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BREXIT

Explained: What Brits need to know about visas for Italy after Brexit

UK nationals looking to spend time in Italy may require a visa now that they are no longer EU citizens. Here's a guide to your options.

Explained: What Brits need to know about visas for Italy after Brexit
After Brexit, travellers from the UK to Italy will need to know the visa rules. Photo: Niklas Halle'n/AFP

Brexit has complicated life for Britons looking to come to Italy for any number of reasons. And now, UK nationals who are not residents in Italy have to factor in that they may need a visa to visit.

Will Britons need a visa for a short visit to Italy?

No, Italy is not requiring a visa for British tourists to visit for up to 90 days. 

Business travellers will not require a visa either, as long as their trip is no longer than 90 days.

In both cases, note that your passport will need to be valid for at least three months from the date of entry into the Schengen zone.

What is the 90-day rule?

The rule, which applies to all non-EU residents, says that people who are not resident can only spend 90 days out of every 180 in the EU.

So in total over the course of a year you can spend 180 days, but not all in one block.

READER QUESTION: Can Brits stay more than 90 days in the EU if they have a European spouse?

It’s important to point out that the 90-day limit is for the whole Schengen area, so for example if you have already spent 89 days in Italy you cannot then go for a week in Spain. 

This Schengen calculator allows you to calculate your visits and make sure you don’t overstay.

What if I want to spend a longer period of time in Italy?

The end of freedom of movement between the UK and the EU effectively ends any longer stays in Italy without a visa.

This means anyone planning a move to Italy from 2021 will need to obtain a visa before applying for Italian residency.

The 90-day rule also applies to second home owners who are not resident in Italy. As you can only be resident in one country at a time, Brexit means people who used to split their time freely between the two countries face a choice between applying for Italian residency or keeping UK residency and limiting the time they spend in Italy.

Those wishing to now become residents in Italy will also have to apply for a long-stay visa before making their residency application.

READ ALSO: How Brits can properly plan their 90 out of 180 days in Italy and the Schengen zone

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

What are the different Italian visa types available?

Requirements and fees vary depending on the type of visa you need to apply for.

Here is a quick overview of the types of visa available for non-residents hoping to spend more than 90 days in 180 in Italy.

National visa or elective residency visa

Italy announced in December that from January 1st it would be requiring UK nationals to apply for a long-stay visa if staying in the country for more than 90 days in 180 as per the rules applied to all non-EU nationals.

Italian authorities recommend an ‘elective residency’ visa for UK nationals such as second home owners wanting the option to stay in the country longer and apply for residency.

This type of visa is designed for those who want to live in Italy and have the financial means to support themselves without working. It is often referred to as a retirement visa, but you don’t have to be retired to apply.

It is not for extended holidays or sabbaticals. Nor is it for anyone who wants to work in Italy – even freelance or remotely – or who does not have the means to support themselves without a job.

The visa application costs €116.00.

The following documents are required, according to the Italian consulate in London:

  • Completed visa application form (See here)
  • Recent photograph in passport format 
  • Valid travel document with an expiry date at least three months longer than the visa requested 
  • Proof of a “stable and regular” income (no minimum amount is specified)
  • Details of residence accommodation, such as a rental contract 

For more information, see the Italian Foreign Ministry’s website or contact the Italian consulate in London or in Edinburgh.

Other types of visa:

Italy has several types of specific long-stay visa available, with varying fees and requirements for each. They are:

Work Visa: available to foreign nationals who want to move to Italy for salaried work. You will already need to have a job offer in Italy before you can apply.

Student Visa: Students over 18 who are already enrolled in an Italian educational institution can apply for this.

Family Visa: Available to foreign nationals who want to join a family member who has Italian citizenship or an Italian permanent residence permit. Additional requirements for this visa include proof of the citizenship or residency status of the family member.

Self-Employed Visa: This is available to entrepreneurs who wish to open a business, or to self-employed individuals wanting to work in Italy.

