A MESSAGE FROM JILL MORRIS, HER MAJESTY’S AMBASSADOR

May 4, 2020 | FCO news, News

British Embassy Rome – Issue No.17

To British Nationals in Italy,

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide information on the measures still in place in Italy to manage the Covid-19 health emergency, as well as to update you on our work on citizens’ rights in Italy. 

Coronavirus and Phase II

The Italian government has now issued details of its Phase II planning. You can find full information here. In summary, ongoing restrictions remain in place – so individuals should only leave home for work and health reasons or necessities, e.g. food shopping/pharmacy visits, individual exercise.  Self-declarations are still in use and for now the latest autodichiarazione of 26 March is still valid (be aware the form may shortly change). 

Visits to family members living within the same region will be permitted, wearing masks and respecting at least 1mt distance.  Travel between regions is still prohibited – aside from reasons of work, urgency or health. People will be allowed to return home (residence or domicile) from wherever they are, carrying a self-declaration form.  Access to parks and public gardens is allowed provided safety measures can be respected and people observe at least 1mt distance.  Nurseries, schools and universities remain closed with continued on-line teaching.  Masks are compulsory across Italy when in closed public spaces, including on public transport and in all conditions where compliance with social distancing may be more complex. In some regions, gloves may also be compulsory. Children below the age of 6 and people suffering from disabilities which are not compatible with the prolonged use of masks are exempted. 

Where to find information

You can find more information on the government’s measures on the Italian Ministry of Health website (in Italian) and the Frequently Asked Questions document on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (in English). Our Italy Travel Advice page also has all the most up to date details including links to the main government pages.  

Travel between Italy and the UK

If you plan to travel between Italy and the UK, please consult the Italian government website here which details the requirements on entering Italy from overseas. Our Travel Advice page also has information on travelling to the UK here.

Those travelling to Italy from the UK will need to evidence their reason for travel including presentation of a valid residency document before departure. You will need to complete two copies of the self-declaration form which should be presented before boarding in the UK and on arrival in Italy. Non-residents may be refused permission to travel unless you can prove a valid reason for entering Italy. Restriction on entering is being applied strictly so travel must be shown to be of absolute necessity. Masks must be worn on board the plane. On arrival in Italy you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. You must inform your local health authority of your place of quarantine.

Travel to the UK is permitted for a valid reason. On arrival in the UK you should comply with the current lockdown measures detailed here. These may change at short notice so please continue to consult the official information.

Alitalia is operating limited flights between Rome and London. Flight schedules are likely to change at short notice. Please consult the airline website for further details.

Citizens’ Rights

Many of you have asked about the impact of Coronavirus on citizens’ rights. When the UK left the EU we entered a transition period until 31 December, during which EU law continues to apply and the rights of UK nationals largely remain unchanged, including access to healthcare. The UK government’s position is that the transition period will not be extended beyond 31 December this year. We continue to engage with the Italian government to ensure the rights of UK nationals here are recognised and to prepare for the end of the transition period.

The Italian government has provided information on your continued rights here. And the Ministry of Health has confirmed the continued right to access healthcare for those eligible here. If you have any difficulties, you should signpost the relevant service provider to these Italian government websites. You can also get in touch with us by calling +39 06 4220 0001 (option 2) for those in central and southern Italy or +39 02 72 3001 (option 2) for those in the north of Italy.

The Withdrawal Agreement

You must be officially resident in Italy by 31 December in order to continue to enjoy lifelong rights under the Withdrawal Agreement for as long as you remain resident in Italy. The Withdrawal Agreement protects rights such as access to healthcare, benefits and pensions including the right to an uprated UK state pension (including when claiming it in the future). These lifelong rights extend to your close family members. Please see our Living in Guide for more details. Only those legally resident by 31 December will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you have not yet registered as a resident you should contact your local comune to see if they are permitting registration during this time.

The Italian government has issued an additional document, a new ‘attestazione’, to evidence your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. This is available to you if are already registered as a resident with your local anagrafe. You can read more here. During lockdown the Italian government has advised that you should not try to obtain the new ‘attestazione’. There will be time to do so later this year.

