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.
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.