SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

BUREAUCRACY

What changes about life in Italy in February 2021?

It may feel like Groundhog Day every day lately, but some things will change in Italy this month. Here are the details.

What changes about life in Italy in February 2021?
Photo: AFP

From coronavirus measures to online bureaucracy, here's an overview of the expected changes for February.

Coronavirus zone changes

Everyday life has already changed for many people in Italy this week. From February 1st, the coronavirus restrictions were eased in most Italian regions.

From Monday, 15 regions are ‘yellow zones’, allowing the daytime reopening of bars and restaurants, and greater freedom to travel within the region.

Museums can also reopen Monday-Friday in yellow zones.

READ ALSO: 'No tourist pressure': Rome's biggest attractions reopen without the crowds

However, many other measures stay in place. For more details on the rule changes, click here.

Very little has changed however for people in the remaining regions – Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily, Umbria, and the autonomous province of Bolzano – which are designated orange zones until at least next week.

The zone restrictions are up for review every week based on the latest health data, and the next set of changes are due to be announced on Friday.

Stay tuned to the Local’s coronavirus news for the latest updates from Italy. 

 

Rome's Colosseum has reopened from Monday to Friday as the Lazio region has been declared a 'yellow zone'. Photo: AFP

 

Will the regional travel ban be lifted?

Italy currently has a ban in place on non-essential travel between all regions, regardless of zone colour.

Travel between regions is currently only allowed for urgent reasons, such as for work, health, or to return home.

This rule is set to be revised on February 15th. There has been no indication yet as to whether it will be extended, but any changes will depend on the contagion rate.

Ski slopes are also closed in Italy until at least February 15th.

Italy’s coronavirus measures overall, under the current emergency decree, are set to stay the same throughout this month.

The next emergency decree is due on March 5th.

Vaccines for over-80s

 

Many regions of Italy plan to start offering the Covid-19 vaccine to those in the over-80s age caegory during February.

 

Italy passed the two-million vaccines mark on Tuesday and you can take a closer look at vaccination progress by region here.

 

After a promising start to the programme, progress has been slowed down by a delay in the supply of vaccines from Pfizer.

 

As a result, the Italian government has had to revise its vaccination plan, saying some groups will face a “six-to-eight week” delay in receiving the vaccine. However, the details of vaccination schedules vary by regional health authority.

READ ALSO: 

The national vaccination programme is still in phase one, during which more than six million people are to be vaccinated.

Italy is prioritising health workers, elderly care home residents and staff, and over-80s.

 

After that, the shot will become available to other groups under “phase two”, though it is not yet clear when that could start. See further details of Italy's vaccine plan here.

 

Government crisis

 

Amid the ongoing pandemic and economic problems, Italy is currently without a prime minister. The government remains in place in a caretaker capacity – meaning no big decisions can be made.

At the moment, Italy has a potential new prime minister – economist Mario Draghi – but everything still depends on wheather or not he can get enough political support to form a government.

While Italian politics is famously unpredictable, we can expect the current political crisis to rumble on for a little while longer yet.

You can follow The Local's latest updates on Italy's political situation here.

Changes to online bureaucracy

The way you access Italian public services will change from the end of this month.

Back in July, Italy published its “simplification decree”. This set of laws is aimed at streamlining some of Italy’s famously archaic bureaucratic processes and making certain services easier to access digitally.

Some measures included in that decree come into force on February 28th. 

Firstly, you’ll need a SPID or electronic identity card (carta di identità elettronica – CIE) to access all online public services

READ MORE:

By February 28th, all official services must be accessible using either the SPID or the CIE.

These two electronic ID systems are set to replace varous other login credentials, all of which will remain valid until expiry – no later than September 30th, 2021.

From the 28th, all digital services are also supposed to move to the government’s IO app, which is what you’ll need to use if you want to access public services from your smartphone.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

How do you cancel your residency permit when leaving Italy - and do you even need to do so at all? The Local looks into the rules.

Reader question: Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

Question: My partner and I are leaving Italy after several years of living here. Do we need to cancel our residency? If so, can you advise us on how to go about doing this?

Most people know that you need to register as a resident in Italy if spending more then 90 days in the country. But what should you do if you decide to leave?

Do foreign nationals need to deregister as a resident, and under which circumstances? And how do you go about doing cancelling your residency?

We asked the experts to talk us through when you should deregister as an Italian resident and the the steps involved in cancelling your Italian residency.

Should you bother cancelling your residency?

As is so often the case when it comes to complex bureaucratic questions, the answer is: it depends. Both on your personal circumstances and on the type of residency permit you hold.

If you’re relocating away from Italy permanently then deregistering as a resident and informing the authorities of your new address is a legal requirement – and you’d want to do so anyway, says Nicolò Bolla of the tax consultancy firm Accounting Bolla.

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between Italian residency and citizenship?

On the other hand, if you’re moving away on a temporary basis, you’re not required to cancel your Italian residency.

“If, for instance, you undertake a two-year assignment somewhere, you can still remain a resident and benefit from all the coverage a resident has, such as healthcare,” Bolla explains.

