Civil registration

Italy

Country Report: Civil registration Last updated: 30/11/20

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Beneficiaries of international protection or special protection can apply for registration.

Decree Law 113/2018 has repealed the rules governing civil registration (inscrizione anagrafica) of asylum seekers,[1] and stated that the residence permit issued to them does not constitute a valid title for registration at the registry office.[2]

Many organisations, including ASGI, have raised the discriminatory aspect of this rule which, by denying a subjective right to one single category of foreigners, asylum seekers, would violate the principle of equality enshrined by Article 3 of the Italian Constitution. In fact, the TUI, which was not amended, states that the registration of personal data and changes to such data for legally residing foreigners are carried out under the same conditions as Italian citizens.[3]

On 18 March 2019, the Civil Court of Florence upheld the appeal brought by an asylum seeker confirming his right to be registered at the registry office. According to the Court, even after the changes made by Decree Law 113/2018, the law cannot be interpreted in such a way as to exclude asylum seekers from the right to residence. Such an interpretation would violate the constitutional principle of equality and the prohibition of discrimination pursuant to Article 14 ECHR.[4]

Later, many other Civil Courts upheld the appeals brought by asylum seekers. This was, among others, the case of Bologna,[5] Genova,[6] Prato,[7] Lecce,[8]Cagliari,[9] Parma,[10] Catania,[11] Rome,[12] Bergamo, Palermo,[13] Bari.[14]

The Civil Court of Trento and the one of Turin rejected the appeal.

In 4 cases, the Civil Courts concerned[15] sent the documents to the Constitutional Court to assess the compatibility of the foreclosed civil registration for asylum seekers with the principles of the Italian constitution and in particular with the principle of equality referred to in Article 3 of the Constitution. The decision is expected in 2020.

Some municipalities have openly declared they will refuse to apply the amendments to the law.[16] The Mayor of Naples, Campania, for instance, has decided to register asylum seekers in the registry of temporarily resident persons.[17]

At the same time, the amended Article 5(3) of the Reception Decree states that asylum seekers have access to reception conditions and to all services provided by law in the place of domicile declared to Questura upon the lodging of the application or subsequently communicated to Questura in case of changes.[18] As some provisions of social welfare are conditional upon registration at the registry office, the Reception Decree should allow access to all social assistance services to asylum seekers on the basis of their domicile only; by considering their domicile equivalent to residence. However, in 2019 and in early 2020, despite this provision, the lack of civil registration has led in many cases to deny asylum seekers access to social care services as public administration officials had not received instructions on how to guarantee these rights without civil registration.

 

Registration of child birth

 

The childbirth can be registered at hospital within 3 days from the birth, or later at the municipality, with the presentation of a valid identification document.

 

Registration of marriage

 

According to the Italian Civil Code, foreign citizens who intend to contract a marriage in Italy must present a certification of the absence of impediments to contracting the marriage (nulla osta), issued by their embassy.[19] Refugees can substitute the nulla osta with a UNHCR certification. This practice was established following a formal note sent on 9 April 1974 by the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, copying UNHCR.

In order to obtain authorisation for the marriage, refugees must produce:

  • A declaration (affidavit), signed before the Civil Court or before a notary and certified by two witnesses;
  • The decision granting them refugee status;
  • A valid residence permit; and
  • A valid document of the future spouse.

The law does not provide a solution for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection who cannot request the nulla osta from their embassy with a view to registering a marriage. In this case, they can follow the procedure set out in the Article 98 of the Italian Civil Code, which entails a request for the marriage authorisation to the municipality and, after the refusal of the request for want of nulla osta, an appeal to the Civil Court, asking the Court to ascertain that there are no impediments to the marriage.

With a decree issued on February 2012, the Civil Court of Bari has authorised the marriage between a subsidiary protection holder and an asylum seeker even in the absence of authorisation from their country of origin. The Court observed that in relation to the certification needed for contracting a marriage, “refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries appear to have similar positions, but unjustifiably treated in a non-homogeneous way…”[20]

 


[1] Article 5-bis Reception Decree was repealed by Article 13 Decree Law 113/2018 and L 132/2018.

[2] Article 4(1-bis) Reception Decree, inserted by Article 13 Decree Law 113/2018 and L 132/2018.

[3] Article 6(7) TUI.

[4] Civil Court of Florence, Order 361/2019, 18 March 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2TZ9DTG.

[5] Civil Court of Bologna, Order of 2 May 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/AyO5Nh2.

[6]  Civil Court of Genova, Order of 22 May 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/eyO6y4y. 

[7] Civil Court of Prato, Order of 28 May 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/kyO6QD3.

[8]  Civil Court of Lecce, Order of 4 July 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/NyO6WG0.

[9] Civil Court of Cagliari, Order of 31 July 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/OyO6EhO.

[10]Civil Court of Parma, Order of 2 August 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/ZyO6Rtn.

[11] Civil Court of Catania, Order of 1 November 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/cyO6ToX.

[12] Civil Court of Rome, Order of 25 November 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/ryO6T39.

[13] Civil Court of Palermo, Order of 23 January 2020, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/QyO6UWW.

[14] Civil Court of Bari, Order of 28 february 2020, available in Italian at: available at: https://cutt.ly/myO6GBM.

[15] Civil Courts of Ancona, Milan, Ferrara and Salerno. See ASGI, L’iscrizione anagrafica per i richiedenti asilo tra pronunce che riconoscono il diritto e rinvii alla Corte Costituzionale, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/jyO6M57.

[16] Lettera 43, ‘Il sindaco Orlando ha sospeso il decreto Salvini a Palermo’, 2 January 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2F3kWRk.

[17]Repubblica Napoli, ‘Migranti, de Magistris sfida il governo: “I richiedenti asilo nell'elenco temporaneo dell'anagrafe”’, 15 January 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2TDuEEc

[18] Article 5(3) Reception Decree, as amended by Article 13 Decree Law 113/2018 and L 132/2018.

[19] Article 116 Civil Code.

[20]Civil Court of Bari, Decree of 7 February 2012, available in Italian at: http://bit.ly/2GUsJAR.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation