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EXPLAINED: How to change your registered address in Italy

Once you're resident in Italy, you should inform the local authorities each time you move. Here's a guide to the process.

A house in Venice, Italy.
Do the Italian authorities know where you live? Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

Under Italian law, anyone who plans to stay permanently should register as a resident within three months of moving here. (If you haven’t done it yet, find a guide here.)

That involves informing your municipality of your official address in Italy, and if you move, you’ll need to let them know.

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between Italian residency and citizenship?

Thankfully, changing your registered residence within Italy isn’t too complicated – and you may even be able to do it online.

Here’s how the process works.

Why do you have to register a change of address?

Where you’re registered as living determines where you can access various services in Italy. Notably, if you sign up for national healthcare you’ll be assigned to the local health authority nearest your address and registered with a GP in the same district. 

You’ll also have to deal with whichever civil registry office, tax office, department of motor vehicles – and so on and so on – is closest to your official residence.

So registering your new address makes the biggest difference if you’re moving from one municipality or region to another, but even if you’re moving within the same city, it can still save you a trip across town.

READ ALSO: Beat the queues: 19 bits of Italian bureaucracy you can do online

You might not be allowed to park your car for free or drive in certain areas unless you’re a registered resident of your town. And there are also tax implications depending on what kind of property you’re registered as living in, and with whom.

Not to mention that, especially if you’re a foreign national in Italy dealing with immigration procedures, you’ll want to be sure that all your paperwork is in order and official correspondence goes to the correct address.

How do you change your registered address in Italy?

First, the good news: if you’ve already been through the process of transferring your residency to Italy from overseas, it gets a lot easier from here on out. You won’t have to prove you have the means to support yourself or access to healthcare all over again.

Instead, you just need to show that you really do live at your new address.

That involves registering with the anagrafe (civil registry office) of the comune (municipality) you’re moving to. 

What documents do you need?

You’ll have to fill in a declaration of residency (‘dichiarazione di residenza‘), which you should be able to find on your comune‘s website. 

It may be the same form as the one you filled in the first time you registered your residency in Italy, but this time you’ll tick the option ‘Dichiarazione di residenza con provenienza da altro comune‘ (“transfer of residency from a different municipality”) or ‘Dichiarazione di cambiamento di abitazione nell’ambito dello stesso comune‘ (“change of address within the same municipality”).

As proof of address you’ll need one of the following:

  • Deeds in your name showing you own the property.
  • Tenancy agreement showing you’re renting the property.
  • Written consent from the owner stating that you have their permission to live there, signed and accompanied by a copy of their ID (search for ‘dichiarazione di consenso del proprietario dell’immobile‘ to find an example).

On top of that, you’ll need these documents to prove your identity:

  • For EU nationals: passport or Italian ID card.
  • For non-EU nationals: passport and permesso di soggiorno (residence permit).
  • Certificate or card showing your codice fiscale (tax code).

If you own a vehicle, you should also show your driver’s licence and vehicle registration documents – but only if they were issued in Italy.

If you’re moving with family members, you can switch everyone’s address at the same time. Complete one application for the whole household, making sure to list each member and include copies of their ID and codice fiscale.

Or if you’re moving in with someone else already registered at your new address, they’ll need to give written consent (search for ‘atto di assenso al trasferimento di residenza‘ to see an example). You should also make a copy of their ID.

Where do you send the request?

Send your declaration form and all your supporting documents to the anagrafe in your new comune.

Many municipalities allow you to do so via email, with your documents as scanned attachments. Check your comune‘s website for the right email address (look for one specifically for residency requests, if possible).

Some municipalities even have web portals allowing you to complete the whole process online. They might require a digital ID (SPID) or electronic ID card (CIE) to register.

Alternatively, you may be able to submit your request by fax or registered post.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic many registry offices are currently closed to the public or open by appointment only, so if you really can’t avoid going in person, call ahead or use a booking service like TuPassi to make an appointment online.

What happens next?

Your change of registered address is supposed to take effect within two working days of your anagrafe receiving the request. After this point you should be able to request a new certificate of residence showing that you have requested a change of address.

But the change isn’t officially confirmed until your documents have been verified and local police have come to your new address to check you’re living there (so make sure you put your name on the doorbell and/or mailbox).

They are supposed to do so within 45 days of your request. If you haven’t heard anything after that, you can assume that your registration has been accepted.

These timelines are subject to delays, however, especially at the moment. Municipal offices may have reduced hours and considerable backlogs after panemic-related closures, so expect bureaucratic procedures to take even longer than usual.

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Are English speakers more likely to be targeted by scams in Italy?

There's no shortage of stories about tourists or new residents being ripped off in Italy. American writer Mark Hinshaw in Le Marche asks how common such scams really are and whether English-speaking foreigners are more likely to be targets.

Are English speakers more likely to be targeted by scams in Italy?

Another foreign resident here in Italy recently related to me a tale of woe from one of her friends who was taken advantage of by a local contractor. She felt she was significantly overcharged for work done and wondered if others had similar experiences. Facebook expat groups are filled with stories of visitors and residents being ripped off, with the reader possibly inferring that this must be a common occurrence.

