Brexit — Italy

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW: Visa options for Brits who want to live and work in Italy

Marco Mazzeschi
6 min readFeb 23, 2021

Starting from January 1st 2021, UK citizens are no longer EU citizens. Which visas can they apply for?

Which are the visa options for Brits who want to work, set up a business or retire in Italy?

Elective residence visa (ERV)

This visa is for those who want to live in Italy without working. ERV requires the applicant to show a minimum passive income (i.e. not deriving from work or salary) of not less than € 31,000/year and to have a suitable accommodation.

How can I prove my income? Applicant must submit documents proving a substantial and steady private income (including pensions or annuities) from property, stable economic and commercial activities or from other sources and proof of financial means, such as letters from the applicant’s bank indicating the financial status of their accounts, including amount of money in each account, copy of last pension, tax returns, etc.

Do I need to purchase a property? Accommodation can be rented, no need to purchase a property but if the property is of value, it will surely help the application. Consulate will however focus its review on the applicant’s income that must be steady and the ability of proving it with trustable documents.

Can I bring my family? The spouse and children up to 18 are entitled to a family visa, but applicant will need to prove a higher income (+20% for the spouse and +5% for each child).

Can I work remotely? No, applicants cannot work and are not permitted to work from home, blog for payment, or otherwise dodge this restriction.

Investor Visa

The Investors’ Visa can be obtained by: (i) purchasing € two million in Italian government bonds (to be kept for a period of at least two years); or (ii) investing € 500,000 in a company or € 250,000 in a “innovative start-up”; or (iii) donating € one million in philanthropic projects of public interest.

When do I need to make the investment? Within three months from the date of entry, the applicant must provide documented evidence of having carried out the investment proposed in the application.

How long is the visa for? The investors visa holder shall receive a two years valid investors’ residence permit (permesso di soggiorno “per investitori”), renewable for an additional three years further to proving that the investment is still in place.

Can I change my investment? Changes will be deemed admissible only in exceptional circumstances, assessed by the Committee on a case by case basis.

Is this visa subject to quota limitations? No

Start-up visa

This visa is for non-EU nationals intending to set up an innovative start-up business. The applicant must (ii) prove the availability of at least € 50,000 to be used for the sole purpose of establishing and operating the start-up (ii) submit a detailed business plan.

When a start-up is considered “innovative”? its innovative character is identified by at least one of the following criteria: (i) at least 15% of the greater value between annual costs and turnover can be attributed to R&D activities; (ii) at least 1/3 of the total workforce are PhD students, holders of a PhD or researchers; or, alternatively, 2/3 of the total workforce must hold a Master’s degree; (iii) the enterprise is the holder, depositary or licensee of a registered patent (industrial property), or the owner and author of an original registered software.

Does a start-up need to operate in ITC sector only? this definition is sector-neutral: a company that meets the requirements set out above may operate in any economic sector and still be registered as an innovative startup.

Is this visa subject to quota limitations? Yes

Start your own business

If you do not qualify for a start-up visa but you still intend to carry out some activities in Italy, you can register an ordinary company. With few exceptions, Italy allows foreigners to register a new company entirely owned by foreign individuals or companies. A self-employee visa as company’s director can however be obtained only when a company has been in activity for at least 3 years and issuance is subject to quotas.

Can I hire non EU workers with a Newco? if the company is adequately funded, it can hire immediately non-EU workers, without need of hiring a certain number of local workers (Blue Card permit). This option is doable only for highly skilled workers who have at least 3-year University diploma and who are offered a minimum salary of € 25,000 year.

What are the conditions and limitations? The law does not set any limits, such as minimum capital or turn-over, number of local workers, etc., but it leaves an ample discretion to the Immigration Office to assess the company’s financial ability to carry out the business and bear all charges relevant to the workers. Accordingly, it is always advisable to start a new business with adequate and substantial funds, in addition to the minimum € 10,000 capital. In fact, the law provides for that any permits to foreign workers can be annulled or revoked, if the company is established only with the purpose of favoring immigration.

Is this visa subject to quota limitations? No, for Blue Card permits — Yes, for self-employee permits.

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Favourable flat-tax regime for new residents

Individuals transferring their tax residency in Italy can apply for a special yearly flat tax of € 100,000. To qualify for the option the applicant must not have been resident in Italy for at least nine tax years during the previous 10 years.

Any other options?

There could be other visa options for enterpreneurs and investors, for a complete overview you can check our articles and also our contribution published in the TUSCANY REGION website.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this article (i) does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; (ii) are for general informational purposes only and may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information (iii) this website may contain links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader; (iv) readers should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.