In this article we will focus on how an American Citizen can get, quickly, the Italian Fiscale code, the "Codice Fiscale".
The Italian Fiscal code is an alphanumeric code of 16 characters that has the same function of the US Social Security Number and it's used in many situations, like opening a bank account, purchasing a house and paying the taxes in Italy.
1. THE ITALIAN FISCAL CODE CAN BE CALCULATED.
The first two things to be said is that the Italian Fiscal code, differently from the US Social Security Number, is a code:
- that can be calculated and it's not just a string of casual numbers or letters;
- whose last digit is a control character that is useful to tell if the code is correct.
There are several ways to calculate your Italian Fiscal code, and there are several online tools that allow this calculation, like for example the following one:
The data that you need to insert are the following:
Last name: for married women is strongly suggested to use always their maiden name;
Date of birth: remember that in Italy dates have the following form: dd/mm/yyyy;
Place of Birth:
- for people that were born outside of Italy it's necessary to write the Country of birth (in the link above, you have to write "Stati Uniti" and then select the option that comes out);
- for people that were born in Italy it's necesssary to write the "Comune" where the person is born;
Sex: Male or Female.
Suppose that these are your data:
First name: John.
Last name: Armstrong.
Date of birth: 1 December 1970.
Place of Birth: "Stati Uniti d'America".
Your Codice Fiscale Italiano will be the following one:
"RMS": the first three digits come from the last name;
"JHN": the second three digits come from the first name;
"70": this character comes from the year of birth;
"T": this digit corresponds to December, the month od birth (A=January; etc.);
"01": these digits come from the day of birth; in case of a woman, these last two digits would have been calculated in this way: the number correspondent to the day of birth plus 40; example: Joanna Armstrong, who was born on 17 July, would have the following two digits: 17 (day of birth) + 40 = "57".
"Z404": means that you were born in the US. All people that were born in the US have always the Z404 character.
"P" is the control character that is chosen with an algorithm that depends on all the 15 previous digits. If the same person would have been born one year later (so he would have "71" instead of "70"), the last digit would not have been "P" but another letter.
"P" is very important because if you make a mistake on a single digit in copying your Codice Fiscale, the last digit would be different than "P": so there is the possibility to check and tell you when a certain Codice Fiscale is wrong.
The fact that you can calculate yourself your Codice Fiscale is pretty important, as you can already know what is your Italian Fiscal code even before getting it or appliying for it.
Be careful, though: knowing what is your Codice Fiscale doesn't mean your Codice Fiscale exists: you can get your Codice Fiscale only by applying to Agenzia delle Entrate or in the other ways we will explain below.
2. THE NAME OF THE CARD IS "TESSERA SANITARIA".
As you can tell from the image above, the card you will receive once you apply is called "Tessera Sanitaria": you will receive it by mail two or three weeks after your application.
The name is not "Codice Fiscale" because the Card you will receive is an alectronic card (somehow similar to a Credit Card) with a chip that is connected with your identity: once you enter into a hospital or you need any kind of health assistance, you will be recognized immediately by the Tessera Sanitaria - Codice Fiscale.
So the Italian Fiscal code is important also for healthcare reasons.
3. THE BACK OF THE ITALIAN FISCAL CODE CARD.
The back of the Italian Fiscal Code card has the following image:
Note that the Tessera Sanitaria is also a "Tessera Europea di Assicurazione Malattia": that means that it covers, with some limitations, also some health expenses in the other Countries that are part of the European Union.
Note also that the date on the bottom righ part of the card is the expiration date: this does not mean that your Codice Fiscale is "temporary", it only means that you will have to ask for another Card. But the Codice Fiscale itself lasts forever.
Keep also in mind that the string of numbers on the bottom left part of the card can be important in case you need to make an appointment to get a vaccination.
4. WHEN DO YOU NEED YOUR CODICE FISCALE ITALIANO?
The most common cases in which you need to get the Italian Fiscal code are the following ones:
- open a bank account;
- purchase a house;
- purchase shares of an Italian Company;
- find a job in Italy;
- sign a rent contract;
- buy a mobile phone;
- buy a car;
- pay Estate Property Tax (IMU);
- pay Income taxes;
- file the Italian Tax Return;
- apply for the Italian Identity Card;
In a few words: it's absolutely necessary to have it, in case you want to move to Italy.
5. WHAT IF I GET MARRIED AND I CHANGE MY LAST NAME?
If you already have your codice fiscale, you don't have to do anything. Remember that in Italy, from a legal point of view, married women keep their maiden name. So your Italian Fiscale code is the same.
In case you come to Italy as a spouse, remember to use your maiden name when you apply for the Codice Fiscale Italiano.
6. HOW TO GET THE ITALIAN FISCAL CODE.
There are several cases:
- Italian Citizens and dual Citizens receive always their Codice Fiscale - Tessera Sanitaria when they are born.
- American Citizens need to file an application.
1) If the American Citizen applies from outside of Italy, there are two options:
A) Apply for the Italian Fiscal Code via Consulate or Embassy.
See for example this link:
- Italian IRS (Agenzia delle Entrate) requires the Foreign Citizens to tell why they need an Italian Fiscal code.
- If you apply because of a Student Visa, you need to add your school acceptance letter.
These are the links for the main form:
- Using the Consulate, it's necessary to wait at least 30 days to get the Italian Fiscal code (but, in our exerience the waiting time can be much longer that 30 days).
B) Apply for the Italian Fiscal Code with the help of a Professional.
In this case you need to hire a "Dottore Commercialista" (CPA) or "Avvocato" (Lawyer) and give them a Power of attorney in order let them represent you in front of the Agenzia delle Entrate. They can ask the Codice Fiscale for you.
In this case you need to send also copy of your Passport.
This way is much quicker than the previous one.
2) If the American Citizen applies in Italy: in this case, the quickest way to get the Italian Fiscal code is for the person to go directly to the local office of the Agenzia delle Entrate and applies inside the office.
It's suggested also in this case to have the support of a Professional, as people inside the Agenzia delle Entrate do not speak english.
An important thing to keep in mind is that, in case the American Citizen is also applying for a Job VISA in Italy, the process of getting the Italian Fiscal code could be different, as the Codice Fiscale could be issued by the "Questura" and not by the Agenzia delle Entrate.