You don’t need a lawyer to submit an application for asylum in Italy. A lawyer cannot help you fill out a C3 form.
You also don’t need a lawyer for your asylum interview with the Territorial Commission, but you are allowed to bring one. You will have to pay for your lawyer yourself.
However, to appeal a negative decision either on your asylum claim or on your citizenship application before a court, you are required to get help from a lawyer.
You can decide to hire a private lawyer, or apply for free legal aid. You can use this article to learn more on:
- Who is eligible
- How to apply
- What to expect from your lawyer
Who is eligible for legal aid?
You can apply for free legal aid (or ‘’patrocinio a spese dello stato” in Italian) if you can’t afford to pay a lawyer. This means that you need to prove you have a taxable income lower than 11.734,93 euros (for 2023), it decreased of 0.1% compared to the previous requested income of 11.746,68 euros (until 2022). The amount above increases by 1.032,91 euro for each of the family members that live with you.
You can apply for free legal aid both if you stay in a reception center, or if you live on your own.
This holds true for all kinds of judicial procedures and it includes legal aid for appealing a negative decision from the Commission. You can also apply for free legal aid to appeal in Cassazione, but make sure the lawyer is admitted to practice before the Cassation court. That is a “cassazionista” lawyer.
Legal aid is not automatic and can be denied or revoked if a legal aid commission or a judge decides that your case is ill-founded, or if the requirements to get free legal aid changed over the trial.
If free legal aid is revoked, you will have to pay your lawyer to help you appeal.
How to apply?
If you have a trusted lawyer who is registered in the lists for patrocinio a spese dello stato, your lawyer can apply for free legal aid (or ‘’patrocinio a spese dello stato” in Italian) on your behalf.
If you do not have a trusted lawyer yet, or yours is not registered, you can also apply yourself to get one that is registered in the lists for "patrocinio a spese dello stato".
To check if you meet the requirements and request the free legal aid, you need to contact one of the registered lawyers registered in the city where you live. You can go on Google and search: Ordine degli avvocati + [name of the province where you live]. Here below you can find the ones for some of the main Italian provinces:
However, please keep in mind that the procedure to apply for the free legal aid available may change a little depending on the city where you are.
What documents do you need to apply?
You will need to attach to your application:
- Copy of a valid ID
- Copy of your codice fiscale
- Copy of your permesso di soggiorno
- Family status (“Stato di famiglia” in Italian), if you share the house with family members who have an income as well.
- Self-certification on income and consular authority certification if you are a non-EU citizen.
Note: If you are an asylum-seekers and hold international protection, you do not need the consular authority certification, since you cannot get in touch with the embassy or consulate of your home country.
What can I expect from my lawyer?
We know that it’s frustrating to be waiting for an answer on your case and on your asylum request for years. Unfortunately, the Italian justice system requires a lot of patience as it is very slow – regardless of the type of judicial proceedings.
Long waiting times do not depend on your lawyer. Your lawyer must update you on the status of your pending case. If you do not hear from your lawyer, it is probably because there are no updates due to the slowness of the judicial system.
Keep in mind that if you have any questions on your case, your lawyer is the best person you can speak to.
If you have any doubt on your lawyer, you may decide to get legal support from another lawyer.