for a successful application.

Lastly, to increase your chances of success, make sure to:

  • Submit your application on time.
  • Respond quickly to any additional requests
  • Establish a clear investment timeline
  • Maintain your investment in Italy

These steps show your commitment to the program and can increase your chances of success.

Renewing Your Italy Golden Visa

You can request the renewal of a residence visa within 60 days from the time of its expiration for a three-year period. For this application, you will need an additional nulla ostra. The governing body will decide whether to approve or reject your visa renewal, just like it did with your initial application. It is essential to maintain the original investment without any changes, as this is a critical condition for the renewal process. During the renewal phase, you may also be required to demonstrate continuous compliance with all the program's requirements, including the absence of criminal charges and the presence of a valid health insurance policy.

The renewal process is designed to be as streamlined as possible, but it is advisable to prepare all necessary documentation well in advance. This includes gathering any additional evidence that may be needed to show that the investment has been maintained, such as bank statements or certificates from financial institutions. By ensuring all criteria are met and documents are in order, you can facilitate a smoother renewal process and continue to enjoy the benefits of residency in Italy.


The Italy Golden Visa program offers a unique opportunity for non-EU citizens to enjoy the benefits of Italian residency and potential citizenship, in exchange for a significant investment in the Italian economy. From startup investments and government bonds to philanthropic donations and other investment opportunities, the program provides various avenues for prospective investors.

As we have seen, the application process, while comprehensive, is straightforward and manageable with the right preparation and guidance. Not only does the program offer enticing tax incentives, but it also places a strong emphasis on family unity, allowing family members to join the main applicant in their Italian journey. With careful planning, diligent preparation, and a commitment to maintaining the investment, the Italy Golden Visa can turn the dream of Italian residency into reality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Italy have a golden visa program?

Yes, Italy does have a golden visa program available for non-EU citizens who make strategic investments in the country's economy and society.

Can I get residency in Italy if I buy a property?

No, buying a property in Italy does not automatically grant you residency. The purchase of a property does not provide the right to a legal stay in Italy.

How much do I need to invest in Italy to get citizenship?

You need to invest a minimum of €2 million in Italian government bonds or €1 million in an Italian limited company to be eligible for citizenship through the Investor Visa programme.

Who is eligible for the Italy Golden Visa program?

Non-EU and non-Schengen Area citizens above 18 years old with a clean criminal record and a comprehensive CV highlighting their education and professional background are eligible for the Italy Golden Visa program.

What investment options are available under the Italy Golden Visa program?

The Italy Golden Visa program offers various investment options, such as startup investments, government bonds, philanthropic donations, and other opportunities. Consider these options when planning your investment strategy.

How can I live in Italy permanently?

Obtaining Permanent Residency in Italy After five years of legal stay and provided the eligibility criteria are met, a foreign national can apply for permanent residence, i.e. EU residence permit for long-term residents (Permesso di soggiornos UE per soggiornos

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