Italy Reopens to Travel – What are the Options for Immigration?

The Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has just announced that Italy is to reopen its borders from the middle of May as it seeks to welcome back people who have been vaccinated or can produce a negative Covid-19 test. The main aim is to welcome back tourists ahead of the summer season, but it is also good news for anyone seeking a move to the country.

So what are the options for your Italian dream?

Italian Residency Options

Our firm’s most popular Italian visa is the Elective Residency Visa. This offers Italian residency to anyone who can prove they have a minimum of €32,000/year earned outside Italy to live on, and who can also find qualifying accommodation. The visa route was temporarily shut as a result of Covid, but it is now reopen and Italian embassies and consulates are welcoming applications once again.

In order to attract more people to its shores, Italy also offers an advantageous tax residency program. Pensioners are eligible for a flat tax of 7% on their overseas income (e.g. their pensions), high-net-worth individuals can avail themselves of a flat tax of €100,000 per annum, and certain workers can reduce their tax burden by 70% for the first five years they work in Italy. Conditions inevitably apply, please view our Italian Tax Residency page for more details.

Another way to quickly obtain Italian residency is through investment. The Italian government offers various cost-effective investment pathways. This includes and investment in a start-up, government bonds, or philanthropic donations. The starting investment requirement is just €250,000 and increases to a maximum of €2 million depending on the type of investment.

Italian Citizenship

It is possible to naturalize as an Italian citizen by virtue of ancestry or residency. Anyone who can document an appropriate Italian ancestor can apply for Italian citizenship. There are millions people in Brazil, Argentina, Venezeula, Mexico and the United States who are eligible for this visa.

Alternatively, if you establish your residence in Italy, for example through the Elective Residency Visa or the Investor Visa, it is possible to eventually become a citizen of Italy. European Union citizens only require two years’ residency in Italy before being eligible for citizens, for people from the rest of the world, you must wait ten years. The situation for British citizens is more complicated because of Brexit. We advise you to speak to our team for clarification on this.

Italian Property

Buying property in Italy can be complicated by bureacracy. Our Italy team can help you navigate each step of the process providing a reliable, bilingual partner to make sure you make the best decisions. Watch the webinar we hosted on the One Euro home program. We gathered key experts on Italy’s €1 Home to provide rounded advice to people thinking of taking advantage of the program.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Italian Ancestry Citizenship for Brazilians: Gateway to U.S. E-2 Visa

The Italian community in Brazil has assimilated so well over the years that a surprising number of Brazilians are eligible for Italian citizenship without even knowing it. Italian citizenship offers a lot of benefits, including the ability to live and work in Italy and the rest of the European Union, as well as the ability to enter the United States through the Visa Waiver Program and to access its E-2 Treaty Investor Visa program.

Italian Migration to Brazil

During the last decade of the nineteenth century, more Italians emigrated to Brazil than to any other country in the world. It is estimated that over one million Italians moved to the Sao Paulo area and to the southern states of Brazil in the 1890s. Many of them came from the Veneto region of north eastern Italy and were lured by subsidised transportation and the offer of agricultural jobs in coffee plantations.

The numbers fell after the Italian government passed measures to stem the tide in 1902 by ending subsidized transport to Brazil, but high levels of immigration resumed after the end of the First World War. Today, it is estimated that over 30 million Brazilians are descended from these Italian immigrants. 

Italian Naturalization

The process of obtaining an Italian citizenship is called naturalization. It is open to people who can demonstrate an Italian grandparent, great-grandparent or a relevant connection even further back. Our Italian naturalization lawyers, based in Rome, have helped numerous Brazilians obtain Italian citizenship by proving their ancestry and working with the approporiate authorities in Italy to build and file the case. The team has also worked with Venezuelans, Argentinians, Americans, Mexicans, and people from other countries in the same way.

An Italian passport offers the ability to live and work in any European Union country. It also grants visa-free access to 126 countries, as well as the ability to get a visa upon arrival in a further 39. Holders of an Italian passport are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program to the United States. This program allows citizens or nationals of participating countries to enter the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. Brazilian citizens are not currently eligible and must apply for a visa before travelling to or transiting through the United States.

