Your rights as an asylum seeker
*Refer to Glossary of Terms
While an application for asylum is being processed, the following rights are guaranteed: Permit of Stay, Healthcare, Access to Work, Education, Reception/Accommodation, Registration. These are defined below.
Permit of Stay
Note: *Nature of the permit of stay pending the decision on the refugee status
Duration: 6 months
Suitable as ID document
Unsuitable to register to the civil registry (anagrafe)
If you stay at a CARA (Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers), you will be given an attestato nominativo (a paper of your identification and registration status).
If you are sent to a CIE (Identification and Expulsion Centre), you will not be given authorization to stay in Italy, and also will not be allowed to exit the CIE.
You always have the right to emergency care, regardless of your residency/status.
In case of emergency care, bring your STP card (“straniero temporaneamente presente”) to the public local health institution (ASL) or a hospital. This card is your identification and grants you access to the free urgent medical care.
Upon obtaining the permit of stay, or the cedolino, the right to receive healthcare is ensured. To receive healthcare, you must get in touch with the Agenzia delle Entrate (Italian Revenue Agency) to obtain a healthcare card (tessera sanitaria) that will include your fiscal code (codice fiscale). Then, you must show the issuance of the health card to the Local Health Service (ASL) and choose a doctor. Please refer to our medical aid section for further information on how to access healthcare.
Access to Work
When you have first arrived and applied for asylum, working is illegal. You are allowed to legally apply to work 60 days after receiving the first residence permit (Cedolino). If a decision on your application for asylum is not made within six months of submission, and the delay is not due to your conduct, the temporary residence permit is renewed for another six months.
Right to Education
Minor asylum seekers or minor children of asylum seekers have the right to attend public schools. Adult asylum seekers have the right to access vocational training courses.
EDIT: After the abolition of the SPRAR system (reception centres for asylum seekers and refugees), there are now only facilities limited to refugees and unaccompanied minors. In fact, many reception centres have been closed and all the hosted people have been sent to other facilities or, in the worst cases, remain on the streets.
If you need accomodation when you arrive, when applying for asylum at the police station (Questura), notify the police that you do not have a place to live. They will send your request to the prefecture. If there are no places available in the SPRAR Reception system (protection system for asylum seekers and refugees), you will be sent to a CARA or a first-time reception centre (centres where you can only be accommodated for a limited period of time).
The duration of the reception, both in the CARA and in the SPRAR, is normally scheduled for six months; this may be extended until the end of the asylum procedure.
Italian law provides this right to all asylum seekers. However, due to a high volume of asylum seekers, it is possible that finding a place in a reception center will not be immediate, and you may have to wait for accomodation. You may also be transferred to another location other than the town/city where your application for asylum was submitted.
Legally, if there are no vacancies in the reception centres, the asylum seeker who has no economic means is entitled to a cash subsidy for housing/accommodation. If this is so, you must apply for this aid to the police headquarters where you apply for asylum.
In some cases, defined by law, during the procedure you will be obligated to reside in a CARA or a CIE.
Right to Register
Even before you are recognized refugee you are entitled to enroll in the municipal registry. If you are welcomed in a reception centre the manager will have to inform the offices of the municipality. Remember, however, that if you were to stop residing in reception centers you would be immediately deleted from the municipal lists. If you have a regular lease, with a copy of the contract you can request to be registered as a resident of the municipality you live in.