If you are a migrant or refugee who has been regularly living in Italy with a valid permesso for the past five years, you may be able to apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno UE per Soggiornanti di Lungo Periodo (EU long-term permit in English).
Also known as ‘ex carta di soggiorno’, ‘permesso illimitato’, or ‘00’, this permit prevents you from being expelled from Italy, unless for severe State security reasons, and enables you to participate in some forms of local public life (for example, you can vote in referendum at the municipal level). This permit is also valid as an identity document.
The EU long-term permit also allows you to regularly work or study in another EU country (with the exception of Denmark and Ireland). To do so, you will have to request a different permit to the authorities of the EU country you would like to move to. By doing that, you will not lose your Italian EU long-term permit. Note that each EU country has its own rules to give permits to holders of a EU long-term permit released by another EU member State. This is why we suggest that you contact the relevant Consulate to understand how the procedure works.
You can use this article to learn more about:
Who can apply
To be eligible to apply for the EU long-term permit, you must:
- Have a valid permit of stay that enables you to apply
- Have been regularly living in Italy for at least 5 years
- Have a minimum yearly income equal or above the social check
- Have the residence registered in an Italian Comune (municipality in English)
If you do not hold the refugee or subsidiary protection status, you also must:
- Have an A2 Italian language level
- Get the certificato di idoneità alloggiativa (housing suitability certificate in English) - only if you are applying for your family too.
To apply for this permesso, you will also have to submit your criminal record. However, this does not mean that if you were convicted of any crime, your application will be automatically rejected. It will be rejected only if you were convicted of a list of specific crimes. People dangerous for the public order and State security cannot receive this permesso di soggiorno.
Your legally married partner, children under 18 and cohabitants parents may also apply for the EU long-term permit with you or after you get this permesso, if requirements are met.
To avoid any confusion we summed up the requirements in the table below:
Permit of stay
You must have a valid permit of stay to apply for this permesso. However, you cannot apply for it if you hold:
- Permesso per protezione speciale
- Permesso per protezione temporanea
- Permesso per richiesta asilo
- Permesso per cure mediche
- Permesso per casi speciali (6-month)
- Permesso per calamità naturale
- Permesso per studio
- Permesso per tirocinio or formazione professionale
- Permesso per atti di particolare valore civile
- Short-term or diplomatic visa
However, these permits of stay (with the exception of visas and short-term permits), even if they do not provide direct access to the permesso di lungo periodo, are useful in the calculation of the 5-year period of regular stay. Therefore, when allowed and if you meet the requirements, you could convert your permit into another permit that allows you to apply for the long-term permit to become eligible.
If you have a protezione speciale permit, you are not eligible for the ex carta di soggiorno. To become eligible, you should then convert your 2-year permit into a work or family permit, if you meet the requirements.
Stay: at least 5 years in Italy
You need to have been living in Italy for at least 5 consecutive years holding a valid Italian permesso di soggiorno.
Your stay in Italy is considered uninterrupted if you did not stay outside the country for more than 6 months at once – overall no more than 10 months over the 5 years (unless for serious reasons such as severe health issues). This holds true if you respect the traveling rules.
If you are also applying for your family members, they must have been living in Italy for 5 years too.
When do I start calculating my 5 years in Italy?
If you have subsidiary protection or refugee status, you can start calculating your 5 years from the moment you filed your asylum request by submitting your C3 form.
If you have another permit (for example, work or family permit), you can start counting the 5 years from when you received your first permesso.
If you have a protezione speciale permit and you want to apply for ex carta di soggiorno, you need first to convert it to a work or family permit. The practice to calculate the 5 years in this case may vary across the Questure. Some Questure start calculating the 5 years from when you received your permesso per richiesta asilo, while other Questure from when you received your permesso per protezione speciale. If Questura refuses to count the period of time during which you were holding an asylum-seeker permit, you could appeal the rejection with the help of a lawyer.
You can find a successful appeal here!
