Italian Residency Case Study: Restoring Permanent Residency

Mr and Mrs A are UK nationals who acquired a property in Italy back in 2010. Following the Italian property purchase, they registered their Italian residency at the comune’s registry office. 

Fast forward to 2023, and the couple initiated the permesso di soggiorno application process. This was part of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement arrangements designed to protect citizens’ rights as part of Brexit. Yet, discrepancies surfaced in their Italian residency paperwork.

Faced with this situation, and being unable to continue with their permesso di soggiorno application, they therefore sought legal advice from De Tullio Law Firm.

Unveiling the loss of Italian Residency

The De Tullio legal team examined the situation. We discovered that Mr and Mrs A were no longer registered as Italian residents at their local municipal registry office.

While interacting with the registry office, our legal team discovered that the office had made two unsuccessful attempts in 2021 to deliver paperwork to Mr. and Mrs. A’s registered residence. However, they were not in Italy on either occasion. The comune therefore challenged their physical presence in Italy. Subsequently, the registry office chose to revoke their Italian residency status. Despite the office’s assertion of having informed them, Mr. and Mrs. A remained completely unaware of this development.

The Legal Labyrinth of Residency in Italy

In accordance with Italian law n. 223/1989 and registry office regulations, a person can lose Italian residency status due to ‘irreperibilità’ (unavailability). In other words, a comune’s registry office can revoke Italian residency if people aren’t physically present at their registered residence during multiple verifications.

Nevertheless, the right to permanent residency acquired prior to Brexit in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement provides vital protection for Mr. and Mrs. A. According to Article 15, Paragraph 3 of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, “Once acquired, the right of permanent residence shall be lost only through absence from the host State for a period exceeding 5 consecutive years.” This legal safeguard therefore guaranteed Mr and Mrs A’s entitlement to maintain permanent residency status, as they hadn’t been absent from Italy for a period exceeding 5 years.

Upon analysis of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, it became evident that the registry office had unjustly revoked their Italian residency status. As UK citizens, they had protection. Once De Tullio lawyers confirmed this legal protection, the comune promptly reinstated residency status. This resolution ensures that the couple have retained their right to continue enjoying Italian residency.

A Cautionary Note for Non-Italian Nationals regarding Italian Residency

This case underscores the importance of comprehending regulations governing Italian residency for UK citizens post Brexit. At De Tullio Law Firm, we are always happy to assist with the complexities of Italian residency law. If you are a non-Italian national residing in Italy we strongly recommend vigilance regarding your residency status. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for expert guidance and legal support. Your peace of mind remains our utmost priority.

Moving to Italy from the UK: Obtaining Permanent Italian Residency

Visa requirements for moving to Italy from the UK post-Brexit

UK nationals are now subject to immigration requirements in Italy.

If you stay in Italy for more than 90 days within any 180 day period, you will need a visa.

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Becoming a permanent Italian resident post Brexit

Since January 1st, 2021, if you wish to become resident in Italy, you need to follow the same rules as non-EU nationals. You will therefore need an Elective Residence Visa (ERV).

This is a long-term visa for non-EU citizens who intend to live in Italy. Firstly, you must be able to prove that you own or rent a property in Italy. In addition, you must be able to evidence that you can support yourself autonomously. Your income must be from a source other than employment.

You should apply for an ERV through the Italian Consulate in London.

An ERV is valid for 1 year after which, it may be renewed at your Provincial police headquarters (questura). You will need to demonstrate that you still meet the original requirements for an ERV.

If you are experiencing difficulties obtaining an ERV or if your application has been rejected, you may be interested in reading this article: ERV case study.

UK nationals living in Italy prior to January 1st 2021

If you were resident in Italy before January 1st 2021, the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement from The EU protects your residency and citizens’ rights.

You can now apply for a Biometric Residency Card (Carta di Soggiorno Elettronica). The Biometric Residency Card is an electronic residence document for UK nationals and their families. It provides further evidence of your right to reside in Italy. Furthermore, Biometric Residency Card can replace other residency paperwork when you are travelling in Italy or other countries in the Schengen Zone.

Finally …

We understand that Italian residency matters can be confusing and difficult to navigate. If you have any questions about what action you should take or if you need help concerning an Elective Residence Visa or a Biometric Residency Card, please get in touch with us at:


Can I still buy property in Italy after Brexit?

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.

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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.

Finally …

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.

You may also be interested in How to get a mortgage in Italy.

New Biometric Residency Card for UK Nationals Living in Italy

Biometric Residency Card for UK Nationals Living in Italy

What is the biometric residency card?

The Italian government has introduced a biometric residency card for UK nationals and their family members resident in Italy.

If you are a UK national and were living in Italy before 1st January 2021, you have the right to obtain an electronic residency card.

Family members of UK nationals who were resident in Italy by 31st December 2020 can also get an electronic residency card and, any family members joining UK nationals resident in Italy, even after the aforementioned date, are also entitled.

Why do I need a biometric residency card?

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The electronic residency card will provide further evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement and it will save you having to carry other papers such as your Attestazione di iscrizione anagrafica and/or your Permesso di soggiorno when you exit and enter Italy.

In addition, the card can be useful for administration purposes. For example if you need to renew your Italian ID card and need to show proof that you are resident in Italy.

How do I obtain the residency card for UK nationals?

You will need to apply for a biometric residency card. First, you need to book an appointment by sending a PEC email to your Immigration Office of the Police Headquarters (Questura) in the province of your residence.

You will need to attend your appointment in person. In order to issue a biometric residency card, you will have to supply biometric data in the form of fingerprinting.

The biometric residency takes some time to prepare. You will need to return to the questura to collect it when it is ready. Collection requires another check of your fingerprints so you will have to go in person to pick up your biometric card.

How do I apply for a card?

You will need to take the following to your appointment:

A valid identity document. If this is your UK passport, you will need to ensure that it has at least 6 months validity. If not, you will need to renew your UK passport;

Attestazione di iscrizione anagrafica, issued by your Municipality of residence, which proves registration by 31st December 2020; or, alternatively, self-certification of being registered with the anagrafe by 31st December 2020 and that registration has not been subsequently cancelled, pursuant to art. 46-47 D.p.r. 445/2000;

Permesso di soggiorno permanente if you have one or, alternatively, self-certification of being registered with the anagrafe by 31st December 2020 and that registration has not been subsequently cancelled, pursuant to art. 46-47 D.p.r. 445/2000;

Receipt of payment of € 30,46 for the cost of producing the document. Payable by postal order on CC no. 67422402 (account holder “MEF DIP.TO DEL TESORO VERS: DOVUTO RILASCIO CARTA DI SOGGIORNO” – reason for payment: “Importo per il rilascio della carta di soggiorno – Accordo di recesso UE/ UK”);

4 passport-sized photographs.

Validity of residency cards

For UK nationals resident in Italy less than 5 years, the electronic residency card is valid for 5 years. The card you receive will show the title, “residence card”.

If you are a UK national who has acquired legal and uninterrupted residence in Italy over a period of 5 years or more, including periods of stay before or after 31st December, 2020, the electronic residency card will be valid for 10 years. The card you receive will show the title, “permanent residence card”.

Finally …

We can help you with enquiries and support you through the process to obtain an Italian electronic residency card. Please get in touch with us.


You may also be interested in How do UK nationals obtain permanent Italian residency?