Following 5 years of continuous legal residence in Italy, an EU citizen* can apply for permanent residence. This is a certificate issued by the Comune known as the “Attestato di soggiorno permanente“.
The right to obtain the Attestato di soggiorno permanente is provided in the Directive on Free movement (2004/38/CE) and is incorporated into Italian law no. 30 of 2007 (see articles 14- 16).
Diritto di soggiorno permanente
1. Il cittadino dell’Unione che ha soggiornato legalmente ed in via continuativa per cinque anni nel territorio nazionale ha diritto al soggiorno permanente non subordinato alle condizioni previste dagli articoli 7, 11, 12 e 13.
Unlike obtaining a residence certificate within 3 months of entry into a new member state, the acquisition of permanent residence is not compulsory. It is an advantage to have this however, for these reasons:
- Once permanent residence has been obtained, it can only be forfeited if the applicant is absent from the member state where they acquired permanent residence for 2 years as per Article 14 comma 4 of directive 2004/38/CE vo 03/07.
- Some Comune may ask that residence certificates are up-dated or the holder proves the grounds on which he/she is resident in Italy. In the case of permanent residence this question need no longer be asked.
We do recommend that British citizens currently resident in Italy apply for this certificate as after the UK leaves the EU this may no longer be possible.
An application for the “attestato” is made to the Comune in which the person is currently resident. The applicant needs simply to show a valid ID such as a passport or identity card, as well as the continuity of residence for more than 5 years in Italy. It is not necessary to provide evidence of the conditions under which he/she was resident (although in practice many Comune do ask for bank statements of payslips or health insurance this is not a legal requirement). The continuity of legal residence could be proved by a “certificato di residenza storica”.
Each Comune should be able to issue EU citizens with advice on how to apply.
See link here to the Comune di Roma: Attestato di soggiorno permanente di cittadino dell’Unione Europea
Continuity of residence shall not be affected by temporary absences not exceeding a total of six months a year, or by absences of a longer duration for compulsory military service or by one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training, or a posting in another Member State or a third country as per Article 16 of directive 2004/38/CE.
According to Article 15 of directive 2004/38/CE vo 30/07 permanent residence can be acquired even before the completion of 5 years legal residence for various reasons. For example, family members who have legally resided in a member state with the applicant for a continuous period of 5 years can apply for permanent residence also.
*Despite the UK’s decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU, at the time of writing, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU and rights and obligations continue to fully apply in and to the UK.