Income: at least the amount of the social check
To apply for the ex carta di soggiorno, you need to have a minimum yearly income equal to or higher than Italian yearly social security check (‘assegno sociale’ in Italian). For 2022, it was set at € 6079,45 and for 2023 at € 6,542.51. That number goes up by 50% for each additional family member you have. For example, if you are two people (that is, one additional family member) the income you need will be € 9,813.77, if you are three it will be € 13,085.02 and so on. You can sum up the incomes of your cohabiting family members.
To prove that you have the income required, you can present your income tax return for the past year (‘dichiarazione dei redditi’ in Italian), through the CU, 730 or REDDITI form. If you do not have sufficient income from last year, but you currently have a job that allows you to reach the minimum income, you can present the payslip (‘busta paga’ in Italian) and your job contract. Scholarships are not useful for the income calculation.
Learn more about: DICHIARAZIONE DEI REDDITI
Additional requirements for people who do not have refugee status or subsidiary protection
If you apply as a holder of an eligible permit other than asilo politico or protezione sussidiaria permesso di soggiorno, in addition to 5 years of continuous regular stay in Italy, a minimum yearly income, and a criminal record, you also have to meet the requirements below.
Proof of a A2 Italian language
If you do not have the refugee or subsidiary protection status, you also need to prove that you have an A2 level of Italian to apply for the permesso di lungo periodo. You are exempted from this if you have certified language learning impairments.
You can prove your language level by a CPIA certificate or official Italian language certifications (CELI, CILS, PLIDA, CERT) proving that you have at least an A2 level, Italian school diploma from at least terza media, or university enrollment. If you do not have these certificates, you have to pass a specific language test to be booked on the Sportello Unico portal here.
Lean more about: LEARNING ITALIAN AND LANGUAGE CERTIFICATES
Certificato di idoneità alloggiativa (in case you want to apply for your family too)
If you want to apply for the permesso di lungo periodo also for your family, in case you are not a refugee status or subsidiary protection holder, you also have to provide the ‘certificato di idoneità alloggiativa' (certificate of housing suitability in English), which proves that your housing meets the size and hygienic and sanitary standards for the number of people living there.
Depending on where you are, you can request this certificate from the Municipality office (‘Comune’ in Italian) or Prefecture (‘Prefettura’ in Italian). For example, if you live in the Rome area, you have to request it through this link here, while if you live in Milan you have to do it here by clicking on your Municipio. An expert will do an inspection at your place and authorities will release the idoneità alloggiativa if your house meets the standards required.
How to apply
If you meet all the requirements, you can apply for the EU long-term permit before your permit expires by going to the post office and filling out the yellow kit with these documents:
- Copy of your valid passport or travel document, or Italian carta d’identità
- Copy of your valid permesso di soggiorno
- Criminal record and pending charges certificate (‘certificato del casellario giudiziale’ and ‘certificato dei carichi pendenti’ in Italian). More info on how and where to get them: Certificato del casellario giudiziale and Certificato dei carichi pendenti.
- Copy of your codice fiscale
- Copy of proof of income (income must be equal to or higher than the annual social check - € 6542.51 for 2023), like a CUD or dichiarazione dei redditi, current work contract and payslips, invalidity pension certificate
- Residence certificate (‘certificato di residenza’ in Italian) - you have to request it from the Anagrafe Office of your Comune
- € 16.00 revenue stamp (‘marca da bollo’ in Italian) - you can buy it at a Tabaccheria (Tobacco shop)
If you are not a refugee status or subsidiary protection holder, you also have to include in the kit:
- Copy of your certificate of Italian language, if you already have it
- Certificato di idoneità alloggiativa, and self-certification for family status (if you apply for you family too)
If you also apply for your family members, you also have to send copies of their documents.
At the post office, you will also need to pay: €30.46 for the electronic permit, €100 for government costs associated with this kind of permesso di soggiorno, € 30,00 for the post office.
