UK nationals are now subject to immigration requirements in Italy.
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.
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: email@example.com
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
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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What is a PEC?
PEC stands for posta elettronica certificata. It is essentially a certified email, which has a legal value, like a digital version of a registered letter (lettera raccomandata).
A PEC guarantees legal certainty of the sender’s identity as well as the date and time the email was sent.
A PEC also guarantees that the recipient receives the email and its contents. When the recipient opens and reads your PEC email, you will receive notifications.
Why is a PEC address useful?
PEC is widely used in Italy to send official documents to public administration organisations and private companies. In fact, it is mandatory for Italian companies, public administration organisations and professionals such as lawyers, notaries and accountants to have a PEC address. You can check an organisation’s or professional’s PEC address here.
Although there is no obligation to have one, a PEC email is useful if you have an urgent matter, particularly if you are abroad. The recipient will receive your PEC email almost immediately. You will therefore get a faster response.
Certain Italian public administration bodies must respond to correspondence within thirty days of receiving it. Whereas it might take several days for a recipeint to receive a registered letter, sending a PEC email will speed up the process yet, it has the same legal value as a registered letter.
In Italy you can use a PEC for a wide variety of official matters such as, requesting official appointments, information or documents. You can also send legal contracts and invoices.
How do you get a PEC address?
To send PEC email, you need to set up a PEC account. Italian providers include LegalMail, ArubaPEC, Postecert, Register.it, Libero.
To obtain a PEC address, you will need to visit your chosen provider’s website and follow the instructions to open your PEC account. This consists of inputting your personal information and uploading a copy of your identity document. Sometimes you will need to add your Italian tax code (codice fiscale). You then choose an address such as firstname.lastname@example.org and a password – just like any other email account.
Costs start from a few Euros a year for a basic PEC account, which usually includes limited storage. The more services you require, for instance you might want additional storage, the more you will pay.
If you need help setting up a PEC address, we are here to help. 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
Get in touch at email@example.com
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What is the biometric residency card?
The Italian government has introduced an electronic residence document with biometrics 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?
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.
How do I obtain a new biometric residency card?
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 biometric residence 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 biometric 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”.
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.
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One or more of the following conditions makes you resident in Italy for tax purposes
According to the provisions of Article 2 (2) of the Italian tax code, Testo Unico delle Imposte sui Redditi (TUIR), if you spend more than 183 days per fiscal year in Italy, the Italian tax authorities will consider you resident in Italy for tax purposes.
If you meet one of the following conditions, you qualify as a resident for Italian tax purposes:
- you have registered at your local town hall’s (comune) registry office;
- you have your domicile in Italy, i.e. your principal centre of business, economic and social interests, e.g. your family, as defined by paragraph 1 of Art. 43 of the Civil Code;
- you have your residence in Italy, i.e. your habitual abode, as defined by the paragraph 2 of Art. 43 of the Civil Code.
The requirements indicated by TUIR are stand-alone: the occurrence of one of the above conditions is sufficient for the Italian tax authorities to consider you resident in Italy for tax purposes.
Registration at your local comune confirms your residence for tax purposes in Italy
If you spend more than 3 months in Italy you must register at your local comune.
Your registration with a comune presumes your residence in Italy for tax purposes.
At the end of your stay in Italy, you should de-register from your comune.
Double Taxation Agreements for residents of two countries
Double taxation agreements (DTA) protect a government’s rights to collect tax and protect against attempts to avoid or evade tax. DTA contain provisions for the exchange of information between national taxation authorities. There are more than 3,000 DTA world-wide.
If you can prove you are resident in two countries, you may have recourse to the application of Article 4 of the relevant DTA in order to resolve any conflict of dual residence for tax purposes. You can find more information about DTA here.
The onus is on the taxpayer to provide documented evidence of tax residence outside Italy
You will need to request a certificate of tax residence under the relevant DTA. It is also important to keep records such as travel documents and receipts. These help evidence how long you were physically present in Italy in any given fiscal year.
For over 55 years, De Tullio Law Firm has been providing international clients with independent legal advice. If you need support with your Italian and cross border tax matters, we are here to help.
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Italian law of filiation: the legal rights of children born in and out of wedlock
Maria Clelia Taló, senior associate and legal advisor at De Tullio Law Firm was an expert witness regarding the Italian law of filiation at the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
The parties involved in the case about paternity and inheritance rights emigrated to Australia from Italy in the 1960s. Before ruling on the case, the court needed to understand the Italian law of filiation.
In this case study, although we have disguised names and circumstances, we outline the main aspects of the Italian law of filiation that The Supreme Court of Western Australia took into consideration when assessing whether or not Giovanna Rossi, the plaintiff, was a legitimate child of the late Giuseppe Rossi and was therefore entitled to claim a share of her father’s inheritance.
