Further to our May article ‘No Deal’ Italian Law Effect on Italian Citizenship Applications, we remind our British citizen clients that if they intend to apply for Italian citizenship it is advisable that they lodge their application before 31st October.
With new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying in his first speech as Prime Minister that the UK ‘will come out of the EU on 31 October, no ifs or buts’ and ‘we will do a new deal, a better deal’, the currently predicted Brexit date of 31 October seems ever nearer.
According to Law no. 91 of 5 February 1992, a citizen of the European Union who has been residing in Italy for at least four years can apply for Italian citizenship. However, non-EU citizens need to have resided in Italy for ten years before being able to make the same application.
The Italian government in Law No. 22 of 25 March 2019, (converted into Law 41 of 20 May 2019) put forward measures in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This states that British citizens can apply for Italian citizenship as EU citizens up to the date the United Kingdom leaves the European Union if they present their request for citizenship by 31 December 2020.
In July 2019, the Italian government published an update to its “preparedness” planning document, entitled: “Prepararsi al recesso senza accordo del Regno Unito dall’Unione Europea – Informazioni sulle conseguenze e sui preparativi allo scenario di una Brexit senza accordo di recesso”, available at the following link:
Effect on Italian citizenship applications
In summary, Brexit has created two scenarios for Italian citizenship applications on the grounds of residence:
- A British citizen who has been a registered resident at the anagrafe for four years and applies for Italian citizenship before 31 December 2020
This British citizen shall still be considered an EU citizen and therefore will only need to have satisfied four years of legal residence in Italy to qualify for citizenship.
- A British citizen who has been registered resident at the anagrafe and applies for Italian citizenship after 31 December 2020
This British citizen will no longer be considered an EU citizen and will need to have satisfied ten years of legal residence in Italy to qualify for citizenship. The years spent in Italy prior to Brexit shall be considered. As of 1 January 2021, UK citizens will be subject to the same requirements as non-EU nationals, more commonly known as ‘extracomunitari’ in Italian.
Likely changes to the above:
The above is the current law at the point of writing this article but is most likely subject to change.
Under the new extension to the Article 50 exit process, Britain should leave the EU on or before 31 October 2019. With this in mind, and the uncertainty of whether the Italian government may change the initial deadline of 31 December 2020 to the earlier deadline of 31 October 2019 (or even earlier, which may be a possibility with the recent change of Prime Minister in the UK promising to execute the UK’s exit by this date with a deal) we would advise all clients to apply for Italian citizenship where they have met the requirements, as a matter of urgency.
The current deadline of 31 December 2020 is only applicable if the UK leaves the UK with ‘no deal’ and is not set in stone. With the baton being passed from Theresa May to Boris Johnson, who is charging on his white horse towards the European Parliament in Brussels adamant that he shall be able to leave with a ‘new deal’ there is always the chance that he may just be successful. These may turn out to be empty promises at the beginning of Johnson’s premiership but in the event that he is successful in executing a deal, we would not wish for our British citizen clients eligible for Italian citizenship to suffer as they had not submitted their applications earlier.
If you are interested in applying for Italian citizenship and would like further information please contact Solicitor Aleksandra Broom.