Visit our Italy Practice Homepage

Access to the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Program

E-2 Treaty Investor Visas permit citizens of specific countries to move to the United States if they invest a substantial amount of capital in an American business (usually > $100,000). The primary applicant must be involved in running the business, but spouses can apply for work authorization in the United States outside of the business. Clients have used the E-2 visa to start-up new businesses, acquire existing business, or expand their current business. Franchise options are available, meaning off-the-shelf business solutions are available if you do not have an E-2 business in mind.

Brazilians are not currently eligible for an E-2 visa, but Italians are. Davies & Associates has successfully packaged Italian naturalization with an E-2 Visa application for a number of Brazilian clients. Please note, that while many Brazilians can claim Portuguese citizenship, Portugal does not hold an E-2 Treaty with the United States. Italians are initially granted an E-2 Visa for up to 60 months, but this can be renewed forever, so long as the underlying business continues to operate and meet its targets.

L-1 Visas Brazil

The L-1 visa program allows companies operating in the United States to bring skilled workers at the executive or managerial levels from overseas. It also allows for owners of small businesses to expand their business in the United States and transfer an executive member of staff to the United States to manage that business. Brazilians are currently eligible for L-1 visas that last for an initial period of up to two years, whereas Italian citizens are granted L-1 visas for up to five years. Both are able to renew their L-1 visas for up to a maximum of 7 years for an L-1A visa. After this time you must return to Brazil / Italy or transition to another visa to remain in the United States.

EB-5 Visa Brazil

Not all route into the USA go through Italy. Brazilian nationals are eligible to apply for the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program without needing to first take Italian citizenship. This visa offers a quick route to a green card for a $900,000 investment that creates and sustains ten American jobs. Davies & Associates is a leader in this field and has never had an EB-5 application rejected in our many years of service. 282 visas were issued to Brazilians in 2019 out of annual quota of just over 700. Whilst that leaves a lot of spare capacity, the example of India shows just how a country can go from the low hundreds to exceeding the quota in just two years. Countries exceeding their EB-5 visa quota enter a waitlist.

Researching your Family Tree

Acquiring an Italian passport opens up so many opportunities for Brazilians citizens. Through our offices and partners in Italy, my team has helped many Brazilians successfully claim their ancestral right to Italian citizenship, and we have continued to work with clients to get them access to the United States and beyond. So, start researching your family tree today, and please feel free to contact us to discuss your needs and eligibility.

To discuss your interest in Italian citizenship or any Italian residency, tax or property issues, please contact Matteo Tisato, the Italian-speaking Senior Immigration Analyst. mtisato@usimmigrationadvisor.com


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


New Italian “Permit of Stay” for Victims of Natural Disasters

By Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration Analyst, Italy Practice Group.

A new Italian permit of stay (permesso di soggiorno) can be obtained by those who have been affected by severe natural disasters or other calamities in their countries.

Italy and Sweden are the only countries offering this specific protection. In general, persons eligible for this immigration status are third-country nationals who, while not fulfilling the criteria for refugee or subsidiary protection, could not be returned to their country of origin because of environmental circumstances.

Our Italian team in Florence and Rome can now assist you in applying for this permit. The competent Italian authority will make a determination based on the documentation provided at time of filing and will independently check the current situation of your country of origin. Unfortunately, the processing time to obtain this permit is still unclear. This Permit solution is valid for a period of 6 months and can be extended until the situation in those countries improves and it is safe for you to travel back.

If the Immigration authority does not extend your status, you may qualify for different permits and change your status while you are in the country. For sample, you can change your status to work, student, or family permits.

The Permit for natural disasters and calamities gives you extensive rights, including work authorization in Italy, enrolment in the Italian health care system (SSN), and access to the Italian public education system.

Our team in Florence and our Italian desk in Miami are already working on these solutions and are available to answer all your questions.  

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Italy’s Annual Quota for Non-EU Migrant Workers Tops 30,000 in 2020

By Matteo Tisato

Each year the Italian government announces how many working visas will be available under its “quota system”. The government releases a Flow Decree establishing a number of available working visas across two main categories.

For 2020 there will be a total of 30,850 non-European workers who will be able to enter Italy regularly.

