Family reunification is a legal and safe way to bring your close family members to Italy.
You can use this article to learn more on:
If you have refugee status or subsidiary protection, you do not need proof of income or accommodation to apply.
You can also ask to bring your immediate family to Italy if you have at least a 1-year Permesso per Motivi di Lavoro (subordinato and autonomo) or Permesso per Motivi di Studio, or if you hold Ex Carta di Soggiorno, but the regulations are slightly different than for those with refugee status or subsidiary protection.
Note: If you’re still waiting for a final response on your asylum case or you have 2-year Casi Speciali, you are not eligible to apply.
You can ask to bring your:
- Wife or husband, if they are over 18
- Children under 18, who are not married, and with the consensus of the other parent
- Children over 18 who are dependent on you because of health conditions or other disabilities
- Parents, under 65, if they are dependent on you and they do not have other children to take care of them in their country of origin
- Parents, if they are over 65 and if their other children in their country of origin cannot take care of them due to serious health problems
- Parents, if you are under 18
You cannot ask to bring:
- Children over 18 years of age, even if they are dependent on you but are not totally disabled
- Your brothers and sisters, no matter how old they are
You can apply as soon as you obtain a permesso di soggiorno.
CILD lawyers pinpoint that you can also apply for family reunification with the renewal receipt. This is because in some regions, you might wait several months to get your permesso renewed.
There is no deadline to apply for family reunification.
The procedure for family reunification has two phases:
The first phase happens at the immigration office, called a “Sportello Unico Immigrazione” in Italian.
The second phase happens at the Italian consulate in the country where your family members reside.
PHASE 1: Steps you must take
STEP 1: Visit the website of the Sportello Unico Immigrazione, the immigration desk of the Italian Ministry of the Interior.
On that website, select the best option from the box on the left. You can either log in with your SPID (Public Digital Identity System), or register and provide your personal data if you don’t have your SPID yet. In this case choose the ‘Registrati senza SPID’ option.
Bear in mind that from 1 September 2020, you’ll only be allowed to log in with your SPID. Here you can find the instructions to request it online. If you cannot make it, you can also get support from the patronato with the procedure.
STEP 2: Once you are registered, you may log in to your online profile and ask for the release of the “nulla osta.”
The nulla osta is an authorization you must receive from the Ministry of the Interior in order to bring your family to Italy.
If you hold international protection, to request the nulla osta you may submit online the following documentation:
- Permesso di soggiorno
- 16-euro postage stamp (‘marca da bollo’ in Italian)
- Valid passport or travel document
- Copy of the passport of the family member
- Certificates to prove your family ties, such as your marriage or the birth certificate of your child
Information for Afghan nationals only: if you cannot provide certificates that prove your family ties, you can submit a self-declaration stating the relation between you and your family member.
If you hold another eligible permesso that is not refugee status or subsidiary protection, you can learn more on the additional documentation you need to provide by going to the ‘If you have another permesso’ section below.
STEP 3: Once you have compiled the nulla osta request on the Ministry of Interior website, you can request an appointment to present your documents in person at the Sportello Unico Immigrazione of your local Italian prefecture.
You will get a list of the documents you must bring to your appointment once you register.
Some of the documents you must bring are:
- 2 copies of your permesso di soggiorno
- Copy of your ID and the original document
- Original of the marca da bollo receipt
- Copy of the passport of the family member
- Cumulative certificate for family status and residenza. You can request it at the Anagrafe of the comune where you live.
If you hold refugee status or subsidiary protection, you do not have to bring any proof of income or accommodation. If you are staying in a SIPROIMI (ex SPRAR) you can reunite with your family.
Once you have registered, you will be given a request number.
Log in to the Sportello Unico Immigrazione website regularly, using your registration details, to see if your appointment has been scheduled. There is no other way to check. You will not get an email or any other notification.
Remember: You do not have to bring any proof of income or accommodation if you have refugee status or subsidiary protection.
Within 90 days, the Sportello Unico Immigrazione should give you your nulla osta or reject your request.
If your request is denied, you can ask to appeal.
Click here to find more practical information on the procedure for international protection holders.