Obviously, it’s hazardous to make generalizations. Regions differ. Cities and towns differ. People differ. In any country or culture, one is going to encounter people who are scammers, petty thieves, or just plain dishonest.

For many hundreds of years, the Italian peninsula has been inundated by waves of tourists and newcomers from countries that are seen as wealthy. Indeed, it was a prime destination for men and women from aristocratic families on a continental Grand Tour. For the past six decades, young people from wealthier countries have been doing their own low-budget version of this rite of passage, with roving backpackers in shorts and hiking boots seen in every city, large and small. 

Whenever newcomers are seen displaying money – paying for a coffee with a credit card, buying expensive watches or shoes, and eating in overpriced, tourist-oriented restaurants – someone is going to view them as easy pickings. 

There is certainly no shortage of scams at all scales. There are the minor annoyances like the guys in Rome dressed as gladiators who are eager to take pictures with you, only to then insist upon ten euros for the privilege. There are also the listings online of houses that don’t reveal the extent of earthquake damage and want a top-drawer price. Warning: “Caveat emptor.”

READ ALSO: How to avoid hidden traps when buying an old property in Italy

Tourists are the easiest of marks. Thieves and scammers know they are likely to get away before being discovered. Or the victim won’t know how to find the police and report it. Or worse, the police will respond but with shrugged shoulders. 

One episode in the Netflix series, Master of None, captured such an interchange beautifully: the carabinieri were more interested in a fragrant dish made by the thief’s mamma than in solving the crime.

But when someone chooses to live in an Italian town, the dynamic is different. Many Italians are used to foreigners coming during certain seasons to escape undesirable weather in their own country, then disappearing for months. 

In our region locals even have a specific, mildly derisive word for such people: pendoli, like pendulums that swing back and forth. It took us a full year for our neighbors to be convinced that we were staying put.

One obvious problem that generates ill will and a suspicion of being cheated is being unfamiliar with different practices. 

For example, it is not common for a contractor to clean up a work site once a project is completed, as part of the primary contract. This is common practice in the US, but in Italy, that is handled through another separate contract sometimes with another company. So if a foreigner is expecting the service and it doesn’t happen, he can feel that he was tricked into paying more.

Cheap Italian properties aren’t always what unsuspecting buyers hope. Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash

Another problem, as I see it, is that many English speakers choose to only develop relationships with other English-speaking expats. Worse, some exhibit a sense of entitlement or even superiority toward service workers, bureaucrats, and shopkeepers. The word gets out fast, especially in small towns.

READ ALSO: From bureaucracy to bidets: The most perplexing things about life in Italy

There’s also the fact that – almost unavoidably  –  foreigners are wealthier than locals. Having a second home in Italy is a sign of wealth. Certainly, a big holiday home with a large pool and gated entry is a dead give-away. Again, the word gets out fast, sometimes to criminals. We have a friend who went on vacation only to return to find his house in the country had been stripped of everything, including the heating system. The thieves pulled up with a big truck and went to town unimpeded. 

It’s vitally important for newcomers to establish relationships with locals. Of course, that means learning the language. Not necessarily all the conjugations of verbs but enough to make social connections. On our little lane with a dozen houses, everyone looks after each other. It would be very difficult for a stranger to pull something off.  

In our five years of living in this village of 1400 people, we have never felt that we were taken advantage of.

We know that we are perceived as the ‘wealthy Americans’ in town. We cannot avoid it. We live in a house that used to hold two big families. We have a panoramic view that everyone remarks on. We receive many packages, with delivery people asking shopkeepers and passersby where we live. They all know.

According to ISTAT, the medium income for Italian households is barely more than 30,000 euros per year. And that is very often with more than one person working. Accordingly, by Italian standards, we ARE wealthy, even though we do not consider ourselves to be. (In the US, our income would be considered close to poverty level in some places.) So, relatively wealthy Americans cannot help but stand out.

READ ALSO: ‘How I got an elective residency visa to retire in Italy’

Although we have never been victimized (knock on wood), I have no doubt that foreign residents in other towns have been. 

It may be more common in parts of Italy with seasonal hordes of tourists. Foreigners can be seen as easy marks, as they don’t understand the language and sometimes are careless when it comes to showing signs of wealth. 

Some people seem to fall for scams. I once watched, from an upper-story window, tourists being repeatedly robbed of their money by a shell game.

It was like a bizarre theatrical performance, with shills planted in the audience who would ‘win’ their game. Within minutes, with lightning-fast shuffles, hundreds of euros were taken from unsuspecting players.

A mocked-up ‘shell game’: one way unsuspecting tourists are parted from their money in Italy. Photo: Mark Hinshaw

Unfortunately, as an expat, one can be both welcomed by some people and taken advantage of by others. But that’s happened to me in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago – places I know well in my own country. One cannot always be vigilant. Or paranoid.

Mark Hinshaw is a retired city planner living in Le Marche with his wife. A former columnist for The Seattle Times, he contributes to journals, books and other publications.