Starting a business in another country or extending an existing one with an overseas branch is an exciting prospect. You can expect immense growth and global outreach with an international presence for your brand. Further, it gives you the opportunity to experience life in a different part of the world, and you may even move there for good. But entrepreneurship overseas isn't a mean feat as you will need to invest a great deal of hard work and commitment to dive headfirst into the venture.
Beyond the relentless courage and commitment, you also need to understand the process for setting up a venture abroad. Alternatively, you can explore the option of collaborating with an existing company at your target destination. In either case, you will need to fulfill some immigration and regulatory norms to start life as an ex-pat in a foreign country. We will discuss the Italian Golden Visa in detail to give you a fair idea about exploring the opportunity in the country, which offers a favorable environment for foreign investors and entrepreneurs. Here is all that you need to know about starting up in Italy.
Do your homework first
Even before you start planning for the Golden Visa, you must do a thorough analysis of the local market. Determine whether there is a demand for your offering because you must have a valid reason to start a business there. It is equally vital to understand the market competition, local regulations for the business niche, and other regulations applying to international startups in the country.
It makes sense to dip your toes in the water before you dive deep because you can enter the market with realistic expectations. Apart from learning all about the business landscape and compliance norms in Italy, you must also understand the investor visa option. The best way to set up here is by picking the Golden Visa that involves investment in an existing company or startup in Italy.
Check your eligibility for Italian Golden Visa
If you want to invest in Italy, you can get entry with a Golden Visa. It also gives you second citizenship, which means that you can live and work in the EU member countries. Applying for this visa option requires investment in one of the following form:
● An investment of €250,000 in an existing local startup
● An investment of €500,000 in a local company incorporated and operating in the country (to be held for at least two years)
● An investment of €2 million in government bonds (to be held for at least two years)
● A donation of €1 million supporting a public-interest project in the fields of education, scientific research, immigration management, culture, or preservation of cultural and natural heritage
Further, you must be at least 18 years of age when you start the application procedure to be eligible. Being in a good state of health and having clean criminal records is imperative, and you will need to validate these facts with relevant documents.
Gather your documents
Once you are sure that you are eligible to apply for the golden visa, you should start gathering your documents because the process can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Moreover, not having proper documents can lead to delays and hassles in the application approval. You will also need to ensure that they are prepared according to the requirements imposed by the authorities. Here are the basic documents you must have at hand while applying.
● A valid passport
● Proof of current residence
● Information about the funds in the form of a bank statement
● Proof of how the funds were obtained
● Health certificate
● Police clearance
● Documents of family members
While these are the essentials to start with, you will need to get many more documents as you proceed with the process. It is best to have an expert guiding you through all the stages. You do not need to worry about missing a document or going wrong with any step.
Go ahead with the application process
With all the essential documents and investment funds in place, you are all set to begin with the process. It is vital to prove that the funds you plan to invest are liquid, in your name, and obtained legally. Before going ahead, here you can read more about the Golden Visa for Italy to get clear expectations about its complexity and timelines. The application process includes three steps, with each requiring specific documents and formalities. Let us explain them in detail.
Step #1: Obtaining a nulla osta
Nulla osta refers to a no impediment certificate provided by the Investors Committee for Italy, which is the official legislative body of the investor visa. You need not worry much about the procedure as it is quite quick, and you can get the certificate within just 30 days of applying. You can do it online, which makes it even simpler. The best part is that you need not make the investment in Italy until you are approved for the investor visa, and only a declaration will suffice. Here are the documents you need to scan and attach with your application for nulla osta.
● Your passport
● Proof of funds
● A description of the intended investment route along with proof validating that the recipients have given consent
● A CV
● A police clearance
● A declaration for investing the minimum required amount
● A declaration for the Italian municipality where you intend to settle
You have the option to submit the documents in English or Italian, which makes the process easier. Add an e-signature, and you are all set to go. The Investor Visa Committee evaluates the application and checks the document. You will get your nulla osta within 30 days if everything is in order.
Step #2: Getting the investor visa
After getting the nulla osta, you can get started with your investor visa. It is best to start at the earliest because the validity of nulla osta is only for six months. You will need to submit the following documents to the nearest Italian embassy or consulate to get your investor visa.
● A copy of nulla osta
● Your passport
● A passport picture
● Proof of residence in the current country
● Proof of accommodation in Italy (a confirmed hotel booking will suffice)
● Income proof from the previous fiscal year so that you can validate that you have adequate funds to support yourself and your family (current sum is €8,500 per person per year)
Step #3: Getting the Italian residence permit
When you have your investor visa, you can travel to the country and apply for a residence permit because you are now legally entitled to it. The validity of your visa is two years. It means you should get your temporary residence permit within that time frame. Once you are there, you can apply for an Italian Investor Visa Residence Permit by visiting your local police station within eight business days after landing. The process requires you to submit a fee of $100, along with your passport pictures and ID proofs.
Your residence permit is valid for two years, starting from the day you enter the country with your visa. You will also have to make a committed investment now. Failing to do it will lead to the cancellation of your visa. In that case, you will have to leave Italy right away. On the other hand, you will have to apply for a renewal of your Golden visa after the completion of the validity period. But you can do it only if willing to maintain the entire investment in the country. Once renewed, the permit will be valid for another three years. You are entitled to a permanent residence permit after the completion of five years of the investment visa. A ten-year period gives you the option to obtain Italian citizenship by naturalization.
Get tax benefits as an Italian resident
Obtaining residence in Italy opens two tax benefits for you. The Italian flat tax option is ideal if you are a high-net-worth individual seeking a tax residency and a high standard of living in the country. Moving your tax residency to Italy caps your tax on worldwide income at €100,000, while your Italian income will be taxed progressively according to Italian law. You can even avail the scheme for your family members, with €25,000 extra per person, per annum.
The other tax benefit you can avail of is the special tax regime for Impatriati, meant for the self-employed, employees, and retirees. Investing in the southern Italian regions such as Sicily, Abruzzo, Campania, and Puglia is a good idea as you have to pay income tax only on 10% of your income.
The Italian Golden Visa is a quick and easy route if you want to explore entrepreneurship opportunities in this incredible country. The best thing about this option is that you collaborate with a business here, which lets you sideline the hassles of starting from scratch. Once you are all settled, you can look for bigger ideas.