How to future-proof your life in Italy post-Brexit

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How to future-proof your life in Italy post-Brexit
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Italian bureaucracy can be a struggle at the best of times, and both expats and officials are being left confused by Brexit legislation. Luckily, British in Italy have some expert advice to help you navigate the process.


It really is the last chance now for Brits to register as legal residents of Italy before the UK leaves the EU.

Registering means you'll benefit from the Withdrawal Agreement in the case of an orderly Brexit or from the rights protected by upcoming Italian legislation in the case of a no-deal withdrawal.

But knowing your obligations and associated rights is one thing; asserting those rights is something else - especially when the officials you have to deal with to obtain your coveted piece of documentation are not always aware of your rights.

Dealing with bureaucracy can be a daunting process even in your native language, and such situations are all the more stressful with a limited knowledge of Italian.

Photo: Depositphotos

So what stumbling blocks might Brits face when trying to apply for residency?

You'll need an attestazione di regolarità di soggiorno if resident in Italy for fewer than five years, or an attestazione di soggiorno permanente for longer-term residents.

And how about those who qualify to apply for Italian nationality? Are there any hidden pitfalls on their path to dual citizenship? Here's our advice.

Make sure you're talking to the right person.

Whilst it's reasonable to expect someone to know their own job, they can't really be expected to know everyone else's.

When I moved to Italy in 2017, my first step was to attempt to obtain a codice fiscale from the Agenzia delle Entrate. In theory, this should be easy, since it's something that's needed by everyone and is available to everyone - even non-residents.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I was told that I couldn't be issued with a codice fiscale because the UK had already left the EU (!) and so I needed to hot-foot it along to the British Embassy (yes, you read that correctly) and apply for a visa to remain in Italy. Luckily, I determined that the person "advising" me was, in fact, a security guard. Within 10 minutes of speaking to a clerk, I had the piece of paper I needed.

Once you've found the right person to talk to, make sure they understand what you need. If your Italian is basic, take an interpreter with you to speed things up and to avoid unnecessarily irking the people you need to communicate with.

Remember that the exact wording for the initial attestazione mentioned above can differ between communes, so don't panic if you're offered a certificato or attestazione di iscrizione anagrafica instead.

Know your paperwork

The format can also vary, so you might find that your paperwork looks slightly different to that of your friend who lives in another part of Italy.

On occasion you might be unlucky enough to come across someone who doesn't know their own job. This is more likely at present: since the British Government doesn't know what's happening with Brexit and even whether the UK will still be a Member State on March 30, why would your average Italian official be completely au fait on the status of Brits abroad?

Photo: Depositphotos

It helps to take along official documentation outlining the process you're trying to achieve, so if you're applying for your attestazione di regolarità di soggiorno as a self-employed person and are asked to prove your income level, you can use this page to prove which documents are actually required.

If you're trying to register for an attestazione di soggiorno permanente and you're told that EU citizens don't need one and therefore can't have this important piece of documentation, then show them the official EU Web page, in Italian, that explains precisely what you're entitled to.

If you come across someone who thinks that the UK has already left the EU, then this statement by the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri will prove otherwise.

Do your homework.

Listening to personal experiences can be helpful when it comes to finding out the idiosyncrasies of how legislation is implemented at your local anagrafe, but it's not as reliable if you need to know exactly what the applicable legislation says.

That's when relying on what you heard from a friend after a few glasses of prosecco or a generous Negroni might land you in difficulty.

READ ALSO: The ultimate guide to getting residency in Italy

Keeping up wit relevant developments or changes to the applicable law is also a must:

For example, as of December 5 2018, citizenship applications from EU citizens require evidence of B1 proficiency in Italian even for people applying as the spouse of an Italian citizen.

We've already heard of people having their applications rejected as a result, and some immigration lawyers continue to wrongly tell potential citizenship applicants that the language test is not required.

Take care of the details

Dotting your i's and crossing your t's is always a good idea for important matters, and sometimes it even helps if you anticipate potential complications and solve possible problems before they even arise.

Many new residents, when told to expect an official visit to confirm that they really live at their stated address, worry about whether they'll be at home when the vigili arrive. But it's worth making sure, too, that the vigili will be able to find you if you are at home! Ù

Applications for residency have been delayed in the past for reasons as mundane as the vigili not being able to find the right doorbell, so if you're expecting a visit, make sure your name's up there and warn your porter if you have one.

Have the right attitude (even when things get diffcult!)

Above all, remember that attitude can make the difference between getting what you need and going home empty-handed.

99 times out of 100, the person sitting opposite you at the sportello isn't deliberately trying to make life difficult for you. A little bit of patience and a lot of smiles can overcome many a bureaucratic obstacle.

British in Italy

Photo: Depositphotos

READ ALSO: Eight TV shows that help explain Brexit Britain to your Italian friends



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