Fast-track VISA and residence permit for innovative start-up companies

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As per measure 44 of the Destinazione Italia Plan and Law no. 221/2012, a new type of visa now facilitates the attraction of talent and innovation to Italy. The procedure for issuance of the visa is simple and streamlined, in accordance with the laws in force, and are contained, along with all requirements and conditions, in a document outlined by the authorised State administrations.

Issuance of the visa

Visas’ issuance is on the basis of a simplified procedure and assessment of the startup initiative’s merit by a technical committee set up at the Ministry of Industry and Economic Development. Also considered are the reception services offered by certified incubators that host and support business ideas considered to have a high potential for economic return.


Among the requirements for obtaining the entry visa for startups, foreign entrepreneurs must prove they have no less than €50,000 in available financial resources, obtained through venture capital funding or other investors, portals for the collection of capital for innovative startups, Italian or foreign government and non-government funding or a combination of any of the aforementioned. Special facilitation is possible for foreign citizens that have secured the support of a certified incubator. With the implementation of these new provisions, Italy joins a limited number of countries offering an entry visa specifically dedicated to startup businesses (others include Canada, Chile and the Netherlands).

Also, applications shall provide evidence that:

  • they have suitable accommodation, in accordance with Article 26 of Presidential Decree 445 of 2000 (including the form of a hotel booking or an offer of accommodation from a third party);
  • income earned during the previous financial year in their country of residence (i.e. income tax return) is higher than the minimum level envisaged by Italian law on exemption from co-payment of health costs (8,400 euros).

Follow-up procedures – How to get a residence permit

Within 8 days of their arrival in Italy, holders of startup visas must submit a formal application for a residence permit for self-employment purposes, following the same procedures as for standard self-employment visas. The residence permit will have the same duration as the startup visa (one year).

The request should be addressed to the Questura responsible for the locality where the applicant intends to live.

In order to verify the startup visa holder’s identity, the application for residence permit for self-employment should be submitted in person. The documents are available at the local post office, where the candidate must pay the following:

16,00 € revenue stamp;
27,50 € dedicated postal bulletin for the issue of a residence permit in electronic format;
30,00 € service commission;
80,00 € in addition, the request for issuance of a residence permit for stays longer than three months and less than or equal to one year

The post office will issue a receipt of the application and notify the startup visa holder of the day he or she needs to go to the Questura to register his or her fingerprints, bringing 4 passport photographs and the receipt.

If more documents are required, the startup visa holder will be informed by sms or letter.

Numerous municipalities have set up a free-of-charge support service aimed at assisting the applicant during the compilation of the residence permit form.

The post office will issue a receipt of the application, to be provided to the Questura.

The standard conditions for family re-unification apply, as set out in the Consolidated Law on Immigration.

How to renew your residence permit after one year

The residence permit for self-employment purposes may be renewed, by following the same procedures as standard self-employment visas. To renew their residence permit, applicants must submit an application to the Questura for their locality, and complete with the following documentation:

  • certificate of incorporation and articles of association of the innovative startup, and file search report from the dedicated section of the business register as referred to in Article 25.8 of Law 221/2012 (which confirmed Decree Law 179 of 18 October 2012), demonstrating that the startup meets the requirements of Article 25.2 of said law;
  • evidence that the applicant has an adequate annual income from lawful sources.

If, after the visa has been confirmed, the startup is no longer able to meet one or more of the requirements of Article 25.2 of Law 221/2012, this will not lead to the residence permit being withdrawn.

For the purposes of healthcare provision for holders of startup visas, the standard regulations currently in force apply.

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