Get Italian Residency by Launching a Startup
Apply for Italy’s Innovative Startup Visa initiative as a non-EU national. Get the right immigration advice to launch a startup or move your existing innovative business to Italy.
Our corporate lawyers will guide you through the process step-by-step.
How Can a Lawyer Help with an Innovative Startup Visa?
Our office of Immigration experts can help with all documentation. Depending on what you need, they can also advise on the appropriate residence permit for your case.
Our team of experienced legal professionals will review all your documentation and advise you on the appropriate residence permit for your situation. In addition, we can arrange for translated documents, certification services, or even help with an interview if necessary. Our support is in English, French, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese or Italian.
The Government is trying the encourage the Italian Startup ecosystem by attracting foreign direct investment and entrepreneurs. Getting this visa involves several steps and a thorough review of your application. However, Lexidy’s lawyers have deep experience in securing these visas.
We work with you to gather and prepare all the necessary documentation. We then guide you through all the criteria you must meet to show the Italian Government that your business is an Innovative Startup.
Our corporate team, together with our Immigration department, will guide you step-by-step in registering your startup in Italy and requesting a Visa for its non-EU nationals.
¨We will be with you each step of the journey.¨
What is an Innovative Startup Visa?
The Innovative Startup Visa program was introduced in Italy in 2016. It allows entrepreneurs to live in Italy while developing their innovative business ideas.
The visa is valid for one year, and the residence permit, called the “Permesso di Soggiorno”, can be renewed for two-year periods.
To apply for this visa, the entrepreneur and/or founder must be able to invest €50,000 into the business and show relevant experience that matches the business’s needs.
It is also possible to join an already established Innovative Startup as a working shareholder.
How to Get an Innovative Startup Visa?
To obtain the Innovative Startup Visa the entrepreneur and/or founder must meet the following criteria:
- Obtain approval from the Italian Technical Committee of the Ministery of Economic Development to quality as an Innovative Startup. This is called the “Nulla Osta”
- Invest €50,000 into the startup
- Evidence of accommodations in Italy
- Earned at least €6,050 in the previous year
- A passport with at least one year and three months of validity
Our team of Corporate and Immigration Lawyers can provide detailed information regarding each of the requirements needed to get a Visa.
How Do I Renew the Innovative Startup Visa?
The first step is to renew the “Permesso di Soggiorno”, which is the residence card. You must show the Chamber of Commerce, or “Visura Camerale”, a certificate stating that the company is still active.
You must also show earnings of at least €6,050 in the previous year.
The initial residence permit is granted for one year and renewed for two-year periods.
The Process of Getting the Innovative Startup Visa
There are two ways of applying for the Innovative Startup Visa. You can apply by yourself or through a registered Incubator in Italy.
The process of applying by yourself is as follows:
1. Gathering Documentation
You need to collect all the essential documents. This includes a letter with the intended resources of investment and your CV for the analysis of the Ministry of Economic Development of Itay. The minimum investment is €50,000.
It’s crucial to prepare a clear and robust business plan and presentation deck, or pitch, to submit in the next step.
2. Apply for the Authorisation Certificate
You can file your application online with Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development. You will need to attach an application form, a cover letter, the business plan and a copy of your passport.
If the request is approved, you’ll receive the “Nulla Osta” to apply for the Visa within 30 days.
3. Request the Visa
To issue the visa, you must visit the Italian Consulate or Embassy at your place of residence with the “Nulla Osta”, proof of accommodation in Italy, proof of income and hard copies of all the documents in the previous step.
It takes up to 30 days to get an answer, and you will need to visit the Consulate to collect the Visa.
4. Getting the “Permesso di Soggiorno”
Once you have a Visa, you have one year to enter Italy. After entering the country, you have eight days to request the “Permesso di Soggiorno” at the local Police Station or Questura.
This appointment shows that you are present in Italy. Therefore, it’s essential to book the appointment well in advance.
The residence permit is valid for one year and can be renewed for two years if the requirements are still in place.
Lexidy Immigration attorneys can guide all the steps so you don’t get lost in translation.
The process of applying via an incubator is as follows:
The process is essentially the same except for one difference. Instead of applying for an Innovative Startup Visa in step 2, an incubator will host your startup.
All the other documents and steps remain the same.
What Documents Do I Need?
For the second step:
- Application form for the ISV with a Curriculum Vitae of your work experience and education or confirmation that an incubator will host the business
- Presentation, or pitch deck, of your startup plan
- Detailed Business Plan with a forecast of costs and revenues
- Cover letter showing that you have the minimum financial resources to qualify for the visa
- Copy of the main page of your passport
For the third step:
- “Nulla Osta” for the Innovative Startup Visa
- Proof of accommodation in Italy
- Proof of residency in the Consular/Embassy area
- Proof of minimum income for the previous year
- Hard copies of the paperwork in the second step
For the fourth step:
- Payment of the fees for the “Permesso di Soggiorno”
- Photocopy of the entire passport
- 2 passport-sized photographs
- Proof of accommodation in Italy
What qualifies as an innovative startup?
An innovative startup is a limited company and isn’t listed on a stock market. However, it must meet the following requirements:
- Less than five years old
- Headquartered in Italy or the EU/EEA but with an Italian location
- Less than €5 million in annual revenue
- Doesn’t distribute profits
- Makes, develops or markets goods or services of high technological or innovative value
- It is not the result of a merger, split-up or selling-off of a company or branch
Furthermore, it must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- at least 15% of the annual cost or turnover can be attributed to R&D activities
- at least a third of the total workforce are PhD students, holders of a PhD or researchers
- alternatively, two-thirds of the entire workforce must hold a Master’s degree;
- the enterprise is the holder, depositary or licensee of a registered patent
- or it is the owner and author of original registered software.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
The €50,000 investment criteria
The financial resources may include:
- funding from venture capital funds or other investors
- the investors’ own funds
- finance obtained through crowdfunding portals
- financing provided by Italian and foreign government and non-government organisations
You can use a combination of the above. However, you will need to share paperwork to provide evidence of the funds.
For funding from certified incubators, the value of services that the certified incubator intends to offer can be included in the total amount.
Frequently Asked Questions
An “innovative startup” is a young company whose business model is defined by a strong technological identity. It doesn’t need to be specific to a sector.
The Italian Innovative Startup Program supports up to five Visa requests from non-EU nationals. In some circumstances, there can be ten visa applications per Startup.
No, the amount is distributed among the team.
Yes, the Italian Investment Visa is the best solution. You need to invest at least €250,000 in an Italian Innovative Startup.
You can also be a partner in the Startup. If the startup is more than three years old, you can occupy a corporate position by investing €100,000 or more.
No, only co-founders or partners can apply for the Visa.
If you wish to apply for a Work Visa as an employee you must first meet the proper criteria for a Visa. Most people can qualify as highly specialized employees and can and will undergo a facilitated procedure to get your Work Visa.
Yes, this Visa allows the applicant to request for their family members another type of Visa (Family Unity Visa), whether the applicant is in his home country or already in Italy.
The applicant must prove that he has sufficient economic means of sustaining the family (½ of the minimum amount for himself for each family member) and availability of accommodations for them according to Italian Law.
We are a department formed by qualified legal experts who have been trained in the field of corporate law. We work on these requests every day and it’s our passion. For us, Lexidy is a way of life and what excites us the most is to be able to deliver the happiness and satisfaction of a successful process. We want to help you achieve your goals and dreams.