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Your right to travel

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Your right to travel depends on the type of permesso di soggiorno you hold and on your destination. You can use this article to find out:

If you’re staying in a center, regardless of the type of permesso you hold, it’s very important to tell your center’s manager that you plan to travel, or you could lose your place. You can learn more about what happens if you leave your center without telling anyone here.

Where you can travel

Anyone holding a valid Italian permesso can travel freely within Italy. Just remember to bring along your documents wherever you go.

Some kinds of permessi allow you to travel only within Italy. You are not allowed to travel outside Italy if you hold one of the following permessi:

What happens if I hold one of these permessi and I traveled outside Italy?

If you somehow managed to cross the border with a Permesso per Richiesta Asilo or Permesso per Attesa Esito Ricorso, and you get caught outside Italy, you will likely be returned to Italy under the Dublin regulation.

Bear in mind that asylum-seekers cannot be returned to a country where they face serious threats to life or freedom (art. 33, 1951 Geneva Convention), or where “there are substantial grounds for believing that there are systemic flaws in the asylum procedure and in the reception conditions for applicants in that Member State, resulting in a risk of inhuman or degrading treatment” (Court of Justice, 16 February 2017, C-578/16 PPU).

If you get caught outside Italy with a Permesso per Cure Mediche or Permesso per Calamità, you will also likely be sent back to Italy. However, there is some risk of being deported to your country of origin, as well — particularly if you are found to have committed a crime in the member state where you were caught.

Traveling outside Italy

You can travel outside Italy if you have a passport or travel document, along with one of the following permessi di soggiorno:

If you hold one of the permessi listed below you can travel outside Italy, but cannot travel to your home country without the risk of losing your status in Italy:

  • Permesso per Protezione Speciale - in this case it depends on the reasons for which you received such protection. If you received it because you are well-integrated or you have family ties in Italy, you may be able to return to your home country. We recommend that you consult a lawyer before making any decision about this.
  • Permesso per Asilo Politico
  • Permesso per Protezione Sussidiaria

When you plan your travel, you’ll need to keep in mind some basic rules that depend on your destination.

Rules to travel in the Schengen Area

The Schengen Area is a free movement area of 26 European countries that have abolished internal border checks, except during times of threat to public safety. Schengen countries include:

Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

You can see a list of which countries have reintroduced border checks here.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom are European Union countries but are not part of the Schengen Area.

Schengen Area Labeled Map (Countries in dark blue and purple indicate the Schengen Area.)

How long can I travel in the Schengen Area?

When you plan your travel, you’ll need to keep in mind that by law you cannot stay in another Schengen country for more than 90 consecutive days. Remember that your permesso does not give you the legal right to work while abroad.

The only permesso that allows you to keep your status in Italy and legally work in other Schengen Area countries is called the Permesso di Soggiorno UE per Soggiornanti di Lungo Periodo.

Learn more about: Working or studying in other EU countries

Can I travel with the receipt of my permit?

No, you cannot travel to other Schengen countries with receipt.

As a general rule, you cannot travel inside the EU and the Schengen Area with the receipt of your permesso. This holds true in case you have a renewal receipt or a first issuance receipt (‘Ricevuta di richiesta di primo rilascio’ in Italian.)

This means you need to hold a valid permesso di soggiorno and a valid passport or travel document.

Do I need a visa to travel in the Schengen Area?

It depends on your destination.

You do not need a visa if all of the following are true:

  • You hold a valid Italian permesso.
  • You hold a valid passport or travel document.
  • You plan to travel within the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days.

If you want to legally stay in a Schengen Area country for more than 90 days you may need to apply for a visa.

Rules to travel in the rest of the world

If you’re planning to travel outside the Schengen Area or outside Europe, make sure to check whether your destination country requires an entry visa before buying your tickets. This may depend on your country of origin, your status and your destination.

If you hold a passport, you can check if you need a visa and how to apply for it on the embassy website of the country you want to visit.

If you have a Titolo di Viaggio or Documento di Viaggio, you can travel outside the Schengen Area. Before traveling, you will need to check the requirements that your destination country applies to people with your Italian permesso.

Ireland, for example, does not require a visa for refugee status holders who have travel documents issued by Italian authorities and who plan to stay less than 90 days.

If you need help figuring out whether your destination country requires a visa, you can send us a message on Facebook and we'll look into it.

How long can I travel for?

It depends on the visa, if you need one.

As a general rule, the time you can spend outside Italy depends on the permit you hold. Here are some general indications:

  • If your permit is valid for less than 2 years: You can stay out of Italy for a maximum of 6 consecutive months. Note: remember that if you hold a permesso per richiesta asilo, cure mediche or calamità, you’re not allowed to travel abroad.
  • If your permit is valid for 2 years or more: You can stay out of Italy for a maximum consecutive period corresponding to half of the length of your permit. This means, for example, that if your permit is valid for two years, you can stay out of Italy for a maximum of 12 months in a row.
  • If you have an ex carta di soggiorno: You can stay out of the Schengen Area for a maximum of 12 consecutive months.

You can travel a maximum of 6 consecutive months, and up to 10 months over the 5 years, if you plan to apply for ex carta di soggiorno.

However, these rules do not apply if there are serious and proven reasons that force you to stay out of Italy for a longer period of time than allowed.

Can I travel in the rest of the world with the receipt of my permit?

You are allowed to travel outside Italy only if you hold a valid permesso di soggiorno and valid travel document.

As a general rule, you cannot travel outside Italy and in the Schengen Area with the receipt of your permesso. There is only one exception to this rule: Traveling to your home country.

To travel with the renewal receipt of one of the permessi mentioned above, you must:

  • Be traveling to your home country.
  • Use a valid passport.
  • Depart from and arrive at the same Italian airport.
  • Take a direct flight to your home country, with no layovers in other Schengen countries.

CILD lawyers suggest to bring along also the original permesso, even if expired.

This does not hold true if you have a first issuance receipt (“Ricevuta di richiesta di primo rilascio’ in Italian).

Travel to your home country

If you hold a Permesso per Asilo Politico, you cannot return to your country of origin or try to contact your embassy without risking your status in Italy.

If you hold a Permesso per Protezione Sussidiaria or Protezione Speciale, the questura may not renew your permesso if you’ve traveled back to your home country for reasons the Territorial Commission doesn't consider important or urgent.

You were granted protection in Italy because authorities determined that you were persecuted or in danger of persecution in your country of origin (refugee status), or you fled situations of war or generalized violence (subsidiary protection).

If you visit your country of origin, Italian authorities might consider your travel to be proof that the danger of persecution and/or serious harm, which is the reason you received protection in Italy, no longer exists.

If you have any doubts about your right to go back to your home country, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a legal expert.

If you have any other questions, you can always message us on Facebook.

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