An expulsion order is an official document that says you have to leave Italy.
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If you are considered "irregular" in Italy, meaning you entered or remained in the country without permission and are not in the process of applying for asylum, you could get an expulsion order.
Under Italian law, expulsion orders and removal orders cannot be issued to:
- People classed as vulnerable, including people under 18, pregnant women and women who gave birth in the last 6 months
- Asylum applicants
- Foreign nationals who have a permesso di soggiorno (except in extraordinary cases)
- Foreign nationals sharing a home with a close relative who has Italian citizenship
- Foreign nationals who are in serious psychophysical conditions or deriving from serious pathologies, certified by a public health facility or by a doctor affiliated with the Italian National Health Service (SSN)
The Italian Ministry of Interior can also issue expulsion orders for special cases of national security, including terrorism. Generally these expulsion orders are executed very quickly.
If you get an expulsion order after requesting asylum but before getting a decision, the order is not legal. However, if you filled out a foglio notizie form in a way that makes authorities think you are not an asylum-seeker, they may issue you an expulsion order. Learn more:
Your local Prefettura issues expulsion orders, but the Questura (Immigration Office) serves them to people.
If you are living in a center, or your asylum request is being reviewed, you cannot be given an expulsion order because you are considered a registered migrant.
If you are an irregular migrant in Italy and are stopped by the police, you may be issued an expulsion order.
What does an expulsion order include?
The expulsion order explains why you are being ordered to leave. Expulsion orders are supposed to list specific reasons related to your individual circumstances, but many expulsion orders list very general reasons.
By law, the expulsion order has to be written in a language you can understand, or translated for you. However, in some cases, if no translator for your language is available, authorities will instead note in the expulsion order that it was not translated.
If you receive an expulsion order that has not been translated into a language you understand, you may appeal the expulsion order in court, with the help of a lawyer.
If you receive an expulsion order, the Questura may also require you to comply with the following procedures:
- Delivery of the passport, to be returned at the time of departure
- Obligation to stay in an identified place
- Obligation to go to a police office on specified days and at specified times
Under Italian law, people who get expulsion orders can ask between 7 and 30 days to leave the country on their own. The European Union also requires Italy to give people time to leave the country on their own before issuing them a removal order.
However, in practice, most Italian expulsion orders do not give you time to leave on your own.
Most of the time, expulsion orders state that the authorities could not give you a voluntary return period because, for example, you don't have a valid Italian ID, you don't have the means to get yourself home, or you don't have a valid address.
Therefore, in most cases, your expulsion order will include a removal order. A removal order allows the authorities to return you to your country of origin. Still, in many cases, the authorities have trouble enforcing the removal order and do not send people back to their country of origin.
Risk of being detained
After you get an expulsion order, you could be detained immediately in an administrative dentention center, in Italian a "centro di permanenza per i rimparti", until the Questura finds a flight for you or while they wait for your country of origin to confirm your nationality.
The new decree of September 2023 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.
According to the law, in a repatriation center you should be granted:
- Adequate sanitary and housing standards
- Assistance, full respect of dignity and relevant information on your status
- Freedom of correspondence (even by phone) with the outside of the center
- Right to file an oral or written request or a complaint (to the national, local or regional Ombudsman for the rights of persons deprived of their liberty or "Garante per i diritti delle persone private della libertà personale" in Italian)
From the moment you get the expulsion order you have 30 days to appeal to your local giudice di pace (justice of the peace). Finding a lawyer as soon as possible can help you make sure you don't miss the deadline. You can also access free legal aid for appealing the expulsion order. Learn how here.
If the local giudice di pace upholds your expulsion order, you and your lawyer can appeal to the Corte Suprema di Cassazione (Supreme Court of Cassation) in Rome, but only for specific reasons.
If your expulsion order comes with a removal order, you will be banned from entering Italy for 3 to 5 years, except with special authorization from the Ministry of Interior.
If you do re-enter Italy before the end of your re-entry ban, you may be arrested and held from 1 to 4 years. In any case, you can be forcibly removed again.
If you get an expulson order that gives you a period of time to leave on your own, you will be allowed to return to Italy, but only with a valid visa.