It is a database, a register, managed by the Italian municipalities, the Ministry of the Interior in Italy and by the consular representations abroad. In fact, the AIRE registry office is managed by the various Italian municipalities, which in turn send the data to the national AIRE, which is located in the Ministry of the Interior, in the Department of Internal and Territorial Affairs. The registers of municipalities consist of files containing the individual and family records removed from the register of the resident population on the basis of the permanent transfer abroad, as well as the records created as a result of the transcription of the civil status registers received from abroad.
Why register at AIRE?
For example, an Italian citizen living in Spain must register according to the procedures provided by the competent Italian consulate in his/her geographical area or, if there is no consulate, directly at the Italian embassy in Spain or in the country where he/she resides. With the AIRE registration you transfer your real and fiscal residence in the country where you live and you can take advantage of the consular services. Without the AIRE registration you cannot use the services of the Italian consulate or embassy.
The transfer of Italian residence abroad must be declared at the consular office that registers your name in the AIRE registration records. The municipality of origin will notify you of your registration. This registration implies the automatic cancellation of the residence from the APR, the Resident Population Register, of the municipality of Italian origin.
When and how to regularise registration?
Within 90 days of leaving the country, by contacting the nearest consular office in the country of residence. Registration with AIRE is completely free of charge. All you need to do is to fill in a document with all your details, a copy of your Italian passport or identity card and a proof of residence in the consular district. Nowadays AIRE registration applications are made directly online on a portal of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
You can submit the documentation even before expatriation by making declarations to the Italian municipality of residence.
It is also important to notify the Consular Chancellery of any change in the declarations: change of marital status, birth of a child or change of address. Updating the AIRE is up to the citizen, who must notify the consular office of any changes to the declaration within a maximum period of 90 days.
Families wishing to move abroad can apply to the commune in which they are registered for an international family record book, a free document in the name of both spouses, which can be requested at the time of marriage or after marriage. It registers the details of the spouses, as well as those of the children. The family register is free of charge, particularly useful and valid for the entire European community.
Do I have to register?
The law of 27 October 1988, n. 470, "Anagrafe e censimento degli italiani all'estero" (Registration and census of Italians abroad) obliges the following persons to register with AIRE:
- Italian citizens who move abroad for a period of more than 12 months and within 90 days from the date of the move;
- Italian citizens who already reside abroad and subsequently obtain dual Italian citizenship;
- Italian citizens born abroad and who have always resided outside Italian territory.
They are exempt from this requirement:
- Seasonal workers;
- State officials posted abroad and persons living with them who have been notified to the local authorities in accordance with the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic relations of 1961 and 1963 respectively, ratified by Law No 804 of 9 August 1967;
- Italian soldiers serving in NATO offices and installations abroad.
Can I unsubscribe from AIRE?
Of course one can cancel oneself from the AIRE. That process takes place:
- for repatriation to an Italian municipality;
- for transfer to another Consular Chancellery or to another country;
- for loss of Italian citizenship;
- for presumed unavailability, one hundred years after birth or after two subsequent surveys;
- for death, including death presumed to have been legally declared.
Upon your final return to Italy, you must declare your repatriation directly to the Italian municipality, which must officially notify the Consulate General of the foreign country of the date of repatriation. This will initiate the cancellation of the consular registration at the Italian Consulate General and the registration at the Italian commune.
According to Law 104/2002, automatic cancellation is foreseen for those who, despite having obtained the registration, can no longer be located at the last declared address.
In legal and fiscal terms, what does it mean to register at AIRE?
Membership of AIRE entails the acquisition of a number of rights, such as voting abroad or the refund of VAT on certain goods purchased in Italy. It also allows you to carry out operations abroad, at consular offices, that would otherwise require you to return to Italy, such as renewing your identity card, passport or driving licence, or requesting certain certificates (birth, marriage or death certificates).
However, you also lose some rights, such as national healthcare. In addition, if you reside in a country outside the European Community, you also lose the right to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which instead provides healthcare in the Member States of the European Community. However, it is possible to apply for limited medical care (urgent and non-progressive hospital visits).
In addition, minors who are Italian citizens, not enrolled in AIRE but residing abroad, have the duty to enrol in Italian compulsory schools. Failure to enrol leads to non-compliance with the obligation of parents to educate their children in primary school, which Italian law considers an offence (Article 731 of the Penal Code, Failure to comply with the obligation of primary education of children).
It is essential to point out that residence is one thing and tax residence is another. In fact, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the concepts of residence and tax domicile of the Italian citizen and of the relations with AIRE, in order to understand income tax and VAT.
A natural person is considered to be resident if he/she is resident for most of the year, i.e. for a period of at least 183 days -184 for leap years-, even if not continuous:
are entered in the registers of the resident population are resident in the territory of the State in accordance with the Civil Code or are domiciled in the territory of the State in accordance with the Civil Code.
Articles 2 and 3 of the TUIR determine that the person is subject to taxation on Italian territory for income, wherever it arises, in accordance with the principle of World Wide Taxation.
Ultimately, Italian citizens with (civil) residence in Italy for all income produced anywhere and non-residents in Italy for income produced in the Italian national territory are considered tax residents. In fact, it may be the case of an Italian citizen residing abroad and producing income in Italy; in that case, he/she must declare it to the tax authorities in accordance with the tax regulations in force. Italians registered with AIRE and emigrated to countries with privileged taxation must also be considered as tax residents in Italy.