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BUREAUCRACY

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

Italy’s government has launched a new national platform allowing residents to download official records, including residency and marriage certificates, for free online instead of queuing up at the comune. Here's how to use it.

Trieste's comune town hall. A new national platform provided by Italy’s government will allow residents to access official records online without go to the comune in person.
A new national platform provided by Italy’s government will allow residents to access official records online without go to the town hall in person. Photo: MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

The ANPR (Anagrafe Nazionale Popolazione Residente, or National Population Register) platform, launched on November 15th, for the first time aggregates information from comuni (town halls) across Italy and brings it together in one national database.

Residents can use any of their SPID (Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale or ‘Public Digital Identity System’), CIE (Carta d’Identità Elettronica or Electronic Identity Card), or CNS (National Services Card) details to log into the site and view and download pdf copies of their official certificates (and those of their family members) free of charge.

READ ALSO: How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online

The move is the latest in a series of steps taken by the Italian authorities to try to move administrative processes online to reduce bureaucratic hurdles.

Recent developments include the ability to access health records, register a change of address, and apply for Italian citizenship online.

The option of downloading official certificates was already available to some Italian residents via their own comune’s website; but whether you had access to this service depended entirely on your local authority, with many smaller comuni lacking the resources to provide such services online.

This means that many Italian residents have until now been required to visit their comune and fork out for a tax stamp every time they need a copy of their residency or marriage certificate.

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

As official copies of such documents expire after six months, and must usually be requested in person at the relevant comune (not necessarily the one covering the area you live in), getting hold of these documents can take up significant amounts of time and money.

The launch of the new nationwide website on Monday means that changes, as every resident can access and download their official records online through the ANPR portal for free.

Some 8,000 Italian municipalities have signed up to use the portal, which lists the 63 remaining towns yet to get on board.

Where do I go?

The site can be found at: www.anagrafenazionale.interno.it

Residents wanting to use the service should scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on ‘accedi ai servizi‘ to be taken to the login page here.

Once logged in, to access a certificate you should click on the Certificati tab near the top of the page.

You will be given the option to request a certificate for yourself or for a family member; if you choose the latter, you’ll be given a list of names of relatives you’re allowed to request records for.

The home page of the ANPR web portal.

What do I need to log in to the site?

As mentioned above, you any of need your SPID, CIE, or CNS details to log in.

Bear in mind that with a Carta d’Identità Elettronica, you need not just your CIE number but must also to be logged into the CIE ID app.

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

To first register with the app, you need the two four-digit PINs you received on applying for and on first receiving the card.

If you’re not sure what those are, you’ll need to go in person to your comune to request them; so if you haven’t already, you may find it easier to sign up for a SPID.

What can I get?

The interior ministry states that you can use the platform to access all-important documents including birth, marriage, residency and citizenship certificates.

You can also use it to download the following:

  • AIRE (Anagrafe Italiani Residenti all’Estero, or Register of Italians Resident Abroad) residency certificates
  • Civil status certificates
  • Family status certificates
  • Cohabitation certificates and contracts
  • ‘Existence of life’ certificate
  • AIRE family status certificates
  • Family status with relationships certificates
  • Unmarried status certificates
  • Civil union registry certificates

What does it cost?

As of November 2021, it costs nothing for a resident to download an official certificate from the ANPR website.

The site does say that all users are exempted from the requirement to pay for a tax stamp until December 31, 2021, so it’s possible that from the start of 2022, a fee may be applied.

There is a (currently redundant) option to tick a box saying that you fall into a category that exempts you from the requirement to pay for a tax stamp, again implying that such a requirement could be introduced further down the line.

Until at least the end of 2021, though, the service is free to all.

Can I use the platform for anything else?

You can’t currently use the portal to make any changes to your current status; e.g., to change your address to update your residency information or to update your civil status, etc.

However, you can make a ‘rectification request’ by clicking on the Rettifica dati tab.

