A message to UK Nationals in Italy from Jill Morris, Her Majesty’s Ambassador – British Embassy Rome
In this message:
- The Withdrawal Agreement and the end of the Transition Period
- Healthcare access for those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement
- The new biometric residency card for UK nationals living in Italy
- Exiting and Entering Italy
- Coronavirus restrictions on entering Italy
- Travelling to the UK
- UK driving licences in Italy
British Embassy Rome
Issue No. 22
Tuesday 12 January 2021
A MESSAGE FROM JILL MORRIS, HER MAJESTY’S AMBASSADOR
To UK Nationals in Italy,
I wanted to update you on some important developments now that the transition period between the UK and the EU has ended.
The Withdrawal Agreement and the end of the Transition Period
If you are a UK national living in Italy and were lawfully living here before 31 December 2020, your lifelong rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. This includes the right to live, work and access healthcare as you do now. You can find more information on your rights in Italy in our Citizens’ Rights Information Booklet available on gov.uk. My previous newsletters detailing rights under the Withdrawal Agreement can be found here.
Healthcare access for those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement
Under the Withdrawal Agreement if you were living in Italy or moved here before 31 December 2020, your rights to access healthcare in Italy will stay the same provided you remain resident. This also applies to UK nationals who hold an S1 form (i.e. in receipt of a UK state pension or a qualifying exportable benefit) and currently use the S1 form to access healthcare in Italy.
The Italian Ministry of Health has recently published an Informative Note for local health authorities confirming healthcare rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. You may find it helpful to highlight the Italian government’s new Informative Note when engaging with your local regional healthcare authority on your continued rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
The new biometric residency card for UK nationals living in Italy
The Italian government has introduced a new biometric residence document for UK nationals and their family members. If you were living in Italy before 1 January 2021 you should get this document in due course. It will provide further evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. To request the document, you need to book an appointment at your local immigration office at the police headquarters (questura) in person. For more information please read the Italian government’s guidance on the new card.
You will recall that last year the Italian government released an “attestazione di iscrizione anagrafica” for UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. The document refers to Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement. The attestazione is not mandatory in order to obtain the new biometric card. If you already have the new attestazione you will be able to show it in order to request the new card. Alternatively, you will be able to complete a self-declaration confirming your residency status in Italy.
We are engaging the Italian government on the process for obtaining the biometric residency card, especially for those who were lawfully living in Italy by 31 December 2020 but who have not yet completed a residency registration with their local town hall. As soon as we have further information we will update our Living in Italy page.
Exiting and Entering Italy
If you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (i.e. you were lawfully living in Italy before 31 December 2020) you enjoy facilitated entry and exit rights into Italy. That means that you should not have your UK passport stamped at the border. We are engaging the Italian government to ensure that UK nationals are handled correctly at the border.
UK nationals living in Italy should carry your residence document (EU document, the new attestazione issued under article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement or the new biometric residency card), as well as your valid passport when you travel.
If you have not yet applied for a residence document, you should carry evidence that you are living in Italy. This could include a tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020.
If you cannot show that you are resident in Italy, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the Schengen area, and your passport may be stamped. This will not affect your rights in Italy. If your passport is stamped in error, the Italian government is advising that you should ensure you carry residency documentation with you when you next travel as this will show the border guards that the stamp was placed in error. Updates on what further actions you may be able to take if your passport is stamped in error will be published on our Living in Guide.
Coronavirus restrictions on entering Italy
Until 15 January, entry into Italy is only permitted for those with official residency or those with absolute necessity, which must be declared in writing.
Until 15 January, those wishing to fly must present the airline with a negative COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test taken no more than 72 hours before entry into Italy. You must also take a COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test within 48 hours of entering Italy – arrivals by air from the UK will take this test at the airport. Whatever the result of the 2 swab tests, those arriving in Italy from the UK must also report to their local health authorities on arrival and self-isolate for 14 days.
You will need to download and complete a self-declaration from the Ministry of Interior before you travel.
UK nationals, resident in Italy by 31 December 2020, will need to show proof of residence when re-entering Italy. This could include an identity card, a registration certificate or a utility bill in your name.
You can consult the Italian Government’s online questionnaire (in English) for more advice on entry requirements and travel to Italy.
Travelling to the UK
All international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, will from Friday 15 January be required to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure. All passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of the test result. Italy is not currently included in this list.
Please note that you will still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and be subject to national lockdown restrictions when entering the UK.
Please continue to check our Travel Advice pages for further details.
UK driving licences in Italy
If you are a legal resident in Italy you should obtain an Italian driving licence. If you started the process in 2020 to exchange your UK driving licence for an Italian one, the Italian government has confirmed that you will be able to complete the exchange on the same basis as now. You will not have to re-sit your driving test.
If you have been a resident in Italy for less than 12 months as a non-EU national, you can use your UK driving licence in Italy for the first 12 months of your residency. You should ensure you have an Italian licence within 12 months.
If you have been resident in Italy for more than 12 months, you will no longer be able to use your UK driving licence in Italy. You should obtain an Italian licence as soon as possible. You will need to re-sit your test to do so.
We continue to engage with the Italian government on the future right to exchange a UK licence for an Italian one without needing to re-sit a driving test. Please continue to check our Living in Italy page for updates.
The Italian government has confirmed that visitors to Italy (non-residents) using a UK driving licence will not require an International Driving Permit or a translation of the licence to drive here.
How to stay informed
You can find the very latest information on our Living in Italy page on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-italy. 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 will continue to deliver our ‘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 and a Happy New Year to you, your families and friends.
Jill Morris CMG
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Italy