Startup Visa for Italy

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Startup Visa for Italy Summary

What is an innovative startup in Italy that can get a startup visa?

Procedure to apply to get a startup visa for Italy

Useful links and resources for Startup Visa Program for Italy

Startup visa for Italy

A Start-up Visa allows the holder to enter Italy as a self-employed worker to incorporate an innovative startup company in Italy as defined (the meaning of innovative startup) in Law no. 221 of 17 December 2012. 

It is issued for workers who enter in the quotas of work permits Italy issues every year according to the Decreto Flussi and have obtained a Nulla Osta (work authorization). However, the procedure to obtain this visa is faster and simpler than the other self-employment work visa.

This means that the company must be compliant with the criteria set in the aforementioned law, and that you must have a self-employment relationship with the company.

As the granting of entry visas represents an essential step to make the circulation of talent and skills possible, slow and cumbersome administrative procedures constitute a significant obstacle to the mobility of innovative entrepreneurs. 

The Italia Startup Visa programme addresses this issue by introducing a brand new procedure that is:

  • entirely completed online: the applicant can submit their documentation only by email, to the following address: [email protected];
  • it can be made entirely in English: application forms, information materials and a “customer care” service, as well as the website of the programme itself, are all offered in this language, so as to facilitate the applicants who are not proficient in Italian; 
  • it is fully centralized: a single administration handles all communications with the other administrations involved (central police offices, consular representation abroad), and acts as a single contact point for the applicants;
  • it can be completed expeditiously: the Certificate of No Impediment to the granting of the visa is normally released within 30 days from application submission;

Be aware that the Italia Startup Visa is still a self-employment visa, and is therefore subject to the general provisions that regulates them.

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What is an Innovative Startup?

It is a new company whose business model is focused on technology 

According to the law (Decree-Law no. 179/2012, art. 25, par. 2), an innovative startup is a limited company, unlisted, which fulfills the following requirements: 

  • it is newly incorporated, or it has been operational for less than 5 years
  • it has its headquarters in Italy, or in another EU/EEA country, provided it has at least one production unit or a branch in Italy
  • it has an annual turnover lower than €5 million
  • it does not distribute profits, nor did it do so in the past
  • it has as exclusive or prevalent corporate purpose (as stated in the deeds of 1 Lisbon Council, 2016 Guidelines to the Italia Startup Visa programme 20/03/2018 8 incorporation) the production, development and/or marketing of innovative goods or services of a high technological value;
  • it is not the result of a merger, split-up or selling-off of a company or branch

its innovative character is identified by at least one of the following criteria:

  • at least 15% of the greater value between annual costs and turnover can be attributed to R&D activities;
  • 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;
  • the enterprise is the holder, depositary or licensee of a registered patent (industrial property), or the owner and author of an original registered software.

The procedure to apply for a startup visa

To submit your application, you must send the following documents:

  • an application form
  • a copy of your valid passport 
  • a formal statement whereby you declare the financial availability of at least 50,000 euros, supported by documentary elements of this availability. These resources, which should be attached to the request submitted to the Committee, may originate from: 
  • the investor’s own funds. Such resources should be liquid (e.g. a bank deposit) or readily convertible into cash
  • financing from venture capital funds, corporations, and other third-party investments, including funds issued by Italian or foreign government agencies or non-governmental actors
  • a combination of the above

After the issue of the Nulla Osta, submit the following documents at the consular offices with jurisdiction over your place of residence:

  • an entry visa application form 
  • recent passport-size photographs
  • a valid travel document 
  • availability of income relating to the previous financial year, which must be higher than the minimum level required by law for exemption from health care contribution already acquired in the country of residence
  • proof of suitable accommodation
  • a copy of a health insurance policy valid in Italy and for the entire duration of your stay
  • Nulla Osta (certificate of no impediment/authorization)

The visa holder has an obligation to keep the authorities updated on their current migration status, and on the progress of their business activity. 

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