How about an “Italian Lifestyle Visa”?
Many people would love to live in Italy just for a year. And they can easily afford it. However, Italian Bureaucracy makes it difficult.
In May 2019 the Italian Government established more tax breaks to incentivize retirees to move to Italy from abroad. Paradoxically, the Government left untouched some bureaucratic obstacles that exist for a category of foreigners that could well help the Italian economy, without any costs for the country. This category is the High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI).
For years I have been assisting foreign clients who want to move to Italy with all the legal steps necessary to get them there. This includes their Italian residence applications. Some clients are retired, looking to relax and enjoy the Italian lifestyle after a long career of hard work. Others are what are called High Net Worth Individuals. This includes people not yet of traditional retirement age, but who are financially able to attain a retirement lifestyle.
Each client has his or her own situation, which doesn’t always fit the standard scenario for visa applications. And, as we all know, anything that isn’t standard has a higher chance of getting tangled in a bureaucratic net. For example, some HNWI clients have never worked and are very young, two factors that can pose a particular stumbling block for standard Italian elective residence visa applications. Another example is when the applicant has a non-traditional job such as an actor in between roles. This applicant has the financial situation that would allow her to live for a year (actually even for many years!) without an income flow. However, the Government is used to seeing steady earnings in the visa applications. I feel that what should be of interest to the Italian Government is the idea that these applicants would be in Italy to “spend” in terms of time, of course, but also in wealth. And they wouldn’t be a burden to the Italian system.
Let’s look at the paradox I’ve confronted when assisting different categories of clients with visa applications. Here is a comparison between a retiree and a HNWI. The first client is a retired person with an annual pension of € 35,000 and a total wealth of € 100,000. This retiree wants to move long-term to Italy for many reasons including that of benefitting from the Italian healthcare system.
The second client, the HNWI, is a young multimillionaire who wants a visa to live in Italy for just one year. This person is looking to enjoy the experience of Italian culture, traditions, excellence and, in general, the Italian lifestyle.
Overall the paperwork is much simpler, from the bureaucratic point of view, for the retiree than for the HNWI. There is an established bureaucratic process that perfectly fits the standard profile of a retired person. Being standard it is more easily completed and reviewed by the consulate processors. The HNWI, being out of the typical scheme of visa applicants, must customize the visa application and try to anticipate what the Italian government might need to approve the application.
On the Italian consulates’ websites there are clear warnings for users: “There is no tourist visa for more than 90 days”. Too bad. Should the Government ask me for advice I would suggest creating a new visa called the “Italian Lifestyle Visa”. It could be subject to a high consular fee, with no cost for Italy and without any tax relief for the applicants.
Until my Italian Lifestyle Visa recommendation gets approved by the Government (!), I will continue my work in customizing the Italian visa applications of my HNWI clients to enable them to enjoy the Italian experience alongside the retirees.