This is specifically to correct factual information that, for whatever reason, is recorded incorrectly on the platform. It includes things like the spelling of your name, your date of birth, and the details of your identity documents.

Member comments

  1. Is there a way for Italians living abroad to get access if at the moment they don’t have a SPID, CIE, or CNS? Which of these (SPID, CIE, or CNS) can be from abroad? Thanks

    1. Hi,

      It doesn’t look like that’s possible at the moment unfortunately as this platform is intended for residents, but we’ll update the article if this changes.

      All best,
      – Clare

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For members

ITALIAN LANGUAGE

TEST: Is your Italian good enough for citizenship?

To become an Italian citizen, you may need to prove your language skills. Do yours make the grade?

TEST: Is your Italian good enough for citizenship?

From being able to confidently order a gelato to total fluency, there’s a huge variation in the levels of Italian attained by foreigners in Italy.

But there are certain bureaucratic processes that require formal qualifications. When applying for Italian citizenship through marriage or residence (but not via ancestry), you must prove proficiency in the Italian language at B1 level or higher.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Italy’s language test for citizenship

In most cases, getting a carta di soggiorno residency permit has no formal language requirement, though some non-EU nationals may need to sit a language test at the lower A2 level. Read more about that here.

This article relates solely to language ability for obtaining citizenship; the application process has several other requirements depending on which route you take. Read more about this here.

So what does B1 mean?

A B1 level certification is a ‘lower intermediate’ level and means you are proficient enough in the language to manage everyday interactions, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

This level of proficiency allows you to “communicate in most situations that arise while travelling” and to understand topics “regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.”

So there’s no need to write with perfect grammar, have an extensive vocabulary, or be able to recite Dante’s Inferno in the original language – but people at this level should be able to make themselves understood in most everyday situations.

It should also be enough to follow most conversations and TV shows or get the gist of what’s in Italian newspapers.

If you’ve lived in Italy for a while, there’s a good chance you’re already at this level or close to it. After all, a decent grasp of Italian really is necessary for everyday life in the country outside of the main city centres and tourist hotspots.

If not, it might be time to sign up for Italian language classes – if you haven’t already. 

If you want to check, there are numerous Italian language level tests available online, such as this one.

What does the B1 language test involve?

The exact structure of the test varies between the four administered by educational institutions approved by the Italian Education Ministry or Foreign Ministry.

They are: The University of Siena for Foreigners (CILS); The University of Perugia for Foreigners (CELI); The Dante Alighieri Association (PLIDA); and The University of Rome 3 (CERT)

These tests can be taken at language schools around Italy and abroad. If your language school advertises B1 testing for citizenship, make sure they are accredited by one of the above institutions.

The structure of the test also differs depending on whether you’re taking the B1 cittadinanza exam or a regular B1 level Italian language certification.

READ ALSO: 12 signs you’ve cracked the Italian language

Could you pass an Italian language test at B1 level? Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Both tests involve answering similar questions at the same level, but the B1 cittadinanza is essentially a shorter version which costs less to take. The downside is this certificate can only be used for your citizenship application and not for other purposes, such as for university applications.

And though it’s shorter, it may not actually be easier to pass; if you fail on one section you will have to retake the entire test (as opposed to just retaking that section under the standard B1 level tests listed above.)

If you’re fairly confident of passing and don’t need it for anything else, it may be the more convenient option.

In any case, the test will involve at least four sections; a written test, reading tests, listening test and an oral test where you have a conversation with an examiner.

Listening 

For this section you will have to listen to two recordings; one of a conversation, and another of a short monologue.

The format varies and each section will be played at least twice.

Here is a sample question from a past paper, after the candidates had listened to a short clip of someone talking about the southern region of Puglia – click here for the audio and transcription.

Ascolta il testo. Poi leggi le informazioni. Scegli le informazioni presenti nel testo (3 per testo).

