The European Directive 2005/85/EC, adopted in Italy by Legislative Decree n. 25 of 28 January (“decreto procedure” – “procedures decree”), does not provide time limits for applying for international protection. Therefore, protection applications cannot be rejected or excluded due to the mere fact of not being promptly submitted. 

International protection is personal and can be applied for at the frontier police station when entering Italy, or at the cognizant Questura (provincial police headquarters) depending on where the applicant lives. Unaccompanied minors can apply for international protection directly. The applicant must submit all elements and documentation necessary to justify the application. Nonetheless, if duly justified, the lack of documentation as regards one’s identity or domicile, or other relevant elements, does not create grounds for inadmissibility or for refusal of the application.

Once the applicant has had his/her fingerprints and photographs taken, the police fill out the request on the appropriate forms (Form C3), which are then sent to the authorized Territorial Commission for Recognition of International Protection. When submitting his/her application, the applicant has the right to be informed, as described in a booklet, on the procedure, his/her rights and duties, the necessary timeframe, and what additional useful elements can accompany his/her application. Throughout the procedure the applicant is guaranteed the presence of an interpreter wherever necessary. At every phase of the procedure, minors are guaranteed assistance by a parent or, in the case of being unaccompanied, a promptly appointed guardian. Applicants are obliged to cooperate with the authorities at every stage of the procedure and to notify the Questura (Police Headquarters) of every change of domicile or residence.

Applicants have the right to remain in Italy until a decision has been taken on their application for protection or, in the case of an appeal to the courts, for the time they are permitted to remain in the territory pursuant to Article 19 of Legislative Decree 15/2011. In addition, Legislative Decree No. 142 of 18 August 2015 established that the submission of a request for international protection constitutes a temporary residence permit, valid within the national territory for a period of six months. This permit is renewable until a decision on the application has been made.