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Italia Startup Visa


Italia Startup Visa

Italia Startup Visa: a new visa policy set up to attract new talents worldwide

Starting from 2013 (Decree Flussi 2013) a new type of visa for self-employment reasons was introduced. It concerns foreign people who intend to build an innovative business from scratch on the Italian territory. This visa, known as Italia Startup Visa, introduces important incentives to support skilled workers (investors, students or researchers), and offers a new digital, simpler and faster procedure to obtain the visa, in order to help them invest their economical and intellectual resources on Italian soil.

Italia Startup Visa stands out as an entry visa for self-employment for the following reasons:
• It is a total digital process (you can only apply online, sending your application by mail to, that can be carried out completely in English;
• It is a total centralization of the procedure aimed at the obtaining of the visa (only the General for the industrial policy, the competitiveness and the Italian PMI of the Ministry for Economy Development is in charge);
• The speedness in receiving the visa (usually issued within 30 days).

The Italia Startup Visa program, approved with the decree-law n. 179 del 2012, contains specific measures to facilitate the set-up and development of a new genre of enterprise, where the business model is characterised by a strong component of innovation technology: the innovative startup, a new type of company of capitals, with headquarters in Italy. This program became operational with the publication of the institutional website and with the first version of the Guidelines for the visa issuing, a direct result of the cooperation between the Ministry for Economy Development (MISE), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

The plan includes a wide and articulate facilitation program that marks the entire life cycle of these enterprises:

-start-up phase, with a considerable cost reduction;
- a company growth, with an easier access to the bank credit thanks to the Guarantee Fund for PMI and significant tax incentives;
- a company maturity, with a simpler bankruptcy proceeding in the event of failure.

A complete presentation of the procedures to access the status of innovative startups and the incentives regarding these types of companies, is available on the Ministry for Economy Development website, at the “innovative Startup” section (

Pursuant to Decree-Law abovementioned, another category of companies is favoured by this program: Certified Incubators, with a role in supporting the establishment and the development of innovative startups by offering physical incubators instruments (properties, equipment, technical managing structures, guarantee of regular relationships with strategic partners). These certified incubators benefit from certain incentives granted to the innovative startup. Among these incentives there is a preferential channel to exploit the Italia Start up Visa program; in order to benefit from all the incentives provided, the innovative startups and the certified incubators must be registered with the Registry of companies, ran by the Italian Chambers of Commerce.

Thanks to Italia Startup Visa, extra-EU citizens who intend to build an innovative startup in Italy, as described by the decree-law 179/2002, can apply for the self-employment startup visa. The process required to obtain this visa is divided into 3 phases: the application, the assessment of the application by the ISV Committee and issuance of the visa (valid for one year) at the Consulate of competence. More so the new guidelines introduce a new and important innovation: the possibility to apply by “group” towards a startup already in place, so that also non EU citizens that intend to assume a managerial position in a company already active since at least 3 years, and registered in the special section of the Registry of companies for the innovative startups, can present their application.

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