Italy has passed a number of measures aimed at attracting foreign high-net worth individuals and investors in the Budget Law for 2017. Particularly significant is the provision of a new tax regime for 'residents non-domiciled' in Italy which provides a considerable tax exemption for income sourced abroad (see our article).

In order to facilitate these individuals' immigration requirements, the Government has amended the existing immigration rules and introduced a new Visa (so called 'Investment Visa') specifically created for foreign investors.

This Visa will be made available to applicants who are willing to:

  1. invest at least Euro 2 million in Italian bonds, and to keep these for a minimum of two years;
  2. invest at least Euro 1 million in securities of a company based and operating in Italy or Euro 500.000 if the company is an innovative start-up, and to maintain the investment for a minimum of two years;
  3. make a philanthropic donation of at least Euro 1 million to an Italian project working in the sectors of culture, education, immigration or scientific research.

In order to get the Visa, the investor will have to:

  1. demonstrate that s/he owns or is the actual beneficiary of an amount of Euro 2 million, in the case under letter a), or 1 million in the cases under letter b) and c);
  2. submit a written statement whereby s/he undertakes to make an investment or a donation (as described above), within three months of the date of entry into Italy;
  3. demonstrate adequate resources to meet his/her expenses, in addition to the above-mentioned amounts.

The Investment Visa holder will obtain a two-year residence permit. Extensions may be granted for periods of three years, subject to verification that the investments or the donations have been actually made within three months of the entry in Italy and that the relevant amounts are still invested in the financial instruments listed above.

The Investment Visa rules took effect on 1 January 2017. The application procedure itself is expected to be published in a decree from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This is likely to be approved by the end of March, and will enable us to better understand the impact and the advantages of the Investment Visa, as well as its connections with the 'res non-dom' tax regime.

At present, the Investment Visa appears to be an exciting new addition to the existing range of Visas already available. We expect that the forthcoming decree will clarify the opportunities and advantages relating to this new provision, allowing for better planning.

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.