Normally, non-EU citizens who intend to stay in Italy for more than three months must apply for a visa. Italian immigration law offers several visa options including the elective residency visa, family reunification visa, self-employment work permit visa, and employee work permit visa.
Those who want to move to Italy without working in Italy generally apply for an elective residency visa. These visas are not subject to any annual cap on availability. Applicants may obtain the elective residency visa by submitting a special request including evidence of:
- sufficient income to reside in Italy without working; and
- a dwelling available in Italy.The elective residency visa has a maximum duration of 12 months and must be renewed through a special submission 30 days prior to the expiration date. After five years, if specified requirements are met, the individual may also apply for a European residency visa that does not expire and allows the holder to move freely within the EU.
For those who plan to work in Italy, obtaining a visa may be more complicated since the Italian governement sets a maximum number of visas that may be granted each year.
The 2017 finance bill provides two measures that facilitate entry into Italy for eligible individuals:
• a new, simplified visa procedure for those individuals who move their residence to Italy and decide to opt for the €100,000 substitute tax regime (“res non dom”);
• a special investor visa for individuals who make:
- an investment in Italian public bonds of at least €2 million, to be held for at least two years;
- an investment of at least €1 million in the equity of companies established and operating in Italy, to be held for at least two years; or
- a contribution of at least €1 million to a charity engaged in specified public interest projects. The new investor visa is not subject to any immigration quota restrictions, is granted for a two-year period, and can be renewed for three years. Family members can join the holder of the investor visa using the rules applicable to holders of ordinary visas.