Posted by Jessica Zama and Rosamaria Berloco
The infamous Brexit, subject of most conversations and debates in the past couple of years, unsurprisingly will not only affect the United Kingdom, but many other European countries, including Italy. If the United Kingdom does leave the European Union (currently on 31 October 2019), there will be many legal provisions that Italy will have to adopt, in order to protect its citizens, U.K. citizens living in Italy, and the country itself.
The Italian government pre-emptively already adopted such a provision on 26 March 2019, with the legislative decree of 25/3/2019, n.22. This decree, which will come into force in the event of a “No Deal” Brexit, is called “Misure urgenti per garantire la stabilità finanziaria e l’integrità dei mercati nonché tutela della salute e della libertà di soggiorno dei cittadini italiani e di quelli del Regno Unito, in caso di recesso di quest’ultimo dall’Unione europea”, translated as “Urgent Measures to be taken, in the event of the UK leaving the European Union, in order to guarantee the financial stability and the integrity of the markets, and further to protect the health and freedom of Italian citizens as well as citizens of the United Kingdom”.
The law was adopted in view of the current uncertainty Europe faces, regarding the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the EU without a Deal (a “No Deal Brexit”), and in order to provide some sort of stability for the Italian financial, economic, banking and insurance systems, if this were to happen.
One of the areas that will be affected is that of Italian citizenship applications, and how this will affect British citizens. Currently, as a member of the European Union, a British citizen will be entitled to request Italian citizenship after having lived in the country for 4 years. How will this change when the U.K leaves the EU?
The answer to this question is covered by Art. 15 of the above-mentioned legislative decree 22/2019, entitled “Dispositions relating to the matter of granting Italian citizenship”. In accordance with this decree, citizens of the United Kingdom are to be treated in the same way as citizens of the European Union, if they have lived in Italy for at least four years (the length of time required by art. 9, paragraph 1, letter d) of the law of 5 February 1992, n 9) on the date the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, and if they present their request for citizenship by 31 December 2020.
In short, up until 31 December 2020, a citizen of the United Kingdom can continue to request Italian citizenship if they have been resident in Italy for at least four years at the date the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union.