Overview of Moving to the UK from Italy
Despite its departure from the EU, the UK still remains a popular place for many Italians to travel to and settle in.
The UK boasts the fourth biggest Italian migrant community in Europe, with particularly big communities situated in London, Bedford and Manchester.
It’s estimated that over 600,000 Italians were resident in the UK in 2016, with many Italians continuing to travel to the UK in search of new job opportunities or for the opportunity to study abroad in a foreign country.
For Italians wishing to settle in the UK, the easiest route is through the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for most people to apply under the new scheme was 30 June 2021, but you may still be able to apply for it if you meet certain criteria.
As of January 2022, around 570,000 Italian citizens have successfully applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, which is reflective of the strong and notable sense of the Italian community across the country.
If you can’t apply for settled status, there are still a range of UK visas available for Italian residents looking to settle in the UK. When applying for a UK visa, it’s important to look at the specific visa type that will allow you to eventually apply for indefinite leave to remain, which is the UK’s term for permanent settlement.
Can Italians Still Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme allows citizens of the European Union to continue living in the UK after Brexit and the end of free movement.
The deadline to apply for most people was 31 June 2021. However, you should still be able to apply for the scheme if one of the following apply:
- You have an Italian (or EU) family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and you join them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021
- You’re exempt from immigration control, or you stopped being exempt from immigration control after 30 June 2021
- You’re already in the UK with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK (such as if you’re here on a work or study visa) which expires after 30 June 2021
- You’re a family member of a British citizen who you lived with in the EU
- You must have lived with them in that country by 30 December 2020, and returned to the UK with them
You may also still be eligible to apply if you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying before the main deadline. ‘Reasonable grounds’ may cover many different things, but some acceptable cases include, but are not limited to, if:
- You have, or had, a medical condition which prevented you from applying
- You lacked the physical or mental capacity to apply
- You’ve been the victim of modern slavery
- You’ve been in an abusive or controlling relationship
UK Work Visas for Italians
If you are ineligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, you will have to apply for a UK visa in order to settle in the UK.
There are many visas that can lead to you becoming eligible for indefinite leave to remain. The most popular work visa that allows this is the UK’s Skilled Worker visa.
The Skilled Worker visa is one of the UK’s visas that operates on a points-based system to assess the quality of potential candidates. To be eligible for consideration, you will need to score at least 70 points across criteria such as your work experience, educational background, and aspects of your job offer and salary.
There are some mandatory criteria you must meet, such as having a job offer from an approved sponsor and meeting the minimum English language requirements. However, you will be able to gain the remainder of the points you will need to be eligible across a variety of other categories.
This means that even if you fail to meet one of the optional criteria, you should still be eligible by meeting important criteria in another area.
The Skilled Worker visa is open for applicants from a huge range of jobs and occupations. It’s therefore worth looking to see if you will be eligible to re-settle with a new job in the UK using your existing skills and experience.
UK Business Visas for Italians
If you want to start a business in the UK, there are a couple of routes available to you.
The first route is the Start-Up visa. This allows eligible applicants to travel to the UK to start up a new and innovative business for the UK market.
You will need to have sponsorship from an authorised body in order to be eligible for this visa.
Note that the Start-Up visa cannot be extended beyond its initial validity period and does not allow you to eventually apply for indefinite leave to remain.
However, you may instead request to switch to the Innovator visa once you and your new business are fully established in the UK.
Similar to the Start-Up visa, the innovator visa allows you to set up and run an innovative business in the UK.
You will also need to have an endorsement from an authorised body for this visa. In addition to this, you must have at least £50,000 in investment funds. However, you can apply for the Innovator visa without any investment funds if either:
- Your business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa
- You’ve changed your business and already agreed it with your endorsing body
UK Spouse or Partner Visas for Italians
If you are an Italian citizen in a relationship with an eligible partner or spouse, you may be eligible for a Spouse or Partner visa.
