Brexit For Members

Are Italy's British residents still getting their passports stamped?

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Are Italy's British residents still getting their passports stamped?
Are British citizens resident in Italy still wrongly having their passports stamped? Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

UK residents of Italy protected under the Withdrawal Agreement reported having their passports wrongly stamped at border checks following Brexit. Has that issue now been cleared up, or are some Brits still experiencing issues?


In the months after the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement was finalised, many UK citizens in Italy with permanent Italian residency reported having their passports wrongly stamped on leaving and entering Italy.

Italy is one of a handful of “declaratory” countries in the EU where getting a post-Brexit residency card was optional, rather than compulsory, though UK authorities advised obtaining the card as "evidence of your rights".

The lack of clarity caused widespread confusion, with many Italian officials wrongly insisting that the carta di soggiorno elettronica was the only valid proof of pre-Brexit Italian residency.

Meanwhile, many travellers initially reported that border officials in Italy were not clear on the purpose of the card and had stamped their passports regardless - leading to concerns about erroneous stamps causing problems on future trips.

The issue appears to have been largely resolved for British citizens who finally gave in and applied for the document, with most cardholders saying they no longer have issues with their passports being stamped at the country's major airports.

READ ALSO: What's the deal with passport stamping in Italy?

However, some UK nationals resident in Italy say they're still wrongly having their passports stamped at smaller airports in Italy, especially when travelling alongside large groups of British holidaymakers.

And others report routinely having their passport stamped when entering the Schengen zone via a different EU member state to that of Italy - for example, when travelling by car from the UK via France.

UK national David Prince commented in response to a recent article on passport stamping that a border official had stamped his passport on arriving in Calais, despite his presenting an Italian residency permit.

"When I asked why he simply said "Article 50," Prince said, "which I knew was rubbish but I couldn't be bothered to argue."

According to European Commission rules in place since 2022, Schengen border agents have been told that they shouldn't stamp the passports of anyone with a valid EU residence permit - but there's no EU law stopping them from doing so.


Even if your passport is stamped, it doesn't carry any official weight.

"The Commission recommends – notably as regards beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement – that Member State border guards refrain from stamping," the rules say.

"In any case, should stamping nevertheless take place, such stamp cannot affect the length of the authorised long-term stay."

READ ALSO: Can I use my Italian carta d'identità for travel?

If you arrive at any Schengen border, it's advisable to hand over your passport already opened to the photo page, with your residency card on top, and say that you're resident in Italy.

If you're at an Italian border checkpoint, you might want to say 'sono residente in Italia' - I'm an Italian resident - and be prepared to answer questions about your reasons for being in Italy.


One additional source of confusion for some residents has been the difference between a carta d'identità and a carta di soggiorno.

The carta di soggiorno elettronica is the post-Brexit residency card which proves your status as a legal resident in Italy, wheres a carta d'identità is simply your Italian ID card.

The ID card is valid for ten years, but that doesn't automatically give you the right to stay in Italy for all that time. Some non-EU citizens on certain visas might have a ten-year ID card, but a one-year Italian residency permit.

For that reason, your Italian ID card isn't considered proof of your right to be in the country; as a British citizen resident in Italy and covered under the Withdrawal Agreement, you'll need to show your carta di soggiorno elettronica to a border agent to stand the best chance of avoiding having your passport stamped.


Comments (1)

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Chris 2024/05/30 16:57
I’m a pre-Brexit UK resident in Italy. I applied for the permesso di soggiorno in September last year in Perugia. It was finally ready in May…and they got my name wrong. Now I have to start the whole process again. The price you pay for living in Italy.

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