An unaccompanied foreign minor is a youth who arrives in Italy at less than eighteen years of age,
without his/her parents or without a legally responsible adult. The law states that If you are an
unaccompanied foreign minor, you cannot be turned back at the frontier and cannot be expelled from the country. Once arrived in Italy, the minor has the right to be housed in a residential facility, to receive an education and have access to proper medical care.
When a minor arrives in Italy, whether by land or sea, it’s the duty of law enforcement personnel to
establish the identity and age of the individual. During the age assessment procedure, the minor has
the right to be counseled by a cultural-linguistic mediator. If he/she is in possession of an ID (passport, birth certificate, identity card, school certificate, or any other document, even an expired one,) it must be communicated to those with whom he/she is in contact. It will help verify identity and age. At times, during the identification procedure, law enforcement personnel takes the passport. It’s important that a copy, or a photo, of the document remain in possession of the minor.
A meeting will be set up with the tesidential facility’s staff and a cultural-linguistic mediator. The purpose of the meeting is to gather information about you (country of origin, age, family background, state of health, etc.) so as to provide you with the necessary assistance. If your condition as a minor is confirmed, your status as an unaccompanied foreign minor (MSNA) will be communicated to the appropriate Juvenile Court, and a guardian will be appointed.
A guardian is an adult nominated by the Court, and not affiliated with the residential facility. He/she is
your legal representative, and his/her role is to assists you during those procedures established by the law that determines your integration in Italy.
N.B. Having a guardian is your right, and the Juvenile Court must appoint one! According to the law,
until Juvenile Court appoints a guardian, it’s the residential facility’s director who will carry out that function.
Together with your guardian and the residential facility’s staff, you can choose from the following options:
• Apply for a Minors Residence Permit;
• Petition for International Protection;
• Apply for a Residence Permit for Social Protection;
• Apply for a Residence Permit for Family Reasons or a Guardian Residence Permit.
The Minors Residence Permit is issued to a person who has been certified as being under the age of
18. The application must be filed in person at the Questura’s (Central Police Station) Immigration Office by the minor. In most instances he/she must be accompanied by the court appointed guardian, or by a staff member of the residential facility. The Residence Permit is valid until the minor becomes an adult.
The Petition for International Protection safeguards those minors who fear that they will be subjected to conflicts, persecution, torture, incarceration or other inhumane treatment in their country of origin.
You may apply for International Protection at the Questura in the presence of your guardian who will counsel you throughout the procedure. Your petition will be examined by a Territorial Commission (CT) that is also responsible for setting an hearing. Subsequent to the hearing, the Commission can grant refugee status, subsidiary or special protection. These procedures are slow, and can last many months.
The Residence Permit for Social Protection safeguards those minors who have been victims of violence, or of crimes such as prostitution, reduction to slavery, trafficking in human beings and sexual violence.
The petition must be filed at the Questura in the presence of your guardian. After having verified the facts, the police will release a six month permit with the possibility of a year long renewal.
The Residence Permit for Family Reasons is issued to minors who:
• Are under the tutelage of/ Has been given in custody to an Italian citizen, or a foreign citizen that
resides in Italy, and lives with his/her guardian;
• Has been entrusted to a Fourth-degree relative (brother/sister, grandfather/grandmother,
This option must be carefully considered with the minor, and, like other residence permits, the application must filed at the Questura.
Your status as an unaccompanied foreign minor terminates when your turn 18. Prior to that date, with your guardian and social worker, you must consider the following options:
• Administrative continuity allows to extend the residence permits till one becomes 21 years old.
This option allows ongoing formal support to the minor’s process of integration.
• The conversion of the Minor Residence Permit into a permit for educational, work, or future employment purposes. In this instance, it’s necessary to produce documentation that demonstrates enrollment in school or registration with employment exchange.
Yes, you can join a relative in anther European country. Your guardian and the staff of the residential facility will help you apply for family reunification. The procedure entails giving the Questura the necessary documentation, and depends on the verification that strong family ties exists between the relative and the minor. The relative must be capable of taking care of you.
Yes, you have the right to go to school. Your guardian or the director of the residential facility will help
you with the application.
Yes, you have the right to proper medical care. Your guardian must apply to the Local Health Authority to register you with the National Health Service.
If you have recently arrived, and are not yet registered with immigration, you are still entitled to medical care via a regional badge with an individual STP (Straniero Temporaneamente Presente.) On the website www.jumamap.it/map you can locate the Local Health Authority nearest you.
Toll-Free Number for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (ARCI – in collaboration with UNHCR)
A hotline that provides free legal advice and guidance as to what services are available in Italy. The hotline provides linguistic mediation in 35 languages. The Toll-Free Number operates Monday – Friday from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.
Toll-Free Number: 800 90 55 70
Lycamobile: 351 1 37 63 35
Helpline Minori Migranti (Save The Children)
Toll-free multilingual telephone service for migrants who are minors. It operates from Monday to Friday,
from 10 am to 5 pm.
Toll-Free Number: 800 14 10 16
Lycamobile: 351 2 20 20 16
Miniila App (Missing Children Europe)
App for Smart-phone that provides useful information for unaccompanied minor migrants. The goal is the
easily accessible delivery of information such as the location of food banks, and the closest health facility.
To download App: https://miniila.com/
U-Report on the Move (ARCI – in collaboration with UNICEF)
Platform dedicated to minors and young migrants in Italy that includes information, legal and administrative advice, guidance on what services are available in Italy, and a psychological support
system (through a listening hotline managed by psychologists and therapists.)
Contact Us: https://bit.ly/messageUROTM
JumaMap – Services for Refugees (ARCI – in collaboration with UNHCR)
Multilingual map of services available in Italy to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with a particular
focus on legal and medical assistance, psycho-social support, Italian language courses, centers against
violence, aid to people with disability, work counseling, soup kitchens and food banks, shelters.
Further Useful Resources:
114 Childhood Emergency is the hotline that allows you to report dangerous or emergency situations that
involve children and adolescents. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Listening Hotline: 1 96 96
Direct Hotline for Disappeared Minors
The Toll-Free number 11600 allows you to report the disappearance of children or minors. The hotline
operators take the reports and send them on to law enforcement personnel. The number can also be
used to report the finding of an adolescent or the sighting of a disappeared minor.