How will Brexit affect you in Italy? Q&A with the British Ambassador

The British Ambassador to Italy, Jill Morris, on Friday issued a Brexit update containing essental information for all British nationals currently resident in Italy.

How will Brexit affect you in Italy? Q&A with the British Ambassador
British Ambassador to Italy Jill Morris. Photo: British Embassy in Rome

Included in the message, shared via email and on social media, were answers to the top questions asked by British nationals at meetings being held across Italy by Morris and British embassy staff

READ ALSO: New campaign urges Brits in Italy to get ready for Brexit

“I and my team continue to meet UK nationals at our public meetings across Italy to provide an update on Brexit and citizens’ rights and to hear concerns and questions. Most recently we held meetings in Martina Franca and in Rome,” Morris wrote. 

“We have included the top questions from our most recent public meetings below.”

I am a UK national living in Italy with an old-style residency permit. Do I need to do anything ahead of Brexit?

The Italian No Deal legislation protects the rights of all those who are officially resident in Italy on Exit day. The current temporary residency document is the Attestazione di regolare soggiorno  based on art. 7 del D.Lgs 30/2007. For those living in Italy for over 5 years, the residency document is the Attestazione di soggiorno permanente. If you think you hold an old version of a residency document you may wish to visit your local comune before Brexit to request an updated copy.

I have lived in Italy for more than fiive years and access my healthcare via my S1 form. Do I need to do anything ahead of Brexit?

If you have registered your S1 form with your local ASL, you currently access public healthcare in Italy paid for by the UK. The UK and Italian government are committed to continue this reciprocal healthcare agreement until December 2020. However, this still requires a formal arrangement.

We are in ongoing discussions with the Italian government to secure an arrangement that will see the current system remain in place. Should an agreement not be secured, your S1 will no longer be valid after Brexit.

READ ALSO: Healthcare after Brexit: What do Brits living in Italy need to do?

If you are a permanent resident we are seeking confirmation from the Italian authorities on whether your access to healthcare will be guaranteed by your long-term residency status. Our advice is that you should now be considering your healthcare. You may wish to contact your local ASL to see what options are available for registering for healthcare without your S1 i.e. paying voluntary contributions. Or you may wish to acquire private healthcare insurance.

The UK government has announced that it would cover the public healthcare costs for S1 and EHIC holders for up to 6 months after Exit day, for those who are living in the EU prior to Brexit.

This is to ensure that there is no gap in healthcare cover and to allow people time to make arrangements for the future of their healthcare including registering for healthcare under the local healthcare schemes in the absence of an agreement with EU Members States on a reciprocal arrangement

Photo: Depositphotos

I own a property in Italy. Will Brexit affect my rights?

The rights of UK nationals who currently own property in Italy will be unaffected by Brexit. That is because all Member States are bound by Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which obliges them to respect property rights.

This includes those who own property, own property shares and those who own a property and let it to tenants.

Non-EU nationals can purchase land or property in Italy if they are resident in Italy or there is a bilateral agreement in place which allows of purchasing rights. We will engage with the Italian government on a bilateral agreement to be in place after Brexit to ensure that UK nationals outside of Italy can continue to purchase property in Italy.

Last year’s Security Decree extended the consideration time of Italian citizenship applications from two to four years. With the change of government, do you think this might be revoked?

How citizenship applications are considered is a sovereign decision for each EU member state. The UK government regularly raises concerns that have been reported to us regarding the application process for citizenship.

But the process by which applications are decided including consideration times is a decision for the Italian government alone. We will continue to raise concerns where appropriate.

READ ALSO: What Italy's new laws mean for your citizenship application

I am worried that the UK will withdraw its offer to EU nationals and therefore Italy might change its current No Deal legislation. Do you think that is a possibility?

The citizens’ rights articles of the Withdrawal Agreement were agreed between the UK and the EU early on in negotiations as a priority.

In a No Deal scenario the UK has made it clear that EU nationals living in the UK are welcome to remain and to maintain their current rights, under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Over one million EU nationals have now applied under the scheme. The UK’s offer to EU nationals is a generous one. We welcome the Italian offer to UK nationals as detailed in the No Deal legislation which protects the current rights of UK nationals living here.

We continue to engage with the Italian government on where we believe the offer lacks reciprocity. Both countries have now passed legislation to protect the rights of its respective citizens. The UK and EU have always been clear that the protection of citizens’ rights is a priority in any scenario.