The 30,850 visa quota is split as follows:

  1. 12,850 visas are available to non-seasonal subordinate jobs, and self-employers, of which 6,150 working permits are available to those who are already in Italy and apply for the conversion of their Permit of Stay (Permesso di Soggiorno);
  2. 18,000 visas are available to seasonal workers in the transportation, constructions, and tourism fields, of which 4.500 are reserved for those coming from Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Korea, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, Philippines, Gambia, Ghana, Japan, India, Kosovo, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Niger, Nigeria,  North Macedonia, Senegal, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine. For 2020/2021, three more countries have been included: Bangladesh, Pakistan, and El Salvador. Of this category, a sub quota of 6,000 permits are limited those working in the agricultural field. 100 visas are available for those who resides in Venezuela and have at least one Italian ancestor.

There are many different reasons our clients want to move to the boot-shaped peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea.

  • working
  • establishing residency / desire to live in Italy
  • investment opportunities in the real estate market
  • studying and cultural experiences
  • retirement
  • tax benefits

Of all of these, work is one of the most popular motivations. A good 25% of people who contact us are interested in moving to Italy because of its employment opportunities and fair labour conditions.

We all know Covid-19 has had a catastrophic impact on the employment rate in Europe and worldwide. Even before the pandemic, Italy was still struggling to recover from a deep economic crisis, which hit the youth employment especially badly.

However, over the last 2 years, the government made up a series of reforms to the labour market, also allowing people to retire earlier.

For those foreigners who have an employer available in sponsoring them, the Italian labour market offers excellent rights and public benefits.

Benefits of being employed in the Italian labour market

  • First, each employer is insured under the Italian Social Security legislation;
  • Second, the average working week does not exceed 40 hours and overtime is forbidden when it exceeds 250 hours per year;
  • Third, each employer is entitled to have at least a month (four weeks) of paid annual leave, and 11 public holiday days;
  • Fourth, the parental leave is very well regulated in Italy and both mothers and fathers can take a leave up to six months until the child turns 12;
  • Fifth, in case a contract is terminated, all the employees are entitled to a very well-regulated and extensive severance pay;
  • Sixth, workers are entitled to sick leave with full remuneration (most of the time) and have the right to maintain their job while they are sick.

Contact our Italy Team to discuss in greater detail.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Tax Incentives for Investing and Renting Residential Properties in Italy

By Matteo Tisato

The lure of Italy is undeniable. Stunning landscapes, historic cities, culture, design, culinary tradition. Before Covid-19 hit Italy so badly in early 2020, Rome was the country’s most popular destination with almost 27 million of visitors every year, or 6.4 percent of the total, followed by Milan and Venice (both 2.8 percent), and Florence (2.4 percent).

However, in the recent years, Italy has become an excellent place attracting not only tourists but international investors as well, who are finding always more opportunities and great deals even on tax regimes.

Today we dig into the international real estate business and want to share something that most potential investors in the real estate market do not know: A 10% flat rate for incomes coming from renting out residential properties. 

A 10% flat rate for incomes coming from renting out residential properties. 

If in most cases a rate of 21% is applied to these incomes, for lease contracts that meet certain requirements it is possible to qualify for a 10% flat fee, which is certainly more convenient for the investors/owners. Here are the main criteria to qualify for this special taxation regime:

  • Firstly, the residential lease must be in the form of 3 plus 2 years, or Interim contracts (up to 18 months) or student contracts (up to 36 months).
  • Secondly, the 10% flat rate applies only to leases for which the maximum amount is not freely established by the parties but is determined in accordance with agreements made by the local authorities and the most representative tenant organizations.
  • Thirdly, the 10% flat rate applies exclusively to homes located in specific areas, including the biggest cities such as Bari, Bologna, Catania, Florence, Genova, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Turin, and Venice. Buying a property in these cities may also include further reductions on IMU, which is the Italian property tax.

International investors are always more interested in investing in the Italian real estate by taking advantage of the above tax regime. In addition, house expenses are usually paid by the tenant, and these include water-sewer taxes, condominium taxes, gas, electricity, Internet/Wifi, and Tv/cable tax.

In addition to reduced rental taxes, Italy offers a range of tax benefits to attract foreign workers and retirees. This includes a generous time-limited reduction on income tax for workers who move their tax residency to Italy. As well as a 7% flat tax on overseas pensions for retirees who switch their tax residency to Italy. Conditions apply.

