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

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

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

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.

Member comments

  1. 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.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's Universities Minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

Ranked: Italy’s best universities and how they compare worldwide

“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.