Complete the paperwork

Jessica Turpin
June 2, 2005

There is so much in Italy to like: the beautiful buildings, historic ruins, amazing food and wine...the list is endless. There are however sometimes problematic downsides to this wonderful country. I hope the following will aid you in understanding the slow and sometimes complicated Italian system.


E111. This should be dealt with before leaving the UK. This form entitles UK citizens to emergency health coverage whilst travelling through European Member states. You can download the form and further details from the Internet. Generally the E111, when ‘stamped’ by your local post office, only covers emergency treatment needed whilst ‘travelling through’ Europe, however, you can send the completed form to ‘The Department of Work and Pensions’ prior to your departure, and they will register your ‘move’ and return the authorised form.


The E111is only valid until 31st December 2005, after which date all UK citizens should have received their European Health Insurance Card.


Permesso di soggiorno. You are technically obliged to register with a questura and obtain a permesso di soggiorno if you plan to stay at the same address for more than one week. Tourists staying at hotels are not required to do this, as the hotel owners are required to register all guests with the police.


A permesso di soggiorno is necessary if you intend to live, study, or work (legally) in Italy. Obtaining one is relatively straightforward and success is guaranteed for EU citizens, however the process does normally involves long queues and rude police officers, so it is of utmost importance that you have all the necessary documents with you to avoid added frustration when you do finally get to the counter.

It is best to go to the questura to get precise information on what documents are required because some have a posted list describing exactly what you need. Otherwise ask at the information counter. Requirements can vary from city to city.


In general you will need: a valid passport, four passport size photographs, and proof of your ability to support yourself financially (Bank statements showing that you have ‘Independent Means,’ currently at least 5000 euro). It is also best to take a photocopy of your passport, your authorized E111, and details of your address in Italy (deeds or rental agreement) with you. You may also need to purchase a Marca di Bollo (an official stamp available from any tobacconist’s shop).

The permesso di soggiorno is normally valid for 5 years, however this may vary.


Codice fiscale. This is a tax-file number. It is possible to arrange your codice fiscali prior to leaving for Italy by contacting the Italian Consulate in London. To arrange it once in Italy you need to visit your local tax office. If you wish to be paid for most work in Italy you will need to get one. Take with you a photocopy of your passport and your permesso di soggiorno. You may be asked to produce a copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable) and birth certificates. You may also need to pay for a stamp.



P.IVA This is a tax account. You will need to open one if you plan to be self-employed. There are different codes depending on the type of activity you wish to operate (anything from opening a fruit and veg shop to being a translator). To open one you will need to register with a commercialista who will then do the paperwork for you. You can go private or use one from C.A.A.F. that generally costs less.


To register you will need to give them your codice fiscale and be registered with INPS (they can register you with INPS if needed).


Libretto sanitarià. Essential if you are planning on working in bars, restaurants, etc. You will need to have a medical check-up (nothing major). You will have to fill out a simple form on your family medical history. They then normally check for short, clean nails, cuts on hands etc and give you a simple question session on health and safety (normally relevant to the type of work you are planing to do but not always). Once issued, the libretto is normally valid for a period of 12 months. It costs about 30 euro, although prices can vary from city to city.


Health Authority registration. Once you have received your residence permit you can then register with your local health authority (“L’Unita Sanitaria Locale” or USL), at which time you will be provided with a ‘National Health Number’.


Doctor registration. You must register with the local doctor. Presenting you National Health number will allow you to be registered and receive treatment.


For any other issues you can always contact your embassy and they will be able to assist you. Be as prepared and as patient as possible; it’s a small price to pay for living in a country as beautiful and as interesting as Italy.


This article regards members of the European Union. The system is slightly different for people from non-member states.

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