The plaintiff, Giovanna, issued proceedings in the Supreme Court of Western Australia regarding inheritance of her father’s estate. Following his divorce from Giovanna’s mother, Mr. Rossi re-married and had other children.
Giovanna was born in 1950. Her father and mother were not married at the time. They did however get married a couple of years after Giovanna’s birth.
In Italy, at the time of Giovanna’s birth, it was illegal for fathers to recognise any children born out of wedlock. Giovanna’s birth certificate therefore gives her mother’s maiden name, Bianchi.
However, Giovanna’s birth certificate contains a note stipulating that Giovanna is the legitimate daughter of Mr. Giuseppe Rossi. The birth certificate annotation follows the marriage of Mr. Giuseppe Rossi and Ms. Sofia Bianchi in 1953.
The defendants in this case are Giovanna’s half-siblings. They are the children from Mr. Giuseppe Rossi’s second marriage. The defendants dispute Giovanna’s legal rights as an heir and beneficiary to Mr. Rossi’s estate because Giovanna was an “illegitimate” child. They maintain that the subsequent marriage between Mr. Rossi and Ms. Bianchi did not automatically give Giovanna the status of a legitimate child.
What rights does the Italian law of filiation provide?
Firstly, the Italian law of filiation has abolished the old distinction between children born in and out of wedlock.
Constitutional law has driven important changes to legislation regarding filiation with the aim of guaranteeing equality. The consequence of this legislative process has been to stipulate a single status for all children.
Reform of Italian filiation law
Filiation law reform, Riforma della filiazione, modified the Italian Civil Code – in particular, Italian Law no. 219 of 10 December 2012. This law states that illegitimate children – since reforms in 1975 to Italian family law, known as, “natural children” – must not be subject to any discrimination because of the circumstances of their birth.
All children are equal in the eyes of the Italian law
Both legitimate and natural children therefore have the same status: figlio. All children have equal rights and parents have a responsibility toward their offspring. A child has the right to receive care, education, assistance in case of need and a share of any inheritance.
In other words, the Italian Civil Code, as well as other Italian legislation referring to the relationships between parent and child, only permits the use of the word “child” (figlio/figlia). There is no longer any distinction such as, il/legitimate, natural or adopted.
The provision of a uniform status of filiation means that all children have the same rights to receive care, education, assistance in case of need and a share of any inheritance and parents are responsible for providing these rights. In addition, the express intention of Law 219 of 2012 extends parental responsibilities to parents’ relatives.
2012 filiation reforms are retroactive
The Filiation Reform (Law 201/2012) is applicable to all people, not only those born after a certain date. This means that the abolition of the distinction between legitimate and natural/illegitimate children is retroactive. In other words, it is applicable to parent-child relationships prior to the Law 219/2012 entering into force on 1st January 2013.
A major effect of the abolition of the distinction between natural children and legitimate children is that natural children have gained an equal right to succeed to their parents. They are entitled not only to inherit a share of their “natural” parents’ estate but also to inherit from other relatives of their parents.
How was Italian law different before reforms?
Prior to reforms, there was a huge difference between the status of legitimate and illegitimate children in Italy. Illegitimate children had none of the legal rights afforded to legitimate children.
When Giovanna was born in the 1950s, there were only two ways to legitimate children born out of wedlock and give them the status of figlio. Either the parents could marry after the birth or, the father could make a formal statement to a notary, declaring that he was the father of the child.
Legittimato quale figlio
Giovanna’s birth certificate contains the phrase “legittimata quale figlia”. This means that following the marriage of her natural parents, Giovanna acquired the status of child. She went from the condition of being illegitimate to a condition where she was recognised as having the status of a legitimate child with all the accompanying rights of being a child.
This was in accordance with applicable Civil Code and legislation in force at that time. Also, as previously mentioned, following reforms to the Italian law of filiation, there is no longer any distinction in Italy between children born in or out of wedlock.
According to the Italian Law, Giovanna Rossi does have the status of a legitimate child of Mr. Giuseppe Rossi, both under current applicable Italian law, as well as under legislation applicable at the time of Mr. Rossi’s marriage to Ms. Bianchi.
The event of a marriage between her natural parents gave Giovanna the status of child and, legitimated her as a child of Giuseppe Rossi and Sofia Bianchi in accordance with legislation in force since February 1955.
The Italian Family Law reform of 2012 abolished any distinction between legitimate children and natural/illegitimate children.
The Supreme Court of Western Australia therefore judged that Giovanna was indeed the late Mr. Rossi’s legitimate child and, as such, was entitled to receive a portion of his estate as her inheritance.
At De Tullio Law Firm we provide legal advice and support in all fields of Italian law. Our particular specialties are Italian and cross border property, inheritance and family matters. If we can be of assistance, please get in touch.
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Can foreign nationals get a mortgage in Italy even if they are not residents?
The short answer is yes. However, compared to foreign nationals resident in Italy, it is more complex for non-resident foreign nationals with an income that comes from outside Italy.
