A MESSAGE FROM JILL MORRIS, HER MAJESTY’S AMBASSADOR
British Embassy Rome
Issue No. 25
To UK Nationals in Italy,
I hope that many of you are planning a summer break over the next few months. Before that precious time with friends and family, I wanted to provide some further information on your citizens’ rights in Italy as well as an update on the rules for international travel.
Evidencing your lifelong rights in Italy as a UK national
I know that many of you have already requested the new ‘carta di soggiorno elettronica’ from your local immigration office (‘questura’). This document is available for anyone who was legally residing in Italy before 1 January 2021. You probably already hold an EU residency document but nevertheless you should now request the new ‘carta di soggiorno’. You can read detailed guidance on how to obtain it here
Please bear in mind that the new ‘carta di soggiorno’ is not the same document as an Italian identity card. So if you already hold an Italian identity card you should still get the new ‘carta di soggiorno’ from your questura. It is not mandatory but it will provide you with the clearest evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
If you need support in obtaining the new card 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
Accessing services and benefits or registering a work contract
We are aware that some UK nationals have reported difficulties in accessing benefits, accessing healthcare and in registering work contracts since the start of this year. This is because they have been required to show the new ‘carta di soggiorno elettronica’ or a non-EU residency permit (called a ‘permesso di soggiorno’).
If you were lawfully living in Italy before 1 January 2021 you are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. So, although you are now a non-EU national, you hold a specific status under this Agreement. It means that the standard residency document issued to non-EU nationals in Italy is not applicable to you. Furthermore, the new Withdrawal Agreement ‘carta di soggiorno’ is not mandatory. So you cannot be required to hold either document. However our advice is that you should obtain the new ‘carta di soggiorno’ from your questura as soon as you can.
If you have been asked to hold either of the above documents to access services including healthcare or benefits or in order to obtain a work contract, please get in touch with us as soon as possible via our Living in Italy page on gov.uk.
If you hold accredited status in Italy e.g. employee of an international organisation, diplomat or deployed under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement
UK nationals who are employees of international organisations in an EU Member State, are diplomatic personnel or are deployed under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement can be beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement provided they resided in the host State before the end of the transition period. This is because they were exercising their free movement rights as workers. This means that if you hold accredited status in Italy (you hold a special Ministry of Foreign Affairs ID card) and you were working here before 1 January 2021, you also enjoy rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
We are urgently seeking clarification from the Italian government about how you can evidence your status under the Withdrawal Agreement. For example, how and when you can request the new Withdrawal Agreement ‘carta di soggiorno elettronica’ and use it to register your residency with the local town hall. As soon as we have an update we will publish this in our Living in Italy guide and via our social media channels. In the meantime, please rest assured that if you hold accredited status in Italy this provides for your right to live and work in Italy during your posting. And your right to remain in Italy at the end of your posting, should you wish to, is covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
UK driving licences in Italy
I know that many of you are concerned about whether your UK driving licence continues to be recognised in Italy. Recently, the Italian government announced that UK driving licences will continue to be recognised in Italy until 31 December 2021 for those who registered their residency before the start of this year. If you registered as a resident after 1 January 2021, your UK licence will be recognised for up to 12 months from the date of your residency.
Negotiations continue on a reciprocal agreement on the right to exchange a UK driving licence for a local one without the need to re-sit a driving and theory test. Both governments share the same objective of having the agreement in force as soon as possible in order to minimise disruption and limit the impact on daily life. We have reached a good level of agreement on the text and are now working to iron out some outstanding issues before entering into the ratification phase. We are working to have the arrangements in force by December 2021 and we will keep our Living in Italy guide updated as negotiations progress. Until an agreement is reached you will need to re-sit your driving test to obtain a local licence.
Where to find more information on your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement
All UK nationals can find the very latest information on our Living in Italy 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 continue to hold live Q & A events for UK nationals on YouTube and Facebook. Please do join us if you can. You can find a readout of our latest event, which covered mobility rights, on our Facebook page.
And we continue with our programme of ‘Residency Roadshows’ for UK nationals across Italy. Each roadshow, hosted with our UK Nationals Support Fund partner – the International Organisation for Migration, is held for a specific region or city in Italy and you can sign up for a one-to-one session with our policy experts via our Facebook channel. The sessions are held on Microsoft Teams.
Covid–19 and travel between the UK and Italy
I wanted to also provide details for those of you intending to visit the UK this summer. Rules can change at short notice so my advice is to always check our Travel Advice page on gov.uk for the very latest information.
Currently in order to travel to the UK you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption), your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival. The test results must be in English, French or Spanish.
Before travelling to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details by completing a passenger locator form. You must self-isolate when you enter the UK unless you have a valid exemption.
When you enter the UK from abroad (except from Ireland), you must follow the requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. You can find more information here:
When returning to Italy from 21 June to 30 July, on arrival in Italy if you have been in the UK in the previous 14 days you must self-isolate for 5 days, at the end of which you must take a rapid antigenic or molecular swab test for COVID-19 and test negative for release. Children under the age of 6 do not need to test but must still self-isolate. If you wish to fly, you must present the airline with a negative COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test taken no more than 48 hours before travel.
Before travel, you must complete an online digital form. This will generate a QR code, which should be presented to your travel provider and Border Police if requested. A paper form can be completed if you do not have an electronic device. Everyone arriving in Italy must also call the COVID-19 helpline for the relevant region within 48 hours, to inform them of your arrival.
You can read more about the requirement to get a COVID-19 test (including when you might be exempt) on the Italian Embassy in London’s COVID-19 update page. Check Italian Embassy in London guidance, or contact your travel provider, for more information. We also recommend you consult the Italian Government’s online questionnaire (in English) for more advice on entry requirements and travel to Italy
If you are a UK national resident in Italy, we advise carrying proof of your residence when entering Italy.
Whatever you have planned over this summer, I send my warm wishes to you and your family and friends. Buone vacanze!
Jill Morris CMG
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Italy