I use three passports to bypass Brexit rules and enjoy my Italian holiday home

ROME – A UK-based man in his sixties says he uses his three European Union passports to bypass post-Brexit travel restrictions and get the most out of his holiday home in Italy.

Paul Scotti, a retired gardener living in Manchester, has Italian, Spanish and Maltese citizenships as well as British residency. He says he “has fun” travelling with a different passport each time he goes to the island-region of Sardinia, where he owns a rural cottage near the sleepy town of Sassari.

“My father was Sicilian, from Caltanissetta, and moved in his twenties in search of a brighter future to the UK, where he met and married my mother, a Spanish lady from Granada.

“They both worked as bartenders all their lives in London and then Manchester, but never applied for UK citizenship. Deep down, they proudly felt and remained fully Mediterranean, even though they called me Paul,” Mr Scotti tells i.

Mr Scotti, was born in Spain – married a British-Maltese woman from La Valletta, 50-year-old interior designer Martina Galea, and acquired a Maltese passport. But like his parents, he never registered for British citizenship, even though he is entitled through marriage.

“I love Manchester, the lively British people and the British countryside. Brexit hasn’t impacted on my travels so why should I leave the UK? Actually, the restrictions paradoxically pushed me to buy a holiday home in Italy,” he says.

When Brexit came into force in 2020, Mr Scotti decided it was time to start exploiting his three European passports.

He bought a three-bedroom house in Sassari’s countryside, not far from the sea and the powder-fine beaches where he now spends six months a year coming and going from Manchester, where his three sons and grandchildren live.

“I’m a lucky man, with all those European passports I can travel as I please, no restrictions for me and my wife. I carry all three passports with me each time I travel to Europe, just so I have ‘backups’ in case one passport turns out to be more or less favoured compared to the others,” says Mr Scotti.

When he uses the Italian and Spanish ones, he says airport checks at Manchester’s international airport “are endless with an excessive scrutiny”, whereas the Maltese passport allows him what he calls a sort of “privileged fast track”.

“Probably because of the strong ties in the past between the UK and Malta, which was a British colony and where everyone still speaks English, my Maltese passport is well-regarded by the immigration officers. In just two minutes, I’m already out of the airport and inside my car,” says Mr Scotti.

In his view, now that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, most EU passports are “looked down upon” by UK authorities, particularly the Italian one.

“When UK airport officers start scrutinising my Italian passport and notice that perhaps a stamp or petty detail is missing or unreadable, and start making a fuss over the ‘non-compliance’ of it to UK travel rules, I pull out of my pocket the Maltese or Spanish one, and they immediately change attitude,” he adds.

He’s happy to have the “privilege” of exploiting multiple passports as a great way to bypass Brexit travel rules.

“Of course I voted Remain, if I did not have had triple citizenship and three passports I likely would have ditched the UK and moved to Malta or Italy for good. My wife has a family home in La Valletta.”

Having three passports also allows him to freely travel around Europe in any Schengen country without “the headache of having to make plans or check calendars” to stay within the 90-day rule, which states that non-EU citizens can only spend 90 of every 180 days in EU countries.

In Sassari, Mr Scotti invested most of his life’s savings, spending €150,000 (£128,000) on the rural house, which came with a patch of land, an orchard and a tiny pool that he enlarged to 12 metres long.

“I spent roughly an extra €10,000 (£8,500) on a minimal restyle, upgrading the kitchen and one bathroom, but all in all it was a very good deal. In the UK, a similar property would have cost at least £700,000,” says Mr Scotti.