Common law’s package

   The Italian school system


   Medical coverage









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The Italian school system

School education in Italy is a public service, granted by the State in the common interest, following art. 34 of the Italian Constitution "School education is granted to everybody".
School attendance is mandatory and free of charge from the age of 6 till 15 (art. 34, sub 2 of the Italian Constitution "Primary and junior secondary school for the duration of at least seven years is mandatory and free of charge").

The school system is indeed mainly addressed to young people, who are obliged to attend school for nine years (from age 6 to 15). Adults as well can benefit from going back to school to get a certificate of education, learn a handicraft, improve culturally.


Both Italian and foreign young children are obliged to attend school, even if the latter are not holders of a permit of residence. They can and must attend school and take part in the life of the school community. Parents are obliged to enrol their children in a school and ensure they attend their classes.

Especially shortly after they moved to Italy, foreign children could face some difficulties because of their insufficient knowledge of the Italian language or poor relationships with schoolmates and teachers. Should this happen, the parents can contact the school director or school manager, who in turn can get assistance from specially trained teachers or social counsellors. Lately some schools have started hiring special social and school mediators, who can facilitate the integration of foreign pupils in primary and junior secondary school.

Foreign pupils holding a permit of residence for Italy can also attend upper secondary school, obtain certificates of education and attend University.

The immigration law (art. 34, sub 21.0/1998) states that: "The school community welcomes the language and culture differences as an added value to enhance mutual respect, cultural exchange and understanding. In this perspective initiatives aiming at protecting the different cultures and languages of origin and the implementation of intercultural activities are to be encouraged".




Foreign citizens having obtained a certificate of education abroad can apply for their validation in Italy.

The procedure to obtain this validation is nonetheless lengthy and differs depending on the kind of certification.

The starting point is always the hand over of the original certification to the Italian Embassy or Consulate in the country where the certificate was obtained. These institutions can verify the authenticity of the certificate and assess the corresponding cultural level in Italy (art. 48 of the implementation decree of the immigration law DPR 394/1999).

This procedure is nonetheless so lengthy and complicated that many foreigners prefer to re-enrol in an Italian school or University in order to obtain a corresponding certification issued by an Italian body. In the working world an Italian certificate of education is very welcomed, since it also implies a good knowledge of the Italian culture and language (both spoken and written).


Also adult citizens can have access to school education.
Adults’ school was initially conceived to allow Italian workers – for example farmers or workmen – who could not attend school as young children.
Today this is an important tool for foreigners.

Adult training can be supplied either by the State of via private schools. A list of the different options can be obtained from the local school authorities such as Provveditorati agli Studi, Regioni, Comuni or the school districts.

The courses normally have 1 year duration

The possible options normally cover:

  • eading and writing classes, to obtain a knowledge level corresponding to primary school.
  • Culture classes, to obtain a level of knowledge corresponding to junior secondary school and marking the end of mandatory of education. This certification allows enrolment in the vocational training courses organised by the Regioni.
  • evening upper secondary school classes, to facilitate attendance of working students.
  • Special training classes (computer, foreign languages, etc.).
  • Vocational training classes organised by the Regioni are normally free of charge and last 1 to 2 years. These are important tools to learn a handicraft and have a chance to find a job in the relevant field


The vocational training aims at offering a vocational qualification and expertise to facilitate access to the working market. The qualifications can relate to different fields: sales, services, crafts etc.:

This training is organised by the Regioni, who issue a professional training programme each year. The courses can be held:

  • By the Regioni themselves by means of the Vocational Training Centres;
  • Private training centres in co-operation with the Regioni.

These courses can be either:

  • Regular courses: enrolment is possible between 1st and 31st July of each year.
  • special courses: they are financed by the European Union and have specific deadlines.

Enrollment and attendance to those courses is normally free of charge, although in some cases a small amount of money can be paid to the students depending on the number of hours of attendance. For some of the courses organised by private centres a fee can be charged by the school.

Who can apply:

  • Those having obtained a certificate of education for junior or upper secondary school, holding a master degree, junior degrees or university degrees
  • Unemployed people
  • Persons in search of employment
  • Workers to attend special training to improve their position
  • Persons suffering from a social disadvantage (ex prisoners, immigrants) or mentally or physically handicapped

Minimum requirements for enrolment are a good knowledge of the Italian language, to have completed mandatory education and to be at least 15 years old.


Any foreign citizens coming other than from the European Union and:

  • Holding a valid permit of residence or awaiting a renewal of their permit of residence and working for hire or as self-employed or registered with an employment agency;
  • lawfully living in Italy for family reasons, political asylum or humanitarian asylum;
  • awaiting for the finalisation of an adoption procedure or to be allocated to a family;
  • awaiting for the finalisation of the legal procedure to become Italian nationals

are obliged to register with the SSN (Sistema Sanitario Nazionale, National Health System).
Via this registration, foreign citizens obtain the same medical rights and have the same obligations as the Italian nationals. Medical coverage is granted to holders of permits of residence and to their family dependants.

This registration can be carried out via the ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale, local health agency) in the place of residence or temporary home and is valid till expiration of the permit of residence.
Those foreign citizens who are not obliged to register with the SSN (holders of permits of residence for study reasons, tourism, elective residence, religious reasons, business trips, missions, etc.) have to be covered against risks of illness or accidents and in the event of maternity by means of a private insurance valid in Italy or by voluntarily registering with the SSN. In this latter case, medical insurance also covers dependant children. This kind of registration is valid for one year and does not renew itself automatically.



All foreign citizens temporarily residing in the Italian territory, although they do not hold a permit of residence, are granted medical and hospital assistance in case of emergency, and for basic medical assistance -including persistent - in case of illness or accident. In any case the following medical events are always covered:
  • Pregnancy and maternity;
  • Illness of a child;
  • Vaccinations and international prevention of diseases protocol;
  • Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases;

Should the concerned foreign citizen be in need, the above-mentioned services are provided for free, with the exception of those services for which the payment of a "ticket" is foreseen. Needy persons have to fill in an sign an appropriate form.

In order to benefit from medical assistance any illegal foreign citizens need to obtain a special identification code called STP (Straniero Temporaneamente Presente) which is valid on the whole Italian territory. This code is anonymous and can be used for medical purposes only. Illegal immigrants can have access to medical assistance without this implying the police will be informed, unless the accident or illness appears to be linked to a criminal act. In that case the doctors are obliged to send a written report to the relevant police office.



Those foreign citizens willing to come to Italy to undergo medical treatments have to obtain a prior permit of residence for medical reasons.

The certifications needed for this purpose are:

  • A declaration from the chosen hospital or medical centre (public or a private authorised hospital) stating the kind of treatment needed and its estimated duration;
  • A proof that an advance deposit of at least 30% of the estimated total cost of the medical services required have been paid to the medical centre
  • A proof that both the person to be treated and his/her accompanying person can afford room and board costs also outside the medical centre as well as repatriations cost.