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Explained: What is Italy's marca da bollo and how do you get one?

Jessica Lionnel
Jessica Lionnel - [email protected]
Explained: What is Italy's marca da bollo and how do you get one?
The display counter at a tabaccheria in Rome. Tobacco shops are an important part of life in Italy, whether you smoke or not. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP.

If you intend to stay in Italy for the long term, you'll need to become familiar with this particularly Italian requirement.


The marca da bollo, or Italy's revenue stamp: in an age where technology is all around us, the requirement to purchase these little stickers can seem quaint - but they're all-important.

Everyone who moves to Italy, or plans to, will soon hear about them: they're required to make documents such as a nulla osta, permesso di soggiorno, carta di soggiorno and various notarised documents valid in the eyes of the law.

What exactly is a marca da bollo?

As mentioned above, the purpose of a marca da bollo is to make documents valid. The addition of this stamp changes any document you're submitting to local authorities from being just an ordinary piece of paper to being that bit more important.

READ ALSO: Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

This process has been around since 1863, 15 years after the unification of Italy, and the stamps have undergone a fair few changes in their 170-year lifespan.

At first they looked like a postage stamp, but in 2007 they changed to rectangular stickers with barcodes on them issued by the Agenzia delle Entrate (the Italian tax office). They have a hologram strip on the left-hand side. 

Where do I get one from?

This is where it gets very old-school, but you can purchase a marca da bollo from practically any tobacco shop, known as a tabaccheria in Italian.

The person behind the counter usually prints it out for you. All you have to do is tell them how many you need and of what value.


In general, these all-important stickers come in values of €2 or €16. Check to see what value you need for your document and how many. For example, an application for a residency permit requires 2x €16 euro marca da bollo stamps.

Alternatively, you can also make a payment for a marca da bollo online using the [email protected] system. Digital invoices with electronic revenue stamps are a requirement for many self-employed people, for example.

However, for all other purposes, most people tend to go to the tobacco shops for ease.


Once you’ve paid for and received your marca da bollo, keep it safe and wait for someone at the local authority where you have to make the application to stick it onto your application documents for you. Do not try and do this yourself as you could stick it in the wrong position.

With the amount of paperwork required when moving to and living in Italy, you'll soon be so familiar with the obligatory marca da bollo (and your local tabaccheria) that you'll barely give it a second thought.


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