By Ivet Tagareva
One of the first steps during the online enrollment procedure to IMAT and Italian medical schools requires to enter your personal Codice Fiscale (Italian for fiscal code). The Codice Fiscale has similar functions as the social security number in the USA. In brief, it is a 16 digit code made up of letters and digits which serves as a unique identification number for every person in Italy who wishes to attend Italian university, to use the Italian healthcare system, or to act as a party in contracts in Italy. Therefore, apart from the enrollment procedure, it will be needed when renting a place to stay and when opening a bank account, something I will write about in a subsequent post.
One way to obtain a Codice Fiscale is contacting your closest Italian embassy or consulate. The procedure is simple; you need to fill in a form which you will find on the embassy’s website, and submit a photocopy of a passport or ID card! The documents required should be sent via post to the address of the embassy. And even though the procedure is simple, you need to plan it well in advance, since it may be slow, as well as time-consuming (usually you need to call regularly to check the progress of the procedure). Just for reference, I applied for it a week or two after the IMAT exam and obtained it, I think, two or three weeks later. So make sure you have about one month to get it in between exam and enrolment, if you want to be completely sure everything will go smooth.
This link contains instructions on how you can correctly fill in the Codice Fiscale form.
Then, you are issued a Codice Fiscale certificate, which serves as a temporary solution for the above-mentioned purposes. It must be collected in person and once you arrive in Italy you can visit the local Agenzia Delle Entrate where you will be given a plastic card. This is not compulsory but is more practical (I have not collected my card yet). My advice is to do this in advance regardless of whether you are sure you will be accepted in a medical school in Italy or not! It saves a lot of time and it will definitely spare you from very stressful situations involving deadlines, as well as facing an enormous threat: bureaucracy! Note that getting a Codice Fiscale does not interfere with you own country’s SSN. It simply gives you a bit of an advantage and, I will repeat, spares time!
Now I will briefly describe the second possible way to obtain a Codice Fiscale. You could also do this when you arrive for the enrolment procedure by visiting your closest Agenzia Delle Entrate. In this case you should be able to provide identification documents (check again if something more is needed especially for non-European candidates) and of course you must be armed with patience to wait in the sometimes long and tedious queues when you go there! Usually it takes a day for it to be issued. Remember, however, that the enrolment deadline is the MOST important one and MUST be respected. Otherwise you risk losing your place! That is why I recommend you to obtain a Codice Fiscale in advance, even if you risk being disappointed in the end, in case you do not get accepted!
There is one more thing that may be worth informing you about. On some rare occasions, the online enrolment platform of the ministry itself MAY require your automatically-generated fiscal code from the Universitaly.it website, even though you have afterwards obtained an official one. (This is something that concerns the university Secretary, and not you.) The discrepancy stems from the fact that they may not be exactly the same. That is, indeed, what happened to me. Note, however, that will not necessarily happen! The above mentioned is simply a warning that you need to be aware of!
My advice is to prepare yourself well for the exam, to stay optimistic, and to make sure you have planned things well in advance! Good luck to all those that will sit the IMAT in September and thank you for reading my post!
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