A little about Italy…
Sharing land borders with 4 countries and with the best access to the Mediterranean, Italy is arguably the most accessible place in Europe. Nowadays, it has one of the biggest economies in the world, let alone in the EU. Rated the 8th largest in the world and the 3rd largest in the Eurozone (2015), Italy has well and truly recovered from the Financial Crisis of 2007/08. With this mixture of economic opportunity and beautiful surroundings, there aren’t many places better to move to.
So, now that you know a bit more about this incredible country, let’s explain a bit about how the healthcare system works here.
15, 16, …,18, 19Don’t be surprised if you see a building without a 17th floor. In Roman numerals 17 (XVII) can be rearranged to XIVI, which means “I have lived” - a symbol often associated with death.
Who's afraid of the big bad volcano?All three of the active volcanoes that are located in Europe are located in Italy: Etna, Stromboli, and Vesuvius. But don't worry, no catastrophic eruptions have occurred for a long time and these volcanoes are all monitored very closely by the Italian government.
Fancy a hike?In central Italy lies a town called Caldari di Ortona, in which there is a wine fountain that is completely free and runs 24/7. It is supposed to be a reward for those on the Camino di San Tommaso pilgrimage, but anyone is allowed to drink from it.
The Healthcare System in Italy
Established in 1978, Italy’s public health system - the Servicio Sanitaris Nazionale (SSN) is managed by the government and provides a universal Public scheme. It is funded by a combination of tax (deducted from your salary) and Government supplements. Expats from EU countries can access the SSN if they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and are entitled to the same treatment as Italian citizens. However, expats from outside the EU must register with the SSN and are only eligible to treatment if they have full residency (permesso di soggiorno).
Most Italians use this free/low-cost scheme which includes: GPs, Public hospital treatments, lab services, subsidized medicines, certain specialist care and ambulance services. The quality of care offered by the public insurance can vary, depending on which region of the country you are in. This is because although it is a largely socialized system, regional governments are in charge of its' management in their respective areas, varying the amount of funding. For example, public hospitals in north and central Italy are known to offer higher standards of care than those in the south.
Even though public healthcare is free for expat residents, most foreigners still prefer private healthcare. Private insurance allows access to private hospitals which offer extremely high-quality care. As well as this, you skip the longer waiting times, bureaucratic processes and you get to choose your preferred doctor/hospital. If you are working in Italy, often employers will cover your insurance, if not then we would strongly suggest taking it out yourself. So, now that you have a bit of background about the sort of healthcare system that Italy uses, we turn our attention to the next decision you need to make: VISAs. Below is a list of some of the more common VISAs:
National VISA (D VISA)
If you are planning to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days, this is the VISA for you. If you are a citizen from the EU, EEA or Switzerland you do not need a VISA, but will need to register for residency within 90 days of entry if you plan to stay longer. There are different types of National VISA, so we have put the two most commonly used below:
A) Work VISA
You must already have been offered a job and your employer will fill out most of the application process on your behalf. Exact requirements will depend on your job and where you intend to work in Italy. Once approved, you will need an entry VISA and then have 6 months to pick up your Work VISA. It is worth checking if you are eligible for a European Blue Card, as it can speed up the process, you can do this on the following link: https://www.apply.eu/
B) Student VISA
If you are over 18 and enrolled on an academic/work course, you can apply for this VISA. Once again, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens do not need a VISA, however they will need to apply for a residency permit once in the country. In terms of working outside of study, non-EU members will need to get a work permit. For the Student VISA, you will need: acceptance letter from where you are studying, proof of accommodation, proof of financial sufficiency and proof of return journey.