Note:

Whichever type of visa you need, you should apply for it at the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country before you leave. Bear in mind that the process can take a while – it’s best to ask your embassy for an idea of the required timeframe and then start as early as you can.

And remember that your visa isn’t the only permission you’ll need if you want to live in Italy. 

After you enter Italy with a long-stay visa, you have 8 days to apply for a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno). The length of time this document will remain valid depends on the type of visa you have.

Find out more about the process of applying for a residency permit once you arrive in Italy here.

For more details about the fees, documentation and application process for each type of visa, see this online visa calculator from the Italian Foreign Ministry, or contact the Italian consulate in London or in Edinburgh.

See The Local’s Brexit section for more updates.

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BREXIT

Driving licences: Are the UK and Italy any closer to reaching an agreement?

With ongoing uncertainty over whether UK driving licences will continue to be recognised in Italy beyond the end of this year, British residents are asking where they stand.

Driving licences: Are the UK and Italy any closer to reaching an agreement?

Many of The Local’s British readers have been in touch recently to ask whether any progress has been made in negotiations between the UK and Italy on a reciprocal agreement on the use of driving licences.

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with the background of this Brexit consequence.

READ ALSO: Frustration grows as UK driving licence holders in Italy wait in limbo

When Britain left the EU there was no reciprocal agreement in place, but UK licence holders living in Italy were granted a grace period in which they could continue to drive on their British licences. This period was later extended to the current deadline of December 31st, 2022.

The situation beyond that date however remains unclear, and concern is growing among the sizeable number of British nationals living in Italy who say no longer being allowed to drive would be a serious problem.

There was the option of exchanging licences before the end of 2021, but many didn’t make the deadline. As has been proven before, this was often not due to slackness but rather all manner of circumstances, from having moved to Italy after or shortly before the cut-off date to bureaucratic delays.

Driving licences: How does the situation for Brits in Italy compare to rest of Europe?

So is an agreement any closer? Or do those driving in Italy on a UK licence really need to go to the considerable trouble and expense of sitting an Italian driving test (in Italian)?

With five months left to go, there’s still no indication as to whether a decision will be made either way.

The British government continues to advise licence holders to sit their Italian driving test – while also stressing that they’re working hard on reaching a deal, which would make taking the test unnecessary.

This message has not changed.

On Wednesday, July 27th, British Ambassador to Italy Ed Llewellyn tweeted after a meeting with Italian Infrastructure and Transport Minister Enrico Giovannini: “The British and Italian governments continue to work towards an agreement on exchange of driving licences.”

But the ambassador earlier this month advised UK nationals “not to wait” and to “take action now by applying for an Italian licence”.

In an official newsletter published in mid-July, Llewellyn acknowledged the concerns of British residents and confirmed that negotiations are still going on.

“I know that many of you are understandably concerned about whether your UK driving licence will continue to be recognised in Italy, especially when the extension granted by Italy until 31 December 2022 for such recognition expires.

“Let me set out where things stand. The British Government is working to reach an agreement with Italy on the right to exchange a licence without the need for a test. 

READ ALSO:  Do you have to take Italy’s driving test in Italian?

“The discussions with our Italian colleagues are continuing and our objective is to try to reach an agreement in good time before the end of the year.

“We hope it will be possible to reach an agreement – that is our objective and we are working hard to try to deliver it. 

Nevertheless, he said, “our advice is not to wait to exchange your licence.”

“If you need to drive in Italy, you can take action now by applying for an Italian licence. This will, however, involve taking a practical and theory test.” 

He acknowledged that “the process is not a straightforward one and that there are delays in some areas to book an appointment for a test”.

READ ALSO: ‘Anyone can do it’: Why passing your Italian driving test isn’t as difficult as it sounds

“We will continue to work towards an agreement,” he wrote. “That is our objective and it is an objective we share with our Italian colleagues.“

The British Embassy in Rome had not responded to The Local’s requests for further comment on Friday.

The Local will continue to publish any news on the recognition of British driving licences in Italy. See the latest updates in our Brexit-related news section here.

Find more information on the UK government website’s Living in Italy section.

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