Parma mia! is a blog for ex-pats and English-language speakers in Parma as well as for tourists who want to learn more. We've got lots of tips and tidbits to share: where to buy your foreign foods, favorite restaurants, what's on for kids during the weekends, local agricultural fairs, where you can find a babysitter or chiropractor and hints on how to make it through the bureaucratic maze that is Italy (see tabs below). This forum is for you: please share your ideas/events with us at or on FB at Parma Mia.

And remember to like Parma Mia on Facebook for weekly updates. Buon divertimento!


A brief tribute to one of the greatest joys of living in Italy...

This information below in no way to be considered comprehensive or to be used as an official (legal) guideline. We just hope to offer you enough background info to assist you as you begin your journey through the Paper Jungle. You can also check with your consulate to see if they offer a "how to guide", as the French one does.

Remember that you will often feel like you're hitting a brick wall (i.e. you need your codice fiscale to get your residency permit but they won’t give you your residency permit without your codice fiscale) so remember this advice: try rephrasing your question in such a way that  you get a Yes or Maybe instead of a No!  In Italy "no" does not always been exactly that...but if you're reading this, it's still early days yet!

For visas (non-EU countries), remember to check with the Italian embassy in your country prior to departure.

This website of the city of Parma offers useful information (in Italian though).

Also for free Italian lessons, please check out CPIA in Via La Spezia.

1. Residency
2. Codice fiscale 
3. Identity Card
4. Health Insurance Card
5. Permit of Stay 
6. Parking and Transit Permits
7. Drivers License
8. Elections
9. Learning Italian
10. Moving out
11. Volunteering in Parma

1. Residency:  Within twenty days of your arrival in Parma, you should go to the Registry Office (Ufficio Anagrafe) at the DUC to change your residency.
Ufficio Anagrafe - DUC
Largo Torello De Strada 11/A, 43121 - Parma
Tel 0521-031856 
How to Change Your Residency – Italian

On a happy side note, the DUC - which houses the Registry Office, Parking Permit Office et al -  is quite efficiently run. They even offer a brochure listing the shortest waiting times during a given week!  The city also offers many free courses (see below).
2. Codice Fiscale (Social Security/Tax ID Number): The number which you will need in order to obtain most other documents in Italy.

a.       You can do this online – but this number is NOT OFFICIAL.
b.      Agenzia delle Entrate: You can obtain your official Codice Fiscale here (Parma Address)

What you need to request your Codice Fiscale - English

3. Carta d’Identit√† (Identity Card): Everybody residing in Italy is required to have an Italian Identity Card. You can obtain this at the Registry Office at the DUC.

How to Get Your Carta d’Identit√† – for foreigners – Italian

4. Tessera Sanitaria (Health Insurance Card): In order to obtain this card you must already have your codice fiscale and residency declared here in Parma. You also need to produce a work contract as an evidence that your employer pays the medical cover charges to the governement. You will be asked for this card when paying for certain pharmaceuticals at the pharmacy, registering in a hospital and - sometimes - at your doctor’s office. You can receive this card via the AUSL.

List of the AUSL offices – the office in Via Pintor is the main one in Parma. There can be a long wait, so bring reading material!
When you go to request this card, in addition to the necessary documentation, you should bring the name of the doctor (and/or pediatrician) you wish to have listed as your primary care physician (medico di base). This is the doctor who can write you prescriptions which can be “discounted’ at the pharmacies. You should get the doctor’s approval prior to going to the AUSL office as they may need documentation from the doctor, particularly in cases where the doctor is highly requested. 

5. Permit of Stay (permesso di soggiorno): For those of you arriving from outside the EU, you will need to have a permit of stay in order to officially remain in Italy (i.e. Americans should only be able to stay in Italy for three months as tourists – once this period has ended you would need to apply for a permesso di soggiorno within eight days' time.). Applying for your permit of stay tends to be a frustrating and long process despite the many changes the government has made to “ease” the process.  

How to apply for visas/residency permits – English 

In Parma, you need to obtain the forms and apply for your residency permit at the post office. You should look for a post office which has the “Sportello Amico (Guichet Ami - Friend Desk).
Once these documents have been completed and sent to Rome, you will receive notification of when you will need to go to the Questura Ufficio Immigrazione to pick up your document. Prepare yourself for long, long lines…

6. Parking and Transit Permits for City Center, ZTL Zones: There can be obtained at the DUC, once you have proof of your residency in Parma. If the school is in a different ZTL from your home, you need to obtain a specific transit permit through the school.
7. Patente/Drivers License: Each country outside the EU has an individual agreement with Italy regarding driving licenses. For example, American licenses are considered valid for one year from the time you are an official resident in Italy. I know many Americans who have not opted to get an Italian license but I honestly wouldn’t take the risk: if you have an accident – your insurance WILL NOT cover you if you have been living in Italy for over one year’s time. 

Getting a license here is costly and difficult. You need to enroll in a driving school and study hard for the written exam. The exam is particularly complicated due to the language used in it. However, I think you can request an oral exam. 

8. Elections
UE citizens living in Italy can vote to elect European Parliament members, and the mayor of their city of residence. Once you've done the "residency", you should receive by mail the application form for a "tessera elettorale" if elections are to take place during the year.

9. Learning Italian (this can be useful!!).
The city of Parma offers free Italian lessons to foreigners (all levels, from absolute beginners to advanced). For information: CTP di Parma, via La Spezia 110. 
Tel. 0521 1917221, Monday and Thursday 10 am - 5 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 am - 1 pm. 
The city also organizes intensive summer classes for children and teenagers. These classes are priorily aimed at children that will attend Italian schools and need to learn the language quickly. For information, tel. 0521-784459 and this page. 

10. Moving out
International movers: if you have to take care of your relocation on your own...
The best thing to do is to contact an international moving company in the country of destination and they will put you in touch with their local agent.

Otherwise, there is only one international mover in Parma (2 different names but same management).
La Traslochi Emiliana
1/a, v. Carlo e Amilcare Bertozzi - tel: 0521 258335 fax: 0521 970133
Il Parmense Traslochi
18/a, v. Gastaldi - tel: 0521 608090 fax: 0521 399826

Do not expect them to speak English... Good luck!

11. Applying to schools (see Kids section)

12. Volunteering in Parma
Interested in learning where you can volunteer in Parma? You can find out here with the Forum Soliderieta' (Assisting immigrants, elderly, children et al.).

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