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Who can apply for international protection?

A person, with insufficient livelihoods, who asks Italy for international protection and owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
In order to be recognized as a refugee, it’s not necessary to have been victim of persecution. Italian law provides the right of reception for all asylum seekers. Reception measures are adopted since a person expresses the will to apply for international protection.

  • Italian reception system

Reception system is structured in different steps according to Piano nazionale per fronteggiare il flusso straordinario di cittadini extracomunitari from D.Lgs 142/2015 and to Roadmap Italiana published in September 2015 and based on the European Migration Agenda: first aid and assistance, first reception and second reception.

As regards first aid and assistance, there are hotspots in which people who have just disembarked are accommodated and in which sanitary screening, pre-identification, photo signaling, and procedures for reception are carried out.

First reception takes place in reception facilities for asylum seekers, where identification process is concluded, where legal position is defined and where application for international protection is formalized.

Second reception, that is SPRAR (Sistema di Protezione per Richiedenti Asilo e Rifugiati) provides reception for asylum seekers until the outcome of Territorial Commission. In case of appeal, reception is assured until a positive answer or, in case of rejection, until the judge accepts the suspension of the effect of the first outcome.
In case there are no vacancies available in SPRAR system, the law provides that asylum seekers should remain in first reception and they should be inserted into a customized project for social and economic inclusion and reception to become independent.


In October 2016, the Ministry of the Interior showed the dates regarding immigrants’ distribution, underlining that emergency approach is still predominant in Italian reception system:

  • 70% of asylum seekers live in temporary reception facilities
  • 21% of asylum seekers are hosted by SPRAR system
  • 7% of asylum seekers are organized in first reception facilities


The case of unaccompanied minors

Foreigner unaccompanied minors are foreign nationals below the age of 18 who arrive in Italy without parents or without a legal guardian. For them, it is provided that, within 60 days, all process for identification and procedure to verify the age must be concluded. They are directly sent in SPRAR reception system but, if there are no places, local government must provide them accommodation.


Read more!


The arrival

In hotspots, immigrants are identified and their need to receive international protection is evaluated. Those who manifest their willingness to seek international protection are identified and addressed to first reception facilities.

Rights of asylum seeker


In a short time, the applicant is called by local Prefecture to carry out the necessary paperwork for international protection. So, C/3 module is filled in with a picture and fingerprints and then the applicant is given  a “cedolino” (temporary residence permit).

Asylum seekers: after 60 days from the application for international protection, the applicant is allowed to work. - Rif. D.Lgs. 142/2015
C/3 = identity declaration and formal application for international protection. The applicant is required to describe the reasons why s/he left his/her own country and the journey s/he did to reach Italy. With the completion of the C3, the formal stage of applying for international protection is concluded. - Rif. Convenzione di Ginevra 1951

Sanitary aspect

Asylum seeker is called by local ASL to do:

  • Mantoux test
  • Basic vaccinations

After this, s/he must enrol National Sanitary System and ask for a Health Card.

Mantoux test = a test for determining the presence of a tubercular infection.

Residence Permit

Police Headquarter carries out paperwork and verifies if Italy is the competent country to examine the application for international protection, according to 604/2013 Regulation. After that, the applicant can have his/her residence permit. It reports the writing “asylum request”, it has a 6 months validity it is renewable and it allows asylum seekers to work.

604/2013 that is Dublin Regulation III. It establishes which are the criterions and the mechanisms to determine which is the competent European State for examining the application for international protection. The Regulation is applied to all EU countries with the addition of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Swiss.

Validity = If Territorial Commission doesn’t provide an outcome within 6 months from the application (and the delay is not caused by the applicant) the residence permit is renewed for other 6 months and it allows the applicant to work until the procedure is completed. The asylum procedure should be concluded within 6 months by the lodging of the application. (D. Lgs. 142/2015).


Police HQ convenes asylum seekers to inform them about the day they should present to Territorial Commission.

Territorial Commission

Administrative phase.
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Territorial commission is the competent authority to examine the asylum application. It is composed by 4 members: 2 representatives of the Ministry of interior, one of which is a senior police officer; 1 representative of the Municipality (or Province or Region) and 1 representative of UNHCR. The decision must be taken by at least a majority of 3 members.

The appeal

Judicial phase.
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The asylum seeker, who received a rejection from Territorial Commission, has two possibilities:

  • the appeal, that must be lodged within 30 calendar days. It has automatic suspensive effect. At this point, law provides that a new residence permit is released, with the writing “asylum request”. Time limit to decide is 6 months.
  • s/he can decide not to make appeal. In this case Prefecture will emanate, within 30 days, a decree of expulsion and, as a consequence, the rejected applicant must leave the country.





Onward appeal

Judicial phase.
Read more!

In case of rejection of the appeal Prefecture automatically suspends reception measures and so the rejected must leave the reception facility.

Within 30 days the rejected must appeal against the decision if the Civil Tribunal and s/he must apply for a suspension of the effects of the rejection. In this way s/he is readmitted in the reception facilit

The alternative?

Voluntary Return Assisted (RVA).

Learn more!


Bibliography: Rapporto sulla protezione internazionale in Italia 2016 a cura di ANCI, Caritas Italiana, Cittalia, Fondazione Migrantes, servizio centrale dello SPRAR e in collaborazione con UHNCR; Guida pratica per i richiedenti protezione internazionale SPRAR a cura di ANCI, Dip. per le libertà civili e l'immigrazione e Commissione Nazionale per il Diritto d'Asilo; Manuale operativo SPRAR; Guida al RVA per gli operatori a cura dell'OIM; Il Regolamento Dublino e la procedura di asilo in Italia Conosci i tuoi diritti? a cura di CIR, AICCRE e Europeconsulting. SITOGRAPHY:;;;;;;; Training and materials.

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