When discussing the best places to live or retire in Europe, it’s impossible to overlook Italy. Boasting gorgeous landscapes, friendly people, a rich cultural history as well as reasonable living costs – especially in its southern regions – Italy is a fantastic lifestyle destination.
Renowned as the home of La Dolce Vita – The Sweet Life – Italy is also gaining acclaim for its so-called “La Dolce Visa” – the country’s investor residency program.
The fact that Italy does not offer a property investment option under its Golden Visa program is one of the only reasons that it isn’t a top Plan B destination in the EU.
Moreover, many people would also argue that, in the absence of a property investment option, its investor visa isn’t a “true” Golden Visa at all.
But a new piece of draft legislation, Bill DDL S 2498 – IF approved in 2023 – could pave the way for the introduction of a number of new real estate options for the program. (More on this below…)
However, before we get into the proposed program changes, let’s recap the current investment options first.
The Italian Golden Visa Investment Options for 2023
As things stand as of January 2023, you can obtain an Italian Golden Visa by investing:
- €2 million in Italian government bonds
- €1 million in projects of national interest
- €500,000 in an Italian public companies
- €250,000 in an innovative Italian startup
After five years of total residency, you can apply for permanent residency and then sell your investment, if you so choose.
As you can see, the minimum investment amount is a very reasonable €250,000 (in an Italian startup). But… While this price point is on a par with the Greek Golden Visa (RE option), it carries a far greater level of capital risk.
In fact, with tech oriented startup investments, the risk of a total loss of capital is exceedingly high…
So this makes the cheapest Italian Golden Visa option applicable to a very limited number of applicants only. And if you want to invest in the Italian stock market (and thus, in more mature Italian companies), the minimum investment amount goes up to €500,000.
So what is Draft Bill DDL S 2498 all about?
IF approved, the bill could pave the way for the introduction of a number of real estate options. The proposed new program options would include:
- €1.5 million+: Italian properties located in large cities and adjacent metropolitan areas – think Milan or Rome.
- €1 million+: Italian properties located in provincial capitals and municipalities with a population of 25,000 or more, e.g. Bari, Gallarate, Verona, Carpi, Venice, Siena, etc.
- €750,000+: Italian properties located in municipalities with a population of less than 25,000, e.g. Pompei, Vignola, Cardito, Fasano, etc.
And even though these property options would be a very welcome addition to the program, the proposed price points are likely not going to compete very well with the property offerings in Portugal (€280K+), Greece ( €250K+) and Spain (€500K+).
And as mentioned, the Italian program’s €250,000 startup option is not particularly attractive.
Consequently, the majority of program applicants opt to invest €500,000 in a mature Italian public company instead.
But there is more potential good news though…
If approved, the proposed bill would also reduce the minimum startup investment to just €200,000 (from €250,000), and the Italian stock investment option to €400,000 (from €500,000).
Plus, to further boost the program’s appeal – and to match Greece’s offering in this regard – the proposed legislation will increase the initial residency permit validity to five years, renewable at five-year intervals.
The current initial validity is two years, renewable for an additional three years.
(The five-year mark is when you should also be able to apply for permanent residency as well.)
And the plan is to raise the maximum age of dependents from 18 years to 21 years, too.
But all of the above will only transpire if this legislation is passed in its current form…
For a large portion of folks we know, living in Italy – even part time – would be a dream come true. And while the Italian Golden Visa offering isn’t a slam dunk yet, it is most certainly one to keep an eye on going in 2023…