On September 14th, 19th and October 5th 2023, the Italian government issued new immigration decrees (one interministerial decree, and two decreti/legge n. 124 and 133) which set changes to expulsion orders and administrative detention, as well as to some provisions for asylum-seekers and unaccompanied adolescents.

In this article you can learn more about changes regarding:

Keep in mind that these laws are new and complex, and we will need some time to understand how they work in practice. We'll share more updates as soon as we can. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here’s what we know. 

Asylum application if you don’t go to the appointment or you left your center without notice

If you express your will to apply for international protection to the police but you do not go to your appointment for the fingerprinting and C3 form, your intention will not be considered a formal request for asylum application. Therefore if you don’t show up to those appointments, authorities will consider that you never asked for asylum, and you may risk getting an expulsion order if the police stops you. However, you can still apply for international protection again at any time, and start a new procedure. 

The new decree also established that if you applied for international protection, but you left the reception center without notice or any reasonable justification, the examination of your application is put on hold, and you may request to reopen it within 9 months from its suspension. After this period your application is withdrawn and officially closed, but you may still file a new asylum application at any time. 

Learn more about: APPLYING FOR ASYLUM 

Reception centers for women and unaccompanied minors

The new law established that all women, and not only pregnant women, have the priority to be hosted in SAI (Reception and Integration System) reception centers.

As a general rule, unaccompanied adolescents are also hosted in SAI centers for minors, after initial reception in government facilities for minors aimed at immediate relief, identification and information. However with the new regulation, in case of lack of spots in facilities for adolescents, if you are 16 or 17 you may stay temporarily in a center for adults, for up to 90 days. 


Age assessment 

When you arrive in Italy and you claim to be under 18 but authorities doubt your age, a judge may authorize social-health checks conducted by specialized staff and include an interview, a medical visit with a specialized doctor, and an evaluation with a psychologist to assess your age.

According to the new legislation, in the case of consistent and continuous flows of people arriving to Italy, if you tell the authorities you are under 18 but you do not have any documents proving your age and authorities doubt that you are underage, police may proceed with checks like body measurements and radiography, even before the judge’s authorization. 

If your age assessment is wrong, you can appeal to the Juvenile Court ('Tribunale per i Minorenni' in Italian) with the help of a lawyer within 5 days from the day you got the assessment notified. 

If you have no documents with you, tell the police the truth about your age. In Italy, lying to authorities is a crime - please read the next paragraph!


Expulsion orders 

Expulsion order after declaring false personal data

If, after the age assessment, authorities find out that you lied about your age declaring that you are under 18, you may get convicted with the offense of false declaration of your personal data. According to the new decree, the judge may decide to substitute your conviction into an expulsion order and you will have to leave Italy. 

You can appeal with the help of a lawyer within the deadline you can find on the decision.  

Administrative detention period after getting an expulsion order 

If you get an expulsion order, authorities may detain you in an administrative detention center to repatriate you ('Centro di Permanenza per i Rimpatri - CPR' in Italian) until Questura finds a flight for you and verifies your identity and nationality.

The new decree extended the maximum length of administrative detention up to 18 months if the judge considers it necessary. Indeed, from a first period of 3 months, the judge may extend the custody each 3 months up to an overall period of 18 months.

Learn more about: EXPULSION ORDER

For asylum-seekers under fast-track procedure: financial guarantee to avoid detention 

The Decree-Law 20/2023 (Cutro decree) introduced the possibility of issuing detention orders to asylum seekers who have been stopped for evading or attempting to evade border controls or who are from countries of origin that Italy deems safe (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia, Morocco, Montenegro, Nigeria, Senegal, Serbia and Tunisia), if they do not have a passport or do not present a financial guarantee. A judge must confirm the detention order, and the detention cannot last more than 4 weeks.

Note that so far this provision was applied to few people, and some judges have not confirmed some detention orders to asylum seekers, who were therefore released. 

Also note that it is not true that the police are looking for asylum seekers who are in the reception centers to be held in custody to ask them money or to repatriate.

A new Interministerial decree set the amount of the financial guarantee to avoid waiting for the results of your asylum procedure in detention to 4,938 euros. It is not clear in practice how asylum seekers can provide the financial guarantee.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, we recommend you seek the help of a lawyer.


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