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.


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.


The “Blue Card” Europe’s Answer to the US Green Card

Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration Analyst in our Italy Practice Group, examines the requirements for a European Blue Card.


After a tough few months in Europe, which saw tens of thousands of deaths from the global pandemic, cities in lockdown, and borders closed, early signs of normality are appearing as European countries are reopening their borders to foreign travelers, with some exclusions.

In the last few days, our offices in London, Rome, and Florence are experiencing a massive volume of calls from all around the world from people seeking information about how they can work and legally reside in Europe.

We take this opportunity to offer an insight of the European Blue Card, which has been specifically created to make Europe a more attractive destination for highly qualified non-EU/EEA nationals. The European commission chose the name ‘blue card’ to signal potential immigrants that the Blue Card is the European alternative to the American Green Card.

The European Blue Card is a residence permit that provides comprehensive socio-economic rights and a possible path towards permanent residence and European citizenship. It is valid in all EU member states, except Denmark, Ireland, and the UK.

It is a merit-based system where applicants must prove they have a college degree, and have been offered a job for at least 12 months with a gross annual salary equal to or higher than the relevant salary threshold defined by the Member State.

For example, in Germany the minimum annual salary for EU Blue Card applicants is in the range of EUR 55,200 (or EUR 43,056 for shortage occupations, such as doctors, engineers, natural scientists, mathematicians, and IT-specialists).

Work permits issued pursuant to the Blue Card program are not subject to any quota system and are not allowed for temporary assignments or self-employed activities. If EU Blue Card holders lose their job they are given three months to remain in the country and look for work, and are entitled to claim social security benefits.

Amongst many exceptional advantages gained by becoming an EU Blue Card holder, additional key beneficial components include: obtaining equal work and salary conditions to national citizens; having free movement within the Schengen area; having social rights, having a great and affordable education and health care system, family reunification; and potentially obtaining permanent-residency rights.

In fact, after five years of legal and continuous stay, it is possible to apply for an EU long-term residence permit, and enjoy the same rights as nationals, including access to any employment and self-employed activity.

Contact our team to discuss your interest in the European Blue Card and other European and international residency & citizenship programs.


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


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.