If you are under 18 and you are in Italy without your parents or other adult family member, you have the right to stay in Italy and get a valid permit of stay.

If you left your country and cannot return because you fear persecution or danger, you also have the right to apply for international protection.

Your legal guardian and your center’s operator will accompany you in these procedures.

You can use this article to learn more on:

  • Permits of stay available to unaccompanied adolescents
  • Permesso per Minore Età
  • Applying for asylum

Permits of stay you may get as an unaccompanied adolescent

In Italy, unaccompanied children and adolescents may be eligible for one of the following permits of stay (‘permesso di soggiorno’ in Italian), depending on their personal situation:

  • Permesso per Minore Età, if you are under 18 
  • Permesso per Asilo Politico, if you applied for asylum and you get the refugee status
  • Permesso per Protezione Sussidiaria, if you applied for asylum and you get subsidiary protection
  • Permesso per Protezione Speciale, if you applied for asylum and you get special protection
  • Permesso per Protezione Sociale (social protection permit), if you are a victim of human trafficking or exploitation
  • Permesso per Affidamento o Motivi Familiari, if you are under the foster care of an Italian or foreign citizen, or a member of your family
  • Other (for example, Permesso per Cure Mediche)

If you get international protection (meaning either the refugee status or subsidiary protection), you can bring your parents in Italy by applying for family reunification. On the contrary, if you have any other permit, you can bring your parents only if you get a specific authorization from the Juvenile Court.

Talk with the operators of the center or your guardian, they will advise you on which process is the best for you and accompany you in this procedure!

Permesso di Soggiorno per Minore Età

Just because you are underage and without your parents, or any family member in Italy that can take care of you, you can get a permit for underage people called ‘Permesso di Soggiorno per Minore Età’.

How to get it and how long will it last?

You can request this permit alone, or with the help of your guardian or center’s director, at the Immigration Office of the Police (‘Questura’ in Italian). You do not need to have a passport to get this permit.

This permit lasts until your 18th birthday.

What happens when you turn 18?

When you turn 18, you may be able to convert your permit, within 60 days after your permit expires. You may convert your permit into:

  • Student permit, if you enroll in school or university
  • Work permit, if you have a job and a regular employment contract
  • Future employment permit (‘permesso per attesa occupazione’ in Italian), if you are looking for a job and you are registered with an Employment Center.

This permit you get is valid only for one year.

To be able to convert your permit per minore età into one of the above permits, you will also need your passport or travel document. If you don’t have it yet, many Questure temporarily accept the certificate of citizenship or ID issued by the Consulate of your home country.

The Juvenile Court could also order to issue you a Permesso di Soggiorno per Affidamento until you turn 21, in case you do not meet the requirements for conversion and the judge considers you need more support in your path towards autonomy. This extension is called ‘prosieguo amministrativo’ and it means that you are still under the care of social service, and that you are allowed to stay longer in your reception center.

Applying for asylum

If you fear persecution or danger in your home country, you can seek international protection by applying for asylum. Talk with the operators of the center or your guardian, they will accompany you in this procedure!

To apply for asylum, you have to go to Questura with your legal guardian or your center’s director if you still don’t have one. The police will take your fingerprints (if you are above 14), and will ask you some questions about your story, family and journey, and write them down in a form called C3.

If your parents or relatives are in another country of the European Union, you may be able to join them safely and have your asylum case examined there. This regulation is called Dublin regulation, and your guardian or center’s coordinator will help you present all the required documentation at the Questura.

If you do not have the permesso per minore età, Questura will issue you a 6-month permit for asylum-seekers.

Many Questure do not allow you to hold a permesso per minore età and be in an asylum procedure at the same time, so they will ask you to decide among the two options.


The interview with the Commission

The authority in charge of examining your asylum request is the Territorial Commission, who will interview you to decide whether you grant you a form of protection. Since you are underage, the Commission should prioritize your interview. However, in practice this is not always the case and you may wait for a while.

Your guardian will accompany you at the interview, and if you want you can also ask your social worker, psychologist, or lawyer to be there to support you. During the interview, an interpreter will also be there.

The interviewer will ask you why you left your country and why you don’t want or cannot go back there, and what happened during your journey to Italy.

The Territorial Commission will take some time to decide whether you are eligible for any form of protection depending on your personal situation: refugee status, subsidiary protection, or special protection. However, the Commission can also decide that you don’t need specific protection.

Get more information here in Arabic, Bengali, Dari, French, English, Italian, Somali, Tigrinya and Urdu and have a look at this video.

Got any questions? Message us on Facebook.