All British nationals should register with the town hall of the city in which they live if staying in Italy more than 90 days. This is an EU regulation that applies to British nationals living in the country.
EU Residence Registration is considered part of the European Immigration Process. The processing time usually takes 45 days to complete and documents must be provided to your local “comune” (city hall) office (proof of employment, proof of legal accommodation, evidence of financial means and health insurance coverage).
If you and your family have been residing in Italy for 5 years, you automatically have the right to obtain a Permanent Resident Certification (“Attestato di Soggiorno”). This certificate allows you to live permanently in Italy and can facilitate any additional local registrations, your relationship with public authorities as well as obtaining utility services (gas, electricity, water, telephone etc) in Italy.
Furthermore, Italian Residence Registration places you in a position to enjoy benefits such as the ability to: buy a car and register it in Italy, open a bank account (most banks require residential status to open an account), obtain an Italian ID Card and enrol in the national health system.
There are two main categories of Residence Registration:
Ordinary Residence (for all EU nationals living in Italy for more than 90 days): this allows you to obtain a Certificate of Residence.
Permanent Residence (for EU nationals living in Italy for more than 5 years): this allows you to obtain a Permanent Resident Certificate (“Attestato di Soggiorno”).
Have you the right to utilise the SSN – Italian National Health System?
UK nationals who are resident in Italy are allowed to enrol at an ASL (local health authority) and enjoy the benefits of the SSN (national health system) providing that your taxes are paid in Italy. If you are an employee (locally hired), your employer should be paying your social security and welfare contributions to the Italian INPS (National Institute of Pensions) and you can register with an ASL. If you are an expatriate employee, the home country employer will need to procure the S1 form for you. For more information about your health care coverage, please visit: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/health/when-living-abroad/health-insurance-cover/index_en.htm
Your family members will acquire the same right to register with the national SSN.
And if you do not pay taxes in Italy and are not working in Italy?
You can still register with the SSN by applying for voluntary registration. Based on your declared income, the Italian Government will ask you to pay a flat rate per year and you will acquire the right to enjoy the benefits of the national health system. Family members will acquire the same right to register with the national SSN. (paying a flat rate for each person).
Can I work in Italy and what do I need?
As an EU national, you do not currently require a work permit to work in Italy. You are fully entitled to find a local employer and be hired with a national work contract. Obviously, you are also entitled to work as a self-employed person (“lavoratore autonomo”), set up your own business in Italy or simply work as a consultant.
Your British driving licence is still currently considered an EU licence and is valid for driving in Italy until the document expires. Although it is advisable to have it recognised by the local transport authorities in Italy (“Motorizzazione”), as this simplifies the process to obtain a duplicate or renew it while living in Italy, it is not mandatory to convert it for the initial period of your stay. However, if you reside in Italy for more than 2 years and your driving licence (DL) has an unlimited validity, you are required to convert it and obtain an Italian DL by making an application to your local “Motorizzazione” office.
As of today, as a British and therefore still EU citizen, your British DL is recognised as the equivalent to a European DL. If you decide to exchange it for an Italian DL and initiate the conversion process then you should receive your Italian licence within 60 days from your application.
In the event of a “no deal Brexit”, after 29 March 2019 you will no longer have the automatic right under EU law to exchange your UK licence for an Italian one.
In a guidance document published on 13 September, the UK government indicates that it is seeking to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the EU to cover the recognition and exchange of British licences after exit or, failing this, to pursue agreements with individual countries. Since there is no guarantee that such agreements will take place, and if your intention is to remain in Italy for the foreseeable future, it would be advisable to exchange your British DL for an Italian one before 29 March.
UK licence holders who do this, will be able to re-exchange for a UK licence if they return to live in the UK.
It is worth bearing in mind that if you decide not to convert your licence before 29 March 2019 and there is a “no deal Brexit”, then after this date, to continue driving in Italy you might be obliged to obtain an Italian DL which would normally involve enrolment in an Italian driving school before taking an Italian driving test (no test in English is currently available).
How can I obtain Italian citizenship?
It might be worth contemplating an application for Italian citizenship in order to maintain EU citizenship if and when Brexit actually happens. Italian citizenship can be requested for one of the following reasons:
- Marriage to an Italian national
- Local residency in Italy for more than 4 years
- Italian descendant
The process can be submitted directly to the citizenship office of the local “comune” where you reside and you can remain in Italy while your application is being processed. However this can take some time and is quite slow. (until now it can sometimes take up to one year and a half or even longer depending on the specific case).
Dealing with the Italian Authorities is not easy even for EU nationals, and much patience is required when approaching the local bureaucracy.
The new Italian Government has recently approved a decree which modifies some basic principles of the Italian Immigration Law. Although the new law has the scope to tighten the circulation and rights of refuges and individuals seeking political asylum, it will also impact some general processes such as the time and requirements to obtain Italian citizenship.
For example, until now the Italian Authorities needed to respect a timing of 2 years to approve/deny an application for the Italian citizenship whereas the new decree prolongs this timeframe to 4 years. A British citizen (being still a EU national) who intends to apply for Italian nationality currently needs to have been resident in Italy for 4 years. When the UK finally leaves the EU and British citizens become third Country nationals, the minimum period of legal residence in Italy will become 10 years.
In the event of there being “no deal” between the EU and the UK government on 29 March 2019, from the following day all British nationals will lose their rights as EU nationals and become subject to all the restrictions that apply to non-EU nationals (including the requirement to obtain a work permit and a visa to work in Italy).
Therefore, if you are thinking of applying for an Italian passport in order to maintain your EU rights, it is a good idea to start the process now while you can still leverage your EU rights.
Please contact email@example.com if you require valuable due diligence activity and support on each step of the way to regularise your life in Italy. To be provided with preferential service please mention you found us through Britishinitaly.com.
Unity Financial Partners invited Principal Relocation Company to write this article for Britishinitaly.com as a guide for UK nationals interested in regularising their residential status in Italy.
The contents of this article have therefore been provided by Principal Relocation Company and Unity Financial Partners does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Unity can help you with your personal financial planning needs in conjunction with becoming a resident in Italy please contact us on the following link: