What Is an SPID?
The Public Digital Identity System (SPID) is a digital identity made up of a pair of encrypted personal credentials (username and password) that should never be shared with anyone. It was designed to increase transparency on how data is managed and provide an efficient service regarding transferring important information. Personal data disclosed to the identity providers cannot be used for commercial purposes without the user’s express permission..
An SPID allows you to access online services for public administrations in Italy—for example, INPS (National Institute for Social Security), Agenzia delle Entrate (National Revenue Agency), INAIL (National Institute for Insurance Against Labor Accidents), MIUR (Ministry of Education, University, and Research), and even your local municipality.
Having an SPID is safe, easy and fast. It provides a secure transfer of any personal information that certain parties might be interested in stealing, and, soon, having an SPID will be the only way to access these services. You can use it on any device: computer, tablet, smartphone and any time you see the “Enter with SPID” button on a site or service app. This means that, if you happen to be walking around Milan, you can also quickly sign in and use the city’s free Wi-Fi while remaining secure.
Who Can Open SPID?
Anyone can request an SPID, provided they’re 18 years of age or older and have the following:
- a valid Italian ID document;
- a health card or tax code card.
You don’t necessarily have to be an Italian citizen or living in Italy to obtain an SPID. Foreign citizens residing in Italy and Italian citizens living abroad can request an SPID if they have a valid Italian identity document and are registered with AIRE (Registry of Italian Residents Abroad).
What Do You Need to Open SPID?
To obtain SPID you need a valid Italian identification document (identity card, passport, driving license), social security card (Tessera sanitaria) or tax number (Codice fiscale), an email address and a personal mobile number. Regarding the email address and mobile phone number, it is not necessary that they are registered in the name of the person requesting SPID, however they must be strictly personal, for security checks as well. This means that a different mobile number and email address must be used for each SPID identity registered in the name of a different person. Additionally, it is not recommended to use work emails and/or business phone numbers, because losing access to these tools can create problems using the SPID or recovering it
To recap, the documents you’ll need are:
- a valid ID document;
- a social security card or tax code card;
- a personal email;
- a mobile phone number.
How to Open SPID
There are a number of ways to open an SPID, but the best way is to register with the Poste Italiane. If you don’t want to use the Poste, there are 8 other providers (Aruba PEC SpA, In.Te.S.A. SpA, InfoCert SpA, Lepida ScpA, Namirial SpA, Register SpA, Sielte SpA and TI Trust Technologies Srl) to choose from, and each one provides the same exact credentials. You can do it through their website using the relevant documents and then go in-person to have your identification verified and complete the process. Other services charge a fee for opening the SPID (about 12 euros). The Poste provides this service simply and for free. If you chose to use another service for some reason, there are a number of ways they can choose to carry out the ID verification. The most common methods used by Italian identity providers are:
- in person at the offices of the digital identity providers;
- via webcam;
- by sending an audio-video selfie together and paying a “symbolic” bank transfer, usually only a couple cents.
If possible, it is recommended to go in-person to verify your ID, as the remote verification services tend to be paid.
Companies, not only individuals, can have an SPID as well. The legal representative of the company is able to open one. For companies, unlike citizens, the service is paid but, in most cases, less than 50 euros.
After choosing your identity provider and registering on their site you must simply:
- Enter your personal data;
- Create your SPID credentials (username and password);
- Do the recognition, as previously mentioned, to prove that it is really you.
Unfortunately, at the moment, because there are many different providers that can generate an SPID, the time it takes to acquire one tends to change between providers, though they clarify this information on their personal websites.
If you decide at some point that you no longer want or require an SPID, simply contact your provider and begin the process to cancel it.
Can Foreigners Obtain SPID?
Yes. However, you must be in possession of a valid Italian identification—an ID card (Carta d’identità)—and tax number (Codice fiscale), an email address and personal mobile number. If you’ve already got a residence permit (Permesso di soggiorno), then you can apply for an Italian ID card which you can then submit during SPID registration. The residence permit alone is not enough. If you also need to request a tax number, this can be done through the Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle entrate) website—or at the Italian Consulate in your home country before arriving in Italy. If any of your documents expire during the process or while you have an active SPID, you should contact your identity provider to update them.
If you would like to discover more about this topic take a look at our other articles, such as, Documents required for Italian citizenship: our guide, The Italian fiscal code number, A guide to Italian bank accounts for foreigners and Becoming an Italain resident : our useful guide