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EXPLAINED: How to get an Italian identity card

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How to get an Italian identity card
Applying for an Italian ID card can be tricky when you don’t know the ins and outs of the process. Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash.

For foreign nationals living in Italy, getting your ID card is one of the more important bureaucratic procedures you'll need to go through.


Applying for an Italian carta d’identità (ID card) is generally a trouble-free process for Italian citizens. But things can be a little bit more complicated for foreign nationals, and especially those from non-EU countries.

This is not helped by the typically muddy waters of Italian bureaucracy coupled with the general lack of official information available in English.

READ ALSO: Explained: Do foreigners in Italy have to carry ID at all times?

In the hope of providing some clarity, here are seven things that you should know about the process before you apply.


What is an Italian ID card and why will you need one? 

The Italian ID card, officially called the Electronic Identity Card (CIE), is an identity document issued by the Italian Ministry of the Interior. The document is used to verify the holder’s identity during administrative procedures at public offices and in any other circumstances requiring identity verification.

The card can also be used to access many online public administration services - find a list of these here.

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

For Italian citizens, ID cards can also be used for travel abroad in place of a passport. But foreign nationals can't do this - their version of the card will state that it is not valid for travel.

For foreign nationals, the card serves exclusively as an identification document (and as an ‘electronic key’ to access online administrative services).

Who can get an Italian ID card?

Besides Italian citizens, all foreign nationals registered as Italian residents in the Civil Registry (Anagrafe) and – in the case of non-EU nationals – in possession of a valid residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), have the right to apply for a national ID card. 

How can I apply?

The first step is to book an appointment with your local city hall (municipio). Most city halls give residents the possibility to make an online booking through a portal available at this link.

If your town hall doesn’t provide such services, you will have to contact their front desk by phone or via email. 

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Italy (and stay here)

Once your booking is confirmed, you’ll be notified of the list of documents necessary to process your application. It nearly goes without saying, you will be asked to produce such documents during your scheduled appointment. 

What will I need?

Here’s what you’ll need to do: 

  • Produce a passport-size photo (35mm in width, 45mm in height) in paper or electronic format (USB drive). Further information about the required photo format is available here.
  • Produce a valid identity document issued by your home country and, if you’re a non-EU national, a valid residence permit (permesso di soggiorno).
  • Produce your Italian tax code (codice fiscale).
  • Verify with the clerk that the personal data stored by the Civil Registry (Anagrafe) are correct.
  • Indicate your preferred method of collection (home delivery or collection from the town hall).
  • Provide personal contact details to receive updates about the ID card delivery.
  • Have your fingerprints scanned.
  • Sign the summary form.

Upon signing the summary form, you will be given the first four figures of the card’s PIN number. You will find the final four figures enclosed in the envelope containing the ID card itself.


How long will it take for the ID card to be delivered?

Once the application has been completed, the Italian Printing Works and State Mint will send the document to the specified address within 6 working days. As previously mentioned, both home address delivery and personal collection are available.

If you opted to collect the document at your local town hall, a delegated person will be able to do so on your behalf so long as you gave their personal details during your appointment at the municipio

Along with your ID card, you will receive the final four figures of your PIN number. The latter is required to access all online services associated with the card.

How much will the application cost?

In order to be issued an Italian ID card, you will have to pay a fee of 16,79 euros plus administrative fees, which can vary by municipality.

How long will the card be valid?

The Italian ID card’s validity period depends on the owner’s age as follows:

  • Three years for minors up to the age of three
  • Five years for minors aged between three and 18
  • 10 years for people over the age of 18

For non-EU nationals, the card’s expiry date is the same as that of their residence permit. 

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, please visit the interior ministry’s website.


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