Are post-Brexit concerns preventing British citizens from retiring in Italy?

There are currently an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 retired British expats living in Europe; retiring abroad to a warmer climate and slower pace of life is a popular choice. However, it is not as simple as choosing to retire in your own country; there are various factors to consider, such as different cultures, the procedures for buying residential property and paying taxes. Since Brexit, retirement to European countries such as Italy and Spain have raised new questions for British people looking to enjoy their later years abroad. Has Brexit changed people's minds about retiring in Europe, and what exactly has changed?

In this guide, we will look at why people choose to retire abroad, in Italy in particular, and the various post-Brexit laws to be aware of. We will also explore the current attitudes of British people considering retiring abroad, and when it's expedient to contact a lawyer when moving abroad.

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Learn why people choose to retire in Italy

Brexit has affected most aspects of our lives, including the choice to retire abroad.

Find out more about how our perceptions have changed to retiring abroad following Brexit

How we can help you retire in Italy.

Why do people choose to retire in Italy?

There are many different reasons why someone may choose to retire abroad, depending on their personal circumstances. Some may move to be closer to family, others may move for the culture, lifestyle or cheaper housing. In our 2022 study, 37% said that they have considered retiring abroad, with 57% of those people saying they would move for better weather, a factor that appears to attract thousands of people to countries such as Spain and Italy each year.

There are plenty of reasons to relocate to Italy – the impressive historical heritage, cuisine and healthcare, with cities such as Milan and Bologna proving popular amongst expats. However, with post-Brexit tariffs and restrictions now taking full effect, the ease of moving to Italy is changing.

Retiring in Italy: post-Brexit laws

One of the biggest challenges for people entering and leaving the United Kingdom following the UK’s exit from the EU is restricted freedom of movement across Europe. It is now more difficult to move to an EU country, as the UK are no longer a European Union member state, in that you must choose to apply for a type of visa that permits you to change your domicile to Italy.

Before retiring abroad to Italy, or any country, you must inform your local council. You also need to inform the International Pensions Centre, the Student Loans Company (if you have a student loan), and HM Revenue and Customs regarding tax.

To retire in Italy, you must apply for an elective residency visa. However, you must be able to prove that you can support yourself financially whilst living in Italy. At border control, you may need to show proof that you have accommodation to reside in, enough money for the length of your stay, and proof of insurance. It is also recommended that you apply for a Withdrawal Agreement "carta di soggiorno elettronica" (biometric residency card) to highlight your rights whilst living in Italy.

If you retire in Italy, you can still claim your UK state pension, and you can use your driving licence for one year after you have moved permanently to Italy. However, your licence cannot be renewed, and you will have to obtain an Italian driving licence.

The biggest change to retiring in Italy post-Brexit is the need for an elective residency card, which can be easily obtained. If you would like to find out more, or to discuss your move with a lawyer who is qualified in Italian law, you can get in touch with us here.

An infographic displaying post brexit concerns

How have attitudes changed with regard to retiring abroad?

Since the decision to separate from the EU, a percentage of British nationals who were once considering retiring abroad have become more reluctant. In our survey, 27% of people said that Brexit had affected their decision to retire abroad, and 20% of respondents said that had they known the consequences they would have been more likely to relocate before Brexit. You can discuss your concern with an English speaking lawyer experienced in Italian law.

When retiring abroad in any EU country, a British citizen must obtain permanent residency status; as a third country citizen, you will be expected to follow the same rules and entry requirements as other non-members states. For non-EU passport holders such as British expats, a temporary residency must be obtained first, and those wishing to apply for permanent residence must have lived in Italy for at least five years.

Although attitudes to retiring abroad post-Brexit have changed, obtaining residency can be easily achieved with the right help. As a non-EU citizen, you will need to provide various documents, such as proof of a temporary residency, a registration certificate that should have been provided upon entry to the country, and proof of financial stability. The consequences of Brexit should not be a concern when retiring in Italy, and shouldn't deter you from spending your later years as you want to with the right legal assistance.

Rear view of an elderly woman embracing her husband and looking the picturesque landscape with him. A relaxing moment for an old couple sitting together on the bench in a tourist place of the Lake Garda, Italy.

Instructing a lawyer when retiring in Italy

Retiring abroad has the potential to be daunting; not only do you have to assemble the appropriate documents, but you need to gain an understanding of the different tax laws and customs that Italy presents. With the help of a qualified Italian lawyer you can move to Italy and retire with ease. Our expert lawyers at Giambrone and Partners can help you navigate the various laws you need to understand before you relocate, as well as help you contact the relevant authorities and ensure you have all the right documents in place.

To find out more about our services, or to enquire further about how we can assist you, do not hesitate to contact us via our website today.

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