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For people who do not qualify for international protection: Permesso per Protezione Speciale

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The Permesso di Soggiorno per Protezione Speciale was created by the Salvini Decree in 2018. Some major changes were then made by the so-called “Decreto Immigrazione” effective as of October 22, 2020.

You can use this article to learn more on:

  • Who is eligible
  • How to get it
  • What your rights are

Who is eligible?

This kind of permesso and protection is for those who do not qualify for refugee status or subsidiary protection (that is, international protection), but who are nevertheless in need of protection.

According to the law, this permesso may be granted to those who, if they return to their country of origin, face the danger of persecution on the grounds of:

  • Race
  • Sex, gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Language
  • Citizenship
  • Religion
  • Political opinion
  • Personal or social conditions
  • Risk of being sent from their country of origin to another country where they may face persecution on the grounds mentioned above
  • Risk of facing torture or inhuman or degrading treatment

After October 2020, this permesso can also be granted to people who may face a breach of their right to private and family life, if sent back to their home countries.

This means that if you have family ties in Italy, you are well-integrated into Italy's social life (for example, you have been working or studying here), or if you have been living in Italy for a long time, you may be eligible for this permesso.

This does not hold true if the person is considered a threat to national security, public order or health.

How can I get it?

You could receive a Permesso per Protezione Speciale through two different procedures: by applying for asylum or directly applying for protezione speciale at the Questura.

If you still have the 2-year Permesso per Casi Speciali and it will expire soon, you may be granted a Permesso per Protezione Speciale if you are not eligible for a Permesso per Motivi di Lavoro and the Commission considers that you are still in need of protection.

Asylum application

If you apply for asylum at Questura, the Territorial Commission will evaluate after interviewing you whether and what kind of protection you qualify for, including protezione speciale. If you qualify for special protection, the Commission will reject your application for international protection but will ask Questura to give you a protezione speciale permit instead.

If you are considering submitting a second asylum request called reiterata (for example, if your appeal was definitively rejected), we recommend that you seek the help of a lawyer. Indeed, only if there are new elements on your case that make you now eligible for a form of protection (including the special protection), or if your appeal was rejected before October 2020, but considering the latest amendments of the law there are now the conditions that make you eligible for special protection, the request will be received and examined by the Commission – with the possibility of a second interview. If this is not the case, your reiterata may be considered inadmissible.

Learn more about: APPLYING FOR ASYLUM

Direct application for protezione speciale at Questura

As stated by different tribunals and the National Commission on the Right to Asylum, you could alternatively apply for the Permesso per Protezione Speciale directly at the Questura. 

Questura will receive your application and ask the Commission to provide for a binding opinion. If the opinion of the Commission is positive, Questura will issue you the permit. If the Commission considers that there are elements that qualify you for a higher form of protection, Questura will inform you about the possibility to apply for asylum.

If you are awaiting the outcome of your pending application for asylum for the first time, you cannot apply for permesso per protezione speciale directly at Questura. This is because the Commission will assess anyways if you are eligible for special protection. Similarly, if you are a Dublin case you cannot apply or protezione speciale. On the contrary, if you are awaiting the outcome of an appeal against the rejection of your asylum application, you are allowed to apply for permesso per protezione speciale directly at the Questura.  

What do I need to apply for protezione speciale at Questura?

You will have to attach to your application for special protection all the documentation that proves your integration or family ties in Italy, or fears in your country. Indeed, differently from the asylum procedure, you will not be interviewed by the Territorial Commission, who will provide its opinion based on the attachments.

Some Questure (for example, Questura of Rome) may request you to fill a form out to apply for special protection. This form consists of a series of questions related to your social integration in Italy, your private and family life, and your country of origin. You can find the questionnaire here

You can seek the advice of a legal expert to collect all the relevant documentation for your protezione speciale application.

I got special protection, what do I need to get the permit?

If your application for special protection is successful, the documents that you will need to present to Questura to get the physical permit are:

  • 4 passport photos
  • 16€ revenue stamp ('marca da bollo' in Italian)
  • Payment receipt of €80.46 from the post office
  • Declaration of hospitality, house contract or certificate of registered residence
  • Your passport or equivalent ID document (if you have it)

If you got the protezione speciale through the asylum procedure or as a result of an appeal, you will have to present also the recognition decree of the special protection by the Commission, or the acceptance of the appeal and recognition of the special protection by the Tribunal or Corte di Cassazione.

How long is it valid for?

Since the “Decreto Immigrazione” went into effect on October 22, 2020, the Permesso per Protezione Speciale is valid for 2 years

How long will it take to get it?

Unfortunately waiting times to get a permesso in Italy can be long, depending on the workload of the local Questura and Commission.

In theory, if you have applied for special protection directly at Questura, the Commission should provide for a binding opinion regarding your application by 30 days since they received your file. But, once your application has been considered successful, we are not sure how long it may take to get it.

How can I renew it?

You can make an appointment to ask to renew your permesso at the Questura from 60 days before and within 60 days after the expiration date of your permit.

The Territorial Commission will evaluate if you still meet the requirements for the special protection. If you do not, you may be eligible for a different kind of permesso. A lawyer can help you understand how to proceed in your specific case.

Can I convert this permesso into a Permesso per Motivi di Lavoro?

If you were granted protezione speciale by the Commission, you can convert your protezione speciale permit into a work permit if you meet the requirements.

If you apply for protezione speciale directly at Questura, they may tell you that this permit is not convertible into a work permit. However, according to lawyers, if you meet the requirements to convert your special protection permit granted by the Questura into a work permit, you could appeal with the help of a lawyer against Questura's rejection of the conversion. Indeed, the Veneto Regional Court ruled against the refusal of a Questura to convert a protezione speciale permit into a work one on 28 November 2022 (you can find the decision here).

Learn more about: PERMESSO PER MOTIVI DI LAVORO

What rights do I have as a holder of Protezione Speciale?

With this kind of permesso, you have the right to:

Generally, with this permesso you do not have the right to:

According to the lawyers of CILD in some specific cases you may be able to ask for family reunification. Talk to your lawyer who is the right person to advise you on this.

  • Travel back to your home country if you have received special protection because of a danger in your country. However, if you received protezione speciale because you are well-integrated in Italy or have family ties in Italy, you may be able to visit your home country. We recommend that you consult a lawyer before making any decision about this.

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