It’s a procedure that allows family members to arrive in Italy safely and legally

The following family members are eligible for the reunification program:


  • Spouse (husband or wife) not legally separated and older than eighteen, or a civilly joined partner (in Italy or abroad,) who is a foreigner and not legally resident in Italy.
  • Minor children who are either a direct progeny, adopted, fostered, or under guardianship, offspring of the spouse or born outside the marriage on the condition that the other parent, if living, grants her/his consent.
  • Adult children who are still dependent because they are incapable of supporting themselves or are totally disabled.
  • Dependent Parents up to 65 years old, and without an offspring in the country of origin or provenance.
  • Dependent Parents over 65 years old, even in the presence of other offspring but who cannot provide for them due to a documented serious health condition.

If you are less than 18 years old and alone, separated from parents or other relatives able to take care of you, and have been granted refugee status in Italy, you have the right to be reunited with your parents, no matter what their age or condition is.

Those who are recognized as refugee or are beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, and wish to apply for family reunification, need:  

  • A residence permit that is valid or in phase of being renewed. In this case the application must be made within 60 days from the expiration date.
  • If available, a passport or travel document for refugees.
  • Proof of existing family relationship, age of the minor and a family status certificate, if available.

Those individuals who fall under different residence permits, and are legal residents in Italy, must meet established income and housing requirements.  For further information on the different residence permits that allow you to apply for family reunification and their requirements, see fact sheet published at Melting pot Europa.


It’s a two-step procedure: first apply for Entry Clearance at your area Prefecture’s Unified Immigration Desk. Subsequently  a visa must be applied for at the Italian embassy in the country of origin.   

To ask for Entry Clearance, you must:


  • Get at your local post office a digital identity known as SPID.
  • Buy a € 16 revenue stamp.
  • With the SPID enter the, and fill out the application making sure to include the number of the revenue stamp that you have purchased.


Consequently, you will be contacted for an appointment by the local Unified Immigration Desk.  You will have to bring the following papers with you:


  • Original version of the revenue stamp specified in the application.
  • Another €16.00 revenue stamp to apply to the Entry Clearance.
  • Your residence permit plus a photocopy.
  • A copy, if available, of the ID of family members asking to be reunited.


To verify family ties, bring a  family status certificate and proof of residence. This can be done via self-certification.


Once you have obtained the Entry Clearance, it must be sent to the family relative seeking reunification. He/she must go to the local Italian diplomatic mission and collect the visa that in the meantime the Unified Immigration Desk will have sent electronically.

Furthermore you will receive a written communication with the number of the Unified Immigration Desk where an appointment must be set for the relative who is joining you in Italy. From the moment your relative arrives in Italy, you will have just 8 days to contact the Unified Immigration Desk and set an appointment to get a residence permit.

If the procedure is followed, and the application is approved, the Entry Clearance will be issued within 90 days and family reunification can proceed. If for any reason the Entry Clearance application is turned down, but you believe that you are eligible, you can file an appeal at the local territorial court, immigration division.

According to Italian law a visa must be granted within 30 days of the application date, but do not be surprised if delays occur.

  • Before sending the application, make sure that all fields are filled, especially those that ask the names and date of birth (dob,) of your relatives. The names and dob on the application must agree with those in the passport.
  • Communicate the country of origin or residence of your relatives. If an Italian embassy is not present in that country, communicate immediately the country where your relative can apply for a visa. It’s possible to change this information at a later point, but it will take time, and it must be authorized by the Prefecture.
  • If you have special protection status you DO NOT have to meet the housing, income, and health insurance requirements.

Entry Clearance lasts six months from date it is issued. Therefore it must be delivered to the appropriate embassy with the six months. Make sure that all papers necessary to request the visa are ready, and if the appointment at the embassy is delayed, consult Numero Verde Arci (Free Number,) local organizations or a lawyer.

Compiled by Caritas Italiana, Consorzio Communitas and UNHCR – For further information see:


What are the papers needed? See fact sheet on Italian embassies abroad

After gaining Entry Clearance, you must send the original document to your relatives. Once they have received it, your family must make an appointment with an Italian Diplomatic Mission to request the visa.

  • The papers that document the relationship between family members must be translated in Italian and notarized.
  • If necessary the Italian diplomatic mission can ask for additional documentation. All documentation must be presented both in the original plus a copy. The original documentation will be returned to the petitioner while the copy will be attached to the visa application. No photocopy is admissible except in case of the identity card or passport of relative residing in Italy.
  • Orthographic discrepancies with regards to last name, name, list of names and/or wrong dob and place of birth of spouse/child/parent who is the recipient of ‘Entry Clearance’ will result in delays in the processing of the application because any variation must be examined by the police in Italy. Mobile phone number and e-mail address must be included in the visa application. Make sure that the e-mail address is correct because any communication back and forth between petitioner and the Italian Consulate will take place via that channel.  It’s advisable to also send the application via Italian certified e-mail (PEC.) To do it consult with an attorney or a local organization.
  • Remember that paying third parties to intervene will not give you a leg up or speed up the reunification procedure.
  • The visa last 1 year.
  • For DNA testing get in touch with ARCI’s Free Number (Numero Verde Arci) or the International Organization for Miigration (IOM +39 441609.225/233/260/210.) The test costs € 230/person. If you are unable to pay for it, ask a sponsoring organization for assistance or request a waiver.
  • For further information, assistance or counseling, turn to local organizations that operate in Italy (associazioni territoriali presenti in Italia) or hire a lawyer. They can also assist you in resolving instances of rights being violated or authority being abused.

Whom can I turn to get further information or to get help to fill out the application?


Contact the Free Number for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (ARCI) at 800905570 or (+39) 3544376335


Or write an e-mail at


For further information, assistance or counseling, turn to local organizations that operate in Italy or hire a lawyer. 

They can also assist you in resolving instances of rights being violated or authority being abused.



Within 48 hours of your relative’s arrival in Italy, you must  bring to the Questura (police station,) a declaration of hospitality.

Within 8 working days from the date of entry, your relatives must go to the Unified Immigration Desk to receive the kit with the application for a Residence Permit for family reasons (permesso di soggiorno per motivi familiari.)

This information has been put together with Arci Porco Rosso di Palermo.