The Spouse or Partner visa is a type of Family visa and allows you to come and live with your partner or spouse in the UK for periods of more than 6 months. In order for you to be eligible for this visa, your spouse or partner must also:
- Be a British or Irish citizen
- Be settled in the UK, such as through indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence
- Be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status (and started living in the UK before 1 January 2021)
- Have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
In addition to this, you will also need to prove one of the following:
- You’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
- You’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
- You are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving
The most important part of this visa is proving that your relationship is genuine, which can be quite a long and arduous process.
If you are unsure about how to put your application together, see our dedicated page for the Spouse or Partner visa or get in touch with us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online for more information.
UK Student Visas for Italians
The UK Student visa is a good way for Italians and other EU citizens to stay in the UK and eventually apply for other visas that will allow for permanent settlement.
In order to be eligible for the UK Student visa, you should have a genuine offer of a place from a licensed student sponsor, such as a qualifying university or college.
You should also have enough money to support yourself during your time in the UK, as well as meet the minimum language requirements.
Alongside being able to live and study in the UK for the duration of your course, you will also be able to work, though how much will depend on what you’re studying and if you will be working in or outside of term time.
You won’t be able to claim public funds such as benefits, be self-employed or study at academies or local authority-funded schools with a Student Visa.
After your student visa expires, you may be eligible for a Graduate visa, which will allow you to stay and work in the UK for another 2 years. After this, you may then switch to another visa in order to meet the minimum 5 year residency requirement for indefinite leave to remain.
How Can IAS Help?
The UK’s departure from Europe signalled the end of free movement and residency in the UK for EU citizens. This means that Italians and other EU citizens will now be subject to the same immigration and visa restrictions as the rest of the world if they wish to settle in the UK.
If you are an Italian looking to settle in the UK and travel there for work, study, join a partner or spouse or any other reason, IAS can help.
We are expert immigration lawyers who are experienced in the field of UK and EU immigration. We are committed to ensuring the highest quality of service possible for our clients, offering a wide range of services.
If you need to seek help in regards to your UK visa application, determining your eligibility for them, or simply figuring out which visa type would be the best for you, we can help. We also offer concierge and relocation services to Italy and other countries to ensure that your move to the UK is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
For more expert guidance, news about the latest in UK immigration, or to hear more about the services we offer, reach out to us today or request a meeting with our advisers. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.
Last modified on July 17th, 2023 at 7:33 am
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Italian nationals will have to apply for a UK visa through the Gov.uk website.
You will need a valid email address and your personal information such as your passport, supporting documents and a valid credit or debit card.
You will need to ensure that you check this email address regularly for any updates on your visa application.
As part of the application process, you may also be required to attend a visa application centre (VAC) in Italy to give your biometrics information. This is in case you will need to be issued with a biometric residence permit.
There are two UK VACs in Italy: one in Rome, and one in Milan.
Yes, Italy allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship. This means that if you are looking to become a British citizen and acquire a British passport, you can apply for this without having to renounce your Italian citizenship or Italian passport.
Becoming a fully naturalised British citizen carries with it a range of benefits, the main one being the full, unrestricted right to live in the UK permanently and be able to travel in and out of the UK without being subject to immigration control or restrictions.
In addition to this, benefits of citizenship include the following:
- The right to hold a British passport, which carries with it the ability to travel to over 130 countries internationally without a visa
- The right to vote in elections and the right to stand for public office
- Free NHS medical care
- No restrictions on your right to work
How much money you will need to live in the UK varies greatly depending on where you live and how much your monthly expenses will generally be.
London is by far the most expensive place to live in the UK, and it’s thought that a single person would need around £2,000 in order to live comfortably in the capital city.
This figure goes down slightly when you move out of London. The south of England is still fairly expensive, but the north of England and parts of Scotland will be considerably cheaper to live in.
You will also need to consider the initial costs of moving to the UK, such as the costs associated with travel and insurance. As a general guide, you will have to consider the costs of things such as:
- Visa application fees (these will vary based on the visa type)
- Travel insurance and moving insurance
- Transport, such as flights and getting to and from the airport
- Courier or moving services to transport heavy items to the UK
- Temporary storage solutions
If you just want to visit the UK for a short period of time (up to 6 months), then you will not need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa to visit the UK, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
However, it may be the case that you will have to apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you have a criminal record or you’ve previously been refused entry into the UK.