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BUREAUCRACY

How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online

Italy's public administration is gradually moving more of its services online - but how do you access them securely? Your ID card and a smartphone might be the key.

How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online
Italy's public administration is slowly getting online. Photo: Anna Monaco/AFP

With so much of Italy’s administration under regional, provincial or municipal control, in your daily life here you’ll likely have to deal with a patchwork of different agencies.

Mercifully, more and more of them are giving the option to do basic bureaucracy online instead of schlepping round offices in person, whether it’s downloading a certificate of residence, logging into your social security account or paying your vehicle tax.

READ ALSO: How Italy just made it easier to access essential paperwork online

Previously, you might have been able to access these services by simply creating a username and password for each website. But the Italian government is on a push to standardise the way you log in.

It created an electronic ID system, SPID, that serves as a kind of digital passport – a secure personal login that works across multiple official websites.

The government mandated that all branches of public administration had to enable access via SPID from March 2021.

But what if you don’t want to go to the trouble of creating a SPID, which involves registering with a private provider, verifying your identity either in person or via webcam, and depending on which service you choose, may require a fee?

The good news is that you may already have everything you need for online admin. Here’s how to use your Italian ID card and your smartphone to log in.

What you’ll need

  • Electronic ID card (carta di identità elettronica – CIE)
  • PIN for your ID card
  • Smartphone

You’ll need a plastic ID card (not one of the paper ones), which all legal residents of Italy are entitled to apply for via their local anagrafe or registry office. Italian nationals can also apply from outside Italy at their nearest consulate. Find more information about how to apply here (in Italian).

Within the card is a microchip, which contains your personal details, photo and fingerprints in digital form.

An example of an Italian electronic ID card provided by the Interior Ministry.

When you apply for your CIE, you’ll be given a receipt with the first four digits of two important codes: your card’s PIN, which you’ll need in order to use it as a login device, and the PUK, which you’ll need to unblock it if you accidentally enter the wrong PIN too many times.

The final four digits of each code will arrive when your card is delivered to you around a week later.

READ ALSO: What is a SPID and how do you get one?

Keep hold of the receipts and/or make a note of both full eight-digit codes. If you no longer have your codes, you’ll have to request them in person from your anagrafe.

Assuming you have your CIE and PIN to hand, the next thing you’ll need is a smartphone equipped with NFC or “near-field communication”, which basically means it’s capable of sharing data contactlessly. Can you swipe your phone to pay for things? Congratulations, it’s NFC-equipped! (If you’re not sure, find a list of compatible models here.)

Using the CieID app

Until recently, the only way to access the microchip within your ID card was to plug it into a card reader and connect that to your computer. That’s still an option – but if you don’t own a card reader and don’t fancy buying one, there’s now a way to use your smartphone instead.

Download CieID (available for both Android and iOS), a free government app allows you use your smartphone to scan your ID card.

To register, open the app and select ‘Registra la tua carta’. You’ll be prompted to enter your eight-digit PIN and then scan your ID card by holding it firmly up to the back of your phone, towards the top (if you’re struggling to get your card to scan, trying rubbing it clean, placing it on a flat surface, or moving it slowly behind your phone until it connects). Keep it there for several seconds until the app says ‘Registrazione carta terminata con successo’ (‘registration successful’).

If your phone has a fingerprint scanner, it will give you the option to enable your print to identify yourself next time you use the app. Alternatively, you’ll just use the last four digits of your PIN from now on. 

READ ALSO: 

Now you’re registered, open the website you want to access, either on your computer or directly on your smartphone. Important: make sure you’re using Chrome, as for the moment it’s the only browser that CieID is compatible with.

Click ‘Entra con CIE’ (‘login with ID card’) and follow the instructions. If you’re on your phone, you’ll be automatically prompted to open the CieID app, identify yourself with your fingerprint or the last half of your PIN, scan your card, and authorise the use of your data.

Watch a demonstration here:

If you’re using a computer, click ‘Prosegui con smartphone’ (‘proceed with smartphone’) and enter your ID card’s serial number, a combination of nine letters and numbers starting ‘CA’ that you’ll find in the top right corner. 

That will bring up a QR code. On your phone, open the CieID app and select ‘Scansciona codice QR’, then scan the QR code with your phone.

You’ll be prompted to identify yourself on the app using either your fingerprint or the last half of your PIN, as well as scanning your ID card again. Once that’s completed, the app will generate a temporary four-digit code (OTP or “one-time password”) that you should type into your browser. 

