How can the siblings or aunt/uncle of an Italian citizen obtain residence in Italy?
It is widely known that family members of an Italian (or EU) citizen, have a right of residence in Italy. The spouse, the parents, the minor children and even the parents and children of an Italian citizen’s spouse can obtain a 5 years residence card.
However, it is less known that other family members like siblings, adult children, aunts, and uncles, irrespective of their nationality, can be granted a residence permit and settle down in Italy.
The key is that law forbids to remove from Italy a family member within the second degree who live with an Italian citizen (article 19 section 2C of the Italian Aliens Act, Decreto legislativo of July 25th, 1998 no. 286).
That is because the family is a very important unit of human society and enjoys ultimate protection by the Constitution of the Italian Republic.
Parents. grandparents, siblings, adult children, aunts, and uncles are all included among the protected family members who cannot be returned to their country of origin or any other.
These family members are eligible for a residence permit in Italy according to Article 28 of Implementing Regulation of 31 August 1999 no. 394.
NOTE: This regulation applies only to the non-EU family members of Italian citizen. It does not apply to the non-EU family members of persons holding the citizenship of other EU member states.
A permit for family reasons is called “Permesso di soggiorno per motivi familiari”:
- it gives access to full health care coverage on a par with Italian citizens, work, study, and perform any other legal activity in Italy
- it has a 2-year duration
- it can be renewed for an unlimited number of times
- in case the application is rejected, the family member can obtain justice through a less long and expensive process at the local Tribunal instead of the regular application process at the Administrative Court.
It is a dependent residence permit. It depends on the Italian citizen. In principle, a family member may lose the residence permit in case the Italian citizen in the family changes address, or moves to another country or dies.
Cohabitation with the Italian citizen is required. So if the Italian citizen moves to another address or wants the family member out of the residence, the family member may lose the residence permit. In practice, the Italian authorities will reject the request to renew the residence permit.
A family member with such a dependent residence permit may not qualify for a permanent residence permit. That is a residence permit which can be granted after a 5-year stay in Italy to non-Italian citizens who can provide for themselves (called “Permesso dell’Unione Europea per soggiornanti di lungo periodo”). It enables to access the work market and services of any other EU member state and settle down there.
This residence permit is valid only in Italy. It does not give access to residence in other European states.
How to obtain an independent residence permit
Even in case of loss of a family residence permit (or rejection of its renewal), there are possibilities to obtain another residence permit.
A brother or an adult child, for example, may end the cohabitation with the Italian citizen.
In these situations, the law provides that the family member may obtain an independent residence permit if she proves that she has a job, or a business or a scholarship (Article 30 section 5 of the Italian Aliens Act, Decreto legislativo of 25 July, 1998 no. 286).
The application is to be filed in directly to the Immigration police office of the Italian citizen’s area of residence (not by the mail, no regular kits for residence permits application).
Which family members are entitled to this residence permit?
These are family members within the second degree, according to Italian law:
> children (any age)
> grandchildren (any age)
NOTE: Cousins, nieces/nephews, in-laws, partners, foster children and any other family member not listed above are not family members within the second degree, according to Italian law. So they are not included in the regulation that we are discussing on this blog post.
The law only forbids their removal from Italy once the family member is in the country. It does not provide a right or the possibility to obtain a visa for long term residence to family members of Italian citizens.
What does that mean, in practice? A sibling (or aunt/uncle) who is a national of a country whose citizens need a visa to enter the Italian/European territory shall be denied a family visa for family members.
The solution is to apply for a tourist visa, i.e. a visa for a short-term stay to Italy/Europe. Once in Italy, the family member shall register their arrival to the Immigration police within 8 days (“Dichiarazione di presenza”) and then apply for a residence permit for family members by showing the official vital records proving the family link (f.e. a sister’s birth record showing that one or both ner parents are also the parents of the concerned Italian citizen).
Would you like to know more?
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- The 4-step strategy to obtain a residence permit for family members, complete with the official list of documents required by the police for the application and
- the official form for an invitation letter which facilitates your visa application ( to be signed by the Italian citizen).
Are you interested in obtaining a residence permit for family members?
You may request a private consultation to evaluate if you are eligible and to devise a clear strategy to obtain a residence permit for family members in Italy.
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