UPDATE: Brits in Italy to get EU biometric residence card from January

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UPDATE: Brits in Italy to get EU biometric residence card from January
Italy has announced a new way for Brits to prove their residency rights. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italian authorities have announced a new electronic ID document proving British nationals have residency rights in Italy. Here are the details.


Italy's Interior Ministry has announced that a new electronic 'tessera' or ID card will be available from January 2021 proving the rights of British citizens resident in Italy.

The card will be available to British citizens who have registered or applied for Italian residency by December 31st 2020.

READ ALSO: Italy confirms post-Brexit visa rules for British nationals

This is the long-awaited EU card that identifies the holder as having rights protected under the Withdrawal agreement.

“From January 1st, British citizens resident in Italy as of December 31st 2020 will be able to request, at the Questura (police headquarters) of their area of residence, a document in digital format based on the provisions of art. 18, paragraph 4, of the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union,” read a statement from the Italian Interior Ministry.

“In line with the indications set at European Union level, the new digital document will guarantee easy recognition of the rights provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement in favour of British citizens who have registered their residence in Italy before 31 December 2020.”


The card will be valid for five years for those with less than five years residence at its date of issue, or ten years if you have permanent residence.

The new tessera costs €30.46 plus a €16 stamp (marca da bollo, available from newsagents).

To apply, UK citizens will need:

  • an identity card (carta d’identità) or passport
  • your certificate proving you are registered in the anagrafe of your comune of residence (attestazione di iscrizione anagrafica, or attestazione di soggiorno permanente if you have that)
  • if you recently applied to be registered as resident but do not yet have the certificate or attestazione from your comune, you will need to show a copy of your application to your local comune for registration (iscrizione anagrafica) as that will evidence you applied on or before December 31st 2020. 
  • 4 passport-sized photographs
The Interior Ministry has published further details of the new card and how to apply for it in both Italian and English.
Your local Questura's website should have "a dedicated electronic channel to book an appointment in order to submit the application", according to the Interior Ministry.
During the appointment your "biometric data will be enrolled", it states.
"At present it is not compulsory," to have the card, citizens' rights group British in Italy said.
"There is no deadline for getting it and no fine for not having it."
"However, it will be the best evidence that you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. It is in an EU-wide format so, even though it will be in Italian, border guards in other countries will have no difficulty in recognising it."

"Also given how highly devolved much of the public administration in Italy is, it may be that in due course some officials will not accept that you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement without it."
"However we have been told informally by Italian government reps that there is no rush to get it immediately," British in Italy noted. "It is going to be issued by the Questura and for them it will be a new process."


"Given the problems many Comuni had issuing the Withdrawal Agreement attestazione, we think it is a good idea to wait until the Questura staff have had some training and some experience of issuing it."

The EU-wide card was announced after the Italian 'WA attestazione' document, which British residents in Italy have been advised to obtain in order to prove their residency status.

So should you apply for the card if you already have the 'WA attestazione'?

"In our view it is a good idea to get both the WA attestazione (from your comune) and the biometric tessera (from the Questura when it becomes available)," British in Italy said.

"The Italian Government has said that the WA attestazione was only a temporary document issued until the rules for the EU-wide tessera came out," however, they note, "the WA attestazione is still valid and is still evidence that you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement."


The European Commission announced early this year that it would create the EU-wide biometric residence document for all British nationals living in the bloc by the end of the post-Brexit transition period.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, it is up to each EU country to decide whether to require UK nationals to apply and obtain a document proving their residence rights under the Brexit deal.

The EU-wide residence document is expected to have the same format in all member states, and will look much like residence permits for other third-country nationals.

Identity cards are commonly used in most European countries alongside passports, and are often needed when accessing public services.

UK citizens who are not registered as residents in the Italy by 31st December 2020 will not have their rights ensured by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
In order to move to Italy and register as residents after that date, they would instead have to apply for a residence permit as citizens of third countries.
Italy last week also announced details of a new long-stay visa for British citizens.
For further information, please see the British Embassy’s Living in Italy guide.
If you need assistance with applying for Italian residency you can contact the IOM,  the UN's migration agency, which is currently helping British nationals in Italy prepare for Brexit.
See The Local's Brexit section for more updates.


Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2021/02/11 21:02
I have recently tried to purchase a car from a dealer, they have informed me that they require the new electronic residency. The Questura are overrun with immigrants seeking residency and have little or no time for genuine residents upgrading to the electronic version.

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