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Your asylum interview

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By law, except in rare cases, you must sit for a personal interview for your asylum application in Italy.

The Territorial Commission has the duty to inform you that you will be interviewed within 3 days of being contacted.

If you do not respond to the Territorial Commission’s request for an interview, the Territorial Commission will make a decision without interviewing you.

Who attends

As per Italian law, the interview will be conducted by a member of the Territorial Commission, and if possible, of your same gender.

At the interview, you, the interviewing officer and an interpreter will be present.

If you do not understand the interpreter, or if the interpreter does not speak the dialect you asked for, you have the right to ask for another appointment for your interview, and to have an interpreter that you fully understand.

Especially at border points, these services may not always be available. The availability of proper interpreters depends on the language you speak and whether interpreters for that language are available at that time and place.

Italian law states that your asylum interview will be recorded with audio and video, although no territorial commissions are equipped with these services at the moment.

When these services become available, they will be very important in situations where you want to challenge a negative decision. Learn more:

Challenging a negative asylum decision

Interviews are transcribed on a form called a "verbale di commissione" in Italian. The entire interview, including questions and answers, will be written on it.

You should get the verbale di commissione at the end of the interview.

You and your interpreter will re-read the verbale di commissione at the end of the interview.

You have the opportunity to make further specifications and corrections before the end of the interview.

When the interview is over, you will get a final copy to sign.

Once you sign it, you cannot make any more changes to it.

Telling your story

You will be asked questions related to your personal history in your country of origin, to your family, to your voyage to Italy, and about the reasons you left your country of origin.

It is important that you tell your story truthfully and in detail. Write it down before your interview to help you remember.

It is important that you mention:

  • The dates and times of the events that forced you to leave your country of origin
  • The places where these events happened
  • The people who were involved in these events

It's good to be prepared to answer detailed questions.

For example: If you were a car mechanic, the interviewer may ask you the names of specific car pieces in your mother tongue, or the name of the neighborhood where you had a shop, if this information is relevant to your asylum claim.

You must also provide all relevant information about your asylum claim. This includes information about:

  • Why you left your country of origin
  • Why you cannot return to your country of origin
  • How you came to Europe

You must explain very clearly any persecution you face at home

If you feel you deserve asylum, you must do your best to explain why you fear persecution. Persecution in your country of origin could be due to your:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Political opinion
  • Membership in a particular social group

What questions could the Territorial Commission ask me during my asylum interview?

You will be asked questions related to the information you included in your asylum application, such as:

  • Your identity (The interviewer will ask you to confirm or modify the data the police collected at the arrival point, or on the C3 form.)
  • If you have citizenship other than from your country of origin
  • How you came to Italy
  • The reasons you left your country of origin, or the country where you used to live, if you are a stateless person
  • The reasons you cannot, or do not wish to, return to the country you came to Italy from
  • Your family members
  • Your ethnic group
  • Whether you were in the military in your country of origin, or in any other armed/militant group in your country of origin or country from which you came to Italy
  • Whether you have documents showing that you served in the military
  • Whether you are sympathetic to any armed/militant group
  • Your religious background
  • Your educational background
  • Any health issues you have, and/or any health issues in your family (If the interviewer does ask this question then you must point out any health issues you have now.)
  • The languages you speak
  • Any jobs you have had in the past
  • Your experience in Libya, if you passed through there on your way to Italy

Note that holding dual nationality may be an issue if you’re seeking international protection. Authorities could question why you’re seeking asylum in Italy if you have another home country that can protect you. For this reason, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer who can advise on what’s best for you.

What to bring

You must bring all the official identity documents you have, including your permesso di soggiorno. Learn more:

Permessi di soggiorno

You must bring all the documents you brought with you from your country of origin, the country you came to Italy from, or any documents that you got throughout your journey.

Examples of such documents include, but are not limited to:

  • Family book
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Military books
  • Educational diplomas
  • Language school certificates

You must also bring any documents that support your asylum claim.

Examples of such documents include, but are not limited to:

  • Letters and emails from friends
  • Photos
  • Medical reports
  • Police reports
  • Newspaper articles
  • Transport tickets

You must bring copies of the documents, as well as the original documents themselves, if possible.

Bring hard copies, clear photographs or scans of your documents to leave with the Territorial Commission.

If you bring the original documents it will be reported that you did so.

In some cases, you will not need to be interviewed by the Territorial Commission.

Want to know more?

Here's the Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione answering your questions about the asylum interview.

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