Moving to Italy after Brexit
A relaxing way of life, warm weather, fantastic food and rich culture make Italy a popular destination for those looking to relocate from the UK. Prior to the UK’s exit from the European Union, British ex-pats were not required to obtain a visa to move to European countries in the EU, but now that the transition period has ended, moving to Italy from the UK is a more complex process.
British people who were living in Italy before the end of free movement are protected under the Withdrawal Agreement and do not need a work permit or other type of visa to continue living and working in Italy but they must still register as a resident at a local town hall. The UK also has a visa waiver agreement with countries in the European Union. This agreement means that UK nationals can travel to and stay in Italy for up to 90 days without needing a visa. However, this agreement only permits you to stay in Italy for tourism and some businesses purposes, such as attending meetings.
If you plan on moving to Italy from the UK on a more permanent basis or you intend to work whilst in Italy then you must apply for a relevant visa and a residence permit. Whilst the immigration process is more complex, it is still very much possible for UK citizens to move to Italy and there are a variety of immigration routes available.
Visas for Italy
The Italian long-stay visas, also known as D visas or national visas, can be used for living and working in Italy and there is a variety of them that UK nationals can be eligible for. They include:
- The Italy Work Visa – for those who have a job offer in Italy
- The Italy Self-Employed Visa – for entrepreneurs who are planning to start a business or undertake freelance work in Italy
- The Italy Study Visa – for those enrolled on a course of study in Italy
- The Italy Family Visa – for those joining family members with Italian citizenship or permanent residency in Italy
- The Italian Retirement Visa – for those who are able to financially support themselves without the need to work in Italy
The visa requirements vary for each type of Italian visa. Generally, British nationals must apply for their visa whilst still in the UK at the Italian Embassy, unless already living in Italy with a valid visa. Visa application forms can be found on the Italian Government’s website. When making your visa application you will need to attend an appointment at the Embassy and bring a number of supporting documents to prove that you can meet the relevant requirements.
Obtaining an Italian Residence Permit
A long-stay visa will grant you entry to Italy, but to stay you must also obtain an Italian Residence Permit.
An Italian Residence Permit, also known as Permesso di Soggiorno (Permission to Stay), is a requirement for anyone who holds a long-stay visa, whether that be to work, study or to join family. You can apply for your Italian Residence Permit once you have entered Italy and you must do so within 8 days of arriving in the country.
To apply for your residence permit you must follow the following steps:
- Collect an Italian Residence Permit application kit from a local post office, not all post offices have the application kit, you will need to go to a post office with a Sportello Amico counter.
- Complete the application kit and buy a Marca Da Bollo Stamp, this is a duty stamp that you can buy from a tabaccheria, you will need to attach this to your application.
- Submit your application kit at the Sportello Amico counter that you collected it from alongside copies of your supporting documents. Do not sign the application or close the envelope before you hand it in as it must be checked over before it can be submitted.
- Once you have submitted the application you will be given a date to attend an appointment at the Questura, this is the local police headquarters. Your Questura appointment will normally be in 1-2 months so you will be given a temporary residence permit to hold during this time.
- Next, you must attend your appointment at the police headquarters, you will need to bring original copies of all the required documents and the receipt and appointment confirmation letter from the post office. At your Questura appointment, they will take your fingerprints and may ask you some questions. Finally, they will let you know when you can collect your Italian Residence Permit.
Documents required for a residence permit
When applying for your residence permit you will need to submit a number of documents, you should bring original copies as well as photocopies to your Questura appointment. The documents you will need include:
- Four passport-sized photographs
- Your valid passport
- Documents that demonstrate the reason you are in Italy, this could include a work permit or school enrollment letter.
- Proof of private health insurance
You will also need to bring all of the supporting documents that you submitted when you applied for your long-stay visa, these documents will vary depending on the type of visa that you applied for.
Italian permanent residence
If you wish to make Italy your permanent home then you can do so by applying for permanent residence. UK citizens can be eligible for Italian permanent residence after living in Italy for at least 5 years.
