Becoming an Italian resident could be the best decision you make this year. Get a residence permit in Italy and you will guarantee your right to live, work and receive a pension and healthcare before Brexit. But there are other benefits you will enjoy once you have that prized Carta d’identità in your hand. Here’s what you need to do to make it happen.
According to the Italian State police every citizen of the European Union has the right to move and reside freely in Italy. For stays of less than three months all you need is your passport. If you intend living in Italy longer than three months there is some paperwork you need to submit to the General Register Office (Ufficio Anagrafe) of the town hall (Comune) where your property is located to get your identity card (Carta d’identità).
If you’re buying in Italy in the next six months, register for Your Overseas Home. It’s a free, boutique event tailored for serious property buyers. Speak to solicitors, estate agents and currency specialists.
Who can gain Italian residency?
EU citizens have the right to get a residence permit for Italy for a period of longer than three months if they:
- Are workers or self-employed persons in Italy;
- Have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system.
- Have comprehensive health insurance.
- Are studying or training.
- Are family members joining an EU citizen who has the right to live in Italy.
To be considered a resident you need to live in Italy for at least six months and one day each year.
Registration with the Ufficio Anagrafe (Registery Office)
EU nationals who wish to stay in Italy for over three months must register with the Anagrafe (Registery Office) of the municipality of residence.
If you aren’t working you will need to provide proof that you have sufficient funds to support you, such as a bank statement. They consider “sufficient funds” to be the Italian minimum annual social security allowance.
You can get an application kit from the Post Office. It consists of an envelope (with a yellow stripe for non-EU nationals and a blue stripe for EU nationals) and contains two forms and a list of instructions. It’s worth taking photocopies for yourself as a backup. However, the cheapest and easiest way to get your residency is to go in person to the Patronati office at your local comune, taking with you all the documents needed to accompany the application.
You will need the following:
- Your passport
- Four passport sized photos
- Your Codice Fiscale number (Tax code). This number is issued by the Agenzia delle Entrate (the Italian Revenue Agency) of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Italy. You can find your local revenue office here. You will need to fill in a form and show your passport.
- If you aren’t working you will need to provide proof that you have sufficient funds to support you, such as a bank statement. They consider sufficient funds to be the Italian minimum annual social security allowance at that time. If you have an income you must show proof of that.
- A private health insurance policy which is valid for at least one year. Online quotes from the UK are scarily high. I recommend going into a local insurance agent in a nearby Italian town and getting quotes for the minimum cover you feel comfortable with. Myself and other expats I’ve spoken to have found the cheapest to be Cattolica. Their policies start at about €150 for the year.
- If you have bought a property to live in, take your Deeds along. You will be registering that you are changing address to this property. They’ll look at the size of the property to calculate what to charge you for TARI. This is the Italian tax that covers the cost of collecting and disposing of local waste.
- The office staff will help with filling in the relevant forms and photocopying documents. You will be asked to pay for a revenue stamp (about €14.62) and charged an administration fee. The amount will vary from place to place, as will the time it takes for them to issue you with your residency permit.
- Non-EU family members of EU citizens will also need to show an EC Long-Term Residence Permit (carta di soggiorno).
The council will check that you are really living in the property. A policeman will be sent round unannounced, to check you are there. This could be at anytime of day. Mine turned up at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning! He only came in for five minutes, had a chat and asked me to sign a form.
A policeman will be sent round unannounced, to check you are there. This could be at anytime of day. Mine turned up at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning. He only came in for five minutes, had a chat and asked me to sign a form.
You may then be able to collect your Carta d’identità at the office you made the application at. Some offices will choose to send it by registered post. The card should be one of the new Carta d’Identità Elettronica. This is credit-card sized, but not all areas have the means to issue them yet so you may get a paper style one. If you’ve ever noticed Italians going through customs, they use this within the EU instead of a passport.
Don’t make any offer until you’ve read the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency. Written by our trusted partner (and Rightmove’s) Smart Currency Exchange, it’s packed with tips on protecting your purchase from currency risks.
Non-EU citizen in your family?
Non-EU citizens of some countries do require a visa to enter the country. They will also have to tell the authorities how long they are staying. If longer than three months, family members of EU citizens who are not EU nationals should apply for the EC Long-Term Residence Permit (carta di soggiorno). You do this at the local Questura or through the Post Office within eight days of arriving in Italy. to You can get help to fill out the forms at designated municipal offices and other authorized offices (Patronati). You then send them via the Post Office.
Children starting an Italian school?
Don’t worry if they don’t have their residency through yet. According to Presidential Decree, non-Italian children, regardless of being resident or not, are entitled to free education. Italian schools have to accept them, and registration can take place even if the school year has already started.
If required to establish your identity, Italians will breathe a sigh of relief when you produce a Carta d’identità and codice fiscale!
What are the benefits if you get a residence permit for Italy?
- You pay less purchase tax when you buy your home. Indeed you pay less as long as you agree that you will be applying for residency within 18 months. On a second home or luxury property you would be paying 9%. On your main residence you pay just 2% of the cadastral value of the property.
- You only pay council tax (IMU/Tasi) on your primary residence if it is classed as luxury. Think how much that is going to save you compared to council tax in the UK!
- You can enrol in the Health Service and benefit from the same healthcare as Italian citizens. When you register you receive a document called the Tesserino sanitario personale (Italian Health Insurance Card). Many public healthcare services are then free or you pay a reduced fee. For example when you are referred to a specialist.
- Inform the electric provider (Enel) too, as they will also charge you a reduced rate.
The Identity card (Carta d’identità) is very useful. You can show it instead of your passport when you are out and about in Italy. Indeed, when you do need to establish your identity, Italians will breathe a sigh of relief when you produce a Carta d’identità and codice fiscale!