The Italian Constitution states that urgent healthcare must be provided to everybody, even undocumented people. However only people with a valid permesso di soggiorno are entitled to register for free with the Italian public health care system, known as the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN).
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Although everyone has the right to healthcare, services and benefits that you can access depend on whether or not you have a valid permesso di soggiorno.
If you don’t hold a valid permesso di soggiorno
If you don’t have identification documents or a valid permesso di soggiorno, you still have the right to access urgent and essential health care, and you are allowed to visit Italian hospitals. If you are in this situation and you need to receive urgent medical attention you will receive a STP card. In Italian, “STP” stands for “Straniero Temporaneamente Presente,” which means foreign person temorairly living in Italy.
However, you do not have the right to register for the Italian public healthcare system.
Learn more on: How to access healthcare if you haven’t applied for asylum
If you hold a valid permesso di soggiorno
If you hold a valid permesso di soggiorno, or you have your permit application receipt or renewal receipt, you are entitled to register with the Italian public healthcare system, or "Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN)" in Italian.
As stated by the Health Ministry in a circolare, this holds true also if you applied for the sanatoria.
Your children and any other family member who are financially dependent on you are also entitled to register with the Italian healthcare system.
If you are in a reception center or in a camp, you will receive basic medical attention there, unless you need specialized help.
If you are no longer in a camp, you will need to register with the SSN on your own.
If you have 6-month richiesta asilo
If you are an asylum-seeker, you have the right to register with the Italian public health system, even if you haven’t registered for iscrizione anagrafica.
You can register with both a receipt that proves that you filed an asylum application, or with the 6-month Permesso per Richiesta Asilo.
If your Azienda Sanitaria Locale (ASL) doesn't allow you to register with the healthcare system, we suggest you contact the ASGI anti-discrimination service: Call: +393515542008 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to register with the public health system you should go to the local health care office, called the Azienda Sanitaria Locale (ASL). Most towns and cities in Italy have one of these offices.
At the ASL, you must bring:
- A valid ID document
- Your permit of stay, or your permit application receipt or renewal receipt
- A self-certification of residence or domicile
To locate your ASL, Google “ASL + ______.” In the blank space, write the name of the town or city where you live.
To register with the SSN, it's recommended but not mandatory to first register at the Registry Office of your municipality of residence. You can find more information on the iscrizione anagrafica procedure by clicking here.
How long can I be registered with the Italian public health care system?
You will stay registered with the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale as long as you have a valid permesso di soggiorno, including when your permit of stay is under renewal.
Once you register with the public health system, you will receive a card, called “tessera sanitaria” in Italian, which gives you access to many public services, such as but not limited to:
- Specialist visits if you are sick
- Blood tests
- Different kinds of care you may need
- Assistance from a family doctor (“medico di base” in Italian) or pediatrician - see the section below to learn more on the family doctor.
Learn more on: TESSERA SANITARIA
Medico di base
Once you register with the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), you have the right to choose a family doctor, “medico di base” in Italian.
If you have children under the age of 14, you need to choose a pediatrician for them, which is a doctor specialized in children’s health.
Your doctor or pediatrician is your point of contact with the Italian health care system. If you are sick, need medication or to receive medical attention on a non-emergency basis, you need to seek the help of your family doctor.
You can choose or change your family doctor among those that are available at your local ASL. Since each ASL has its own and distinct procedure, we suggest that you look at your ASL’s website to learn how to do it.
You can find a map with all the ASL across Italy here. Once on the page, you will find a map of Italy. Click on the region where you live to find the addresses and contacts information of your ASL.
The registration with the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) is free of charge.
For specific medical services you may have to pay a “ticket”, which is a fee to contribute to the national health’s expenditure.
Exemption from paying the ticket
If you are regularly registered with the SSN you are entitled, like Italian citizens, to exemptions from the ticket. You may get an "esenzione", exemption in English, depending on your income, employment situation or if you are in special conditions (e.g. if you are pregnant or if you carry a specific disease).
In case you have low income or are unemployed you may be eligible for the E2 exemption code.
To be eligible, your annual family income should be lower than 8.263,31 euros if you're alone, and 11.362,05 euros if you have a financially dependent partner. This maximum amount should increase by 516,46 euros for each dependent child. For instance, if your family includes you, your spouse and 2 children your annual family income should be lower than 12.394,97 euros.
The exemption applies to all your dependent family members.
To get the exemption you need to prove your income, and you can do so by providing the ASL with the self-certification of your income from the previous year and/or your unemployment status. The ASL will issue you a specific certificate to obtain the exemption.
If you are an asylum-seeker you are also eligible for an exemption.
The exemption code for asylum-seekers can change from ASL to ASL. We therefore suggest you to check with your local ASL to know more. You can find the list with all the ASL and the exemption code they use here.
Want to know more? Watch the video created by Melting Pot Europa in collaboration with LasciateCIEntrare.
If you click here you can find the video in Italian, French, Arabic, Bangla and Urdu too.