Since January 2021 a residence permit in a plastic card format (“carta di soggiorno“) has been available to British nationals and their family members who were resident in Italy pre-Brexit, ie on or before 31st December 2020. By “resident in Italy” we mean that a person’s name and address is registered with the Anagrafe office of the Comune in which they live.
The carta di soggiorno, which is issued by the local police headquarters (“Questura”) was specifically designed following the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Accordo di recesso UK-EU”). The carta di soggiorno should not be confused with the “permesso di soggiorno” which is issued to other non -EU nationals who have permission to live or work in Italy and whose stay in the country is regulated by immigration law.
The distinction between these two types of residence permit is not commonly understood, and most British nationals, faced with an authority who questions their status in Italy as a non-EU citizen will ask for the permesso di soggiorno, but the carta di soggiorno is the document which must be recognised as indisputable evidence of a person’s right of lawful continuous residence in Italy. The carta di soggiorno is not obligatory, as a person’s right of residence post-Brexit can also be proved by showing the document which is supplied by the Comune called the “attestazione di iscrizione anagrafica ai sensi dell’art. 17.4 dell’accordo di recesso“.
When travelling out of Italy and out of the EU a British national should make sure to carry at least one of these documents proving they are resident, although so far the immigration controls seem fairly relaxed and in some cases are known to accept even simply the “carta di identità” which is not in itself proof of residence status.