Before obtaining your permanent residence visa, you will still need to obtain a temporary residence visa when you first arrive in Italy. EU citizens do not need to obtain a temporary residence permit on arrival, they only need to register with the local police department however if you are from the EU you must also live in Italy for at least 5 years before applying for permanent residency.
As well as living in Italy for at 5 years, there are several other requirements that UK citizens must meet to become a permanent residents, these include:
- Having enough money to prove you can support yourself financially
- Speaking Italian fluently
- Having no criminal record
The Golden Visa Scheme
Another way that British nationals and other non-EU citizens can obtain permanent residency in Italy is through the Golden Visa Scheme. A Golden Visa is a citizenship by investment or residency by investment scheme offered to non-EU citizens by several countries in the EU. Once a non-EU citizen obtains a Golden Visa they can travel freely throughout the Schengen zone.
Italy does not offer a Golden Visa through the purchase of real estate but does offer a Golden Visa through investment
To be eligible for the Italy Golden Visa, UK citizens must do at least one of the following:
- Invest in a Government Bond issued by the Italian Republic.
- Invest at least €1 million in an Italian company that meets certain requirements set by the government.
- Invest at least €500,000 in an innovative Italian startup company.
- Make a philanthropic donation in an eligible field including culture, education, science and more.
How to get Italian citizenship
Whilst becoming a permanent resident in Italy gives you the freedom to live and work in the country indefinitely, becoming an Italian citizen comes with additional benefits. As an Italian citizen, you can apply for an Italian passport that allows you to travel to 190 countries without a visa. As well as this, Italian citizens can enjoy freedom of movement within the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
Italian citizenship can be obtained in several ways including:
- Birth – Children of Italian citizens automatically obtain citizenship
- Marriage – Immigrants married to Italian nationals can naturalise as a citizen quicker
- Descent – Foreign nationals may be able to obtain Italian citizenship if their parents or grandparents were Italian citizens.
- Naturalisation – Immigrants living in Italy can become eligible for citizenship after residing in the country for a certain period of time.
The most common way for British nationals to become Italian citizens is through the process of naturalisation. To be eligible you usually need to have resided in Italy for 10 years. You must first obtain a permanent residence permit which you can do after living in the country for 5 years, after another 5 years you can then apply to become an Italian citizen. Those married to Italian nationals can be eligible after living in the country for two or three years and those who have served the Italian government can be eligible after 5 years.
How can IAS help?
Moving to Italy from the UK is a life-changing step that can be difficult to go through alone. Our immigration lawyers can support you throughout the emigration process. We offer reliable immigration advice and can inform you about your immigration options and which may be the best route available to you.
Once you have decided which visa you would like to apply for, our lawyers can also assist you throughout the application process. We will prepare you for your visa interview by ensuring you have the correct paperwork and supporting documents and can be there to answer any questions that you may have.
For more information about our emigration services, get in touch with our team today by calling 0333 305 9375.
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The UK has a double taxation agreement with the Italian government that means that UK citizens living in Italy do not need to pay tax on the same income in both countries.
You will be considered a tax resident in Italy if you have your main residence in the country or you have lived more than 183 days in the fiscal year in Italy. If this is the case you will need to fill out an Italian tax return and declare all of your assets.
Yes, moving to Italy is still possible for British citizens. In order to move to Italy after the Brexit transition period ends UK nationals must apply for one of the Italy long term visas as well as a residency permit.
British citizens who are just visiting Italy can do so without a visa for up to 90 days.
Moving to Italy can be a complex process. Unless you are married to an Italian national, have family in Italy or plan to study in the country, you will usually need to find employment before moving to Italy and it can be difficult to find job opportunities that allow you to apply for one of the Italian work permits. If you do meet the entry requirements and obtain a visa then you must also apply for a residency permit.
Overall, the process of moving to Italy from the UK is usually difficult, but it can be made simple with the assistance of our experienced immigration lawyers. For more information about how we can support you get in touch on 0333 305 9375.