Like other countries, Italy too has noted the value entrepreneurs bring with them. In 2013, the country introduced the Italia Startup Visa (ISV) for non-EU citizens who want to set up innovative companies in Italy.
Aided by this visa, the Italian startup industry has grown in leaps and bounds. Today, there are over 12000 startups in Italy. Here’s all you need to know about moving to Italy as an entrepreneur of an innovative startup.
Isv – What Is Categorized As An Innovative Startup?
For the purpose of the ISV, an innovative startup is a company that meets the following criteria:
- It has been operational for less than 5 years or is newly incorporated
- It has its headquarters in Italy
It has a branch/ production unit in Italy
- It has an annual turnover of less than €5 million
- It does not share profits
- It has an exclusive purpose of producing, developing and marketing innovative goods or services
- At least 1/3rd of the workforce holds a PhD
At least 2/3rd of the workforce holds a Master’s degree
At least 15% of the annual costs and turnover are attributed to R&D
The enterprise holds a registered patent/ original software
Documents Required For An Italian Startup Visa
The application for an Italia Startup Visa can be submitted online. The documents required are:
- Completed application form. The form can be downloaded from here.
- Copy of the current passport
- A formal statement declaring the availability of a minimum of €50,000
- Presentation deck describing the proposed business model and innovative features
- Business plan with detailed cost and revenue estimates
Proving Availability Of Financial Resources To Get An Isv
The applicant may prove the availability of financial resources from their own funds, third-party financing, or a combination of both.
In the case of self-financing, documentary proof includes:
- Copy of the last three month’s bank statements
- Investment fund portfolio statement
- Letter from the institutions where the funds are being held proving the value and ownership of said funds
In the case of third-party financing, documentary proof can take the form of a formal contract of investment with personal information of the investor and recipient, the nature of the financial resources and relationship and a description of the investor’s domain of activity.
Demonstration of non-liquid assets such as ownership stakes in other companies or real estate will not be accepted as financial proof.
Application From Entrepreneurial Teams
The Italia Startup visa can be issued to a sole entrepreneur or an entrepreneurial team of up to 5 non-EU citizens. There is no limit to the share capital percentage that must be owned by each member but they must all be co-founders/ co-owners.
Applications for a team must be submitted individually at the same time.
Application Procedure For An Italian Startup Visa
A scanned copy of the completed application and supporting documents must be sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the following subject line “Application ISH First Name: _____ Last name_____”
The application and documents will go through a preliminary check by the Secretariat of the Italia Startup Visa program. From there it will be forwarded to the Italia Startup Visa Technical Committee.
Simultaneously, the Questura or central police office with jurisdiction over the area where the applicant wants to set up a business will need to issue a provisional Certificate of No Impediment to entry. The applicant will be informed of the outcome of the application assessment within 30 days.
Approved applicants will receive a scanned copy of the Nulla Osta ISV or Certificate of No Impediment to a startup self-employment visa via email.
The applicant then has 3 months to visit an Italian consulate and collect the startup visa. The applicant must carry along the following documents for the consular appointment:
- Copy of the Nulla Osta ISV
- Proof of having accommodation in Italy
- Proof of income
- Valid passport
- 4 passport sized photographs
After a few routine checks, the consular authority will issue a self-employment entry visa. This visa will be valid for one year and is subject to annual migration quotas.
Once the visa is issued, the applicant has 180 days to move to Italy and apply for a self-employment residence permit. This too will be valid for one year. The residence permit can be renewed for a maximum of two years.
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