Living in Italy: Getting a Codice Fiscale

I recently met up with R for aperitivo and a chat about life in Rome.

Over wine and Oasi della Birra’s buffet we talked about the poorly defined bureaucratic hurdles that one has to navigate when moving to Rome, or living anywhere else in Italy.

In addition to a visa, one of the things you need for life in Italy is a codice fiscale.  A codice fiscale is an Italian fiscal code that serves as a unique identifier, similar to America’s social security number.  The code is generated using your name, date of birth and place of birth.  You can find the formula used here.

You will find that you need a codice fiscale to do lots of things in Italy: rent an apartment, open a bank account, get internet set up at home… hell, you even need one for a gym membership.

The easiest thing to do, is to request a codice fiscale at your Italian consulate/embassy at the same time you apply for your visa.  Getting a codice fiscale at the Los Angeles Italian Consulate was the single easiest thing I ever did there. I showed up without an appointment and was handed a stamped document with my very own fiscal code in under 10 minutes.  This service is available at Italian consulates in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Codice-fiscale1Image source

If you arrive in Italy without a codice fiscale, you can apply for one at the nearest Agenzia Entrata.

Since the code is based on your name, place of birth and date of birth, in a pinch you can also use online generators to estimate what your codice fiscale should be.  A few examples of these websites can be found here and here.

Finally, a codice fiscale is completely free. 

In the grand scheme of things, getting this code is one of the simpler bureaucratic hassles that Italy has ready and waiting for you and you should not pay someone to obtain your codice fiscale. Just make sure to bring a valid passport with you, as well as your permesso di soggiorno should you need to apply within Italy.



  • Reply Lucy May 6, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Oh my God, don’t even start talking to me about codici fiscali! I had to go get one with my boss before they paid me for the first time but as I was living with my boyfriend and thus had no contract of accommodation, they refused to give me one. Then they suggested signing me up as living in the office (as my boss was present they said this was ok) and that I could change it at the comune with my boyfriend in tow to confirm I lived there. The comune said this was not possible – but hey, at least I had a tax code! It’s just that now I apparently live in a warehouse on an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere… before all of that, it was so hard to do anything! When they asked me for one at the swimming pool I nearly broke down haha xxx
    La Lingua : Food, Life, Love, Travel, Friends, Italy

  • Reply Glenda June 14, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Does this apply to vacation apartment rentals?

    • Reply Natalie June 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Most likely not! Only when you are signing a registered lease. I imagine that holiday apartments function like hotel rooms, and you certainly don’t need one for hotels. I wouldn’t worry unless you are planning a long term, formal agreement.

  • Reply Lois morgan May 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I have a friend that lives in Italy
    She want to come to US
    The codice fiscale card like a green to travel here

    • Reply Natalie May 13, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Lois – a codice fiscale is more like a social security number. It has nothing to do with a visa/green card. I am not an expert, but I think your friend has to go through normal US immigration procedures — there is no connection to a fiscal code.

  • Reply bonnie melielo October 22, 2016 at 7:21 am

    I was asked for one when I was buying a phone at the TIM store, as a tourist mind you. The gentleman selling me the phone made one up on the spot to write down in the required space. Done. 🙂

    • Reply Natalie October 22, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Ah yes! There is a formula, but for more formal contracts – like rentals or bank accounts, it is useful to have the official document.

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