The 4 essential documents for moving to Italy

Every country in the world has its ways of keeping count of its inhabitants and requires its residents to have certain documents. Specifically, you need three documents to move to Italy:

1. Passport

This identification document is necessary for foreigners coming from a country out of the EU.
The Government of the home country issues a passport certifying the identity and nationality of the holder. It also allows one to travel abroad.

2. Visa

Visa is an authorization to travel issued by a foreign country’s representatives (Embassy or Consulate, generally) and stamped on the traveler’s passport. It allows its owner to travel and stay in a foreign country for a specific period.

3. Identity Card 

The Identity Card is an identification document issued by the Italian Government. Italian citizens can also use this to travel, instead of one’s passport, within the European Union. The ID card comprises information such as first name, last name, birthday, and birth location. A picture and other data support the general information. The document also includes physical parameters such as eye color, hair color, and height.
Foreign citizens can also apply for an identity card at the Anagrafe offices of the municipality of residence, but it will not be valid for travel.

4. The Codice Fiscale

Often, foreigners believe that you only need an Italian Fiscal Code for fiscal reasons, i.e. if you receive an income in Italy and are subject to taxes. Truth be told, the Tax Code for Italy is a virtually indispensable document in Italy, because it is required for a variety of issues in everyday life

Let’s get into detail, seeing as its importance is often underestimated.

Get your Fiscal Code

Requesting the Italian Fiscal Code for Foreigners: Complete Guide

You can find a complete guide on how to get an Italian Tax Code for foreigners below. The guide includes an introduction on how find your Fiscal Code and explains the most typical reasons why some Tax Codes are not valid. In the guide, you will read an overview of the uses of this document and why it is essential to living in Italy. Understanding the purpose of the Fiscal Code is a key step in understanding how Italian bureaucracy works.

What is a Fiscal Code? What does Codice Fiscale mean?

Codice in Italian means “code” and Fiscale means fiscal, related to taxes.
Codice Fiscale in Italy is a string composed of 16 alphanumeric characters automatically generated according to an algorithm. The information combined in this document includes First Name, Last Name, Date, Place of Birth, Gender, Municipality, or the State of Birth. A control character is added at the end of the code.

The introduction of the Fiscal Code in Italy dates back to 1973. Its purpose was to regulate the financial management of Italian citizens. Today, this document is related to other daily life fields such as health. 

VAT and Tax Code in Italy: What’s the difference?

What does P. Iva mean in Italian?

Since the Fiscal Code is a document that has to do with Italian taxation, it is common to get confused between the VAT number and the Fiscal Code

Let’s clarify. What is the Fiscal Code? It is a document used by the Italian Tax Registry to record and control data that is relevant to the tax authorities. The Fiscal Code has to be stated when filling in a variety of documents, including those one needs to open a bank account, buy or sell real estate or cars, request a tax refund, and all that has to do with monetary transactions.

The Anagrafe Tributaria is an office handled by the Italian Ministry of Finance. This Ministry records all information related to each taxpayer. 

This is for the individual citizen. 
As concerns companies, the Tax Code is a numerical code that often coincides with the VAT number. 
However, there is also a VAT number for individuals. What makes it different from the Tax Code? 

The VAT number is a sequence of 11 digits that identifies a person who carries out any activity relevant to indirect taxation (VAT). When a person is self-employed, he or she is required to have a VAT number is, and when he or she earns more than 5,000 euros per year. Having a Tax Code alone is enough if one stays below this annual figure, 

How do I find my Fiscal Code?

Let’s see how the algorithm used to compose the Tax Code works. 

3 characters for the surname

The composition of the Tax Code requires listing the first three consonants of the surname (or surnames, if there are more than one). If these are not enough, the vowels are also used. If a surname has less than three letters, the code is completed by adding the letter “X”.

3 letters for the name

The first name part of the code is created using the same system described above for the surname. The first consonants of the first name (or names, if there is more than one), in their original order, are used. 

3 characters for the year and month of birth

The code includes the last two digits of the birth year (e.g. 1985 = 85).
The month of birth is expressed by a letter. Each month is associated with a letter of the Italian alphabet. 

Two numbers are used for the day of birth and sex

The code includes two digits that represent the day of birth are taken (in the case of a number composed of only one digit, they add a 0 in front). For females, 40 is added to the birthday figure. Hence, the field comprises information both on the day of birth and gender. Males have a figure between 01 and 31, females between 41 and 71.

Four characters for the Municipality (or State) of birth

As far as the birthplace, i.e. the municipality where one is born, is concerned, the system uses the “Belfiore” code; the tax code includes one letter and three numbers. Each municipality is associated with a string composed of these four alphanumeric characters.

What does the last letter of the Fiscal Code stand for?

