It is widely known that family members of an Italian (or EU) citizen, have a right of residence in Italy, like the souse and children. However, it is less known that other family members like siblings, adult children, grandparents and grandchildren, irrespective of their nationality, can be granted long-term residency in Italy.

The key is that Italian law forbids to remove from the country a family member within the second degree of 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, adult children, brothers and sisters 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 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. That means that 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 moves to another country, or dies.

Moreover, cohabitation with the Italian citizen is required. Residency is granted as long as the family member lives at the same address as the Italian citizen. So if the Italian citizen moves to another address or wants the family member out of the house, the family member may lose not only the home but also their very 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 that 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 sister 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 they prove that she has a job, 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 submitted 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:

  • Siblings
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Children of any age
  • Grandchildren of any age

NOTE: Cousins, nieces/nephews, in-laws, de facto 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 in this blog post.


Italian law does not provide a right or the possibility to obtain a visa for long-term residence to family members of Italian citizens. Rather, it forbids their removal from Italy once they are in the country.

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 may most probably be denied a visa for family members. The solution is to apply for a short-term visa, i.e. a visa for a short-term stay in Italy/Europe for max 90 dyas. These short-term visa are the same throughout Europe (the Schengen Area). So you may get one from the Consulate of any European state that is a member of the Schengen Agreement (e.g. Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Spain…). The visas issued by the Consulates of any of those countries give access to all member states, including Italy.

Long-term Residency

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. They will do so by showing the local immigration  police (Questura) the original vital records proving the family link (e.g. a sister will show her original birth record showing that she has the same parents as the sister who is an Italian citizen). Another important requirement is to live at the same address as the Italian citizen.

Would you like to know more?

Download the Free Guide “4-Step Strategy” to obtain a residence permit for family members, complete with the official forms: Invitation statement by the Italian citizen for the family member to show at the border (or to obtain an entry visa, where applicable): Dichiarazione di alloggio e garanzia

  • “Dichiarazione di ospitalità” to be submitted to the immigration police within 48 hours
  • “Dichiarazione di presenza” to be submitted to the immigration police within 8 days

+ the list of documents required by the police for the application.

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More on this subject:

Are you a family member to an Italian citizen? Obtain your visa to Italy in 3 steps

Is your family member an Italian Citizen? Get your 5 years residence card

4 Smart Steps for a Stress-Free Start in Italy