The Asylum Procedure


➡️ Who can apply for asylum?

You can apply for asylum: 

  • If you are not a EU citizen and cannot return to your country of origin because you fear persecution or risk serious harm, and you are unable to receive protection from your country of origin. 
  • If you do not have any citizenship and fear persecution or risk serious harm if you return to your country of habitual residence. 

➡️ Where can I apply for asylum?

At the Provincial Police Headquarters (Questura) or at the Border Police station.  

You can express your intention to apply for asylum at the Border Police Station upon arrival or, if you are already in Italy, at the Immigration office (Ufficio immigrazione) of the nearest Provincial Police Headquarters (Questura).  

In case the asylum application is made at the border, the Border Police will invite you to go to the Questura for formal registration.  

Even if you are in prison or being held in a pre-removal facility you can still apply for international protection.  

  • Applications are individual: each adult must personally submit their own application.  
  • If you have with you children under 18, please inform the Authorities of their presence.  
  • There is no formal timeframe for making an asylum application, but it is recommended that you submit your application as soon as possible.  

➡️ How can I apply for asylum?

You can express your intention to seek international protection orally or in writing, in your own language, with the help of an interpreter.  


➡️ Confidentiality

Information on your application for international protection is confidential. This means that all persons who will process it, including the Police, will not share any information – without your consent with any external persons, including authorities of your country of origin. 


➡️ What if I do not speak Italian?

You can speak in your own language during the whole procedure.  

You must receive, where necessary, the services of an interpreter in your own language or in a language you understand. Where necessary, during the procedure, the documents you produce shall be translated by interpreters working for the competent authorities. 


➡️ How is my asylum application formally registered?

After you express your intention to apply for international protection, the Police will carry out your identification: they will record your personal information (name, surname, date and place of birth, nationality) and will take photos of you. If you are 14 years old or older, you will also be “fingerprinted”. This phase is called “fotosegnalamento”, and it is followed by a second step, consisting of the formal registration of the asylum application, which is carried out exclusively at the Questura.  

The formal registration of the application (verbalizzazione or formalizzazione) is conducted filling out the “C3” form (Modello C3). In order to complete the C3 form, the Police officer will ask you questions about your identity (name, surname, date and place of birth, nationality), personal condition (current domicile, contact details, education, work, religion, place of residence, languages known), your family, personal history, the journey to reach Italy and the reasons for fleeing from your country of origin.  

  • If you do not speak Italian, you have the right to be assisted by an interpreter. 
  • If you have a passport, you are expected to hand it over to the Police.  
  • You may submit all documents in your possession that could be useful to understand your situation.  
  • If you wish you can also submit a written document (in Italian or another language) in which you explain your story.  
  • If you have specific needs do not hesitate to speak to the Police (e.g. you are under the age of 18, you are pregnant or affected by serious disease, etc. see below).  

 This form is signed by you, the Police officer and the interpreter. You will receive a copy of the C3 and copies of all other documents submitted to the police authorities.  

The Police will then send your application, with the attached documents, to the office which is competent to assess it: the nearest Territorial Commission for International Protection.


➡️ What if I have been or I have applied for asylum in another EU country before reaching Italy?

You can only apply for asylum in one country, which is competent to assess your asylum application. It is not possible for you to choose which country. Such country is determined based on an EU law, called the “Dublin III Regulation 

Generally, the competent country for assessing your asylum application is the first European country you entered. 

However: 

  • If you are under 18, you are alone here, and a member of your family (parent, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, grandfather/grandmother) is legally present in another European country included in a list established by the Dublin III regulation, this country can be responsible for the examination of your application. Do not leave the reception centre and inform your guardian/the social worker/Police officer that you wish to join your relatives.  
  • If you are an adult and your spouse or minor children are resident in one of the “Dublin III” States as beneficiaries of international protection or as asylum-seekers, that State may examine your application. If you wish to join your family members, inform immediately the competent authorities (Police Officers during the registration phase, Territorial Commissions during the RSD procedure) 

When you are fingerprinted (if you are 14 or older), your fingerprints are entered into a system called EURODAC, the European Central Database, which helps to implement the “Dublin III Regulation”. The EU country you are in verifies if it is competent to decide on your application or if another member state is responsible.   

  • Which countries apply the Dublin III Regulation? 287 European Union Member States (therefore Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, The United Kingdom, The Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Hungary) and Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.  

➡️ What if I have a health problem or other specific needs?

If you have a health problem or other specific needs, please inform the authorities immediately. In this case, specific measures may be put in place to support you: you may be assisted by a doctor, psychologist or social worker, and accommodated in a specific reception facility where you can receive services and assistance suited to your needs.   

Specific needs include:  

  • you are under the age of 18 years;  
  • you have a serious disease;  
  • you are a parent with children who are under 18;  
  • you are pregnant;  
  • you have a disability; 
  • you need psychological support due to difficult experiences you have gone through, your sexual orientation or your gender identity, or because you have been brought to Italy against your will, or any other situations you feel you need help for. 

➡️ Am I entitled to a lawyer when applying for asylum?

To submit your asylum application and during the procedure aimed to assess your application, the presence of a lawyer is not required. However, if you prefer to be assisted by a lawyer you can do it at your own expense.  

  • Please note that you can receive assistance from a legal operator at the center where you are staying, and many NGOs and associations can also provide you with free legal support.  

If your application has been rejected by the Territorial Commission, you can lodge your appeal against this decision. In this case, you need to be assisted by a lawyer.  

If you do not have sufficient economic resources, you have the right to be assisted by a lawyer, in front of the tribunal, free of charge.  

A video guide on the asylum procedure in Italy: