Medical assistance for international students

Useful information for using the healthcare services in Italy.

The Italian National Health System is called "Servizio Sanitario Nazionale" (SSN), and is divided into local Healthcare Boards ("Aziende Unità Sanitarie Locali - AUSL"). Consult the information for the AUSL of Bologna and for the AUSL of the Romagna Campuses.

Read the information on healthcare and medical treatment in Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini.

If you study in Bologna, also read the information on the new free health care service of the ANT Foundation for students from outside Bologna, which is also available for EU and non-EU international students.

Students with European Union (EU) citizenship

If you hold the European health card (EHIC) card

If you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your EU country of origin, you can receive all medically necessary health services.

To obtain said services, you can go directly to a doctor or a public or affiliated health facility and show your EHIC card. The assistance is direct and therefore nothing is due, except for the payment of a possible contribution ("ticket") which is at your expense and is non-refundable.

Important! With the EHIC Card you can go directly to a general practitioner (also known as a family doctor) chosen from the list of affiliated doctors in Bologna, or from the list of affiliated doctors in other Campuses.

Warning: with the EHIC Card you cannot access treatments "scheduled abroad", i.e. foreseeable (e.g. non-urgent dental treatments, spa treatments, etc.).

If you cannot use the EHIC Card, read "Other cases".

If you have a Certificate of Entitlement (e.g. E106, E 109, etc.)

If you are in possession of a certificate of entitlement other than the EHIC Card, in order to be able to take advantage of healthcare, you normally must first present this certificate to a “Sportello Unico” AUSL (CUP). There they will check whether it is possible for you to register with the National Health Service (SSN), and in this case, you will have the right to full health care under the same conditions as for Italian citizens.

The method of access to health services may vary depending on the entitlement held. Ask for more information at the Sportello Unico (CUP) at the time of registration.

Consult the list of “Sportello Unico” (CUP) in Bologna and Romagna (Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, and Rimini districts).

Other cases

In the event that you do not have an EHIC Card or a Certificate of Entitlement, you must take out a private health insurance valid in Italy or register with the Italian National Health Service (SSN), where applicable.

  • If you have a private health insurance, you can go to any general practitioner. In case you need a specialist medical examination, you can directly choose which doctor to contact, possibly getting advice from a general practitioner. 
    Important! Private health policies:
    - Do not allow registration with the Italian National Health Service (SSN) or the choice of a general practitioner
    Usually require the user to pay the expenses and then ask for reimbursement from the insurance company
    When purchasing a policy, carefully check the terms and limits of reimbursements. Remember that the health costs to be advanced could be very high, for example in the case of hospitalization. It is advisable to check in advance, by contacting your insurance company, whether the type of benefit you need is refundable.
  • If your stay is for study reasons, check with a Sportello Unico (CUP) if you can register with the SSN. To register voluntarily in the SSN as a student you must be resident in Italy and pay an annual lump sum contribution of minimum €700 (to be defined).
    Warning: registration with the SSN is carried out for a calendar year, from 1 January to 31 December, and it is not possible to pay reduced quotas for shorter periods.
  • If you are an employed or self-employed worker and you pay taxes in Italy you are entitled to compulsory and free registration to the National Health Service. Check at a “Sportello Unico” AUSL (CUP) how to register with the SSN.
  • If you hold official residence in Italy for at least 5 years, you may apply from your Municipality of residence for an "Attestato di Soggiorno Permanente" (Certificate of Permanent Residence) which entitles you to register with the Italian National Health Service (SSN) and choose a general practitioner (GP) for an indefinite period. Check at a “Sportello Unico” AUSL (CUP) how to register with the SSN.

Students with non-European Union (non-EU) citizenship

Non-EU students must register with the Italian National Health Service (SSN) or have valid health insurance in Italy.

Health cover (against the risk of illness, accident, maternity) is required to obtain a residence permit. The maximum duration of the residence permit for study is one year. A shorter residence permit may be due to several factors, including the duration of health coverage: in no case will the issued residence permit be longer than your health insurance or registration with the Italian National Health Service (SSN).

