Questions & Answers

1 What documents do I need in order to work in South Tyrol?
2 Do I need a permit to live in South Tyrol?
3 As a foreigner, can I work in the public administration?
4 Do I pay taxes in Italy or in my home country?
5 What about health insurance in South Tyrol?
6 What happens to my pension contributions?
7 Do I have to register my car in Italy and obtain an Italian driver's licence?
8 Is there a child benefit paid out in South Tyrol?
9 In what language will my child be schooled?
10 What is meant by "Staat", "Region" and "Provinz"?


1 What documents do I need in order to work in South Tyrol?

In order to work in the private sector, EU citizens usually need only an Italian tax card. Your Italian tax number is called your codice fiscale or Steuernummer, and can be obtained free of charge from the Italian Revenue Agency, (Agenzia delle Entrate or Agentur für Einnahmen).

For positions in South Tyrol’s public administration, a Certification of Bilingualism and a Declaration of Language-Group Affiliation are both required. Depending on the position, recognition of your educational degree may also be necessary. The European Union required that professional titles be formally recognised for all professions classified as “regulated”. Visit www.politichecomunitarie.it for a listing of which professions Italy classifies as regulated. Non-EU citizens have no access to jobs in the public sector. For all other areas, they need a work and residence permit.


2 Do I need a permit to live in South Tyrol?

Citizens of the European Union need no residence permit, and can stay in South Tyrol for a period of up to three months without any formalities. Like all Italian citizens, anyone who stays longer than three months is required to change his or her place of residence by registering at the local municipality within 20 days. This requires proof of work or study, for example. Immigrants without an employment relationship must further prove that they have health insurance and sufficient funds for their stay. Family members of EU citizens who do not have EU citizenship must apply at the questura for a residence permit, or permesso di soggiorno (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) no later than three months after arrival. All other third-country nationals need a residence permit.


3 As a foreigner, can I work in the public administration?

Public service jobs are only open to Italian citizens and citizens of other EU Member States. A Certification of Bilingualism and a Declaration of Language-Group Affiliation are both required. Recognition of academic degrees or your professional title may also be necessary.


4 Do I pay taxes in Italy or in my home country?

The answer depends on your place of residence. Anyone based more than 183 days a year in Italy must pay taxes on the entirety of his or her worldwide income here. Non-residents are taxed only on income derived from Italy.

The main taxes in Italy are the IRPEF or personal income tax (imposta sul reddito delle persone fisiche), the IRES or corporate income tax (imposta sul reddito delle società), and a regional tax on the value addition performed, called the IRAP (imposta regionale sulle attività produttive).


5 What about health insurance in South Tyrol?

Those with no health insurance in their home country must obtain health insurance if they stay in Italy longer than three months. Foreign citizens who are residents in South Tyrol and pay social security contributions here have the right to use medical care given by the Italian National Medical Service or Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (Gesundheitsdienst). Doing so requires registering with the local health service, which is called the ASL or Azienda Sanitaria Locale. Anyone not entitled to free basic medical care must either take out private health insurance or can pay to join the insurance programme of the Italian National Medical Service.


6 What happens to my pension contributions?

Payment of pension contributions to the National Pension Insurance Agency (Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale or INPS) means that you are entitled to a pension in Italy. The prerequisite for the paying out of a pension is to reach the number of contribution years required, currently 20. It is also possible to calculate in the years of contributions made in other EU countries or countries with which Italy has a bilateral agreement. The amount of the pension is then obtained from the contributions actually paid in Italy.


7 Do I have to register my car in Italy and obtain an Italian driver's licence?

Within six months after you change your residence, you must request an Italian motor vehicle registration certificate and licence plates at the Bolzano Department of Motor Vehicles or Kraftfahrzeugamt for motor vehicles registered in foreign countries. For driver’s licences, EU citizens have the choice of whether to continue using the original or to trade it in for an Italian driver's licence. In either case, the statutory provisions for Italian driver's licences apply. Non-EU citizens must obtain an Italian driving licence after one year of residency.


8 Is there a child benefit paid out in South Tyrol?

Families in South Tyrol with children under the age of three receive a monthly child benefit: the current amount is € 100. EU citizens residing in South Tyrol have the right to claim this immediately; families from non-EU countries must be registered as residents in South Tyrol for five years. In either case, there is an income ceiling of € 80,000.

The child benefit from the Italian state, by contrast, pays out a child benefit only to families with at least three children and low incomes. There is also a family allowance awarded by the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, which is also based on income level and has a five year residency requirement.


9 In what language will my child be schooled?

Even beginning in pre-school, each parent must decide for a German-language or Italian-language education. While this may seem daunting at first, it actually represents a unique—even extraordinary—opportunity. If a third or even fourth language is spoken at home, a child in South Tyrol has the opportunity to grow up perfectly trilingual or even quadrilingual. Because the languages are used continually in daily life, not just taught in an academic setting, switching back and forth between them becomes second nature.

Many Italian speakers send their children to German school, at least for a period of time, and vice versa. Government employees and service professionals are expected to be fluent in both languages and competent in English. Around 89 % of German speakers in the region use Italian during a normal working day, while 74 % of their Italian counterparts say they speak German on a daily basis at work.

In the winter before the school year begins, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the neighbourhood schools, talk to teachers and administrators, ask questions about pedagogical philosophy, and discuss your child’s linguistic and general needs. We recommend that language be treated as one component of this decision—not as the only component.


10 What is meant by "Staat", "Region" and "Provinz"?

Because South Tyrol is an autonomous province of Italy that has certain powers of self-rule and a province government, newcomers may find the different administrative bodies to be somewhat confusing. Here is a brief summary of the structure: South Tyrol is known colloquially as Südtirol in German and as Alto Adige in Italian. The German name refers to its geography from the viewpoint of German speakers: Süd means “south”, and this was once the southern portion of the County of “Tirol”. The Italian name also refers to geography, but from the southern perspective: Alto means “high” or “upper”, and Adige refers to the Adige River. The official name of the province in German is Autonome Provinz Bozen — Südtirol while the official name of the province in Italian is Provincia autonoma di Bolzano — Alto Adige. The autonomous province of South Tyrol and the autonomous province of Trentino together comprise Italy’s autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province of South Tyrol is divided into 8 districts (comunità comprensoriali or Bezirksgemeinschaften) and then further divided into 116 municipalities (comuni or Gemeinden).

As a result of this structure, there are governmental bodies that function on a national, regional, provincial, district and municipal level. These distinctions may not affect your day-to-day activities except to the extent that they may confuse you. For example, there are three different types of child benefits available to you in South Tyrol, each with a different set of rules: one offered by the Italian state government, one offered by the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and one offered by the Provincia autonoma di Bolzano — Alto Adige or Autonome Provinz Bozen — Südtirol.

 
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