Residence And Domicile In Italy: The Civil Registration Of EU Citizens

Residence and domicile are two different legal figures, but they are often mistakenly lumped together. In fact, residence is the place where a person has his or her habitual abode, while domicile is the place where a person establishes the main seat of his or her business and interests.

Italian law provides that domicile may not be declared, as opposed to residence. Indeed, it represents a cornerstone of the legal system as far as information about a natural person is concerned.

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What Is Civil Registration: Differences Between Residence And Domicile

Registry registration consists of an administrative act that serves to register a person’s residence in a particular municipality. Registry registration is mandatory for all citizens, both Italian and EU citizens, who stay in Italy for a period of more than three months. For domicile, however, no paperwork is required.

Citizens of the European Union, therefore, have the same rights and duties as Italian citizens, including regarding civil registration.

Requirements For Civil Registration Of EU Citizens

EU citizens may apply for civil registration in Italy if they meet the following requirements:

– Valid identity document for expatriation issued by their country of origin;

– Housing in Italy, which may be owned, rented, or on loan for use;

– Valid residence permit, if required (family members of EU citizens).

Application For Civil Registration With The Municipality

The application for civil registration of EU citizens can be submitted to the registry office of the municipality of residence. The application must contain the following documents:

– Birth certificate,

– Registry registration application form, available at the registry office or on the municipality’s website,

– Valid identity document for expatriation of the EU citizen,

– Copy of residence permit, if required (for family members of EU citizens),

– Copy of the lease or loan agreement for use of the accommodation,

Health insurance covering health risks on Italian territory.

Specific Cases Of Registry Application

Obviously, additional documents must be submitted to the municipality for each case-specific reason for staying in Italy:

– EU citizen moving to Italy with family. The EU citizen must apply to the municipality for himself/herself, and family members move to Italy;

– EU citizen moving to Italy for work. The EU citizen must submit the application to the municipality of residence. The employer may issue a statement attesting to the worker’s residence;

– EU citizen moving to Italy for study. The EU citizen must submit the application to the municipality of residence. The school attended or the university may issue a statement regarding the student’s residence.


Residence and domicile, as we have seen, are two different legal concepts, also treated differently by Italian law itself.

Residence and domicile also pertain to the situation of EU citizens in our country: for stays of less than 90 days, they can elect a domicile in Italy. For stays longer than 90 days, they are obliged to apply for residence in the municipality in which they are staying.

A further difference between residence and domicile is the possibility, once they have received civil registration, to subscribe to the National Health Service.