International Protection

The procedure for the recognition of international protection

Practical instructions 

Who can apply for the recognition of international protection
A foreigner can ask Italian State protection if he/she is escaping from persecution, torture or from war, even if he/she has entered irregularly Italy and is devoid of documents.
In the request the applicant must justify the circumstances of persecution or serious damage which caused his/her escape.
The agents of this persecution or serious damage may be the State, political parties or organizations which control the State or a part of its territory, or non-State subjects if the State, or who controls it, doesn’t want to provide protection to the victim of persecution or serious damage.

Terms for applying
There are no time limits for the presentation of the request.

Where to submit the request for international protection
The request must be submitted to the frontier Police or at the Questura (police headquarters), that may not be the frontier Questura, but the one near which the applicant intends to reside.

Who evaluates the request?
The Territorial Commission for the international protection recognition is the competent authority in processing international protection claims.

Which are the possible outcomes of the hearing by the Territorial Commission?
The Territorial Commission can recognize a type of international protection, political asylum or subsidiary protection,declare the application unacceptable (if it has been presented to another state as well), not recognize any type of protection or, for reasons not referring to one’s security but for serious humanitarian reasons may ask the Questura to issue a permission for humanitarian protection

The law is very precise about the definition of:

persecution acts and persecution reasons which, if recognized, will allow applicant to obtain the refugee status, or

serious damage which, if recognized, allows the applicant to obtain the subsidiary protection.
Both types of protection, unlike previous dispositions, are status, and the repeal of a status can be disposed only after a check of individual situation and with a specific procedure.

The refugee status
The refugee status is recognized in presence of persecution acts for specific reasons:

  1. Persecution acts
    For the purpose of evaluation of the recognition of a refugee status, persecution acts as established by the Ginevra Convention, must either:
  2. a) be sufficiently serious, for nature or frequence, to represent a serious violation of fundamental human rights, in particular of rights of which any dispensation is excluded;
  3. b) establish the sum of different measures, among which human rights violations, whose impact is sufficiently serious to exercise on the person a serious violation of fundamental human rights;

Persecution acts can also assume the form of:
a) physical or psychological acts of violence, including sexual violence;

  1. b) legislative, administrative, police or legal measures discriminatory for their own nature or executed in a discriminatory manner;
  2. c) disproportionate or discriminatory legal actions or legal sanctions;
  3. d) a denied access to legal guardianship tools and consequent disproportionate or discriminatory sanction;
  4. e) legal actions or legal sanctions as a consequence of the refusal of doing military service in a conflict, when it may involve crimes, offence or acts considered war crimes or crimes against humanity;
  5. f) acts specifically directed against a sexual gender or against children.
  6. Reasons of persecution
    In order to be recognized the status of refugee, persecution acts must be linked to factors such as:
  7. a) “race”
  8. b) “religion”
  9. c) “nationality”
  10. d) “particular social group”
  11. e) “political opinion”

When examining if an applicant has a well-founded fear of being persecuted, it is irrelevant if the applicant owns effectively racial, religious, national, social or political features that provoke persecution acts, as long as this feature has been attributed by the author of persecutions.

The recognition of refugee status allows:

the issuing of a permit of stay for political asylum for 5 years;

the issuing of a refugee travel document for going abroad;

the issuing of a refugee card which permits further renewals and files;

to ask for citizenship for naturalization after just 5 years;

to reunite the family, or to do a cohesion on the basis of requirements previewed by the law, but without proving accomodation and income, and with facilities with regard to documents that certify the family relationship;

access to occupation

access to education

health and social care (civil disability, accompaniment benefit, maternity benefit) equal to Italian citizens.


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