Also known as the Italian Investor Visa, the Italian Dolce Visa was first launched in 2017. While operational since 2018, most years have seen mediocre application numbers, until 2021.
The past year saw a quadruple in application numbers, bolstered by changes that have made the program one of the EU’s most competitive.
As revealed by the Ministry of Economic Development, the program received 40 applications in 2021, while 2020 only saw 11.
So far, the program has had 64 applications in total – 50 having been approved thus far.
What Made the Program Gain Popularity?
A few changes, most introduced in May 2020’s Decreto Rilancio.
This was an amendment that dropped investment requirements by half. Ordinary businesses now require EUR 500,000 instead of 1,000,000 – and innovative startups now require EUR 250,000.
Another is the simplification of visa requirements. While not explicitly discussed in government reports, December 2020’s Semplificazioni decree had an impact on investor numbers.
The decree exempts golden visa holders from physical presence necessities that all Italian residency holders followed, pushing their physical presence requirements to zero.
Prior to that, investors were forced into prolonged stay within Italy each year – hardly an advantage in the visa market. The rule was followed before forcing applicants to spend half their residency time in Italy.
Essentially, this meant a two-year visa holder had to stay for a year minimum. Now, while this rule is no longer applicable to golden visa holders – it still applies to other residency types.
Another interesting change is the investment submission. Applicants aren’t required to invest before they receive approvals, only afterward.
This is a major risk-mitigating factor for investors. It means fewer time constraints starting a company, and a better application process overall.
Investment Through a Company
Another positive change for Italy’s Dolce Visa. Now, investors can make the required investment through a company, instead of themselves as private persons.
The change allows for reduced personal financial risks and advantageous taxation on the investment.
The program allows 4 different investment types. Each comes with a minimum investment threshold, being:
- Innovative startups – EUR 250,000
- Italian shares – EUR 500,000
- Public interest project donations – EUR 1 million
- Italian government bond investments – EUR 2 million
But what about what applicants chose? Which categories did they invest in?
From the 64 submitted applications, most (43) chose the Italian shares option, even though it is double the startup investment’s requirements.
This indicates that investors may funnel more capital if it means reduced risk. Government bonds came next, at 10 total, with innovative startup applications reaching nine.
Total investments collected under the program amount to EUR 18 million.
The Ministry of Economy expects that number to reach EUR 40 million as investments are confirmed by approved applicants.
Nationalities are another interesting point. So far, 41% of investor applications are Anglosphere-based.
Americans and Russians have the highest application numbers, at 14% each. Britons come next with 11% of total applicants, with Canada next.
Interestingly enough, China (the largest investor source market) accounts for little in this program, marking 1/20 applications.
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