If you have arrived in Italy without a regular visa and you have not applied for a permit of stay or asylum yet, you can use this article to learn more about your rights as a newcomer in Italy.
If you do not have a visa (and you are not from a visa free country) you will be considered irregular in Italy until you ask for asylum or apply for a permit. This means that if you do not regularize your stay, you may receive an expulsion order or end up in a repatriation center (CPR) – unless you are a child or adolescent traveling alone. Remember that you can ask for asylum at any time, and authorities must accept your claim.
The right not to be returned to a country where you may be in danger
Italy (or any other country) should not return you to a country where you may face a risk of persecution, danger or violations of human rights. This holds true both for your home country and transit countries such as Libya and Slovenia – which often does not grant people their right to seek asylum.
The right to emergency medical care
If you are in need of urgent medical care (for example, if you have got a bad injury) you can go to the emergency room of any hospital (‘pronto soccorso’ in Italian) or call 112. Urgent medical care is provided for free, even to people who do not have a permit of stay. As per Italian law, doctors and hospital staff cannot report irregular migrants to the police.
You can also receive essential medical care (for example, you have a chronic disease or another disease with the risk of complications) and preventive medical care (for example, vaccination or healthcare for your pregnancy). To receive these medical services you need to get the STP code at the desk of the local healthcare centers.
If you still need help but do not feel comfortable in going to the hospital, you may get support from a volunteer-based medical organization in your area. Drop us a message on Facebook here if you need help finding one.
The right to seek asylum
If you cannot or do not want to return to your home country because you fear persecution or danger, you can seek international protection in Italy by applying for asylum. Also if you have experienced torture in your journey to Italy, you may get a form of protection called ‘protezione speciale’ in Italian.
If you apply for asylum, you will be granted a temporary 6-month permit, Permesso per Richiesta di Asilo in Italian, and will have access to a set of rights including:
- Stay in Italy throughout all your asylum procedure – whereas it is forbidden to travel outside Italy
- Stay in a reception center
- Receive information in a language you understand
- Receive legal support
- Access healthcare
- Access education and language courses
- Work 60 days after filing your asylum claim.
Seeking asylum might be the only way to get a permit of stay (‘permesso di soggiorno’ in Italian) to regularize your stay in Italy. Indeed, you cannot apply for a work or study permit directly in Italy, but only from abroad. However, there are some exceptions where seeking asylum could not be the only option, for example: if you are under 18, if you have close Italian or non-Italian family members regularly living in Italy, if you are a victim of trafficking in persons and exploitation, if you or your partner is pregnant, if you have a serious disease.
Learn more on:APPLYING FOR ASYLUM
Be aware that according to the Dublin regulation the first Dublin country (EU member states, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland) taking your fingerprints should be the one responsible for your asylum claim – even if that is not the country you wish to settle in. This means that for example, if Italian authorities took your fingerprints but you then traveled to France to seek asylum, you may be returned to Italy and have your case examined here. This does not hold true if you are a child or adolescent traveling alone.
However, if you seek asylum in Italy but your wife, unmarried partner or children are asylum-seekers or holders of international protection in another Dublin country, you can ask the authorities to be reunited with them and have your asylum claim transferred there. This way, you will regularly and safely join your family. Learn more here.
The right to receive information
Once you are rescued or identified by the authorities you have the right to be informed about your right to seek asylum and your other rights, in a language you understand – even when the police finds you entering irregularly in Italy.
You also have the right to be informed in a language you understand about the asylum procedure, including how to fill out the application. You can always request to be assisted by an interpreter during the asylum procedure.
Do not sign documents that you do not understand and ask for clarifications to the interpreter when needed. Always ask for a printed copy of the documents that you sign.
Who can help?
If you need more info, drop us a message on our Facebook page here. You can also contact the helplines below.
UNHCR - ARCI
If you need information regarding reception, healthcare, administrative procedures, legal assistance, and orientation, you can get in touch with the UNHCR/ARCI helpline for asylum-seekers and refugees:
- Call 800905570 (from all the operators)
- Call +393511376335 (from LycaMobile numbers)
- Send a WhatsApp message to +393511376335
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The helpline is free of charge and active from Monday to Friday, from 9.30 am to 5 pm, with a multilingual voicemail active 24 hours a day. The helpline is available in more than 35 languages.
If you are on the move
If you are in Trieste, you can get information, Wi-Fi, medical care, food and clothes at piazza della Libertà (park in front of the station), from Monday to Friday, from 9 to 11 am and from 4 to 6 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 6 pm.
If you are in Oulx, you can get information at Diaconia Valdese in corso Montenero 39, from Monday to Friday, from 9.30 am to 5 pm. You can get accommodation at Rifugio Fraternità Massi in Corso Ortigara, 14/D.
If you are in Ventimiglia, you can get information, food and clothes at Caritas in via San Secondo 20, from Monday to Friday, from 9 to 11 am.
Got any questions? Drop us a message on Facebook.