Brexit and your life and property in Italy
With the UK now out of the European Union, you may be worried that buying your dream home in the Italian sunshine, or enjoying a long and healthy retirement among the hills of Tuscany or the lemon trees of Sicily is no long possible.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Brexit is not the end of your overseas property dreams.
It’s true that with the UK having left the European Union, some new rules will apply to British people moving to Italy and other EU countries.
However, the good news is that property buyers will be completely unaffected by Brexit. It is only if you are moving permanently that new rules will apply.
Even those who will be affected – principally those planning to retire, work or study in Italy – have until the end of 31 December 2020 to become resident abroad and keep all their current EU rights.
Here are your essential need-to-knows, covering the three crucial issues of the right to buy property, your access to healthcare, and your right to live in Italy.
1. The right to buy and own property
You will continue to be able to buy and own property in Italy after Brexit, just as before, even after the transition period. Property ownership comes under Italian, not EU control. You will also be able to rent it out, just the same as an EU citizen.
2. Access to health services
For holiday home buyers:
During transition: You can continue to use your EHIC and current reciprocal healthcare arrangements.
After transition: The EHIC may continue to operate for emergency treatment, but if not, you will require travel health insurance
During transition: You can continue to use the current arrangements which, in Italy, has always required you to have private health insurance, even as EU citizens. If you are retired you can use your S1 form, available from the NHS.
After transition: If you are resident by 31 December, you should continue to receive reciprocal healthcare. If you move afterwards it seems likely that there will be further healthcare cooperation, but it remains to be announced. In the meantime it is safest to assume that you need comprehensive health insurance cover.
3. Right to residence
If staying less than half the year:
You should not need a visa. Most non-EU citizens are allowed free access without a visa for 90 days in every 180.
If staying more than three months at a time:
If planning to live in Italy full time, and you cannot move before the transition period ends, you will probably need a visa. Several types are available in Italy. The “Elective Residency Visa” looks the most promising for non-EU retirement. It is initially issued for a year but can be extended. The main issue with this visa is the required to have an income of at least €31,000 (the precise amount is not defined) which does not derive from work in Italy.
You can receive your pension in Italy if you are retired, whether you move before or after the Brexit transition period. You may also be able to claim certain Italian benefits, if you qualify, but this will depend whether you move before after the transition period.
Move before end of transition: If you are resident in Italy before 31 December 2020 your pension will continue to be paid and up-rated every year, just as it would be in the UK. That applies even if you retire after that date. You will also be able to pay contributions into your pension.
Move after transition period: You will still receive your UK pension in Italy. However, whether it will be up-rated each hear has not yet been settled. The latest from the UK government is that: “the rules on entitlement to UK benefits in these countries will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the EU and may change.”
If you are a resident in Italy, you can change your UK driving licence for a Italian permit up till the end of the transition period.
After the transition period, British travellers wanting to drive in Europe may need an international driving permit (IDP). These are available at any British Post Office over the counter. The countries outside the EU this is currently needed for can be seen on the official list here.
“What about me?” Your questions answered
Let”s put that into some real-life examples.
“I’m buying a holiday home in Italy” No problem. Nothing will change.
“I’m moving to Italy to retire/work/study, BEFORE 31 December 2020″ No problem. You will not need a visa, but remember to get a residency card as soon as you can.
“I’m moving to Italy to retire/work/study, AFTER 31 December 2020″ You may need a visa. An Elective Residency Visa will let you move with an income (including pension) of roughly €3,000 a month. There will also be various work and entrepreneurial visas available.
The After Brexit Guide will help you plot your way through a possible post-Brexit scenario, to ensure you can fulfil that dream of a wonderful lifestyle combining the best of our two cultures. The guide will help you to answer:
✔ How does a non-EU person access state healthcare?
✔ Will I be able to buy residential property in Italy?
✔ Could I take Italian citizenship?
And many more important questions.