Italy halts Golden Visas for rich Russians & Belarusians

Moscow: Italian authorities have now stopped the Investor Visa Program for nationals from Russia and Belarus, the Ministry of Enterprises and Products has confirmed.

However, the European Commission urged all European countries that run such schemes to terminate them immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that started in February last year.

Italy launched its Golden Visa program in 2017 in order to further help the country’s economic growth. Authorities offered a two-year visa for the applicants and their families and a special tax regime. In addition, after ten years, it was possible to apply for citizenship.

Foreigners are eligible to benefit from this scheme if they invest at least €500,000 in an Italian joint-stock company, for a charitable contribution of €1,000,000 million to an organisation engaged in a specific field such as culture or landscape heritage, or in government securities in the amount of at least 2,000,000, reports.

The Ministry of Business and Made in Italy confirmed the decision to abolish this program.

“We communicate the suspension of the program for Russian and Belarusian citizens as per the provision of the President of the Committee of 14 July 2023 (the manager Ministerial Maurizio Montemagno, ed) in compliance with Recommendation C (2022) 2028 of the European Union,” the statement stressed.

Soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, authorities in European countries limited the access of Russians and Belarusians to European Investment programs such as the Golden Visa and the Golden Passport programs.

Golden Visa scheme allows wealthy foreign nationals to acquire residency in countries that offer such schemes, provided they make a financial contribution and meet the needed requirements that differ among them.

At the same time, the Golden Passport scheme gives wealthy internationals the opportunity to acquire citizenship in countries that operate such programs if they invest a specific amount of money and meet the needed requirements.

In February last year, authorities in European countries limited the issuance of golden passports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement was confirmed by the European Commission.

“We commit to taking measures to limit the sale of citizenship—so-called golden passports—that let wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of our countries and gain access to our financial systems,” the Commission of the EU stated.

In addition to European countries, a similar decision was also taken by authorities in the United Kingdom, the United States as well as Canada.