What is reciprocity?
Sovereign laws, set by individual countries, have always been applicable when it comes to property purchases – even prior to Brexit. For example, when you buy property in England, the applicable law is that of England and Wales. When you buy property in Italy, you purchase according to the laws of Italy.
As members of the World Trade Organisation, both the UK and Italy signed up to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in 1995.
Commitments made by the UK and Italy therefore allow UK and Italian nationals to purchase properties in each others’ countries. This is known as reciprocity so there are no barriers regarding market access or treatment of foreign purchasers.
Reciprocal commitments made within GATS, establish a quid pro quo principle when you buy property
Essentially, you can invest in Italy so long as your home country allows Italian nationals to invest there.
The Italian Consulate in London recently analysed relevant legislation and consulted with UK authorities on the subject of reciprocity. They have confirmed that the status of reciprocity for foreigners in the UK is, in principle, maintained following Brexit.
Therefore, ownership of real estate, establishment of companies, the acceptance of inheritance or gifts are not conditional on citizenship.
However, purchasing property or setting up a company in the UK does not automatically confer the right to reside or work in the UK. The same is valid for UK nationals in Italy. If you want to reside or work in Italy, you will need to obtain an Elective Residence Visa and permits.
For over 55 years, De Tullio Law Firm has been providing international clients with independent legal advice. We offer services in all the major fields of Italian law with particular expertise in real estate, residency, family law and inheritance matters. If you would like to discuss your Italian residency situation, please get in touch with us.
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