What Is a SPID and Why Do I Need One?

what is a spid

Life admin in Italy is always done in person. You fill in a form, pay for a marca da bollo and hand over photocopies of every document you’ve ever been issued to someone who you really hope is in a good mood that day. That’s just the way it is, right?

Well, actually, not always. Sometimes you can deal with bureaucracy online – and to do so you’ll need a SPID.

What is a SPID?

The Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale is Italy’s public digital identity system that grants users access all kinds of public services online. With one login, you can access over 5,000 local and national agencies, including the Agenzia delle Entrate, Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale (INPS), and Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione. To request a SPID, you’ll need a valid Italian ID document and a tessera sanitaria or codice fiscale.

How do I get a SPID?

To get a SPID, choose from this list (scroll down) of approved providers on the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale website. Helpfully, it’s also available in English here.

Your identity will need to be verified as part of the process, which can be done in a number of different ways including via webcam, with a Carta d’Identità Elettronica, digital signature, or in person. I used the Poste ID app as I have a bank account with Poste Italiane so my identity was already verified. If you don’t have an account with Poste Italiane you can still use their Poste ID app, you’ll just need to visit a post office in person first. 

Most of the providers offer a free service to use the SPID, with some opting to charge for the one-off verification process if done via webcam. Check the table to see which will work best for you.

Once set up, you’ll be able to use your SPID with the app of your chosen provider on any website where you see the option ‘Entra con SPID’.

What can I use it for?

You might still have to go to government offices in person for some types of life admin but having a SPID will certainly make it easier to at least start the process in many cases. Here’s a few things you can do with a SPID:

For a full list of the services accessible by SPID, see Agenzie per l’Italia Digitale’s website.

In 2020, the Italian government announced a ‘Simplification Decree’, which outlined plans to expand access to digital services, meaning using a SPID will become only more commonplace. After a transition period, which runs until 30 September 2021, some old credentials will no longer be valid, so you might find yourself unable to login to certain services if you haven’t got round to registering for a SPID.

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