Living in Italy
The requirements for British citizens living in Italy, healthcare and driving in Italy.
There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in Italy while the UK remains in the EU. What you need to know about the UK leaving the EU.
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 healthcare, British and Italian pension and benefits entitlements, and vehicle and driving licence laws.
More information regarding moving to Italy, living in Italy, paying tax, finding a lawyer, notary or translator, taking pets to the UK and more can be found here.
Italian residence permit
The basic principles for an EU citizen moving to live in another EU country are the same throughout the EU. More information can be found on the official website of the European Union.
To remain in Italy for up to 3 months, you can report your presence on Italian territory to the nearest police station or Questura (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).
You should enquire at your local Town Hall (comune) regarding the documentation necessary to apply for residency.
After three months in Italy, applying for residency is essential if you wish to access various services in Italy, such as free healthcare.
Once an EU national has been officially resident in Italy for 4 years, they gain the right to apply for Italian citizenship: more information on applying for Italian citizenship.
Codice fiscale (tax code)
A tax code (codice fiscale) is also obligatory for those who wish to live in Italy. It identifies a citizen in all dealings, not only those of a fiscal nature, with the Italian public authorities and other administrations and is necessary for many things, such as opening a bank account and finding a job. Information on how to obtain one is available on the Agenzia delle Entrate website.
It is possible to obtain a codice fiscale before leaving the UK by applying to the Italian Consulate.
Healthcare in Italy
British Citizens need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in order to receive emergency medical treatment which may become necessary during a visit to another EU country. Advice for travellers and information about the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be found on the NHS website. Comprehensive travel insurance is also essential to cover anything not covered by the EHIC card, such as medical repatriation.
Once they have registered as residents with the Ufficio Anagrafe at the local comune, British citizens living in Italy are entitled to register with the Italian National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale: SSN) through their local ASL office (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) . Once they have done this they have the same right to healthcare in Italy as an Italian citizen.
The NHS also has further information on accessing healthcare in Italy.
UK state pensions and healthcare for pensioners 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 +44 (0)191 218 7777.
If you live in Italy and you receive an exportable UK Pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 form. For more information and details of how to apply, see the NHS website (under Living in Italy – Pensioners). When received, register the S1 form with your local ASL office (Azienda Sanitaria Locale), 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 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.
Claiming UK benefits in Italy
You may still be able to claim some benefits if you travel or move abroad, or if you’re already living abroad. What you’re entitled to depends on where you’re going and how long for. Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them. If you are in receipt of a UK benefit and are going abroad, even for a short time, you will need to tell the office that pays your benefit. Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid to anyone who is abroad for more than 4 weeks. You will also need to tell your benefit office about any other changes in your circumstances whilst abroad such as starting to work or moving in with a partner.
The taxation authority in Italy is the Agenzia delle Entrate.
The tax system in Italy operates on the same basis as the tax system in the UK. In the UK, those who are resident for tax purposes are taxed on their worldwide income, regardless of the country in which it arises. Those who are not resident for tax purposes are taxed only on the income arising in the UK. A Double Taxation Convention between Italy and the UK operates to prevent income being taxed in both countries when a resident of one country has income arising from a source in the other country. The full text of the convention can be found on the HMRC website.
For tax advice and for help in submitting your tax return, you can also consult a CAF (Centro Assistenza Fiscale – Tax Assistance Centre) with branches throughout Italy.
Driving in Italy
Any requests from Italian authorities regarding a British driving licence or a British-registered vehicle should be made through the European system EUCARIS. 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 the relevant Embassy.
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 for those between 70 and 80 years of age
- two 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.
For more information, contact your nearest Office of Motor Vehicles (Ufficio Provinciale della Motorizzazione Civile).
Exchange an EU/EEA licence for an Italian licence
To convert a foreign licence into an Italian licence, the holder should go to the nearest Office of Motor Vehicles (Ufficio Provinciale della Motorizzazione Civile). For more information and a list of the required documentation, see the Ministero dei Trasporti website. The original licence will be retained and an Italian licence will be issued.
Importing a UK-registered car into Italy
Wherever you live in the EU, you must register your car in the country where you have your permanent residence. There is no EU wide law on vehicle registration.
Information on importing your UK-registered car to Italy (in Italian).
Importing vehicles into the UK
Information on importing your Italian-registered car to the UK.
Working in Italy
For certain job roles, you may be required to supply a criminal records check.
Criminal Records check from the UK
If you are required to supply a criminal records check from the UK, more information on Disclosure and Barring Service checks (DBS) can be found here.
Criminal Records certificate from Italy
A certificate from the Judicial Records Register (Certificato del casellario giudiziale can be issued by any Italian Law Court (Ufficio Casellario Giudiziale c/o Procura della Repubblica, Tribunale). For more information and details of how to apply, see the Ministero della Giustizia website
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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: 20 June 2017
- Major changes in all fields
- 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.