Italy also attracts high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) through a €100,000 flat tax for up to 15 years. This has proved popular with 784 people taking up this offer over the past three years. The majority of HNWI applicants (10%) are from the United Kingdom, where Brexit uncertainty coupled with Italy’s generous tax provisions, have spurred people to act.

For anyone interested in moving to Italy, there are a range of options available. Including the investor visa – for which the Italian government has just reduced the investment amounts; the elective residency visa – for which you need to prove annual stable income in excess of €32,000; the European Blue Card – for highly-skilled individuals; and naturalization by proving Italian ancestry.

Learn more in our podcast.

Contact Us to discuss your case.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Italy Flat Tax for HNWIs Leads to 784 New Tax Residents

The Italian authorities have announced that 784 high-net-worth individuals have applied for tax residency in Italy over the first three years of the program. The reason? A €100,000 flat tax on income for up to fifteen years.

The country with the most applicants (10%) was Great Britain, followed by France (58 applicants), the United States (20 applicants) and Russia (19 applicants).

Italy’s attempts to attract foreigners to obtain tax residency does not stop with high-net-worth individuals. The country has attempted to attract retirees to switch their tax residency with the lure of a 7% annual flat tax on overseas income (e.g. pension), with an emphasis on retiring to the southern regions of Italy.

Italy is also seeking to attract more people of working age, especially the self-employed. A generous tax incentive for workers includes a 70% reduction in income tax on Italian income for five years, with the potential to increase and extend the discount if settling in the South or bringing family members.

In addition to tax residency, Italy offers a range of residency and citizenship options. The country offers and investor visa program, and recently offered substantial discounts to attract more investors to obtain residency.

Other options include obtaining the European Blue Card for highly skilled workers, or obtaining an Elective Residency Visa if you can prove you have a steady income of at least €32,000.

An alternative pathway to Italy is by claiming a right to citizenship through an Italian ancestor. Given high levels of emigration in the early twentieth century, a surprising number of Americans, Brazilians, Argentinians, Venezuelans and Mexicans can claim Italian citizenship.

Given the favourable flat tax and the high quality of living, it is little surprise that Italy has registered almost 800 new HNWI tax residents. It is also understandable that Brits are among the highest applicants, given that British citizens will lose their automatic access to reside in European Union countries after Brexit.

As with anything to do with tax, there is considerable nuance in the details. It is vital to engage tax counsel before planning your move. Please contact Matteo Tisato in our Italy team to discuss your specific circumstances in greater detail.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients.


Positano Italy

Podcast: Chasing the Italian Dream: Residency & Citizenship Options

Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration Analyst at Davies & Associates takes you through various options for moving to Italy, including:

The Italian Investor Visa.

Matteo discusses recent changes to the Investor Visa. The Italian Investor visa has long been considered uncompetitive on price in relation to other, similar European programs. To attract more high-net-worth individuals as a result of Covid. The government has halved the minimum investment requirement of certain investor visa criteria. The pathway to citizenship is also discussed.

The Elective Residency Visa

Matteo discusses the benefits of one of the most popular visas for people looking to work or retire in Italy. The core requirement of the Elective Residency visa is to rent or lease a house and have an income of 32,000 Euros or more.

Italian Citizenship Through Ancestry

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Italy experienced mass migration on a vast scale. Many people around the world, especially in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina, can claim Italian citizenship through an ancestor. Matteo talks us through the main requirements, including the need to provide documentation to support the claim.

EU Blue Card

The European Union offers a “blue card” program to attract highly skilled workers from around the world. So-named to infer a link to the US Green Card. As you will hear, it is actually more similar to the H-1B visa.

Italian Tax

The Italian tax system can be daunting even to the initiated. Many of our clients want to know the best way to structure their taxes when moving to Italy from abroad. Italy has recently made it more attractive for workers, retirees and high net worth individual to become tax resident.

Hosted by Duncan Hill. Neither Duncan nor Matteo are licensed lawyers in the US or Italy and nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. Contact Davies & Associates to discuss your circumstances with an attorney.


The Italian Dream is now Half Price

The Italian government is reducing key investment requirements for its Investor Visa by 50%.

By Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration Analyst, D&A Italy

Just yesterday, the Italian Parliament passed into law a governmental Decree with a number of measures aimed at relaunching the Italian economy as a response to the dramatic impact that the Covid-19 health emergency had on the Italian and global economy.

In particular, the Italian government has taken actions in order to attract and encourage foreign capitals and investments from abroad, by reducing by 50% some of the minimum thresholds of the “Investor Visa for Italy”. 

In light of the above said, citizens from all around the world are now entitled to apply for and obtain this visa and its related Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit of Stay) by performing one of the following investments in the country:

• at least 250.000 Euros (previously was 500.000 Euros) in an innovative start-up company incorporated in Italy; 

• at least 500.000 Euros (previously was 1 Million Euros) in equity instruments of companies incorporated and operating in Italy; 

• at least 2 million Euros in Government Bonds issued by the Italian Republic (no changes in the new law)

• philanthropic donations of at least 1 million Euros, in the field of culture, education, immigration, scientific research, recovery of cultural assets and landscapes. (no changes)

The above change in the law does not affect the practical aspects of the procedure. Once the Investor Visa has been issued, the investor (and their family) is entitled to enter Italy and to apply for the Permesso di Soggiorno (permit of stay), which will be issued on the sole condition that the applicant performs one of the above-listed investments within 3 months after the date of first entry in the country. 

The Permesso is issued for an initial period of 2 years and can be renewed for further periods of 3 years, provided that the investment has been fully executed according to the Italian Immigration Law

The steps for obtaining the citizenship of Italy, which is the 3rd largest economy in the European Union, and the 8th largest by nominal GDP in the world, can be quite extended unless all the documents are prepared in accordance with the requirements imposed by the Italian authorities. 

If you think of applying for the Investor Visa for Italy, contact our offices in Florence or Miami, and our attorneys will assist you step by step with this process.

mtisato@usimmigrationadvisor.com

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients.


Live your Italian Dream through the Elective Residency Visa

By Matteo Tisato. Matteo is a Senior Immigration Analyst in our Italy Practice Group. Connect with Matteo on LinkedIn.

With offices across Italy, Davies & Associates is able to help foreign nationals obtain the right to live, work or claim citizenship, collect debts, and pay taxes in the country.

In the first of a series of blogs from the Italy Practice Group, Matteo Tisato examines the benefits, requirements, and timelines of the elective residency visa.

The Italian elective residency visa allows entry into Italy for an open, long-term visit to foreigners who intend to establish their residence in Italy and who are able to do so by showing financial incomes without the need of employment.

Individuals must submit suitable and documented proof of housing (to be purchased or rented) in Italy and an income of more than EUR 32,000 of regular and stable financial resources which are likely to remain steady in the future. Resources must derive from prolific revenues (annuities, rents, pensions, bonds), properties ownership, stable economic-financial activities or other sources other than subordinate employment. This type of visa allows these individuals to enter Italy for an indefinite period of time.

The visa application will involve completing the relevant application form and providing supporting documentation. The Consulate has the right to issue the visa within 90 days, but the processing time is usually between four to eight weeks, depending on the Consulate’s workload, time of year, and applicant’s nationality. The applicant will need to show assets from a portfolio. The Consulate may request original financial statements from banks, investments/brokerage firms, or social security, all indicating current balances.

As soon as the Elective Residence Visa is issued, the foreigner may enter Italy and apply for the Permit of Stay, also called “Permesso di Soggiorno”, within eight days of arrival. Once the Permit of Stay is issued, the immigration process is completed and the foreigner will have proper legal status in Italy.

An individual who obtains an elective residence visa shall not pay taxes in Italy if: (1) is not registered in the City Hall (Comune) of the place where living; (2) and lives in Italy less than 183 days during the fiscal year (January to December); (3) and does not have his habitual abode in the country (e.g. his family lives in Italy and he has in Italy his principal center of business and interests)

Holders of an elective Permit of Stay can apply for the EC Permit of Stay for long-term residents after 5 years of legal stay in Italy. In order to be eligible, they must have registered as residents of Italy and filed tax returns. After 10 years of legal residency in Italy, an individual should be eligible to apply for Italian citizenship.

TIMELINE

Elective Residence Visa Application2-6 Weeks
Residence Permit Application3-5 Months
Residency Registration1-3 Months

This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.