Finally, you’ll be asked to authorise the website to access the personal data stored on your ID card. Click ‘Autorizza l’invio dei dati’ to consent and, once it’s processed, you should be logged in.

Watch a demonstration here:

Using the IO app

You can also use your ID card and PIN to log into IO, the government’s app for accessing public services as well as consumer bonuses like its cashback scheme.

READ ALSO: How to earn cashback from the government for shopping in Italy

Once you’ve downloaded and installed IO, open the app and choose ‘Entra con CIE’. You’ll be prompted to enter your eight-digit PIN, then hold your card to your phone to scan it and authorise the app to access the data stored on it.

What services can you access using your ID card?

It depends where in Italy you live and how tech-friendly your local authorities are.

Several Italian regions, including Lazio, Tuscany, Piedmont and Puglia, allow you to log into any of their online public services using your ID card, as do a number of individual municipalities. Some national agencies, including the tax office Agenzia delle Entrate, social security service INPS and drivers’ association ACI, have also enabled CIE access. Find a full list here.

Ultimately, the government wants all public administration websites to be accessible either by SPID or ID card. All of them have to enable these options by March.

There’ll be a transition period until September 30th 2021 during which you can continue to use your old credentials, but after that, SPID or ID card will be the only way to access public services online.

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For members

CRIME

REVEALED: The cities in Italy with the highest crime rates

From robbery and vehicle theft to cyber fraud and blackmail, where are you most likely to be a victim of crime in Italy? Here are the country’s latest crime figures.

REVEALED: The cities in Italy with the highest crime rates

While Italy is among the safest countries in the world – it ranked 32nd out of 163 in the latest Global Peace Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace – crime is a concern in many parts of the boot, especially in big cities. 

Milan is by far the Italian city with the highest crime rate, according to data from Italy’s Department of Public Security collated in a report by financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

Altogether, as many as 193,700 crimes were reported in the city in 2021 – that’s nearly 6,000 reported crimes for every 100,000 residents. 

But while Milan takes the unenviable title of Italy’s ‘crime capital’, things aren’t much better in other major cities as Turin (3rd overall), Bologna (4th), Rome (5th), Florence (7th) and Naples (10th) all figure in the top 10. 

Italy's crime map in 2021

Milan is Italy’s ‘crime capital’, followed by Rimini and Turin. Image: Il Sole 24 Ore

The top of the table is completed by smaller and, perhaps, slightly unassuming Italian cities, namely Rimini (2nd), Imperia (6th), Prato (8th) and Livorno (9th).

READ ALSO: What happens when a foreign national gets arrested in Italy?

That said, while the overall crime rate ranking shows us Italy’s crime hotspots, it doesn’t provide any insight into the types of offences committed, which is why it is worth looking into single-offence rankings. 

For instance, Milan, Rimini and Rome are the top Italian cities when it comes to theft-related offences, with all three locations registering well over 2,000 reported thefts per 100,000 residents in 2021. 

Crime card for Rome, Italy

Italy’s capital city, Rome, has the fifth-highest crime rate in the country. Image: Il Sole 24 Ore

But while these cities remain the country’s overall theft capitals, other Italian cities seem to have their own ‘theft specialisation’. 

For example, Ravenna ranks first for home burglaries, while Naples and Barletta are first for motorcycle and car thefts respectively. 

As for other types of offences, the northern city of Trieste is first for sexual violence (as many as 25 reported crimes per 100,000 residents) and attempted murder, whereas Gorizia is the worst Italian city when it comes to cyber fraud and online scams. 

Finally, Biella ranks first for blackmail and extortion, while La Spezia is Italy’s ‘drug-dealing capital’.

Trieste's crime card, Italy

Trieste is the worst Italian city in terms of sexual violence offences. Image: Il Sole 24 Ore

Il Sole 24 Ore’s report however shows that Italy registered far fewer crimes in 2021 than it did in 2019, especially in big cities.

Notably, in Florence and Venice the number of reported crimes was down by 24.6 and 17.8 percent respectively.

READ ALSO: Rome shooting: What was behind attack that killed friend of Italy’s PM?

It should be pointed out, however, how the presence of Covid-related social restrictions throughout the first half of 2021 likely contributed in some measure to the overall drop in reported crime. 

It’s also worth noting that, in spite of such measures, some smaller Italian provinces still experienced significantly negative trends, with Piacenza, Isernia and Rieti all registering higher crime rates compared to 2019.

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