Tips on Italian Bureaucracy
Hi everybody! Living in Italy is known to be a big headache for newcomers, who are apaticularly unaware of the kafkian intricacies that undelie its dolce vita... We hope that these lines will provide you some help on the matter.
- Enrolling at the University
- Getting a tax code, enrolling in INPS, getting a health insurance
- Getting a bank account
- Getting a stay permit
- Renewing the stay permit
- Signing up in the city hall (a.k.a. “anagrafe”)
- Housing subsidy
- Having a car
- Travel visas
You enroll at the student secretariat (Sernesi building), after which you are given (i) an enrollement certificate and (ii) a student card.
Tax code: Upon arrival, you should ask for a “codice fiscale” (tax code number) at the “Agenzia delle Entrate” (tax office), necessary for everything.
INPS: You should enroll at the public retirement fund, if receiving a grant or upon the event of signing a work contract. In some cases, you can be exempted of it (according to your nationality).
EU citizens: Be careful to come to Italy with the European health Insurance Card. There is no way to enroll in the NHS without, unless you work.
Non-EU citizens: You should enroll in the Italian NHS every month of January, for 12 months. If you receive a grant, you will have to pay 150€.
In both cases, enrollement is automatic (and free of charge) whenever you have a work contract, either full-time or part-time.
Permit of Stay (Non EU citizens)
Upon arrival: You should as soon as possible request a permit of stay. This is done by (1) filling the forms to be retired from the post office, (2) submitting them, together with the documents, at the post office, (3) waiting for an appointment by the questura for fingerprints and (4) waiting for the issuing of the permesso. There is no upper (or lower) bound on the length of the procedure. After one or two months you should contact the FUB international office or research office and make them put pressure on the questura to speed up things. During this period, which can be arbitrarily long, you cannot (unless free of the requirement of a Schengen visa) travel outside Italy (you will be considered an illegal alien outside its borders).
Renewal: The procedure is the same as above. It should be done 2 to 3 months prior to the expiry date of your permit (provided you have already received it).
Residence (EU citizens)
As of 2007, EU citizens (without exception) are entitled to freely choose Italy as their country of legal residence. In fact, strictly according to a law issued in spring 2007, all EU citizens working or staying in Italy for more than 3 months HAVE TO legally change their residence to Italy. No stay permit is issued anymore for EU citizens. Instead, upon signing up at the anagrafe office at the town hall, a proof of "legal stay" will be issued. Optionally, you can pay a small amount (about 10 eur) and get a kind of italian ID that is valid only inside Italy. Of course, you can continue to work and live in Bolzano and by extension, Italy, regardless (thanks to EU law). It is more a question of personal choice. After 5 years, you will be entitled to request Italian citizenship.
In general, a PhD student is not allowed to work, if recipeient of a grant, unless granted the permit by his supervisor and the head of the PhD programme. If granted, two cases apply:
EU citizens: No restrictions whatsoever.
Non EU citizens: up to 1,040 hours per year (i.e. the validity of your permit). It doesn't matter how they are distributed. There are no restrictions in the kind of contracts. If you want to work full-time, you have to ask for a different permit following the Italian quota system.
Renting an Appartment
There are many kinds of contracts. Usually you will be asked to sign (i) rent contract and (ii) contracts for water, electricity and gas. Furthermore, you will be asked to pay the maintenance costs. Note that in all of these cases, you will pay (i) a special tax when you sign and (ii) an extra tax every year, for each contract. Once you sign in for the "anagrafe" and have been granted your "citadinanza" (i.e. city dweller status in Bolzano), you can apply for the housing subsidy (whose quantity that depends on your income).
The "anagrafe" is basically the registry of the citizens and residents of any given Italian city (called "residenza", not to be confused with that of the Italian state). It has its purposes. You need it for a good many administrative procedures, like, getting a driver's license, buying a car or an an apartment. It is free. You just have to go to the city hall with your passport and fill and sign a form. After that, you will be issued a card ("carta di cittadinanza", not to be confused with Italian citinzenship).
Pay heed to the fact that if you sign you will be regarded as having in Italy you tax residence and you will have to pay INPS and any tax you are avoiding due to any double-taxation bilateral agreeent holding between Italy and your country.
Having a Car
If you plan to buy /bring a car you have to remember the following. You need a valid EU driving license. Things get more complicated when you want to go beyond this. If you want to buy a car or at any event register in Italy yours, you will have to (i) sign in in the anagrafe, (ii) convert your driving license to an Italian one (iii) pay for the registration (which is quite expensive) and, for the killer, (iv) get an Italian car insurance (worth 800€ per year, just for Italy). Taking the license examination (if you do not have a EU license) will cost an extra 1,000€. The only benefit, to our knowledge, of registering your car in Bolzano is that you can park it somewhere instead of nowhere.
Italy is not Switzerland, so banking is quite of a hassle. You will need your codice fiscale and a university enrollement certificate.
EU citizens: An issue to disregard.
Non-EU citizens: During your studies you will probably travel to conferences and summer schools which will be held in countries outside of the EU and for which you will have to ask for a visa. Consulates are found mostly in Rome and in Milano, so you will have to go there. Furthermore, the procedure in Italy is, somehow, at least twice as long as in the rest of the EU, so it advisable to request them 2 to 3 months in advance. Of course, if your permit is still in the process of being renewed, you will not be able to go anywhere outside Italy.