On last December 14, 2017, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MiSE) has presented and launched the new website entirely dedicated to the new "Investor Visa" for Italy – www.investorvisa.mise.gov.it.
This new type of stay permit has been introduced with the 2017 Italian Budget Law - which added Article 26-bis paragraph 1 to Legislative Decree 286/1998 (Italian Immigration Law) - and the procedure for its obtainment has now be-come operative.
As already explained in our previous alert [available here], this stay permit, of an initial duration of 2 years and renew-able for further periods of 3 years each, is issued in favour of foreign investors who, in the context of a single transaction:
- invest at least 2 million Euros in Government Bonds issued by the Italian Republic – such as Treasury Bonds, Zero Coupon Treasury Bonds, Long-Term Treasury Bonds;
- invest at least 1 million Euros in instruments representing equity in companies incorporated and operating in Italy;
- invest at least 500,000 Euros in instruments representing equity of innovative start-ups;
- make philanthropic donations of at least 1 million Euros.
The application procedure entails a number of steps, first of all, the creation of a personal account for the applicant for the submission of an online application for the obtainment of a certificate of no impediment ("nulla osta") through the website www.investorvisa.mise.gov.it.
Along with the application form, applicants are required to submit a number of supporting documents, among which:
- their curriculum vitae with details of their academic and professional experience;
- documentation proving the possession and transferability of the amounts allocated for the investment planned;
- documentation proving the origin and legal provenance of the financial resources dedicated to the investment; and
- documentation proving the non-existence of final criminal convictions and/or pending charges against the applicant.
Specific details regarding the type of investment that the applicant intends to carry out, its amount and a declaration of commitment on the use of such funds signed by the applicant are mandatory requirements for the submission of the application.
Upon submission, within 1 working week the Secretariat of the Investor Visa for Italy Committee – a new organism which has been created for handling and evaluating Investor Visas' applications – carries out a formal check of the application and the documentation attached, the outcome of which could be:
- the transmission of the application to the Investor Visa for Italy Committee, should it be deemed to be complete and in line with the requirements set forth by the law;
- the suspension of the procedure for 30 days and sub-mission of a request for replacement or supplementary documentation to the applicant, should the application be deemed to be not complete due to inaccuracies or omissions considered rectifiable;
- rejection of the application, should it be deemed not to satisfy the established criteria.
The applicant whose application has been rejected is not prevented from filing a new one. However, it shall contain significant new elements concerning the previous one to be taken into consideration.
Once formally approved by the Secretariat, the application is forwarded to the Investor Visa for Italy Committee, the organism in charge of the material assessment of Investor Visas' applications.
The member of the Committee are representatives of the following institutions:
- the Ministry of Economic Development (MiSE)
- the Ministry of the Interior (MI)
- the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI)
- the Italian Special Currency Police Unit (Guardia di Finanza)
- the Italian Tax Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate)
- the Italian Trade Agency (Agenzia ICE)
- the Financial Intelligence Unit for Italy (UIF)
in addition to whom, a representative of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism and the Minis-try of Education, Universities, and Research is included, should the application be related to a philanthropic donation.
The Committee members express their assessments, also after a meeting in person or via video conference with the applicant, and the decision of granting the certificate of no impediment (nulla osta) is adopted in the absence of a vote against and with the vote in favour of the majority of the members.
Within 30 days from the submission of the application, the Committee communicates the results of the assessment to the applicant by granting or denying the certificate of impediment (or request further information to complete the assessment).
The Committee reserves the right to request the resources be transferred to the account of a bank with a registered office in Italy. This option is for the case in which the applicant's financial resources are situated in a "third countries at high risk" according to the anti-money laundering regulation or in a "blacklist country" with favourable taxation systems or any other requirement linked to the check on origin and legality of the financial resources is doubtful.
Should the Investor Visa for Italy Committee decide to ap-prove the application, it issues a certificate of no impediment (nulla osta) which is electronically transmitted to the applicant, to the Consular authorities competent for the issuing of the visa and to the Visa Centre of the MAECI.
Within the 6 months following the issuance of the nulla osta, the applicant is entitled to submit his Investor Visa application to the competent Italian Consulate/Embassy in his/her country of residence.
Upon issuance of the Investor Visa on his/her passport, the applicant is entitled to enter Italy and submit, within 8 days from the entrance and through the Police authorities (Questura), the final application.
By way of the final application, the applicant shall obtain the Investor Residence Permit, which will have an initial duration of 2 years and will be subject to the demonstration of the availability of a suitable accommodation in Italy.
Within three months from his/her entrance in Italy, the foreign national shall demonstrate to have duly executed the investment or donation approved by the Investor Visa for Italy Committee by sending appropriate documentation through the dedicated platform.
This last step allows the Investor Visa for Italy Committee to carry out controls over the correct execution of the in-vestment and may result in:
- issuance of a notice of consent from the Secretariat of the Committee, which allows the completion of the procedure for the obtainment of the stay permit;
- request for supplementary documentation, to be sub-mitted by the applicant within 30 days from the Committee's request and following which the procedure is suspended until a final decision is taken by the Commit-tee;
- issuance of a negative result notice, resulting in the revocation of the stay permit or in the interruption of the procedure (if the permit has not been issued yet) due to:
- lack of mandatory elements, even after the request for supplementary documentation,
- invalidity of the certificates submitted or unsuitableness to confirm that the investment or donation has been made within the required timeframe and ac-cording to the required methods,
- forged or fraudulent documentation submitted.
To keep his/her stay permit, the holder must maintain the original investment and not alter the destination of the same: failure to do so will result in the revocation of the permit and impossibility to renew it.
The renewal application shall be submitted – along with a certificate of approval issued by the Investor Visa for Italy Committee - to the competent Questura at least 60 days before the expiry date of the permit and is subject to the proof that the investment or donation has been duly maintained.
The procedure envisaged by the Ministry of Economic Development has been structured in a way that is intended to significantly simplify entry visa issue procedures through its centralization, digitalization, and rapidity.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.