Who has the right to international protection?
According to the applicable International, European and national Law, a third-country national (a non-EU-citizen) can benefit from international protection in the following cases:
- If, returning to their Country of origin, they are likely to be persecuted on grounds of religion, atheism, race, ethnicity, nationality, political opinion, sexual orientation or membership to another particular social group. This is considered ‘Persecution’.
- if, returning to their Country of origin, they are likely to be subjected to death penalty, execution, inhuman and degrading treatment, or indiscriminate violence in the context of an armed conflict. This is considered ‘Serious Harm’.
In any case, be aware that it is not possible to apply for international protection in a European State if you are not already there. Therefore, for instance, you cannot apply for international protection in Italy if you are in your Country of Origin.
In addition, please note that economic reasons unrelated to persecution are not considered a sufficient reason to be granted international protection under the applicable law.
What is the competent authority that will examine your application for international protection?
In Italy, the competent authority that examines asylum requests is the Territorial Commission for the recognition of international protection.
Please note that the only competent European State to examine your asylum application is the first Country of arrival in the European Union. Therefore, for instance, if Italy is your first Country of arrival in the European Union, Italy is the only competent State to examine your application in Europe.
Therefore, if you apply for Internal protection in another European Country and the authorities of that Country are informed of your first arrival in Italy (for instance, due to the fact that your fingerprints were taken in Italy), they will most likely reject your application as inadmissible.
How can I apply for international protection?
You can apply at the Police Headquarter (so-called ‘Questura’) of the Italian city where you are, or at an office of the border police if you are at the national borders. By selecting the city where you are, you can find the specific location and timetable of the closest Police Headquarter on this website.
If you wish to apply for international protection, you should apply as soon as possible, especially if you are in Italy and you do not have a visa or a residence permit to legally reside in this Country.
When applying, you will be requested to fill in a specific form to communicate your personal details, your Country of origin, the track of your journey to Italy, your previous places of residence, and a brief explanation of the reasons supporting your application for international protection. In addition, if you have them, you will be asked to show your identity documents.
Sometime after the date of your application, you will be contacted for an oral interview at the competent Territorial Committee. During this interview, you will be asked to talk extensively and in detail about the reasons why you left your Country of origin and the reason why you do not wish to return there.
What could be the outcome of my asylum application?
There are three possible outcomes of an application for international protection in Italy:
- Refugee Status. This status will be granted to you if the Territorial Commission who interviews you is convinced that, in case you returned to your Country of origin, you would be at real risk of persecution. See under Section A.1 what ‘persecution’ means.
- Subsidiary protection. This status will be granted to you if the Territorial Commission who interviews you is convinced that, in case you returned to your Country of origin, you would be at real risk of serious harm. See under Section A. 2 what ‘serious harm’ means.
- Special Protection. This status may be granted to you by the Territorial Commission if your Country is characterized by systematic and continuous violations of human rights that may affect you, or if you can demonstrate your full integration in Italy and your de facto detachment from your Country of origin, for instance, because you have lived away from your Country of origin for many years and you have family in Italy.
- A rejection. This is a negative outcome of an application for international protection, and it means that the Territorial Commission did not foresee any of the above real and serious risks in case of your return to your Country of origin.
A rejection means that you do not have the right to reside longer in Italy or in any other Country of the European Union based on the Law on International Protection.
If you are rejected, you can appeal against the negative decision within 15 or 30 days, depending on the case.
Seek legal assistance from a lawyer to lodge your appeal if you want to question the fairness and legality of the negative outcome.
- F. Validity of a residence permit as a beneficiary of International Protection
- The residence permit granted to third-country nationals who are recognized as refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection is valid for 5 years, and it is renewable with no limitations.
- The residence permit granted to people who are granted special protection lasts 2 years.
In both cases, the residence permit gives you the right to work in Italy.
Where can I find Legal Assistance and advice?
- The Migration Department of our Law firm may not always have the capacity to assist you, especially if you are not in Milan, but you can find one referral contact where to seek legal assistance for each Italian region at the link.
- If you are in Milan, you can also get in contact with NAGA, an NGO assisting asylum seekers. For this purpose, visit the website.
- If you are in Turin, you can also get in contact with MOSAICO, another NGO assisting asylum seekers. For this purpose, visit the website.
- In any case, if you contact our law firm and we are not in the position to assist you directly, we will support you in finding an available professional close to your place of residence.