Italy considers some countries as safe countries of origin. If you come from one of these countries, your asylum claim will follow a fast-track asylum procedure, “procedura accelerata” in Italian.
You can use this article to learn more about:
- What are the safe countries of origin
- What is a fast-track asylum procedure
- Financial guarantee to avoid detention if you have no identification documents
What are the safe countries of origin?
The Decree of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 4 October 2019 identifies 13 countries as safe countries of origin, “Paesi Sicuri” in italian.
This means that generally, according to the Italian authorities, people coming from these countries should not fear persecution, serious harm for their lives and they should be able to enjoy their fundamental human rights in their countries of origin.
Italy considers safe the following countries:
Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco, Senegal, Serbia, Tunisia.
Can I apply for international protection if I come from a safe country of origin?
Short answer: Yes, you have the right to apply for international protection if you come from a safe country of origin. Anyone who believes to be in need of international protection from persecution or danger in their country of origin can apply for asylum in Italy.
Applying for Asylum
However, in practice very few people coming from these countries obtain international protection. If you come from one of the safe countries of origin, your asylum claim will follow the so-called “fast-track asylum procedure”, “procedura accelerata” in Italian.
On October 21, 2020 the Italian government approved a decree regarding migration and asylum. According to this new regulation, asylum claims of unaccompanied minors cannot follow fast-track asylum procedures.
What does fast-track asylum procedure mean for you?
When you file your asylum application, the police or the Questura (Immigration Office) will inform you that you come from a safe country of origin and that your asylum claim will follow a fast-track asylum procedure.
This means that the Territorial Commission will give priority to your asylum claim. According to the law, the Territorial Commission should arrange an asylum interview within seven days from the date of receipt of your asylum claim, and they should take a decision within the following two days.
In practice, Territorial Commissions may take longer before making a decision on your case. The time it takes to get an interview and the decision varies by Questura and Territorial Commission.
If you come from one of the safe countries of origin listed above, the Territorial Commission assume that you are generally safe in your country of origin.
For this reason, it is up to you to produce serious elements to demonstrate that your individual situation is not secure there.
If you cannot demonstrate why you are not safe in your country of origin, the Territorial Commission will deny your asylum claim as manifestly unfounded, “manifestamente infondata” in Italian, meaning that there is no legal basis for giving you international protection.
What do serious elements mean?
Serious elements mean any proof to demonstrate that your individual situation is not secure in your country of origin.
Some of the serious elements you could bring up are, but are not limited to:
- If you belong to the LGBTQ+ community
- If you risk of being a victim of human trafficking
- If you risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation
- If you come from an area of your country of origin that is particularly unsafe
Learn more about the elements to support your asylum claim:
Your asylum interview
If you find yourself in this situation, we suggest to get in touch with a legal expert who can advise on your individual situation.
Can I appeal if my application is considered manifestamente infondata?
If you do not agree with the Territorial Commission's decision, you may ask a judge to re-examine it. For this you will need the support of a lawyer.
Please note that you have a maximum 30 days to appeal the decision. The deadlines (30 or 15 days, based on the case), are normally specified at the bottom of the decision.
If you decide not to appeal the decision within the deadline, the Italian authorities may ask you to leave the country.
Learn more about the expulsion order:
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, 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 of September 2023 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.