Support for UK nationals in regulating their status in Italy

We are delighted to announce that the International Organisation for Migration will be delivering the UK Government’s UK National Support Fund in Italy. They will be supporting UK Nationals with the necessary local procedures to obtain and maintain the right to be resident in Italy after the end of the transition period.

IOM’s work will complement the UK government’s strategy, which includes the allocation of £3 million in support of organisations helping UK Nationals across several European countries. The new programme will be launched later this month and will run for 12 months, i.e. until 31 March 2021. You can read more here.

Virtual Drop-In Session

We recently held a Q & A session for UK nationals living in Italy. Below are a selection of the most popular questions raised:

We are Italian residents currently located in the UK. Are we permitted to drive through France to our home in Italy? If so, what paperwork do we need?

For information on returning to Italy as a place of residence, please consult the information available on the Italian government website here:

If planning to travel through France you will need to meet the specific requirements of the French government during lockdown. This includes the completion of a self-declaration form before travel. More information can be found here including links to the relevant forms.  

I am a legal resident of Italy, I was lead to believe previously that if there was no deal, my Italian health care would cease at the end of the transition period unless Italy and the UK reached a separate agreement in this respect. Does this apply now?

The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of UK nationals legally resident in Italy. To be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement you must be resident in Italy before 31 December. Your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, including continued access to healthcare, are lifelong for you and your close and current family members for as long as you remain resident in Italy. Your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will not be affected by the results of the negotiations taking place between the UK and the EU this year – those negotiations concern the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement is an international treaty that has already been agreed and entered into force on 31 Jan 2020.

As a British citizen employed full-time in Italy for the past 6 months, if my company decides to use cassa integrazione, am I entitled to the same help/benefits from the Italian government as my Italian colleagues?

The answer to your question is yes. There might be conditions related to the length of service, i.e. you could receive a lower amount related to the fact you have worked for six months only. The temporary extraordinary ‘cassa integrazione’ related to the pandemic is currently provided for a period of 8 weeks.

More generally under the EU Freedom of Movement Directive, those who are living in Italy this year and employed are entitled to support from the state if there is a change in your status. You are entitled to the same help and benefits from the Italian government as a host national – including beyond the end of this year as someone covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, provided you are legally resident in Italy.

You may wish to discuss your situation with your local work consultant or CAF (Centro di Assistenza Fiscale).

I have been made redundant as a result of the pandemic. Is there any financial assistance that I can apply for while in lockdown?

A UK national who is involuntarily laid off is protected by EU law during the transition period and indeed beyond this year under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. That means eligibility for state benefits as a result of being made unemployed.

In Italy if someone has an ordinary regular contract and is made redundant, he/she is entitled to an unemployment subsidy (“Nuova Prestazione di Assicurazione  Sociale per l’Impiego”- NASPI) for a limited number of months and/or until they find another job. Different conditions may apply, so you may wish to discuss your situation with your local work consultant or CAF (Centro di Assistenza Fiscale).

Will UK nationals living in Italy continue to receive state pension increases after the transition period?

Those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (i.e. resident in Italy by 31 December this year) and in receipt of a UK state pension will continue to receive it after the end of the transition period. It will continue to be uprated beyond the end of this year for as long as you remain in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement (i.e. resident in Italy). This also applies to those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement but not yet claiming a UK state pension. When they reach pensionable age and are eligible for a UK state pension they will also receive an uprated pension provided they remain resident in Italy.

Will there be an extension to the Transition period?

The Government was elected on a manifesto which made clear the transition period would end on 31 December. That is now enshrined in primary legislation and it remains our policy. We will not ask to extend the transition period, and if the EU asks we will say no. Extending the transition would simply prolong the negotiations, prolong business uncertainty, and delay the moment of control of our borders.  Extending the transition would mean we will have to make further payments into the EU budget.  It would also keep us bound by EU legislation, at a point when we need legislative and economic flexibility to manage the UK response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Staying up to date

Please continue to check our Living in Italy guide for updates. You can sign up to my newsletter and be notified when new information is published. You can also receive updates via our social media channels including FaceBook and Twitter.

I want to assure you that I and my team in Italy will continue to reach out to you and offer our support.

With warm wishes,

Jill Morris CMG
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Italy

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