Medical assistance in Italy

last update: January 2016

The Italian Constitution protects health as a fundamental right of the individual. It is a right that should be guaranteed to ALL, even to those who are not in possession of a regular permit of stay. In Italy EVERYBODY has the right to healthcare in public and private structures credited to the national health system (S. S. N.).

If you do not have a permit of stay, you can ask for the STP card (STP = Straniero Temporaneamente Presente, foreign person that lives temporarily in Italy). With this card you have free access to outpatient and emergency hospital care, even on an ongoing basis, as well as access to preventive medicine and pharmaceutical care. The health care can be free of charge for some medical examination, as it is free of charge for Italian citizens, such as examinations during pregnancy, the access to women clinics and to the mental health centers and some examinations made by the Department of Prevention (vaccines, HIV test and prevention, health screening) and examination for children under the age of 6 and old people over the age of 65.

You can obtain the STP card at any health centre in every city (emergency rooms, hospitals, polyclinics, consultancies, etc.) or in the place where you do the first health screening and you only have to declare your details without showing any identification.

The card has a duration of 6 months, renewable for another 6 months and is valid throughout Italy.

If you have the permit of stay as an asylum seekers or as a holder of international or humanitarian protection, you can subscribe to the National Health System in the health center of the city where you live. The registration lasts for the period of your permit of stay and can be renew after the renewal of your permit of stay. The S.S.N. Membership gives you access to the same  rights granted to Italian citizens (general practitioner, free hospitalisation, pharmaceutical care, outpatient and specialist medical examinations, vaccinations, blood tests, etc...).

IMPORTANT!  If you have not asked for the STP card but you need urgent medical care, you have the right to access  the emergency room and receive the necessary treatment.


- For medical personnel, it is forbidden to make any report to the Police Authority. Nobody working inside the health centers can make a complaint against you (according to art. 35 comma 5, D.Leg 286/1998);
- To sign up to the S.N.N. you must carry a self-certification of your residence or a statement of the hospitality of the reception centre where you are;
- The cost of medical visits starts from 15 euros and can be up to 100 euro. If you do not work or you have an income less than 8000 euro per year, you can apply for exemptions for the cost of any medical examinations or medicines in pharmacies. Exemptions are granted differently according to the region where you are living;

IMPORTANT! To subscribe to S.N.N. you need to have the fiscal code (codice fiscale), issued by a public agency called “Agenzia delle Entrate” which is present in every Italian town. The”codice fiscale” is a code of sixteen characters, consisting of numbers and letters that capture your personal data (name, surname, date of birth, place of birth) and serves to uniquely identify the citizen/foreigner residing in Italy for tax and administrative purposes.



Emergency Via Gerolamo Vida 11, Milano phone 02881881 email:  

MEDU (Medici per i Diritti Umani) - Roma Via dei Zeno, 10 phone 0697844892 mobile 3343929765  email:

MSF (Medici Senza Frontiere) Via Magenta 5 - Roma  phone 0688806000 email: 

Croce Rossa Italiana free number: 800166166 website email:

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