A) Il programma radiofonico riguarda la cucina tradizionale italiana.
B) Gli ascoltatori partecipano a un quiz e possono vincere un viaggio.
C) La regione Puglia ha ricevuto un importante premio.
D) Questa estate in Puglia è diminuito il numero dei turisti.
E) In Puglia ci sono paesi tranquilli dove ci si può rilassare.
F) La Puglia offre un’ampia scelta di sistemazioni turistiche.

Reading and grammar

This section involves reading two pieces of text, testing your reading comprehension and grammatical knowledge.

Here are some sample questions from a past B1 paper, relating to a report about new public services from the regional government in Tuscany.

A) La Regione Toscana vuole migliorare i servizi online per i cittadini e i turisti.
B) Attraverso un numero verde i cittadini possono segnalare difficoltà, chiedere informazioni, dare consigli sui trasporti pubblici.
C) L’attivazione del numero verde ha lo scopo di limitare i danni ai viaggiatori nell’ambito del trasporto locale.
D) Il numero verde 800-570530 non è attivo il sabato e la domenica.
E) Se il numero verde riceve una telefonata di protesta su un servizio deve informare la ditta responsabile di quel servizio.

See the text and further questions here.

Writing

For the writing test, you’ll need to choose between two prompts and then write 80-120 words.

In this example, you’re asked to write to your landlord to tell them you’re moving out because you have problems with the neighbours.

You’re asked to explain the problem and ask what you need to do, and whether you need to pay rent for the next few months.

Hai dei problemi con i vicini e hai deciso di cambiare casa. Scrivi un messaggio al proprietario del tuo appartamento per chiedere cosa è necessario fare. Spiega perché vuoi trasferirti e chiedi se devi pagare l’affitto dei prossimi mesi.

Do you understand the prompt? Now you need to prove your ability to get the double letters and accents in the right place when writing.

Speaking

The speaking section is in two parts.

The examiner will ask you to begin by introducing yourself and talking about your work, family or hobbies – the examiner will then ask you some questions about yourself.

It should be a discussion, with the examiner asking questions and giving other responses which you are expected to understand. This part will last 6-7 minutes.

Then you’ll be given a choice of several topics to talk about for 7-8 minutes. These topics can be almost anything; you won’t see exactly what they are in advance, but the examiner should give you some time to read through the options and may help you decide which one to choose.

Your answer should include certain grammar points and involve giving your opinion. Again, the examiner will prompt you with questions and it should become a discussion.

Some examples of topics you may be asked to talk about:

    • Preferisci vivere in città o in campagna? Quali sono i vantaggi e gli svantaggi?
    • Quali sono gli aspetti della cultura italiana che senti più lontani rispetto alla tua cultura?
    • L’assistenza sanitaria in Italia e nel tuo Paese: somiglianze e differenze.
    • Quali documenti ti servono per ottenere la cittadinanza italiana? Quali sono le procedure?

Translation:

    • Do you prefer to live in the city or in the countryside? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
    • What are the aspects of Italian culture that you feel are most distant from your culture?
    • Healthcare in Italy and in your country: similarities and differences.
    • What documents do you need to obtain Italian citizenship? What are the procedures?

Could you keep a simple conversation going on these topics in Italian? Then you might be ready for the citizenship test. 

These sample questions are from the CILS B1 cittadinanza exam – see more details on the university’s website here. Exam questions will vary and the structure of exams from other institutions may differ.

READ ALSO: Which italian verb tenses are the most useful?

It usually costs €100 to sit the B1 cittadinanza exam, though some schools also add a default charge for a preparatory course.

Even if you already have a higher level of Italian, exam preparation courses could be useful as they explain the exam structure and likely content.

Find out more about taking the exam in a separate article here.

Speak to your local Questura or consulate, or see the Interior Ministry’s website (in Italian), for the latest information on the process and requirements when applying for citizenship.

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