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31 May 2024

What to do if your application for international protection is denied?

Answers to the frequently asked questions

The Territorial Commission, when asked to decide on an application for international protection, can either recognize the status of refugee (or grant subsidiary protection) or reject it.

When the Territorial Commission does not believe that the conditions to grant international protection are met, but different requirements apply, they send the documents to the Police Commissioner so they can issue a residence permit for special protection.

What can be done if the Territorial Commission rejects the application?

It is possible to appeal to the Appeal Court in the capital city of the Region where the Territorial Commission which rejected the application is located.
If the foreigner is hosted in a government reception facility, in a territorial facility, or in a Repatriation Detention Center, the appeal must be presented to the special section of the district court located in the same area of the aforementioned facility or in the facility itself, regardless of where the Territorial Commission which rejected the application is.
Both the denial of the application for protection and the repatriation decision are to be appealed against.
Following the latest regulatory changes, the rejection produces an administrative expulsion provision and therefore entails the obligation to deport the immigrant. This so-called unified provision (i.e. rejection and obligation to deport) can be challenged with a single appeal to the Court.

How do one individual appeals against the Territorial Commission's decision? How soon should they start the process?

When the Territorial Commission completely rejects the application for protection, or grants a type of protection less effective than that requested, the applicant must appeal within 30 days of notification of the provision (60 days if the asylum seeker resides abroad). The deadline for filing an appeal is 15 days for people detained in a Repatriation Detention Center or when the application has been judged manifestly unfounded.

Is it necessary to have a lawyer in order to file an appeal?

Yes, the assistance of a lawyer is required to submit the appeal.
Applicants who cannot afford to pay the legal fees can submit a request for admission to legal aid, both in person or through the appointed lawyer.

What happens if no appeal is presented? How long will it take before being ordered to leave Italy?

After being notified that the application for international protection has been rejected, the applicant has the right to remain on Italian territory until the expiration of the deadline for filing an appeal. Once this deadline has elapsed (30 or 15 days depending on the case), the applicant is obliged to leave the national territory, unless they have been issued a residence permit for another reason, or the Territorial Commission believes that conditions to grant a residence permit for special protection are present.
As per the latest regulatory changes (art. 7 law no. 50/23), the rejection decision produces the effects of the administrative expulsion measure, and therefore entails the obligation to repatriate and the ban on re-entry (from 3 to 5 years). The repatriation will be enforced by the police commissioner which, depending on the provisions of the Commission, will proceed either by forced deportation or by granting a deadline for voluntary departure. 

What happens after the appeal is submitted? Does the applicant have the right to remain on Italian territory until the judge's decision?

By filing an appeal, the effects of the rejection of the application are automatically suspended, with some exceptions, i.e. applications presented by the applicant retained in the Repatriation Detention centers, applications declared inadmissible or rejected for manifest unfoundedness, or applications presented instrumentally, for which accelerated procedure is envisaged. In the latter cases, the provision that rejected the request for international protection can be suspended by the Court only upon presentation of a specific request.
The applicant authorized to remain in the territory following the submission of an appeal has the right to renew the residence permit for asylum request, except if they are detained in a Repatriation Detention Center. 

How long does it take for the Court to decide on the appeal? What are the possible outcomes?

According to article 35 bis of the Legislative Decree. n. 25/2008 the Court shall decide within four months of the presentation of the appeal. The object of the application is not the rejection ruled by the Territorial Commission, but the subjective right to international protection. Therefore, the applicant must present all the reasons which had them apply for international protection, along with any new information not provided during the previous phase.
The Court will examine all the data anew and decide, on the basis of the elements existing at the time of the decision, if the appeal is rejected or the appellant's status as a refugee or as a person entitled to subsidiary protection is granted. This decision cannot be ruled again by the Appeal Court, but it is possible to appeal to the Court of Cassation within 30 days of communication of decision.