There are fewer options when it comes to lenders who offer mortgages to non-residents in Italy, and receiving a negative response from lenders is not unusual.
It is crucial to follow the right procedures and seek advice from professionals. Providing a mortgage to non-resident foreign nationals differs from the domestic market. This is mainly because lenders put constraints on the level of mortgage borrowing. Usually, lenders will only offer mortgages of up to 60% of the property purchase price.
Lenders have to take a number of factors into consideration pursuant to the European Mortgage Credit Directive. These include the currency of your income and your age. Generally, the mortgagee should not exceed 75 – 78 years of age by the end of the mortgage term.
A lender will also take into account the level and the source of your income; whether you are self-employed or employed for example.
In addition, a lender will required proof of creditworthiness and that you have sufficient funds to make Italian mortgage instalment payments on top of any other mortgages and loans elsewhere.
What are the steps to getting a mortgage in Italy?
The first stage of the mortgage application procedure includes gathering documents. We would always recommend that you seek independent legal advice at this stage. Your lawyer will be able to advise you what documents you need, identify whether you qualify for a mortgage and how best to proceed with your application.
Usually, obtaining financial pre-approval from a mortgage lender takes 3 – 4 weeks in Italy. The second stage of the mortgage application involves due diligence requested by the lender. This will entail getting a legal report and a technical survey of the property you want to purchase. If technical and legal assessments are accepted by the lender, the mortgage application will progress to the lender’s final approval.
It is essential to highlight that the real estate you wish to buy with your mortgage must be habitable and in compliance with current Italian technical, energy performance and building regulations on the matter. In the event that finalising your Italian property purchase is contingent on obtaining a mortgage, it is vital that the property you wish to buy meets the stated requirements of habitability and technical regulations. You should also make sure that the preliminary contract reflects the fact that your purchase is subject to getting a mortgage.
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 and inheritance matters. Get in touch.
How is Italian property divided in a divorce?
This article explores Italian matrimonial regimes, or marital property systems, and how property is divided in a divorce.
Matrimonial regimes in Italy
“Regime patrimoniale dei coniugi” in Italian.
Because matrimonial regimes regulate financial affairs between couples, matrimonial regimes may become a significant aspect in a divorce settlement. This is particularly relevant if one or both spouses are not Italian nationals and own immovable assets such as real estate in Italy.
In Italy there are two main matrimonial regimes: the community of assets “comunione dei beni” and separation of assets “separazione dei beni”.
Community of assets
This regime means spouses own all purchases they make during the course of their marriage in common.
The community of assets regime excludes certain personal items from common ownership. These include assets that spouses owned prior to marriage and gifts or inheritance assets the couple acquires during the marriage.
The main aspect of the community of assets regime is that even if the other spouse was absent at the time of the purchase, both spouses own an equal share of the purchase. Of course, there are exceptions. Each case is different and requires examination.
Separation of assets
If the couple, prior to or during the marriage, adopted a separation of assets regime, each spouse is the sole owner of any purchase they make.
The only commonly owned assets will be those the couple specifically purchases together.
In order for a separation of assets matrimonial regime to be legally valid, a couple needs to put a written agreement in place.
If a marriage is subject to Italian law, couples can draw up an agreement when they marry or at a later stage.
Foreign couples may make an agreement when they purchase a property in Italy – should they wish the asset to be in the name of only one spouse.
Italy has a Civil Law system, whereby codified statutes predominate. Italian family law provides that a community of assets is the default matrimonial regime.
For foreign nationals, although a marriage is subject to the spouses’ national law, the Italian law may still be relevant. In particular when it comes to purchasing and owning property in Italy.
About 80 countries have Common Law systems which defer to country laws of the property’s location. Therefore, your national law may defer to Italian law when it comes to property purchases and matrimonial regimes.
What is the matrimonial regime applicable to your assets in Italy?
As previously mentioned, unless spouses make a written agreement, the default regime applicable to purchases during the marriage is the community of assets.
To legally adopt a separation of assets matrimonial regime, spouses must make a notarised deed.
Unless you have a notarised deed, doubts and issues can arise during divorce proceedings. In this case the default community of assets regime would apply.
A separation of assets clause in a deed of sale for a property signed by only one spouse is not sufficient to determine a matrimonial regime from a legal point of view.
Without a notarised deed regarding your matrimonial regime, if only one spouse signed a property deed of sale, Italian law will still consider the property as belonging to both spouses.
Generally speaking, a community of assets regime does not impact inherited or gifted properties. These remain in the name of the sole spouse who inherited them. However, there may be exceptions depending on the exact wording of any gift deed or will.
Division of Italian assets between spouses in the event of divorce or separation depends on matrimonial regimes. It is important to understand if you own the property in common with your spouse. If you need assistance or would like to discuss your personal situation. please get in touch with us.
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