In addition to a visa if you are not an EU citizen, 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 della 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.
Applying for a Codice Fiscale for a Newborn Baby
If you give birth in Italy, your child will need a codice fiscale in order to access any government services. You can go directly to the Agenzia della Entrata with no appointment. You will be given a form to fill out and then a number to wait to be called.
Simply be sure to bring a copy of the hospital birth certificate (you do not need the official one from the city hall), and a copy of each parent’s passport. Only one parent needs to be present to apply for the codice fiscale and you do not need to bring the newborn baby with you.