for asylum seekers and refugees in italy
*Refer to Glossary of Terms
The following information is below:
1. Where to Start
2. Access to Healthcare
3. Alternatives to National Health
Where to Start
You always have the right to emergency care, regardless of your residency/status.
To obtain emergency care, you need to request the STP card (“straniero temporaneamente presente”), at a public local health institution (ASL), a major hospital, any health centre in every city (emergency rooms, hospitals, polyclinics, consultancies, etc.) or in the place where you do the first health screening.
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.
This card grants access to free urgent medical care, even if you do not have a residence permit.
Your housing situation has a major impact on your health and the success of medical treatment. It is therefore essential that you clarify your housing situation to ensure a successful medical treatment beyond emergency.
Treating mental health issues is fundamental to access services in Italy. People with mental health problems are sometimes excluded from state-run reception centres if they are considered unfit for communal living, and can even be excluded from squats if they are seen as an undue burden. If you are unable to access national healthcare, you should by all means reach to organizations offering alternative medical aid in order to get the help you need.
2. Access to Healthcare
To access healthcare beyond emergency issues, you will need a healthcare card (tessera sanitaria) to visit a general practitioner and receive other medical services.
To obtain this card, you will need to go to the Italian Revenue Agency (Agencia delle Entrate) first to obtain your fiscal code (codice fiscale). See https://www.doctorsinitaly.com/get-codice-fiscale/ for detailed information.
After you obtained your fiscal code, you will have to register at a public regional local health unit ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) (find your closest ASL on this link https://www.doctorsinitaly.com/asl-offices-italy/). You will need a valid ID and permit of stay (cedolino or permesso di soggiorno), an address (residenza) as well as your fiscal code. See https://www.doctorsinitaly.com/how-to-get-tessera-sanitaria/ for more detailed information on how to get the tessera sanitaria.
This means that if your asylum application has not yet been formally registered (verbalizzazione), you are excluded from medical care beyond basic or emergency treatment.
A health card grants access to a general physician and various medical services beyond basic and emergency treatment. Patients are allocated to a local doctor at their place of residence. If you use an NGO’s address as your address of residence (residenza), be aware that you will have to travel to the NGO’s locality to see your assigned doctor.
The Italian healthcare system stipulates that both people who work and those who have never worked in Italy (inoccupati) must contribute to the cost of treatment by paying a fee amounting to between 20 and 40 euros (depending on the treatment) for medical services (with the exception of emergency treatment). Asylum seekers are guaranteed exemption from paying the fee as long as they are not permitted to work, that is to say until 60 days after they have submitted their asylum application. 60 days after submitting the asylum application, asylum seekers are considered to have access to the labour market and thus are required to pay the fee.
As long as a person has accommodation in the SPRAR system, the ticket is paid by SPRAR.
EDIT: After the abolition of the SPRAR system (reception centres for asylum seekers and refugees), there are now only facilities limited to refugees and unaccompanied minors. In fact, many reception centres have been closed and all the hosted people have been sent to other facilities or, in the worst cases, remain on the streets.
If a person had a job and the contract was terminated (so-called disoccupato), the government assumes the cost of the ticket, as long as the person is unemployed and the family’s annual income does not exceed 8,000 euros. This is subject to periodical reviews.
There are no regional differences in terms of medical treatment, but there are when it comes to the cost of medication. It should be pointed out that the administrative procedure to gain exemption from costs can take some time. They also require all their medical documents, which should be translated into English at least to theoretically guarantee the chance of follow-on treatment.
*The SPRAR pays for translation and mediation services for psychological treatment in certain cases.
If a person is being treated for mental health problems, they can apply to stay in the SPRAR system until their treatment is completed. This application is generally approved.
3. Alternatives to National Health Structures
Both Rome and Milan have programmes that offer psychological or psychiatric treatment:
In Milan, the Naga-Har centre run by the organisation Naga has a team of volunteer psychologists, doctors, cultural mediators and art therapists. The organization provides the following free services :
Medical care (general practitioners, specialists, surgery) and information on the Italian health system
Information and accompaniment to pregnant women
Information on how to avoid pregnancy, pregnancy interruption, protection from sexually transmitted diseases
Help with asylum application and presenting medical certificates testifying of violence
Information on expulsion orders
Associazione Volontaria di Assistenza Socio-Sanitaria e per i Diritti di Stranieri e Nomadi (NAGA)
Via Zamenhof, 7A - 20136 Milano
via Grigna, 24 - 20136 Milano
Tel. +39 23925466
Monday to Saturday 14.30-18.30
Terrenuove Onlus - In Milan, The Terrenuove cooperative offers psychological counselling for migrants.
Via Archimede 127 - 20129 Milano
To take an appointment, call +39 0270005867 or +39 0270127021 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ferite Invisibili project is run by Caritas Rome for victims of torture and people who have been traumatized. The present staff is made of psychotherapists, psychiatrists, cultural mediators, nurses, social assistants.
Via di Grotta Pinta 19 - 00186 Roma
Tel. +39 066832171
SaMiFo (Salute Migranti Forzati) Rome is a joint project by the national health service and Centro Astalli. It offers general and specialist medical care for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of protection as well as psychiatric treatment. To gain access to treatment, a person must already be registered with the public healthcare system.
Address: Via L. Luzzatti 8 – 00185 Roma
Refer to our Medical Aid Spreadsheet for General Practice resources: