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Refugees/Asylum Seekers

intercultura e migrazione


-       The Convention of Geneva, 1971,

-       Decrees: 1) 19/11/2007 Legislative Decree n. 251 integrating the concept of international protection with subsidiary protection[1] 2) 28/01/2008 Legislative Decree n.25),

-       European Directives[2] regarding international protection.


ASYLUM SEEKERS are those who, finding themselves far from the countries in which they have residency, cannot or do not want to return there as they are persecuted because of their race, nationality, belonging to a specific social group or for their political opinions. They can seek asylum in Italy by applying for recognition of “refugee status”.


(People forced to leave their countries due to natural disasters, calamities, or violent political crisis do not fall into the asylum seeker category. In these cases, extraordinary protection measures such as “temporary protection” are adopted. For example: Italy received citizens from the former Yugoslavia, Somalia and Albania).

REFUGEES are people who have obtained refugee status after their application has been successful.  




The application for international protection can be handed by a foreign person to the border guard office at the moment of their entrance in Italy.
Another option is to apply directly to the immigration office at the Questura, the Police Station.

After photographic identification, the Questura will send the application to the Territorial Commission (see below THE BODIES), the only competent body to decide over the recognition of refugee status. The Questura will then issue a residence permit for asylum seekers.

In order to complete the application, the person will hand the following documents to the Immigration Office:

-       the application form, with all reasons one is applying for the asylum outlined (in foreign language)

-       a copy of the passport, if in possession of one

-       documentation proving the reasons for the application


Once refugee status has been certified, the person can apply for the permesso di soggiorno per asilo (residence permit for asylum seekers) to the Immigration Office.





On the application form it is essential to document as much as possible the persecutions one has been subjected to and the potential retaliation one could be subjected to if reentering one’s own country.

-       acts of physical or psychological violence, including sexual assault

-       legislative, administrational, judicial or police orders considered discriminatory in their nature or carried out in a discriminatory way

-       excessive or discriminatory proceedings or penal sanctions

-       refusal of the possibility to appeal and excessive or discriminatory subsequent sanction

-       proceedings or penal sanctions as a consequence of the refusal to enter military service in a conflict when this might involve committing crimes or offences

-       acts specifically directed against one gender or children



d)    WOMEN

Women who have been victims of violence or subjected to a form of persecution can fall into the refugee category.


-       domestic violence

-       female genital mutilation

-       selective abortion or infanticide

-       domestic violence and forced underage marriage

-       sexual assault

-       trafficking and prostitution

-       violence against women in armed conflicts

-       violence against refugee women


E) the bodies:


1)     THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE RIGHT OF ASYLUM addresses and coordinates the Territorial Commissions, carries out training and courses for the members of the commissions and gathers statistical data. It also has decision making power with regards to revocations or suspensions of the awarded status.


2)     THE TERRITORIAL COMMISSIONS FOR THE RECOGNITION OF INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION examine applications for the recognition of refugee status.



GORIZIA: jurisdiction over applications presented in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige.

MILANO: jurisdiction over applications presented in Lombardy.

ROME: jurisdiction on the applications presented for (*) Lazio, Sardinia and Umbria

FOGGIA: jurisdiction over applications in the provinces of Foggia and Barletta-Andria-Trani.

SIRACUSA: jurisdiction over applications in the provinces of Siracusa, Ragusa, Caltanissetta and Catania.

CROTONE: jurisdiction over applications presented in Calabria and Basilicata.

TRAPANI: jurisdiction over applications in the provinces of Agrigento, Trapani, Palermo, Messina, and Enna.

BARI: jurisdiction over applications in the provinces of Bari, Brindisi, Lecce and Taranto.

CASERTA: jurisdiction over applications presented for regions Campania, Molise, Abruzzo and Le Marche (*)

TORINO: jurisdiction over applications presented in the regions Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Liguria, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany.


(*) Jurisdiction over Abruzzo and Le Marche has been assigned to the Territorial Commission of Roma until 31st December 2013.



World Refugee Day is on the 20th of June.

[1] This status is recognised to stateless people or those who, although not in possession of the requirements to obtain the status of refugee, cannot be sent back to their countries of residency or origin, as there is a grounded risk that their lives or safety might be in danger.

[2] Directive 2004/83/CE of the Council dating 29th April 2004 and directive 2005/85/CE of the council dating 10th December 2005

[3] Past threat to life or freedom (Convention of Geneva).

January 3, 2014
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