Thursday, October 05, 2006


Today we drove to Orvieto, mainly to help our friend Nedra get her Codice Fiscale (fiscal code). She’s seriously considering buying an apartment in San Venanzo and will need the codice fiscale, a national tax number, when and if she does buy something.

We had heard that the laws had changed, and that foreigners could no longer get a codice fiscale without a permesso di Sogiorno. Since buying a house has always been a lot easier than getting a permesso, we decided to investigate a little further.

We called Wendy since she deals with foreigners buying houses all the time and figured she would know the real answer. She told us that yes, the law had changed, but that real estate agents were still able to help clients get a codice fiscale in order to ensure a sale. She called the Orvieto Questura for us, they directed her to yet another office, and in the end, we still didn’t know the real answer.

The agent at the agency listing the apartment was little help. We’ve decided that this must be here first (possible) sale because for every question Nedra asks, she has to turn to the other person in the office to get an answer. She eventually told Nedra that she’d need to go to Perugia. When Nedra asked about going to Orvieto instead, of course she didn’t have any idea.

Our friend Larry told us that we needed to go to the comune, not to the Questura, since the issuing of the codice fiscale wasn’t a police related function, and the Questura deals with police-related matters.

As we walked around town yesterday we saw Francesco, the guy who works at our comune. We asked him about getting a codice fiscale and if it was possible to get one in San Venanzo. He told us that he could compute the number for us, but that to have an official codice fiscale, one that was entered into the system, we’d need to go to the comune in Orvieto.

We headed out this morning for Orvieto after finding the address of the comune on the internet, then finding the street on yet another internet map site. As an added bonus for Art and me, we’d get to stop in the Questura to see if our permessi were ready. When we made our application on September 4th we were told that they’d be ready on October 31st. That seemed like an excessive amount of time based on our previous experiences at the Terni office. We thought that maybe the additional time was due to the fact that the forms had to be sent from Orvieto to Terni and back.

When I mentioned to the clerk at the Questura that we’d be leaving for the states on November first she told us to call beforehand to see if they might be ready early. Even a pessimist like me felt confident that they’d be ready well in advance of October 31st.

We walked right into the Questura in Orvieto and sure enough, the permessi were ready. We signed the original and the office copy and were finished within a few minutes. Our next mission was to walk to the commune and take care of Nedra’s project.

We found the comune on Corso Cavour right at the Piazza Republica and walked in to find only a few people waiting. I asked if they had numbers for those waiting, but was told no. I told the woman behind the desk that our friend needed a codice fiscale in order to buy a house, and she said, oh no, not here, you have to go to another office in Orvieto Scalo, near the Coop.

Okay, back to the car, drive down to Orvieto Scalo. I knew where the Coop was, so we drove down the street, found a spot to park and got out to look around. We saw a sign for the Ufficio delle Entrate and thought that sounded like a good bet. Since it was the only official looking sign around, we hoped that we were right.

Once inside the office, I started to explain what we needed to the man behind the counter, but I hadn’t even finished asking when he cut me off….”codice fiscale” he said, handing us the form and a numbered ticket. He directed us to a desk in the other room and told us to see one of the clerks when the form was completed.

Of course there was a complication. Nedra’s passport has been amended due to the fact that she’s changed her name now that she’s getting divorced. Unfortunately, the U.S. government isn’t into official looking stamps like they are in Italy.

We explained the situation to the clerk, who understood what we were saying, and understood that in the United States most women take the name of their husband when the marry. We all agreed that the Italian system of women keeping their maiden name after marriage made things a lot simpler in situations like this.

The clerk didn’t understand why there was no official stamp on the page containing the amendment. After much consultation and Xeroxing, the clerk eventually began to enter Nedra’s information into the computer. We all breathed a sigh of relief once we realized that yes, she really was going to get her codice fiscale!!!

As we looked over the information on the official form, duly stamped and signed, I noticed that Nedra’s middle name had been spelled “MariA”, Italian style, and not “Marie”. She didn’t think that it was a problem, but I reminded her that all her documents had to match, so we showed the clerk who quickly realized her mistake and corrected the information in the computer.

Nedra had used our address as her address in Italy, so we asked if the plastic credit card-style codice fiscale would arrive in the mail. The clerk said no, because Nedra didn’t have residency she wouldn’t receive the plastic card. For now the official form with her number would be all she’d receive. She told us that once she had residency she could come back to the same office and be issued the plastic card, but not the one like Art and I have….the new style, all-in-one Italian I.D. card.

Art and I told here that we lived in San Venanzo and still had a separate codice fiscale, health, and I.D. cards. We told her that San Venanzo was just a small city, thinking that this was the reason we didn’t have the newer all-purpose card.

She asked for our codice fiscale cards and typed my number into her computer first. Once she was finished entering the data she told us that she understood why…..apparently the fact that our codice fiscale information didn’t show us as being in the Italian health-care system, along with the fact that our old U.S. address was still listed apparently kept us from being sent the newer card. Who knew? Not us, and of course we would never had known had not this women been willing to go the extra mile (I guess I should say kilometer in Italy) and help us out. I’m sure the fact that there weren’t 20, 40, or 100 people waiting as there might well have been if we were in Perugia, had a lot to do with her helpful attitude.

She told us to take the papers she printed out to our local ASL (healthcare) office….but I’m still not entirely clear about why, or about what will happen next. When we received our latest healthcare cards in September we did ask about the newer cards but were told no, they weren’t available. I guess we’ll find out soon.

So, to summarize this VERY long story, Nedra got her codice fiscale, meaning that when she’s ready to buy a place here that’s one less thing she’ll have to worry about. As an added bonus we picked up our permessi, making us legal in Italy for the next two years (once we complete the process by showing our permessi at the commune tomorrow and getting our certificate of residency), and we also updated our codice fiscale information and hopefully are now on the road to receiving the newer all-in-one card….or at least that’s what we think.

Still, after three years here, there are sooooooooo many things we don’t understand….how would we have EVER known that our information needed to be updated?! As I’ve said time and time again, we don’t even know the questions to ask (or where to ask them), but somehow we get by.


At 10/06/2006 03:05:00 AM , Anonymous cristina said...

Couple of things. We have an article on getting the codice fiscale here which explains that you need to go to the Ufficio delle Entrate.

Also, why do you need to go to the comune to get a residency certificate. Your residency has not changed and I have never heard of having to do this after getting the PdiS renewed. As you have the Italian ID card, that proves your residency and that is all you need (unless someone specifically asked for it but I did not se that in your blog)

At 10/07/2006 03:23:00 AM , Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

Cristina, here too I was told every time I get a new P di S I have to go to the comune. All they do is photocopy it and say thank you, but I was told not to omit it. Someday I suppose I have to get a new carta, after all we don't look the same after some years!
Barb, you spelled comune right and wrong both!

At 10/07/2006 03:43:00 AM , Blogger Barbara said...

Yes, our comune told us that, and now that I think of it, the clerk at the Questura also siad to take it to the commune. As we all know, things vary from area to area, so maybe this is an "umbrian" thing!

We'll stop by the comune on's just a short walk from our house.

Judith, our carta has an expiration date on the back.


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