The last letter of the Italian Tax Code is a control character that derives from the previous fifteen alphanumeric characters. The control character, referred to as ICN “Internal Control Number” is established via an algorithm.

The request of the Italian Tax Code for foreigners: in what is it different?

How is a foreigner’s Codice Fiscale created? It hardly changes at all. Data such as Name, Surname, Sex, and Date of birth are defined just like that of Italian citizens. The only difference pertains to the alphanumeric characters that have to do with the place of birth. The last letter of the Fiscal Code will contain the country of origin, instead of the town of birth. For foreigners, they consider the foreign State of birth. In that case, the Codice Fiscale will begin with the letter Z and will be followed by the state identification number. This is the only noticeable difference between an Italian Fiscal Code and one for foreigners.

What is the Italian Fiscal Code used for?

You may be asking yourself “do I need an Italian Fiscal Code?” If you plan to remain in Italy for over 30 days, and not for tourist purposes, you will need an Italian Tax Code. This document can be useful in many aspects of everyday life. Let’s look into a few of these in detail.

Health Card and Fiscal Code in Italy

The tax code is useful for foreigners, as for Italian citizens, because it is an essential document for both taxes and healthcare. The Fiscal Code comprises the functions dealt with by the Tessera Sanitaria (Health Insurance Card), such as: 

  • Regulating/handling health-related expenses, and safeguarding citizens’ health data;
  • Health insurance throughout the EU;
  • It allows access to certain public services, and signatures thereof.

The plastic Tax Code was replaced and integrated into the health card in 2003.

Italian Fiscal Code for foreigners: all its uses

Explaining what one may use the Tax Code for is in no way simple. You can use it in different moments of your Italian life. The Fiscal Code is necessary to sign deeds, open bank accounts, get married in Italy, sign a lease or buy a house. In short, you may need this document to carry out any activity outside the tourist context. 

If you are going to stay in Italy for over 30 days, you must have this tax identification code, otherwise, you will have to get it later, but you will have wasted unnecessary time waiting.

This document doesn’t exist only in Italy but is present in every country worldwide with different names. Examples of foreign tax identification numbers are the National Insurance Number in England, the “Seguridad” in Spain, and the “Social Number” in the USA. 

What documents do you need for marrying an Italian?

The Fiscal Code is among the documents one needs to get married in Italy. Even marriage is a legal contract and has to be recorded in the Public Registers. Be careful, if you are planning to get married abroad it will not be necessary. The Fiscal Code is needed only in case of marriage on Italian soil.

Documents for foreigners working in Italy

Why a foreigner may need a  Fiscal Code to work in Italy? 

This document is required when signing a job agreement. In Italy, every employment agreement must be submitted, and therefore registered, with the Revenue Office. For an employment document to be valid, those who sign it must appear in the registers as real existing persons and must possess a RECORDED Fiscal Code. If it is not registered, the Fiscal Code is not valid.

Invalid Tax Code: how to avoid it

The registration of the Fiscal Code is very important.

In fact, on the internet, you can find many tax code generator sites, but they are just calculators! The code strings that are provided on the web are not valid for the Italian State! The Tax Code is not valid if it is not recorded at the state offices. The most common errors that make the Tax Code invalid are: 

1) Failure to register with the Inland Revenue Agency;

2) The wrong filling of the application forms.

The application for the Fiscal Code for foreigners often ends up being lengthy and complicated. Making mistakes in the application can result in a Fiscal Code that is not valid. 

What is the Italian Fiscal Code used for? Other uses you may not have considered

Need to sign a lease or open a bank account? Receive your share of the inheritance due after the death of a relative? You need a Codice Fiscale. If you are a foreigner and have a relative who died in Italy, you must have an Italian Tax Code to enter into the inheritance and be mentioned in the declaration of succession.
You must provide the Fiscal Code for proceeding with the opening of a current account, the collection of payment, the purchase of real estate or a car, as well as for acts of assessment, picking, and tax refunds.

In a nutshell: the Tax Registry uses the Tax Code to record and control data relevant to the tax authorities. It is used for tax, health, inheritance, and job applications. Every time you have to sign something, you need a Codice Fiscale.
It is not a necessary document to enter Italy, like a Visa or Passport, but having it will simplify many fundamental steps of living in Italy. 

How do I get an Italian Fiscal Code for foreigners

How to apply for a Tax Code in Italy? 

For a more in-depth look at where to go, what forms to fill out, and what procedures to follow to request your Fiscal Code, we suggest you take a few minutes to read the article that details the different steps.

To request this document, without falling into the typical mistakes that can invalidate the Tax Code, we recommend you trust an expert who will take care of it, filling in every field correctly and saving you time. 

Having this document before you leave your home country could streamline the procedures of buying or renting a house and a car, enrolling in school, and/or signing employment contracts.

Click here to know how to get an Italian Tax Code for foreigners


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