Living in Italy
The UK benefits available to Britons living in Italy and information on driving regulations in Italy.
If you are a British citizen or British subject with right of abode in the UK, you do not require a visa to enter Italy. Other British nationals should confirm the current entry requirements with their nearest Italian embassy.
A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from Italy. There is no minimum passport validity requirement but you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your visit.
This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Italy, including British and Italian pension and benefits entitlements, and vehicle and driving licence laws.
Italian residence permit
Under EU directives, you may remain in Italy for a maximum of 3 months, by providing the nearest police station with a declaration of presence on Italian territory (dichiarazione di presenza sul territorio nazionale). If you intend to remain in Italy for a period exceeding 3 months, you must apply to your nearest town hall (Comune-Ufficio Anagrafe) for residency (iscrizione anagrafica). You will be issued with a certificate (attestato d’iscrizione anagrafica), which is valid for 5 years from the date of issue, or for your period of intended residency (if this is less than 5 years). After 5 years EU nationals can request permanent residency (attestazione di soggiorno permanente).
Driving in Italy
Any requests from Italian authorities regarding a British driving licence should be sent to the DVLA in English, only by post. The DVLA will not give out information about vehicles, unless they have been involved in a serious accident. In such cases, information would be sent to embassies.
Recognition of driving licences
In accordance with EU regulations on the recognition of licences, Italian licence regulations will apply to the driver’s EU/EEA licence regarding:
- the period of validity of the licence
- required medical checks
- minimum driver’s age
- penalties and restrictions, including suspension, withdrawal and cancellation of the licence
Validity periods of an Italian licence are as follows
- ten years for people under the age of 50
- five years for those between 50 and 70 years of age
- three years thereafter
As Italian licence regulations apply to anyone obtaining residence in Italy, for residents under 50 years of age who hold a driving licence from another EU/EEA country, their licence will expire 10 years after residency is obtained, regardless of the validity period of the EU/EEA licence they hold. For those between 50 and 70 years of age, their EU/EEA licence will expire 5 years after the first day residency is obtained. At this time, the foreign licence must be surrendered and exchanged for an Italian licence.
Exchange an EU/EEA licence for an Italian licence
To convert a foreign licence the holder should go to the nearest Provincial Office of Motor Vehicles (Ufficio Provinciale della Motorizzazione Civile) and be prepared to provide the following:
- application form TT 2112 (obtained at the Office of Motor Vehicles)
- the licence and at least one clear photocopy of front and back
- valid ID and at least one photocopy of the photo/details page
- residence permit and at least one photocopy of the front and back
- two recent passport photographs (white background, head uncovered)
- medical certificate issued within the previous six months certifying that the driver is physically and mentally fit
- receipt of payment of the fee (for the current fee amount, inquire at the Office of Motor Vehicles)
The original licence will be retained or stamped as exchanged. Expect the process to take up to four months after which an Italian licence will be issued.
UK benefits you can claim in Italy
For some benefits, you will have to have been in receipt of them before you left the UK for Italy:
- Contribution-based JSA
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Winter Fuel Payment
UK benefits you can apply for even if you are already living in Italy:
- Contribution-based Incapacity Benefit/Employment Support Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance (care component)
- Bereavement Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- UK Child Benefit
- Guardian’s Allowance
Other benefits, particularly those that are means-tested, are not payable abroad. These include:
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance (mobility component)
UK state pensions in Italy
UK state pensions are payable in Italy. If you live in, and have worked at some point in Italy you should normally apply to the Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale (INPS) for both your UK and Italian pensions. If you live but have not worked in Italy, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre in the UK on telephone: 44 (0)191 218 7777.
If you are in receipt of a UK old age state pension, request an S1 form (previously E121) from the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999. If you are in receipt of an exportable DWP benefit you can request an S1 form the office which pays your exportable benefit. It is your responsibility to keep the Overseas Healthcare Team or office which pays your exportable DWP benefit up to date with any changes in circumstances which may affect your entitlement to an S1 (E121). When received, register the S1 form with your local office, before you register with your local GP surgery and obtain a medical card.
Life certificates for UK state pensions
If you have received a Life Certificate from the UK Pension Service it is important that you reply as quickly as possible. You’ll need to get it signed by a ‘witness’ and send it back, as instructed on the form. Your payments may be suspended if you don’t respond.
Check the list of people who can witness a life certificate. This is now the same as the list of people who can ‘countersign’ a passport photo, although they don’t need to live in the UK, or have a British or Irish passport.
Healthcare in Italy
The NHS has information on accessing healthcare in Italy. Alternatively contact your local Azienda Unitá Sanitaria Locale.
There will be an important change to UK-funded healthcare for early retirees and visitors from July 1st 2014. See the NHS Choices pages for more details on EHIC changes and changes for early retirees in Europe.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the British Embassy Rome by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority. Definitive information should be obtained from the Italian authorities.
Published: 22 March 2013
Updated: 11 April 2017
- Updated guidance on UK state pensions in Italy
- Information added on changes to EHIC rules and health cover for early retirees.
- Updated the witness instructions for UK state pension life certificates.
- Added link for healthcare in Italy
- talian residence permit details updated.
- First published.