Issue No. 21 Friday 20 November 2020
To UK nationals in Italy,
There have been some important recent announcements from the UK on healthcare, and I want to update you as a UK national living in Italy on your rights to access healthcare here. I would also like to provide a brief update to UK nationals living in Italy who hold an accredited status with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and are not therefore registered with the town hall), as we are aware there are a number of UK nationals living in Italy with this status including staff employed at the UN agencies in Rome.
Healthcare for UK nationals living in Italy by 31 December 2020
Your rights to access healthcare in Italy will stay the same from 1 January 2021 for as long as you remain resident.
If you have not yet registered for healthcare as a resident in Italy, we strongly encourage you to do so. UK nationals can find further guidance on how to register correctly on our healthcare page on gov.uk.
If you live in Italy and you are entitled to an Italian EHIC (TEAM), your entitlements will continue when you visit the UK or when travelling across the EU both before and after the transition period, as long as you are legally resident in Italy before 31 December 2020 and remain covered under the Withdrawal Agreement.
UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC) for those who live in Italy
From 1 January 2021, UK nationals living in Italy and whose healthcare is currently funded by the UK will continue to be entitled to a UK issued EHIC. These include those claiming a UK state pension, students studying in Italy and others who, under the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), will continue to be covered as they are now.
If you fall into one of these groups, you will be able to apply online for a new EHIC, also referred to as Citizens Rights Agreement (CRA) EHIC, to replace your existing card at nhs.uk/ehic. Applications to the new EHIC portal are being opened in phases, and the portal is already open for S1 form holders (pensioners, those in receipt of a qualifying benefit, and their dependants, frontier workers), and students. The portal will be opened for other groups in due course, and we will inform you as soon as possible.
If you are an S1 form holder, we advise you to use the new EHIC portal now to apply for your new EHIC. You can continue to use your current UK-issued EHIC across the EU and EFTA countries as normal until at least 31 December 2020, however your current EHIC may not be valid after this date. There is no deadline for the application, but we recommend that you apply early, especially if you’re planning to travel in EU/EEA countries over the end of the year or in early 2021.
If you are planning to travel, please remember that your EHIC does not replace travel insurance, and you should also ensure you have travel insurance if you are travelling to the EU/EEA.
As an S1 form holder, if you do not receive your new EHIC before you travel to another EU/EFTA country, you can request a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) by calling +44 191 218 1999 if you need any medically necessary treatment. Please see here for more information on UK EHIC rights and obligations.
Information for UK nationals working in Italy with MFA accredited status
As a UK national working in Italy with MFA accredited status, for example as a UK national employed at one of the UN agencies, I want to update you on your rights and to provide you with details of where you can find more information and support.
Your right to continue to live and work in Italy
UK nationals who hold diplomatic or accredited status do not fall under the Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the UK and the EU which includes articles on citizens’ rights. That is because these UK nationals have diplomatic status. Your right to live and work in Italy comes from other international treaties including the Vienna Convention. You are therefore not required to register as a resident while living here. Should you wish to register as a resident this is possible, but you should be aware that it may impact your immunities and some privileges. You should discuss your options with your local HR advisor.
If you are accredited with the MFA and therefore not registered as resident in Italy and you are accessing healthcare via a UK-issued S1 (whereby the UK pays for your healthcare) we continue to seek clarity on the future validity of your S1 to access healthcare in Italy. We will keep you updated as more information is made available. We also advise you to discuss your healthcare options with your employer. Future reciprocal healthcare rights for those arriving in Italy from 2021 are part of the current negotiations between the UK and the EU.
Further rights of those with accredited status
There are some rights in Italy that remain to be agreed to ensure they are protected beyond the end of this year. These include the right for all UK nationals (including those with accredited status) to use a UK driving licence in Italy without additional paperwork. We are also keen to reach a reciprocal agreement with Italy that any years spent in Italy under accredited status can be counted towards a future residency application. And we are seeking agreement on the future rights of family members and partners to work in Italy during their family member’s posting.
Please rest assured that we are engaging with the Italian MFA on those rights which are not covered by the Vienna Convention and other relevant international treaties but which were based on the UK’s membership of the EU. We will keep you updated with the latest information we have.
How to stay informed
The British Embassy will continue to issue specific messages to UK nationals who hold diplomatic or accredited status in Italy over the coming weeks. My team also plans to hold further (virtual) outreach events with UN agencies in Rome over the coming months.
All UK nationals can find the very latest information on our Living in Italy page on gov.uk. This remains our key resource for UK nationals. It includes details on residency, healthcare and benefits, pensions, driving licences and how to get in touch with us.
We will be holding more live Q & A events for UK nationals on Facebook. Please do join us if you can.
And we have just launched a ‘Registration Roadshow’ for UK nationals across Italy. Each roadshow, hosted with our UK Nationals Support Fund partner the International Organisation for Migration, is held for a specific region or city in Italy and you can sign up for a one-to-one session with our policy experts via our Facebook channel.
My warm wishes to you and your family and friends.
Jill Morris CMG Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Italy