Domicile and residence: what are the differences

Under the Italian law, the respective definitions are as follows:

Civil Code article 43

Domicile “place where he/she [the person] has established the principal place of business and interests”

Residence “place where the person has his or her habitual residence”

Often, in everyday conversations, people confuse or use the two terms indiscriminately. On a legal level, however, there is a difference between the two.

The first difference lies in the fact that residence implies the living, while domicile is the place of business and interests. The residence represents the place where the private life of the person takes place and the domicile the professional one but the two things can also coincide.

The residence must be fixed by going to the appropriate municipal counters, where a declaration is made indicating precisely the place where you usually live.

It is legally obligatory to indicate the place of residence; if no further declarations are made, the residence and domicile coincide. To elect a place as domicile, it is necessary to make a written declaration, indicating precisely the address elected as domicile. Every time you change your home it is mandatory to make a declaration in the municipality where the new residence is located: otherwise, you may incur in financial penalties.

Foreigners enrolled in the register of the resident population are required to renew the declaration of habitual residence in the Municipality of residence within sixty days from the date of renewal of the residence permit, accompanying the request with the permit itself. The registry office officer will update the foreigner’s personal data sheet and notify the Police Headquarters.