When you apply for asylum the police will keep your national passport, if you have one.
No worries, this has nothing to do with repatriations but with the fact that you are not allowed to travel outside Italy as an asylum-seeker.
If you do not qualify for refugee status, the police will give back your passport after the Commission has made its final decision on your case.
If you did not have your national passport when you arrived to Italy, you can apply for a new one at your country’s embassy. However, be careful: if you feel that it is not safe for you to contact the authorities of your home country, make sure you speak with your lawyer. If the Commission granted you subsidiary protection and you were recommended not to get in touch with your national authorities, you can still apply for another kind of travel document.
Instead, if you are granted refugee status, the police will not return your country passport due to safety reasons, but you can apply for alternative travel documents in Italy.
You can use this article to learn more on:
- Types of travel documents in Italy
- How to apply
Learn more: RIGHT TO TRAVEL
Types of travel documents
The type of travel document you can obtain in Italy depends on which kind of protection you hold. Generally, the issueing of the travel documents can take up to 10 days or longer, so make sure you have enough time before your departure date.
Documento di viaggio
If you are recognized as a refugee in Italy, you cannot travel back to your country or contact your country's embassy to apply for a passport without risking your status.
The reason you were granted refugee status is because authorities determined that it is not safe for you to go back to your home country.
Instead of a passport, refugees can get a special travel document called “Documento di Viaggio” in Italian. You may also have heard people refer to this travel document as a "UN passport," though the UN doesn't actually issue it.
The Documento di Viaggio is a substitute for a passport and it’s valid in all countries except in your country of origin - where you cannot return without risking your status in Italy.
In general, you should be able to use your Documento di Viaggio to travel in the Schengen Area, which includes most European countries.
Before you travel, it's a good idea to check the requirements that your destination country applies to people with your Italian permesso. If you need help figuring it out, you can send us a message on Facebook and we'll look into it.
Learn more about: REFUGEE STATUS
Titolo di Viaggio
If you have received subsidiary protection in Italy, and you do not have a passport from your home country, you can get a travel document called “Titolo di Viaggio” in Italian.
You can get this travel document if you can demonstrate that it is dangerous or impossible for you to get a passport from your country of origin. If dangerous, you will need to explain to the questura the reasons why it’s not safe for you to contact the authorities of your home country. If impossible, you need to prove that your country’s embassy (or consulate) in Italy can’t issue your passport.
A Titolo di Viaggio is a substitute for a passport, which gives you the right to travel in the Schengen Area without a visa. Before you travel, it's a good idea to check the requirements that your destination country applies to people with your Italian permesso.
It is very risky to travel to your country of origin while you have subsidiary protection in Italy. Under the Salvini Decree, visiting your home country while you have subsidiary protection can be used as a reason not to renew your permesso.
Learn more about: SUBSIDIARY PROTECTION
If you have humanitarian protection
If you hold a 2-year permesso di soggiorno per motivi umanitari or casi speciali, the police should return your national passport. If you didn’t have one already, you should be able to get a passport from your country of origin by going to its consulate or embassy in Italy.
Very occasionally, people with humanitarian protection who cannot get a passport from their home country can get a Titolo di Viaggio. This holds true if they are unable to obtain a passport for reasons such as: well-founded fear to have contact with the consulate or embassy of their home country, or because it is impossible to get the documents required for the passport, as well as the absence of the consular representation in Italy.
If this is your case it is really important to specify the reasons that prevent you from requesting the passport from your national authorities.
Learn more: HUMANITARIAN PROTECTION
How to get a travel document
If you are entitled to an Italian travel document, and want to request one, you can do so at the questura of the town or city where you live.
The questura will give you a form to fill out, which some questure also offer online. Here is an example of the form, which is called the “Modulo Richiesta Documento o Titolo di Viaggio." The form required by your local questura may be slightly different, so it's best to enquire with them before making your request.
When you apply for Documento or Titolo di Viaggio, you will also need to present:
- Your valid permesso di soggiorno, and a photocopy of it (back and front)
- 2 passport photos (white background)
- Payment receipts (42,22 euro for issuing the travel document)
- In case of renewal, you need to present your expiring travel document; if your travel document was lost or stolen, you need to present the police report.
Only if you’re applying for Titolo di Viaggio and you feel safe contacting your national authorities, you need to bring along a certificate to demonstrate that your country’s embassy or consulate in Italy cannot issue your national passport.
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