If you’re the family member of an Italian citizen, navigating the maze of immigration paperwork can feel daunting. And amidst these winding pathways, a common misconception is that you must initially be issued a shorter-term Permesso di soggiorno before you can qualify for the 5-year Carta di soggiorno. Let’s clear the air.

Your Direct Eligibility for the 5-Year Residence Card

To clarify, if you’re a family member of an Italian citizen, the law stipulates that you’re directly eligible for the 5-year Carta di soggiorno. There’s no foundational legal requirement that compels you to first seek a temporary permit.

Encountering Questura Hurdles? Demand Clarity.

While the law is clear on your eligibility, the Questura (Italian immigration police) occasionally advises individuals to opt for a shorter-term Permesso di soggiorno first for one year or for two years. This side-step not only sidetracks you from the Carta di soggiorno, but also slaps on an extra 1 or 2-year delay. The rationale? It’s a bit fuzzy. Sometimes, they cite financial resource concerns as a barrier. Here’s where things get even more interesting: there’s no such stringent financial requirement to snag a 1 or 2-year residence permit for family members of Italian citizens. And while the 5-year card does have a financial stipulation, it’s quite broadly worded to ensure you won’t become a burden on the social assistance system.

Grounded in the Law

In accordance with the Italian Aliens Act, specifically Article 28, section 2 of Decreto Legislativo no. 286/1998, the residence rights of European Union citizens and their family members also extend to foreign family members of Italian citizens (“The right of residence shall extend to family members who are not nationals of a Member State, accompanying or joining the Union citizen in the host Member State”, Article 7 section 2 of Directive 2004/38/EC of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States; Article 7 section 2 of the Italian Decreto Legislativo no. 30/2007 implementing the said directive).
This means that spouses and other qualifying family members can obtain a five-year residence card.

The “FAMIT”: 5-year Residence Permit for family of Italian citizens

Since August 11, 2023, Italy has updated its residency regulations for family members of Italian citizens, introducing a tailored approach based on prior residence. Family members arriving from another EU country are eligible for a Residence Card (Carta di Soggiorno), aligning them with other EU citizens’ families in Italy. Meanwhile, those coming directly or from outside the EU will receive the “FAMIT,” a special 5-year Residence Permit specifically for Italian citizens’ family members. Both options have  a duration of 5 years, are renewable and can transition to a work-based residence permit, ensuring a smoother path to residency for all family members, regardless of their previous home.

Empowering Your Application

Given this clear legal backing, should you find the Questura contemplating a detour from your rightful path to the 5-year residence card, remain informed and assertive. Insist on receiving written, substantiated reasons if any alternate course is suggested.

Armed with this clarity and fortified by the weight of Italian legislative guidance, your path to the Carta di soggiorno becomes lucid and navigable. Understand your rights, be proactive, and journey confidently toward securing your rightful Italian residency.


Interested? Read here more about the 5-Year Residence Card for family members of Italian citizens

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