National Health Service

Italy has a public health system called the National Health Service (SSN), divided into Healthcare Boards (AUSL).

By registering with the Italian SSN, you get the same services guaranteed to Italian citizens. For more details, read what the registration with the SSN entitles you to.

If you are not already entitled to compulsory registration with the National Health Service, you can register voluntarily with the choice of a general practitioner, by paying an annual flat-rate contribution valid for a calendar year. Read below how to register.

How to register voluntarily with the National Health Service as a student

For those who apply for or hold a residence permit for study purposes, from 2024 the lump sum fee is a minimum of €700 (to be defined) per year. Registration is based on a calendar year (i.e. from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023) and it is not possible to pay reduced quotas for shorter periods.

It is possible to pay the registration fee for both the current year and the next calendar year (e.g. 2023 and 2024). This possibility allows students to obtain health coverage for an academic year and it is useful for students arriving in September, for example, and who wish to apply for a residence permit for study purposes valid for one year.

To cover any dependent family members, the lump sum fee is a minimum of €2.000 (to be defined) per year.

To sign up:

  • Go to a “Sportello Unico” AUSL (CUP). Consult the list of “Sportello Unico” (CUP) in Bologna and Romagna (Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini districts).
    Take with you:
    - Your passport
    - Your official Italian tax code
    - Enrolment certificate for the University of Bologna, or Certificate of Arrival for exchange students
    - For the CUP offices in Bologna, the registration form for non-EU citizens (in Italian) [.pdf 967 KB]; read the example with instructions in English [.pdf 982 KB] on how to fill in the form
    Ask for information on how to pay for the voluntary registration for students; the operator will provide you with the required documents and payment instructions (you can pay at the CUP, online or in other offices: post offices, banks, tobacconists etc.). If you want to register for two consecutive years (e.g. 2023 and 2024), you have to request a separate payment slip for each year.
  • Pay the annual lump sum fee for each year of health service (SSN) registration and keep the payment receipts
  • Make a copy of payment receipts and attach them to your application for initial issuing or renewal of your residence permit;
  • After applying for the residence permit, go back to the “Sportello Unico” (CUP) office as soon as possible, to activate the coverage and choose a general practitioner. Take with you:
    - Payment receipts for the lump sum fee per year
    - Postal receipt of your residence permit application (or residence permit if already issued)
    - Enrolment certificate for the University of Bologna, or Certificate of Arrival for exchange students

Warning: payment alone does not imply activation of the coverage! You must complete the registration at an AUSL office and choose a general practitioner (family doctor).

If you pay for two consecutive years, remember that at the end of the current year you must return to the CUP with the payment receipt for the following year, and ask for the service to be activated.

Always check the end date of your coverage.

Students registered with the SSN receive a health card (Tessera Sanitaria) by post. The card is sent to the address communicated to the Revenue Agency; you can contact the Revenue Agency to update your address and to request a reprint of the card.

Take out a private insurance

As an alternative to registering with the SSN, to apply for a residence permit you can demonstrate that you have private health insurance valid in Italy.

The insurance must be:

  • Registered to you
  • Cover the risk of illness, injury, pregnancy
  • Valid in Italy for the duration of the study program or mobility

You can purchase a health insurance from various private companies. Compare multiple options to figure out which one is best suited to your needs.
Warning! Private health policies:

  • Do not allow registration with the Italian National Health Service (SSN) or the choice of a general practitioner
  • Usually require the student to pay the expenses and then ask for reimbursement from the insurance company. 

If you have a private health insurance, you can go to any general practitioner. In case you need a specialist medical examination, you can directly choose which doctor to contact, possibly getting advice from a general practitioner. You have to pay for examinations to both the general practitioner and the specialist doctor and you can then claim reimbursement from your insurance.

When purchasing a policy, carefully check the terms and limits of reimbursements. Remember that the health costs to be advanced could be very high, for example in the case of hospitalization. It is advisable to check in advance, by contacting your insurance company, whether the type of benefit you need is refundable.

Contacts

Settore Diritto allo Studio - Ufficio Convenzioni per il Diritto allo Studio

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Via Marsala 49/A Bologna

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