Brace yourself: The Italian Documentation Process (info for expats in Italy)

  • First thing you need to know: There is no national system in Italy. Every Region has its own. You have to register and de-register when you move to a new region within Italy. Actually, the first thing you need to know is that the Italian system is full of bureaucracy and the processes are long and exhausting. But with a bit of preparation everything should go smoothly.
  • I will share with you the info on how to obtain the main documentation when you move to Italy and I refer to my experiences in Firenze and Rome. 
  • You can make appointments for all of these processes on the Italian website: You must make an appointment in your comune.  (you have to fill in your info, including your Codice Fiscale and Passport Number).

Please be prepare to deal with a lot of sets of photocopies and long queues. Also bring all your patience and best attitude, because these governmental offices are not the most welcoming places in the world. Most public employees do not speak other language than Italian, if you can bring an Italian speaker with you or try to learn at least the basics of this wonderful language before going to the offices. You could also just bring all your documents and make yourself understood.

How to obtain the Codice Fiscale?

This is the First step to every other process.

To obtain it you need to go to the Agenzia delle Entrante in the city you are living in. Bring: Passport, visa (If you are not a EU Citizen), your address and phone number.

You will be received at the front desk where they will give you a form to fill in. When is your turn the Official will request your document and the filled form and will enter the info in the system.

They will give you a printed sheet with your Codice Fiscale, you should keep this safe because you will be ask for it to obtain all other documentation in Italy.

You should receive through the mail your codice fiscale card within few weeks. But I never received mine and I know people who also never did. But the printed sheet with the number will be enough.

How to obtain the Residency?

This is the second step (also useful to  obtain a Tessera Sanitaria). To obtain it you need a rental contract that prove your residency in the city. Most landlords will give you a temporal (1 year) contract, but it depends from case to case. Make sure your landlord is trustful and gives you a registered lawful contract.

Once you have your contract you must bring it – Make an appointment:  to the Comune (Government Office) in the area you are living in. For example in Rome, the city is divided by municipality: Municipio I, II, III, etc. You must go to the one that correspond to your address. To know what Municipio corresponds to you simply check the map of Rome:

Rome muni

Rome Quartiers – Photo Credit:

Once you go to your appointment make sure to bring all your documents (c. Fiscale, Passport, Rental Contract, photocopies of everything). You can never bring too much, with the Italian processes is better to cover all flanks and jut bring all your documents (It is better to carry them all one time and not to come back several times).

The Official will give you a paper with your data and an estimated date and time when a Police Officer will come to your home address and check you actually live there.

This is very important step. If they don’t confirm that you actually live in the address you give them you won’t obtain your residency and will have to start over with the process. When the Officer goes to your home he can request the rental contract, but when the Officer came to my house he didn’t request anything, just signed a piece of paper and left.

Once the police confirm your residency that is it. You are an official resident.

How to get your Tessera Sanitaria?

After you obtained the Residency you can request your Tessera Sanitaria, which allow you to have a family doctor and to the hospital.

Your must pick a doctor from a list of doctors in your area. This is sort of random. You won’t have any references, just pick a doctor that is near to your house. Once you pick it, the Official will ask for the residency proof (the paper they gave you at the Comune, your passport and the Codice Fiscale). After they enter all your data in the system they will give you a printed confirmation with a bar code, this is your temporary Tessera. One copy is for your doctor (the one you just picked from the list), and the second is for you. You will receive the card within few weeks to your home address. Meanwhile you can use the temporary one.

You will be ask for the Tessera when doing other paperwork in Italy (i.e when opening a bank account) and when you go to see your doctor.

Doctor’s appointment: You must make a first appointment (some doctors don’t work with appointment, but with a first come- first serve basis) so they can add you to their system. Bring the temporary tessera and your passport.

How to get your Carta d’identità?

This is the last step of the process. Once you are in the system as a resident (be aware that it can take several months after you are confirmed the residency. Yes, this is how things work in Italy. Be patient). You have to buy a form (its about 6 Euros) at the Comune Office and bring 3 passport photos  (you can find the photo kiosk at several different points around the city). Complete the form and wait for your turn. The official will check the system and confirm all your data. The ID card should be done right there and then.

By now you have mastered the Italian documentation’s system!

Congratulations on your new life 😉



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