UPDATE: How British second home owners can spend more than 90 days in Italy after Brexit

UPDATE: How British second home owners can spend more than 90 days in Italy after Brexit
Photo: AFP
While Brexit is throwing up many complications for British people who live full-time in Italy (or plan to), there is another group who will be impacted by the changes in 2021 - second home owners.

Italy’s food, weather, and attractive house prices help make it the dream holiday home location for many Brits.

Some intend that eventually their second home will become their main residence – often by retiring to Italy – while others just enjoy spending prolonged periods of time in their second home, but want to keep their main home in the UK.

For those people it’s important to note that the 90-day rule will kick in once the Brexit transition period ends on December 31st 2020.

The rule – the same one which has always been in place for all non-EU citizens wanting to spend time in EU countries – states that you can spend 90 out of every 180 days in the EU without needing to get visas or residency.

OPINION: Yes, second-home owners should be furious about the post-Brexit 90-day rule

So people who currently like to spend long, relaxed summers in Italy, or come here to avoid colder winters in the UK, will find that their plans are curtailed by Brexit.

This site has a fuller explanation of how the 90-day rule works, as well as a calculator to allow you to work out your visits.

A few things to note are;

  • The rule allows for 90 days in every 180, so in total in the course of a year you can spend 180 days in Italy, just not all in one go
  • The rule applies to the whole of the EU, so if you spend a whole three months in Italy you can’t then go for a week in Paris within the same 180 day period
  • The clock only stops once you leave the EU and head to a non-EU country (which the UK will be from December 31st 2020).

But are there ways round this to allow for longer trips?

Will you need a visa?

With the 90-day rule in place, the way for non-residents to spend more time in Italy will now be to get a long-stay visa 

After the end of the Brexit transition period, British citizens will require a long-stay visa, Italian authorities have confirmed.
 
“Starting from January 1st 2021, British citizens planning to stay in Italy for more than 90 days (‘long stay’) within 180 days, will be subject to national visa requirements, according to the Italian immigration rules applied to third country nationals,” stated the Italian consulate in London on December 17th.
 
 
The consulate advises visiting the Interior Ministry’s website for more details about the process of applying for a long-stay visa.
 
You can also find out more about the process of obtaining a visa on the EU immigration portal.
 
British citizens coming to Italy for a short stay of less than 90 days (in a 180-day period) will not require a visa, the Italian consulate confirmed.
 
This means that British citizens will therefore not need a Schengen short-stay visa to spend up to 90 days in Italy within a period of 180 days.

Should you get Italian residency?

If you really want to spend long periods in Italy you may be looking at taking up Italian residency.

This is more than simply declaring that you live in Italy. To become resident you will need to apply for a residency permit or permesso di soggiorno – which comes with its own conditions, see more on those here.

However you will also need to become a tax resident in Italy, which means filing annual tax returns with Italian authorities, even if all you income comes from the UK or elsewhere, and registering with the Italian healthcare system (which may not be free.)

These are some of the most commonly-cited reasons for people choosing not to take up Italian residency.

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You cannot be a permanent resident of two countries at once, so if you become an Italian resident you have to give up your British residency which has an impact on things like tax and access to the NHS.

Is it possible to slip under the radar?

Many British people have got used to coming and going with minimal paperwork or checks, and without having to keep track of how many days were spent where.

But passport checks are expected to become stricter from the end of this year, not least because British nationals will no longer be able tp use the EU/EEA/CH passport queue.

If you are caught over-staying your allocated 90 days you can end up with an ‘over-stay’ flag on your passport which can make it difficult to enter any other country, not just Italy, and is likely to make any future attempts at getting visas or residency a lot more difficult.

See The Local’s Brexit section for more details and updates.


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