Find The Local's full Brexit coverage HERE

What should I be doing now?

Before the UK leaves the EU, if you are a UK national living in Italy and you haven’t yet registered officially as a resident, you should do so immediately. You may be able to apply for residency electronically if you have an electronic signature and a PEC address. Your comune’s website should have more details as to how to do so. If you are unable to get a face to face appointment with your comune until after the 31 October, you should retain all evidence of having tried to do so, as well as evidence of living in Italy on Exit day.

If you are still driving on a UK driving licence, you should exchange your licence for an Italian one before 31 October. If you do not, then you may be required to re-take your test after Exit day.

If your UK passport is nearing the end of its validity, you should renew it now. After the UK leaves the EU, your UK passport will need to have at least 6 months validity remaining to travel to EU countries.

Please continue to check our Living in Italy page, which we keep regularly updated, on how to secure your rights in Italy. UK Nationals in the EU has a wealth of official information on Brexit and how it might affect you.


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Driving licences: Are the UK and Italy any closer to reaching an agreement?

With ongoing uncertainty over whether UK driving licences will continue to be recognised in Italy beyond the end of this year, British residents are asking where they stand.

Driving licences: Are the UK and Italy any closer to reaching an agreement?

Many of The Local’s British readers have been in touch recently to ask whether any progress has been made in negotiations between the UK and Italy on a reciprocal agreement on the use of driving licences.

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with the background of this Brexit consequence.

READ ALSO: Frustration grows as UK driving licence holders in Italy wait in limbo

When Britain left the EU there was no reciprocal agreement in place, but UK licence holders living in Italy were granted a grace period in which they could continue to drive on their British licences. This period was later extended to the current deadline of December 31st, 2022.

The situation beyond that date however remains unclear, and concern is growing among the sizeable number of British nationals living in Italy who say no longer being allowed to drive would be a serious problem.

There was the option of exchanging licences before the end of 2021, but many didn’t make the deadline. As has been proven before, this was often not due to slackness but rather all manner of circumstances, from having moved to Italy after or shortly before the cut-off date to bureaucratic delays.

Driving licences: How does the situation for Brits in Italy compare to rest of Europe?

So is an agreement any closer? Or do those driving in Italy on a UK licence really need to go to the considerable trouble and expense of sitting an Italian driving test (in Italian)?

With five months left to go, there’s still no indication as to whether a decision will be made either way.

The British government continues to advise licence holders to sit their Italian driving test – while also stressing that they’re working hard on reaching a deal, which would make taking the test unnecessary.

This message has not changed.

On Wednesday, July 27th, British Ambassador to Italy Ed Llewellyn tweeted after a meeting with Italian Infrastructure and Transport Minister Enrico Giovannini: “The British and Italian governments continue to work towards an agreement on exchange of driving licences.”

But the ambassador earlier this month advised UK nationals “not to wait” and to “take action now by applying for an Italian licence”.

In an official newsletter published in mid-July, Llewellyn acknowledged the concerns of British residents and confirmed that negotiations are still going on.

“I know that many of you are understandably concerned about whether your UK driving licence will continue to be recognised in Italy, especially when the extension granted by Italy until 31 December 2022 for such recognition expires.

“Let me set out where things stand. The British Government is working to reach an agreement with Italy on the right to exchange a licence without the need for a test. 

READ ALSO:  Do you have to take Italy’s driving test in Italian?

“The discussions with our Italian colleagues are continuing and our objective is to try to reach an agreement in good time before the end of the year.

“We hope it will be possible to reach an agreement – that is our objective and we are working hard to try to deliver it. 

Nevertheless, he said, “our advice is not to wait to exchange your licence.”

“If you need to drive in Italy, you can take action now by applying for an Italian licence. This will, however, involve taking a practical and theory test.” 

He acknowledged that “the process is not a straightforward one and that there are delays in some areas to book an appointment for a test”.

READ ALSO: ‘Anyone can do it’: Why passing your Italian driving test isn’t as difficult as it sounds

“We will continue to work towards an agreement,” he wrote. “That is our objective and it is an objective we share with our Italian colleagues.“

The British Embassy in Rome had not responded to The Local’s requests for further comment on Friday.

The Local will continue to publish any news on the recognition of British driving licences in Italy. See the latest updates in our Brexit-related news section here.

Find more information on the UK government website’s Living in Italy section.