You might want to hold on to your Italian residency in the short term if you're not sure whether the move will be permanent.
You might want to hold on to your Italian residency in the short term if you’re not sure whether the move will be permanent. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

There’s no official time limit for this – you could leave Italy for a number of years while maintaining your residency and then return to live in the country as if there had been no break.

That means that if you’re leaving Italy and aren’t sure whether you want to return, you might want to keep your residency status, at least in the short term (it’s possible to be legally resident in both Italy and another country).

Financial planning and property consultant Daniel Shillito warns: “you want to be sure if you’re leaving the country that it was a permanent decision, and that you weren’t aiming to come back to live – because if you do want to, it could be tricky and quite administrative.”

For British citizens in particular, he points out, “having an Italian residency these days is a valuable thing, it’s not easy to get again.”

This all applies to those with permanent or long-term residency.

If you have a temporary residence permit, you will no longer be considered resident in Italy as soon as it expires – so you may decide it’s not worth bothering to cancel your residency if it’s due to expire anyway shortly after you leave.

Why does it matter?

There are multiple factors to consider here, the biggest of which is taxes.

If you’re resident in Italy, you’re expected to pay taxes here. However, if you’re moving to a country with which Italy has a double taxation agreement or dual tax treaty, you’re protected from being taxed twice on the same income. Many states, including the UK, America, Australia and Canada, have dual taxation treaties with Italy. 

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residence permit?

If you’re moving to a country which doesn’t have a double tax agreement with Italy, on the other hand, you’ll be legally required pay the full amount of Italian tax on your income even if you spend very little time in Italy, so will almost certainly want to cancel your residency.

Even if you’re moving to a country that does have a dual tax treaty with Italy, you may still want to deregister as an Italian resident in order to avoid having to deal with the paperwork involved in proving you’re a dual resident whose tax obligations are limited.

There’s also a third category of emigrant: for those moving to a country on the EU’s tax haven blacklist, such as Panama, simply deregistering as an Italian resident won’t keep the tax authorities at bay. The burden of proof is on the individual to demonstrate they actually reside in the blacklist country and aren’t just trying to evade Italian taxes.

In these situations, Bolla advises clients to register as resident in an intermediate third country after leaving Italy and before moving to the blacklisted country in order to avoid the extra bureaucracy.

READ ALSO: What taxes do you need to pay if you own a second home in Italy?

Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

There are multiple factors to consider when deciding whether to cancel your Italian residency. Photo by FABIO MUZZI / AFP.

Other considerations

Besides where you pay your income tax, you’ll want to consider other factors such as official correspondence, tax breaks, and timeframes for residency-based citizenship applications, Bolla says.

If you maintain Italian residency, the authorities will expect to be able to reach you at your registered address, including for things like traffic fines or notifications of tax audits. If you no longer have any link to that address and no one to forward your correspondence on to you, you could end up in a sticky legal situation.

It’s also worth taking into account the fact that new Italian residents can access certain tax breaks that aren’t available to people who’ve lived here for a while. If you cancel your residency and then return to Italy at a later date, you’ll be eligible for those incentives in a way that you wouldn’t be if you’d kept your residency.

On the other hand, Bolla notes, maintaining Italian residency could work in favour of those interested in pursuing citizenship through residency.

An individual must be continuously resident in Italy for 10 years before they can apply for Italian citizenship based on their long-term residence status.

In theory, maintaining your Italian residency while you’re temporarily abroad could mean that period still counts towards towards those ten years and you won’t have to restart the clock on your return – though it’s important to consult a professional if you’re considering this option.

How can you go about cancelling your residency?

There’s no standardised national protocol for cancelling your residency. Instead, you’ll need to contact the comune, or town hall, you’re registered with to inform them of the change and ask them what you need to do.

The process could be as simple as sending a few emails, without even having to set foot in the building. There may also be a form to fill out. Because things vary from one municipality to another, you’ll need to contact your local comune to find out exactly what’s required.

Generally the process can only be completed after, not before, leaving the country, because you’ll need to provide your new address and possibly supporting documentation proving that you’re now resident elsewhere.

“You say me and my family – and then you list all the members – are no longer residing in your town, please deregister us, and our new address is (e.g.) 123, Fifth Avenue, New York,” says Bolla.

If you have a Spid (Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale or ‘Public Digital Identity System’) electronic ID, Bolla notes, in many towns and cities (such as Milan), the process can be completed online through the comune‘s website.

You should expect to receive confirmation that you and your dependents have been deregistered as Italian residents, so it’s worth following up until you receive this.

READ ALSO: How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online

Shillito advises using a PEC (Posta Elettronica Certificata, or Electronic Certified Mail) email account if you have one when communicating with your comune about deregistering. 

Messages sent between PEC accounts are certified with a date and time stamp to show when you sent them and when they were received, with a record of receipt automatically emailed to you as an attachment. Within in Italy they have the same legal value as a physical lettera raccomandata (registered letter).

“That secure email communication is official, you’ve got a receipt showing it’s been received,” says Shillito.

“That way you’ve got evidence and a record that you’ve communicated it to them, in case anything went wrong in the future and the Italian government decided to claim you were still living in Italy.”

SHOW COMMENTS