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18 days after buying our house we were Italian residents

Published: 04/06/2020 By Professor Karen J Pine

When we moved from Hertfordshire, UK to Umbria in Italy in September 2017, we knew we were changing our lives for the better and were full of excitement. If there was one tiny thing casting a shadow over our exhilaration, however, i have to admit it was the prospect of Italian bureaucracy. The system was still a total mystery to us. Worse still, we barely spoke a word of Italian. And yet, with the ink barely dry on the sales contract for our beautiful new home, here we were facing the bureaucratic process of getting Italian residency.

Fortunately, the lovely team at Abode who had held our hands through every step of the  house-buying process were still there to help after we had moved in.  They told us which documents to gather together, our passports, the house sale contract, passport-type photos and a health insurance policy. Health cover was required until we could get ourselves registered on the Italian health system, something that again would happen smoothly a few months later. Abode put us in touch with an English-speaking insurance agent, the ebullient and enthusiastic Heidi, whose husband knew where to forage for the best fungi, and a policy was obtained on the spot, along with the promise of a foraging trip (this is Italy so of course there’s a food-related benefit to any transaction).

Then, armed with the paperwork it was a trip to the local commune (like the local council) offices. Carla from Abode came with us and did the necessary translating with the clerk who processed our documents. Every official process in Italy seems to require a bollo, the Italian revenue stamp (it actually looks like a postage stamp), and we popped out to the nearby tobacconist to buy this. I think it cost Eu16. This being Italy, we also had a quick coffee at the café next door before returning to the comune offices, to hand over our bollo and complete the application process.

To ensure your residency application is genuine the Italian authorities can make a visit to your home over the next few weeks, to check that you are actually living there. For us this wasn’t necessary. The chief of police happened by as the clerk was processing our application. The chief knew Carla and, after a friendly exchange, she smilingly told us a visit wouldn’t be necessary as she had met us in person. A signature was added to our application and that was it. Residency completed. We just had to provide photos for our identity cards, pay the fee (again not a vast sum but I can’t remember exactly how much) and we left as newly fledged Italian residents, ready to begin our adventure of living in La Bella Umbria.  Time from buying the house to having our residency? Eighteen days.