Brexit: citizens’ rights

Jill Morris, the British Ambassador to Italy, answers questions

Editorial Staff
January 14, 2019 - 17:00

The British Ambassador to Italy Jill Morris answered questions regarding citizens’ rights ahead of Brexit in a recent newsletter and at a town hall meeting held at St. Mark’s English Church in Florence on January 9.



British Ambassador to Italy Jill Morris answers questions regarding citizens’ rights at a town hall meeting held at St. Mark’s English Church in Florence on January 9. / ph. Phoebe Owston



Q. I’ve thought about getting Italian citizenship, but will it affect the UK citizenship that I already hold? 

A. Your UK citizenship would be unaffected by an application for Italian citizenship. The UK permits dual nationality.


Q. I’m not yet of pension age and I pay contributions in Italy and in the UK. Should I be worried about my future UK pension? 

A. If you fall under the Withdrawal Agreement (e.g. you are legally resident in Italy before December 31, 2020), your pension rights are protected, including the uprating of state pensions and associated healthcare rights. This applies to those not yet of pension age.


Q. I’m a UK national in Italy with a child approaching university age. Will my child be able to study in the UK in the future and be eligible for home fees? 

A. For students commencing studies in the UK before the end of the Implementation Period (December 31, 2020), they are eligible for home fees for the duration of their study. Arrangements for study after the end of the Implementation Period are for the next phase of negotiations.


Q. I run a business in the UK, but come to Italy regularly. Will I need a visa in the future? 

A. In the political declaration, both sides have made a clear commitment not to introduce visas for students, tourists and temporary business visitors. For other categories of visitors, we don’t yet know what arrangements will be put in place.


Q. I am a UK national living in Italy with my Italian spouse. In the future we may want to move back to the UK. Is that still possible? 

A. Those who fall under the Withdrawal Agreement will be able to bring family members back from the UK to join them in Italy. Those EU citizens arriving in the UK after the implementation period will be subject to the UK’s future immigration system. The Home Office will be publishing their full future immigration proposals in due course.


Q. What do I need to do to prepare? 

A. As a UK national in Italy you already need to register with a Comune if you plan to stay in the country for longer than three months. If you meet the Italian Government’s requirements, please consider applying for permanent residency. The Citizens Rights agreement gives EU Member States the right to introduce new administrative procedures for British nationals resident in their countries. On December 21, the Italian government announced that it would be introducing a “simple and quick declaratory procedure” to protect British nationals living in Italy and advised British nationals to register with their local Comune.


Q. What’s happening to the right to vote for British nationals overseas? 

A. A Private Members’ bill, called the Overseas Electors Bill, is currently making its way through Parliament. The bill will give British nationals who have been overseas for more than 15 years the right to vote in future parliamentary elections. The bill passed Committee stage in the House of Commons on November 14 and is now at report stage. The date for the bill to be considered at report stage has not yet been announced. The British Government fully supports the bill before Parliament, which was a manifesto commitment.


Q. What happens to UK nationals in the event of no-deal? 

A. No deal is not the outcome that either side wants. But it is a possibility that both sides have a responsibility to prepare for. Both the UK and Italian Governments are drawing up contingency plans, and more information will be released soon. On December 21, the Italian Government announced that it would be offering a reciprocal offer in a no deal scenario to UK nationals resident in Italy before March 29, 2019 to protect their rights.



Check the British Embassy’s Living in Italy page, which is kept updated on how to secure your rights in Italy. When changes are made, you can receive email alerts by signing up hereUK Nationals in the EU has a wealth of official information on the UK Exit and how it might affect you. You can follow the British Embassy on Facebook and Twitter.



Useful links


British in Italy posts regular updates about the group’s Brexit negotiations with the Italian Government

The Florentine will continue to cover major developments regarding Brexit for UK nationals living in Italy.

Read our translation of the Italian Government’s Brexit preparation plans.

Find out how to obtain Italian citizenship.

Read our interview with the British Ambassador (September 2017).

Watch Britons reacting to the Brexit news.

Support The Florentine

The Florentine: keeping you connected.

Established in 2005, The Florentine remains true to its mission as a community magazine. Whether you live in the States, the UK or here in Italy, our aim is to keep you connected to Florence through news, events, arts + culture, food + wine and much more.

Please make a contribution, small or large, so that we can continue our coverage from Florence.

Personal Info

Donation Total: €20,00

more articles