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Apply for the Startup Visa Italy through a Certified Incubator

Apply for the Startup Visa Italy through a Certified Incubator

11 October 2023

visa italy

One of the tools to incentivize the establishment and development of innovative startups in Italy is the Startup Visa. This type of visa provides an accelerated and centralized procedure for those who apply for a visa in order to establish an innovative startup.

The Definition of an Innovative Startup

The concept of the innovative startup was introduced with Decree Law 179/2012 to promote the creation and development of companies characterized by a high technological level. Any capital company, also established in a cooperative form, can be qualified as an innovative startup if it meets the following objective requirements:

  • It is a new company or has been established for no more than 5 years.
  • It has its residence in Italy or in another country within the European Economic Area but has a productive headquarters or branch in Italy.
  • Its annual turnover is less than 5 million euros.
  • It is not listed on a regulated market or on a multilateral trading platform.
  • It doesn't distribute or hasn't distributed profits.
  • Its exclusive or predominant business purpose is the development, production, and commercialization of a product or service with high technological value.
  • It has not resulted from a merger, demerger, or transfer of a business unit.

Lastly, a startup is considered innovative if it meets at least 1 of the following 3 subjective requirements:

  • Incurs R&D expenses of at least 15% of the higher value between the cost and total value of production.
  • Employs highly qualified personnel (at least 1/3 with a doctoral degree, doctoral candidates, or researchers, or at least 2/3 with a master's degree).
  • Is the holder, depositor, or licensee of at least one patent or holder of a registered software.

Furthermore, the legislator has provided various tools to facilitate the financing of startups, including the deduction/credit of investments in the share capital of startups and free and simplified access to the SME Guarantee Fund.

The Procedure for Startup Visa Italy

The Italy Startup Visa (ISV) is a self-employment visa, valid for one year and renewable, for non-EU citizens intending to establish an innovative startup on Italian territory.

Compared to the ordinary procedure for obtaining a self-employment visa, the Startup Visa application is characterized by being simplified, accelerated, fully digitalized, and with fast approval times for the nulla osta (authorization).

The applicant must submit the application form, which, in addition to providing personal data and the applicant's curriculum, gives detailed information about the innovative startup project the applicant intends to establish.

Furthermore, it's necessary to provide a certification of the availability of financial resources of no less than 50,000 euros, along with a formal commitment to use this amount for the establishment and operation of the innovative startup.

Although not an essential element of the application, it's crucial that the project is accompanied by a business plan that includes detailed estimates of the costs and expected revenues for the business project, with particular attention to the nature of research and development activities. In fact, according to the latest report published by the Ministry of Economic Development, the lack of solidity and credibility of the business model is the main reason for rejecting ISV applications.

Additionally, the ISV visa application, as a subcategory of the self-employment visa, is subject to the annual quotas established by the decreto flussi (flows decree); however, the accelerated procedure ensures that the evaluation of the application takes place within 30 days of its submission, constituting a preferential lane compared to ordinary applications.

How to Apply through the Certified Incubator

In the event that the applicant has received the availability of a certified incubator to host them in their facilities and assist them in establishing a new innovative startup in our country, the application form to be submitted presents some significant differences.

Instead of the standard application form, the candidate must submit a certificate signed by the legal representative of the incubator, certifying the willingness to assist the applicant in establishing their innovative startup in Italy.

Through this procedure, it's possible to overcome the main reasons for the rejection of the application, as expressly stated by the ISV guidelines: "In this case, the ISV Certificate of No Impediment should primarily be intended as validation of the financial resources involved in the project, and compliance of the business model with the legal definition of innovative startup. The assessment of the actual soundness of the business model is largely deferred to the incubator."

Startup Visa application: What we can do for You

Our firm, Vannucci Advisors, offers all the necessary assistance for establishing an innovative startup. This assistance covers both the initial company creation phase and the potential second phase of fundraising and developing the entrepreneurial idea.

We also provide assistance to foreigners in the process of obtaining an investor visa and the Startup Visa.
Furthermore, we have the capability to submit Startup Visa applications in collaboration with a certified business incubator and accelerator, our partner, thereby increasing the likelihood of a successful application.

Contact us for a consultation

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