The post office staff will then give you the receipt of the kit, the receipt of the payment and a letter containing the date, time and place of your appointment with Questura. Keep the receipt from the post office as you will need the access codes written on it to check when your permit is ready here, and you will also have to give it to Questura.
At the Questura
It normally takes 3 months to process your request. Questura will send you a message when your permit is ready or you could check here.
At the Questura you will need to bring:
- 4 photos, passport size
- Receipts for the payments made at the post office
- Permesso di soggiorno
- Passport or travel document
- Original documentation submitted at the post office
- Italian language certificate
You can appeal against the rejection to issue an EU long-term permit to the Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR in Italian) within 60 days from the decision.
How long it is valid
The EU long-term permit gives you the status of long-term resident for an undetermined (indefinite) period of time – this is also why some people call it an ‘unlimited’ or ‘00’ permit.
If you have an old EU long-term permit you know that this has “illimitato” written on the front, and that you need to update (‘aggiornamento’ in Italian) the basic information on your permesso every 5 years.
However, based on the inter-ministerial decree adopted in January 2021, things have slightly changed. New electronic EU long-term permits no longer have “illimitato” written on the front but indicate a validity of 10 years instead. This only means that you will have to update your personal data (such as your photo and address) every 10 years for it to remain valid as an ID document.
Please mind that your status of permanent resident in Italy is not affected by this provision. Basically, the expiration date only regards your plastic permesso, not your status in Italy.
Please, do also keep in mind that the shift to these new electronic permits will be a gradual process. For example, if you hold a EU long-term permit issued before January 20, 2021, you do not have to change your current permit now. Next time you will update your permesso, the local Questura will issue a new EU long-term permit with an expiration date rather than “illimitato” written on it.
You can apply for aggiornamento, or updating procedure in English, of your ex carta di soggiorno by filling out the Modulo 1 and presenting it to the post office.
You can find more information (in Italian) on the documents to prepare before going to the Portale Immigrazione by clicking here and on the step-by-step procedure on the CINFORMI website here.
Is ex carta di soggiorno really permanent?
Although the status of soggiornante di lungo periodo you will get with this permit is permanent, the Italian authorities may revoke your permit if:
- You stayed outside the European Union for more than 12 months
- You stayed outside Italy for more than 6 years
- You got a EU long-term permit in another EU country
- Authorities revoked your refugee status or subsidiary protection
- You became a danger for the public order and State security
- You acquired this permit with fraud
However, if you are eligible, the Italian authorities may issue another permesso, and you could obtain again the EU long-term permit after 3 years in Italy – unless you got an expulsion order.
Legal separation or dissolution of marriage does not result in revocation of the EU long-term permit in any case.
You can appeal against the revocation of an EU long-term permit to the Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR in Italian) within 60 days from the decision.
What if I hold international protection and I travel back home?
If you are a refugee or you hold subsidiary protection, you will not lose your international protection status when you obtain the EU long-term permit. Indeed, the plastic permit will indicate “annotazione: protezione internazionale riconosciuta dall’Italia il… ”. This means that the same prerogatives of international protection holders still apply for you. At the same time, it also means that if you travel back to your home country, you may risk losing your status of international protection.
According to Italian law, if you lose your subsidiary protection or refugee status as a result of a travel to your home country while holding the EU long-term permit, the “annotazione: protezione internazionale” on your long-term permit will be deleted. It’s a good idea to speak with a legal expert, who can advise on your case to understand the possible consequences of losing international protection, before deciding to travel back to your country.
What are my rights as a holder of the EU long-term permit?
If you get the EU long-term permit, you have the right to:
- Work in Italy
- Study in Italy
- Receive healthcare in Italy
- Social welfare - you have access to more social bonuses then with a work permit for example
- Participate in some forms of Italian public life like referendum
- Do not be expelled from Italy unless for serious reasons of national security
- Travel outside Italy
- Work or study in another EU country, if you meet the requirements of that country - please, contact the relevant Consulate for more information
Remember that this permit is valid as an ID document.
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