Gaining residency and full healthcare coverage in Italy has traditionally been a straightforward process for married spouses of Italian citizens. But for unmarried partners, the journey can be fraught with legal complexities.

The Challenge for Unmarried Partners:

Numerous legal disputes have highlighted the challenges faced by unmarried partners in obtaining residency permits, underscoring a significant gap in legal protections.

One ray of hope has been the recognition by several Italian courts of the rights of de facto partners under a “Contratto di convivenza.” This special agreement, which can be crafted and registered in Italy with the aid of a specialized attorney in immigration and family matters, acknowledges the rights of unmarried partners. However, this judicial progress has not yet fully translated into routine government practices, leading to instances where immigration authorities and local municipalities deny residency registration to unmarried partners. In such cases, legal assistance becomes crucial to assert residency and healthcare rights.

Recognition of Partnerships and Marriages Abroad:

Whether it’s a same-sex or opposite-sex relationship, when a partnership or marriage involving an Italian citizen is recorded outside of Italy, it’s imperative to have the union officially recognized by Italian authorities. Italian citizens are required to report any marriage or registered partnership to the Italian Consulate. This includes providing the full official record of the partnership or marriage, which must be apostilled for international use, translated into Italian, and submitted to the Consulate.

Operationalizing Residency and Healthcare Rights:

Once in Italy, your partner needs to register their residency with the local municipality (Ufficio Anagrafe). During this process, they should also submit the official record of the partnership or marriage, if this hasn’t already been done at the Italian Consulate abroad. This residency registration process typically takes about 45 days.

Following this, a non-EU spouse or partner must apply for a residence permit at the local immigration police office (Questura). This application process can extend up to six months. However, with the application receipt in hand, the partner can enroll in the Italian National Health Care Plan (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale – SSN) at the local healthcare office (Azienda Sanitaria Locale – ASL). From this point, the non-EU spouse or partner is entitled to full health care coverage, on par with any Italian citizen.


For unmarried partners of Italian citizens, securing residency and healthcare coverage requires careful adherence to specific legal and administrative procedures. Whether dealing with the recognition of a foreign partnership or navigating the residency registration process in Italy, being well-informed and seeking professional legal support can ensure a smoother transition to life in Italy. With the right approach, unmarried partners can establish their lives together in Italy with the security and benefits afforded to married couples.

Do you want to know more?

Click here and let me send you more information about the rights of family members of Italian citizens.