Brexit: what Brits living in Italy should do next?

Feb 10, 2020

(latest update 10/02/2020)

What to do after Brexit day: Italian Government publishes updated guidelines for UK nationals in Italy after 31 January 2020.

With decree 25 March 2019, n. 22 the Italian government outlines the measures that will apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. In particular, articles 14 refers to the residency rights of British nationals and their NON-EU family members living in Italy, and article 15 refers to Italian citizenship applications.

British nationals living in Italy in the event of no-deal Brexit

British citizens legally residing in Italy and their NON-EU family members can, within December 31, 2020:

  • if at the date of Brexit you have regularly resided in Italy since at least 5 years, you can apply for EU residence permit for long-term residents (Directive 2003/109/EC);
  • if at the date of Brexit you have regularly resided in Italy for less than 5 years, you can apply for a residence permit “for residency” (“per residenza”), valid 5 years.

Starting from January 1, 2021, UK citizens and their NON-EU family members who do not comply with the above provisions will be subject to the same sanctions applicable to all noncompliant NON-EU nationals.

British nationals apply for Italian Citizenship in the event of no-deal Brexit

UK citizens who are regularly residing in Italy since at least 4 years at the date of Brexit shall be entitled to apply for Italian citizenship until December 31, 2020, while applications filed after this date shall be processed under the same regulations applicable to all other non-EU nationals.


Q: What should uk nationals be doing in terms of steps to secure their status?

A: They should register with the local town hall “comune” before brexit date 31 january 2019, this will allow them to maintain their status even in the event of a no deal brexit. in the event of deal, such right is extended throughout the transition period which ends on 31 december 2020. in case of no deal, those registered within 31 january 2019 must apply for a permit of stay within 31/12/2020, they will have a 5 year permit or eu long term permit depending on how long they have been residents for (5 years or less).

Q: After brexit will uk citizens need to follow rules similar to non-eu nationals or will there be more favourable rules for them for any period of time (if so what period)?

A: Favourable rules will only apply for uk citizens residing in italy as of 31 january 2019. for any uk national not resident in italy, italian immigration rules will apply as for any non eu national.

Q: What provisions will apply in italy to uk nationals post no-deal brexit in cases when:

– they are not residents in Italy?

A: They will be treated as non eu nationals by all means and national immigration law will apply (i.e. 90 days limitation over 180 day period for short stays and work permit and visa requirements for long stays).

– they will travel on short-term assignment (1-90 days) to italy starting from february 1, 2020 (or later, depending on a possible extension of brexit) ?

A: They will be treated as non eu nationals. uk nationals will be visa waiver nationals for short stays (tourism or business), on the condition that the uk also grants reciprocal visa free travel for all eu member states – as stated on the press release of the eu commission dated 13 november 2018.

– they will commute to work in italy (they may be doing it already so they would continue the commute – e.g. 3 days in italy – 4 in uk, every week) ?

A: They will need a work permit if traveling for work purposes as they will be non eu nationals starting from 1 november 2019. they may be able to enter on business if the purpose of travel falls within the business definition.

Costanza Petreni

Senior Immigration Consultant.Experienced Immigration Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the law practice and client services industry. Strong legal professional skills in Immigration Law, Global Mobility, Legal Writing, Corporate Law, and Visas.

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