Italian administrative essentials: navigating codice fiscale and tessera sanitaria

By Go! Go! Italia staff
27 Dec 2023
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Photo of where to apply for codice fiscale

Looking to kick start your academic journey in Italy? Just touched down and feeling a bit lost in the maze of Italian bureaucracy?  Fear not! In your first weeks in Italy, two essential documents can significantly smooth your journey: the codice fiscale and tessera sanitaria. These are crucial additions to the permesso di soggiorno (applicable only for non EU nationals), forming the trio that will set the foundation for your stay in Italy.

Upon your arrival in Italy, a myriad of tasks awaits, from registering your residency to opening a bank account etc. Obtaining two crucial documents, the codice fiscale (Italian taxation number) and tessera sanitaria (Italian Health Insurance card), can significantly simplify your integration into Italian culture and bureaucracy, if you plan is to work part time while studying in Italy or remain in Italy long term, at the end of your studies.

In this article, we’ll delve into what exactly codice fiscale and tessera sanitaria are, guide you through the process of obtaining them, and tell you how these documents can make your life in Italy more seamless.

Codice fiscale (Italian taxation number) explained

The codice fiscale, commonly known as the Italian tax code, is a fundamental identification number utilized for a range of administrative and financial purposes in Italy. This unique code is a mandatory requirement for various activities, making it essential for both residents and non-residents engaging in transactions or pursuing endeavors within the country.

Why you need codice fiscale

The codice fiscale is indispensable for a multitude of activities in Italy, including but not limited to opening an Italian bank account, acquiring a mobile phone number, applying for utility connections, renting a property for more than 30 days and so on.

Where to obtain codice fiscale

The main and most common location to obtain a codice fiscale is at the local office of the Agenzia delle Entrate, the Revenue Agency. Larger cities may have multiple offices, and appointments can typically be made online. Use the links below to locate the nearest office and schedule an appointment.

Agenzia delle Entrate Locator

Appointment Booking

Documents Required for codice fiscale

The documents necessary for applying for an Italian tax code vary based on your citizenship.

For EU or Schengen Citizens, the essentials include your passport and proof of address such as Certificato di residenza, that you can obtain from the Revenue Agency itself on the day or from their website. Non-EU or Non-Schengen Citizens need to provide a passport copy, and in addition, options for supporting documents include an entry stamp by Italy or any other EU or Schengen country or a current visa issued by Italy or any other EU or Schengen country.

Once you submit these required documents, the authorities will issue your certificate of codice fiscale. To ensure future convenience, it’s advisable to request multiple original copies during your visit to the office. Remember to plan ahead, make any necessary appointments, and consider the long-term utility of having multiple original copies of your codice fiscale. This ensures that you are well-prepared for various transactions.

Healthcare in Italy

Private Health Insurance vs. National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) 

In Italy, there are two main ways to get healthcare. The first one is called Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), and it’s national health service. With SSN, you can see a doctor, go to the hospital, get medicine, and more for around 149.77 euros a year. It’s pretty affordable, and you can use the service like any Italian citizen. The only downside is that you might have to wait a long time for your turn, especially if your health issue is not severe.

Another option for healthcare in Italy is to get private health insurance. With private insurance, you get to choose any doctor or specialist you prefer, but you have to pay the entire cost upfront and then ask your insurance company for reimbursement. This might be over a hundred euro or more for each visit, along with additional fees if you need extra tests. The advantage is that you won’t have to wait long to see a doctor, and you don’t need to apply for a health card. Insurance coverage may differ among plan policies and companies. Just be sure to check which hospitals, clinics, and treatments your insurance includes to avoid issues later on.

Both the private health insurance option and the national health care option have their pros and cons, and if you are an EU national, you can choose one, the other, or both. 

Non-EU nationals must apply for private health insurance covering the entire duration of their visa to obtain the study visa itself.

Go! Go! Italia is partnered with World Trips Health Insurance company, and we offer assistance if you need health insurance. You can find more information on our website.

Photo of tessera sanitaria

Tessera sanitaria (Italian health care card) explained

What is a Tessera Sanitaria?

What is known in Italy as the tessera sanitaria is simply the Italian health insurance card that all residents need if they want to access the Italian National Health Service (this is known in Italy as SSN, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale). In simple terms, you will need this card when you move to Italy if you want to go to the doctor, get a blood test, purchase medication in the pharmacy, or be admitted to a public hospital.

Note that if you move to Italy with private health insurance, then you don’t need to apply for the tessera sanitaria as this card is only for use in the public health system.

Enrollment in the Italian National Health Service (SSN) for foreign students:

Enrolling in the Italian National Health Service (SSN) involves the payment of a €149.77 fee for students. This is calculated per calendar year, valid from January 1 to December 31. This registration fee is paid at the post office through a postal order called bollettino bianco, with specific details such as the following:

  • Name: PT Administration – Contributo al Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (PT Administration – National Health Service contribution)
  • Numero C/C: 370007 (is the recipient bank account)
  • Reason for payment: Iscrizione volontaria al Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (Voluntary registration in the National Health Service).

After making the payment, students should move forward with the registration process at the closest ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale), based on their domicilio or residence. Then you can move on to requesting the tessera sanitaria.

Where to apply for tessera sanitaria

To kick off the tessera sanitaria application process, make your way to the local Health Authority (Azienda Sanitaria Locale or ASL) or visit the Agenzia delle Entrate office.

Required Documents for tessera sanitaria

When applying for your Italian health insurance card, gather both originals and photocopies of the following documents:

  • Your identity card or passport.
  • A valid residence permit: permesso di soggiorno or the receipt obtained when you request it, if you haven’t received the permit yet.
  • An Italian tax code (codice fiscale).
  • Some form of certification regarding your place of residence, such as a document proving your current address. You can provide a self-declaration, easily done using an online form.
  • If there’s a payment required for your health card, bring along the receipt for your contribution to the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale.

Applying for a health card in Italy can be a bit like a puzzle; it varies across the country, and inconsistencies may pop up. Therefore, plan an initial visit to your ASL (health authority) office. They’ll guide you through the process, specifying the exact documents needed and providing details on any associated costs. Keeping it straightforward, they’ll set you on the right path for a smooth tessera sanitaria application.

We hope that this guide on tessera sanitaria and codice fiscale has provided valuable insights to navigate the difficulties of the Italian bureaucracy. Should you have any questions or require further assistance, feel free to reach out.

For more helpful tips on living and studying in Italy, explore our blog. Your seamless integration into Italian life is our priority, and we look forward to being a continued resource on your journey. Buona permanenza!

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