If you have a Permesso per Motivi di Lavoro
If you have a Permesso per Motivi di Lavoro (autonomo or subordinato), Permesso per Motivi di Studio, or Ex Carta di Soggiorno, you need to follow the same procedure as those who have refugee status or subsidiary protection, but you must meet different requirements.
Additional requirements for people who do not have refugee status or subsidiary protection are:
- A yearly income higher than Italy's yearly social welfare check. In 2019, it was set at €5,953.74, and in 2020 it is €5.977,79. That number goes up by 50% for each additional family member you have. For example, if you bring your spouse and child to Italy, you will need to earn twice the yearly social welfare check amount (€11,955,58). The yearly income required is the same regardless of the type of permesso you hold (Lavoro, Studio or Ex Carta di Soggiorno).
- A “certificato di idoneità alloggiativa”, or certificate of housing suitability. Housing needs to be suitable for the number of people who will live there. Your comune will visit you and if your housing meets their standards, they will give you the certificate. You can visit your local comune for more information on how to get this document.
To prove that you meet these requirements, make sure you include the relevant documentation when you request the nulla osta on the Ministry of Interior website.
More info on the procedure can be found on MeltingPot website in Italian.
PHASE 2: Steps your family members must take
When the Sportello Unico Immigrazione issues you the nulla osta, the Italian consulate in the country where your family lives will receive authorization to issue them visas.
You must then send your family the original nulla osta authorization the Sportello Unico Immigrazione has issued you.
Your family members then have 6 months to ask the Italian consulate of the country they are in to issue them visas.
They should go to the consulate where they live, even if they aren’t citizens of that country.
They should bring any proof of their relationship to you, for example:
- Family status cards
- Certificates of marriage
- Birth certificates Note: the documentation must be duly translated and certified by the consular authorities.
The consulate has 30 days to investigate their request and then release their visas.
Your application cannot be rejected only for lack of documents.
If you cannot provide official documents that prove your family relationship, the Italian consulate in the country where your family is will perform an investigation. You will have to pay for this process. The entire process can take more than a year.
The IOM (International Organization for Migration) can help you to prove your family relationship. If you need to take the DNA test, it will cost around €230 per person. However, if you hold refugee status or subsidiary protection IOM may fully or partially cover the cost for the test. You can either call one of the following numbers: +3906441609225 – +3906441609233 – +3906441609260 – +3906441609210 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop them a message on Facebook.
For any issues related to getting the nulla osta or visa for your family member/members, a lawyer will be able to help you. For example, you can email CILD lawyers at email@example.com
Information for Afghan nationals only: Since the Italian Embassy in Kabul is closed, your family members can apply for visa at any Italian Embassy or Consulate outside Afghanistan. For example, they can find the contacts of the Italian Consulate in Teheran here and those of the Italian Consulate in Islamabad here. If your family members cannot provide certificates that prove the family ties with you, they must present to the Italian diplomatic or consular authority a self-declaration signed by you, stating the relation between you (that is, the person who is regularly living in Italy) and your family member.
Within 48 hours of your family arriving in Italy, you must fill out the ‘Cessione di fabbricato’ form and bring it to the Police. Learn more and download the form here: https://www.poliziadistato.it/articolo/cessione-di-fabbricato-1.
This holds true only for those who hold a Permesso per Motivi di Lavoro, Permesso per Studio, or Ex Carta di Soggiorno.
Within 8 days of their arrival, your relatives must register with the Sportello Unico Immigrazione where you live in Italy. The police officers will hand out a kit to request the permesso di soggiorno at the post office. Your family member will get a receipt – make sure to keep it.
After, the Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione will contact you and your relatives to begin the process for getting your family the documents they need to stay in Italy.
It generally takes between 4 and 6 months for the immigration office to release your family’s residence permits, 'Permesso di Soggiorno per Motivi Familiari' in Italian. During this period, your family members will not have any identification documents.
However, remember that the receipt (the one that your family member will get after sending the kit at the post office) allows the person to legally stay in Italy and access services. Please consider that this receipt does not allow people to travel to other countries.
If members of your family have joined you in Italy through family reunification, they are entitled to all the same rights as you are while in Italy. This includes rights to:
- Health care
- Travel in the Schengen area without a visa for a maximum of 90 days, with a valid permesso di soggiorno and national passport.
If you have any issue with the family reunification procedure, you can drop us a private message on Facebook.