UPDATE: on May 5, 2023 the Italian Parliament converted the so-called Decreto Cutro, the immigration decree d.l. 20/2023 approved on March 10. This law entails major changes to protezione speciale which are explained in this article.
The Permesso di Soggiorno per Protezione Speciale was created by the Salvini Decree in 2018. Some major changes were then made by the Decreto Immigrazione in October 2020, and later by the Decreto Immigrazione of March 11, 2023, which was converted into law on May 6 with some additional edits.
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, you may get this permesso if - in case you were sent back to your country of origin - you would 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
- Being sent from their country of origin to another country where you may face persecution on the grounds mentioned above
- Torture or inhuman or degrading treatment
- Violations of Italy's constitutional and international obligations - including a situation of systematic and severe violation of human rights
Before Cutro decree, the law explicitly stated that this permesso could also be granted to those who might face a breach of their right to private and family life, if sent back to their home countries. Therefore, if you applied for asylum or protezione speciale at Questura before March 11, 2023 (when the Cutro decree entered into force), you may still receive protezione speciale on this ground too. Authorities will consider 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.
Although the right to private and family life is no longer explicit in the law, it is granted by Italy's constitutional and international obligations, particularly by the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore, according to lawyers, integration and family ties should still be considered while evaluating one's need for special protection even for the applicants after March 11, 2023. However, since the law is new, it is to be seen how the Territorial Commissions will interpret and apply this provision.
How can I get it?
Before May 6, 2023, 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. However, now it is no longer possible to apply for protezione speciale directly at Questura, but you may get it only through the asylum application.
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.
Once 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), 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 at Questura (before May 6, 2023)
For those who were able to apply for protezione speciale directly at Questura before May 6, 2023, Questura will 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.
I got special protection, what do I need to get the permit?
If you get special protection, the documents that you will have to present to Questura to get the plastic 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)
- 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 - you don't need this if you applied for special protection directly at Questura before the latest immigration law.
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.
If you managed to apply for special protection directly at Questura before May 6, the Territorial 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 long is it valid for?
Since the Decreto Immigrazione 2020 went into force, the Permesso per Protezione Speciale is valid for 2 years.
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 criteria for the special protection. If you do not, a lawyer can help you understand how to proceed in your specific case.
Following the entry into force of the Cutro decree 2023, if you got protezione speciale on the grounds of your integration or family ties in Italy, you can renew your protezione speciale permit only once, and the renewed permit will be valid for one year only.
If you got protezione speciale on other grounds, you can keep renewing it as long as you are in need of special protection, and the renewed permit will again last 2 years.
Can I convert it into a Permesso per Motivi di Lavoro?
If you applied for asylum after May 6, 2023 and got a protezione speciale permit, you cannot convert it into a work permit.
If you got a protezione speciale permit before May 6, 2023, you should still be able to convert it into a work permit.
Since the law is new, we are still understanding how conversion will work for those who applied before May 6, 2023 and got the permit after.
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:
- Work in Italy — but not in any other European countries.
- Access the Italian health care system (SSN).
- Access the Italian public education system.
- Stay in a reception facility as well as receive basic services at the reception facility. Your right to reception includes food and hygiene products. You are also entitled to receive medical attention, social and psychological support.
- Register with the registry office of your local Comune, which gives you the right to get a carta d’identità.
- Travel outside Italy for a maximum of 1 year (but in a Schengen country for a maximum of 90 days) if you have a valid passport or travel document.
Generally, with this permesso you do not have the right to:
- Ask for your family to join you in Italy through family reunification.
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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