Declaration of Language-Group Affiliation
A Declaration of Language-Group Affiliation or Declaration of Language-Group Association form can be obtained, upon presentation of a valid passport, at the Office of Language Group Affiliation of the District Court of Bolzano (information available in German or Italian) or at its local branches. The certificate issued to you by the district court at the end of the process may also be picked up there.
In order to understand South Tyrol, understanding language-group affiliation is a must. An elaborate system of proportional representation ensures proper consideration of all three ethnic groups in all areas of public life, whether for a job with the province government or allocation of funds from the provincial budget. This representation is based upon Declarations of Language-Group Affiliation, which are updated every ten years through the census. On this form, each individual must declare himself or herself to be affiliated to one of the three officially recognised language groups in South Tyrol: German, Italian or Ladin.
Alternatively, there is also the option of association (aggregazione or Angliederung) with a language group, in which one merely chooses to identify oneself with a given language group—as opposed to “affiliation”, which in South Tyrol is a stronger, deeper sense of linguistic and cultural belonging—in order to safeguard the rights guaranteed to the three language groups by the Statute of Autonomy. The purpose of doing so is primarily to access positions in the public administration. A Declaration of Language-Group Affiliation Certificate is required for many different types of applications for government programmes such as housing subsidies, allocation of socialised housing, or for admission to the bilingualism exam. EU citizens who move to South Tyrol are not required to declare affiliation with a language group; as are all Italian citizens; however, they may do so at any time at the Regional Court of Bolzano.
Following registration of residence, you will receive a formal letter of invitation to declare your language group affiliation from your municipality. If your declaration is filed within the first year after receipt of the letter, it has immediate validity. Thereafter, the certificate will be issued up to 18 months after you make your declaration.