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Brexit. The UK has left the EU. What happens next?Brexit. The UK has left the EU. What happens next?

Until December 31st 2020 little will change. The UK remains inside the EU’s single market and customs union, trade is unimpeded and freedom of movement remains in place. If you want to become resident in Italy, you can still do that as an EU citizen until 31st December. The UK government no longer has any voting rights in Brussels and will be able to make trade deals with other countries during this period. EU law will also still be applicable in UK territory.

The end of the UK’s post-Brexit transition period on December 31st will bring changes. Exactly what the changes will be, depends on  future relationship negotiations  between the UK and the EU27. The negotiations will  start soon:

March 2020

Once European ministers approve a new negotiating mandate for Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, trade talks can start between the UK and the EU. The EU aims to have its negotiating mandate agreed by March 1st. This would give the European Commission the legal authorisation to open talks with the UK. Both sides agree that a priority in the talks will be to hammer out a free trade agreement that will be at the heart of a new future economic relationship. Both the EU and UK have said that the objective of the talks should be quota-free, tariff-free trade in goods and services.

June 2020


An EU-UK political declaration, agreed as part of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, says a summit should take place in June so that Britain and the EU27 can take stock and assess the progress of talks. June is also the final month for the UK to request an extension of its transition period beyond 2020. Boris Johnson has made it clear that the transition period won’t be extended. However, EU officials have already said that it’s likely an extension will be needed.

July 2020


The political declaration that forms part of Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement with the EU commits both sides to seek a deal by this date on access to UK fishing waters for European fishermen. EU leaders have made clear that trade talks will halt unless there is a deal on fishing rights. The two sides also have a target to reach decisions on access to each other’s financial services markets by this date.

November 2020


EU officials say that if a trade deal is to be ratified by the end of the year,  a trade deal must be negotiated, checked, translated and presented to the European Parliament by the week of the 26th November.

December 2020


If a trade deal is not in place with the EU, then the UK’s fall back position is basic World Trade Organization terms. This would mean tariffs on imports and exports of goods and services with little practical co-operation to make for smooth border checks. The outcome would, in effect, be the same as a no-deal Brexit and both the UK and EU27 would need to make preparations for how they cope with the economic fallout beyond 2020.

Beyond 2020


Despite the push to secure a deal by the end of this year, future relationship talks are expected to continue after 2020. Michel Barnier has made it clear that not everything can be addressed before the end of the transition period in December, and that in some areas the EU can adopt stop-gap measures. He has given examples including air and road transportation, where the EU can simply grant temporary permissions to the UK to keep things going as usual.

Even if the future relationship between the UK and EU is not as close anymore, UK nationals will have the same rights as Third Country nationals. Italy is used to international property buyers and, from our experience of working with other Third Country nationals such as American and Australian buyers, the processes are simple and transparent. There is no reason for UK nationals to give up living or owning a holiday home in Italy. There is no reason to put plans on hold if you are thinking of retiring to or investing in Italy.

Third country nationals do not need a visa if they are staying in Italy 90 days in any 180. If you plan to stay more than half the year in Italy, you will need a visa based on proof that you have enough income to avoid being a burden on the Italian state. If you need a work permit, you will be like the many non-EU citizens working in Italy.

We recommend that you follow updates and official information for UK nationals moving to or living in Italy, including guidance on residency, healthcare, passports and other matters related to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.