A MESSAGE FROM JILL MORRIS, HER MAJESTY’S AMBASSADOR
British Embassy Rome
Issue No. 24
To UK Nationals in Italy,
I am writing to update you on Italy’s implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement for UK nationals who were settled in Italy before 1 January 2021 and to provide some important information on citizens’ rights. I also wanted to provide an update on access to the Covid-19 vaccine in Italy and travel to the UK
The new Withdrawal Agreement biometric residency card
The Italian government has introduced a new biometric residence document for UK nationals and their family members issued under the Withdrawal Agreement (‘carta di soggiorno elettronica’ or ‘documento in formato digitale sulla base di quanto previsto dall’Accordo di recesso’). If you were living in Italy before 1 January 2021, you should get this card from your local questura.
We have published detailed guidance on how to get the new biometric residence card on our Living in Italy guide here.
Many of you have already requested the new card from your local questura. As international travel picks up, you can evidence your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement at the border by showing your new card. If you do not yet have the new card, then you can prove your status with your current EU residency document or other documentation that shows you were living in Italy before 1 January 2021. In doing so, you will avoid having your UK passport stamped at the border or being questioned about your reasons for travel.
If you need support in obtaining the new ‘carta di soggiorno elettronica’, you can get in touch with our UK Nationals Support Fund partner the International Organisation for Migration. You can call them on 800 684 884 or email: UKnationalsit@iom.int
Evidencing your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement in Italy
UK nationals who were lawfully living in Italy before 1 January 2021 have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement automatically and there is no need to re-apply for these rights. This means that the new ‘carta di soggiorno’ is not mandatory, although we are advising UK nationals to obtain it. This is because it provides the clearest evidence of your automatic rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Italian government has recently published confirmation that the new ‘carta di soggiorno’ is not mandatory and your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement do not depend on holding it. If you are having difficulties in accessing services because you do not hold the new card, you can signpost your local provider to the official Italian government website here.
We have recently updated our Living in Italy page with guidance from both the Italian Banking Association and Italian Council of Notaries. Their guidance clarifies that Withdrawal Agreement beneficiaries cannot be asked to produce a non-EU residency permit or the new ‘carta di soggiorno’ to enjoy rights in Italy.
Please consult our Living in Italy guide for updates as well as our social media channels. UK nationals who may be experiencing difficulties can contact us via our contact webform on our Living in Italy page.
Driving licences in Italy
If you are a resident in Italy, you should obtain an Italian driving licence. We are currently negotiating with the Italian government for an agreement to provide for the right to exchange a UK driving licence for a local one without the need to re-sit a test. Until an agreement is in place, you will need to take a test to exchange your valid UK licence.
The Italian government has recently announced that, if you registered your residency before 1 January 2021, then you can continue to use your valid UK licence until 31 December 2021. If you are resident in Italy after 1 January 2021, your valid UK licence will be recognised in Italy for 12 months from the date you became resident.
As soon as we have information on an agreement on exchange we will update our Living in Italy guide.
Hosting Guests at your Property
If you are living in Italy and you host a UK national (or any non-EU national) as a guest, you must inform your local immigration office (questura) in writing within 48 hours after they arrive at your property. You could be fined if you fail to comply with this Italian immigration law.
If you host an EU national, you must inform the questura if they will stay with you for 30 days or more. The above requirement does not apply to diplomats who currently work in Italy.
Information for UK nationals living in Italy under accredited status
The European Commission has recently confirmed to Member States that the Withdrawal Agreement does not allow a distinction between beneficiaries based on whether they have “special status” or not. Therefore, UK nationals who are employees of international organisations in Italy, are diplomatic personnel or are deployed under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement can be beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement provided they resided in Italy before 31 December 2020. This is because they were exercising their free movement rights as workers.
We are engaging with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify how those who currently hold accredited status and are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement can evidence their Withdrawal Agreement rights whilst in Italy. For example, whether they can request the new ‘carta di soggiorno elettronica’ issued under the Withdrawal Agreement during their posting in Italy to hold alongside the MFA card.
The clarification from the Commission is significant as it underlines that UK nationals in Italy accredited with the MFA before 1 January can remain in Italy after the end of holding accredited status and enjoy rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. As soon as we have further updates, we will publish these on our website.
Where to find more information on your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement
You can find the very latest information on our Living in Italy page on gov.uk. 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 held our latest Q & A event on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 13 May, so please visit our Facebook page if you wish to watch the recorded session. And we are continuing with our ‘Residency Roadshows’ for UK nationals across Italy in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration. You can sign up for any of our events, including our one-to-one advisory sessions, via our Facebook page or our website.
Covid-19 and access to vaccines
I want to provide details for those of you intending to request the Covid-19 vaccine. A phased vaccination programme was launched in Italy on 27 December. The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) has issued comprehensive information on the vaccine and the documentation required to book an appointment.
Many regional authorities have launched on-line booking platforms and are currently inviting those in priority groups to register. An interactive map (in Italian) details a list of vaccine administration points by region.
We are aware that some people who are not currently registered with the regional healthcare authority have been unable to book an appointment for a vaccine. This is not applicable in all regions so you should check your own region’s requirements. You may want to contact your regional ASL by phone as well, in addition to booking an appointment online.
We have raised this issue with the Italian Ministry of Health, and we will publish an update on our gov.uk pages as soon as possible.
Travel to England
From 17 May, the rules for people arriving in England from abroad are changing. What you need to do depends on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive. If you have been in a country or territory on the:
- green list – you must take a COVID-19 test on day 2
- amber list – you must quarantine in the place you’re staying and take 2 COVID-19 tests
- red list – you must quarantine in a hotel and take 2 COVID-19 tests
You must follow these rules even if you have been vaccinated. Find out what list the country you’ve been in is on and what you need to do.
Until 17 May, you must follow the current testing and quarantine rules which are detailed here.
My warm wishes and a Happy New Year to you, your families and friends.
Jill Morris CMG
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Italy