Medium Priority

What is the immigration news? The Security and Immigration decree, which amends the country’s Immigration and Citizenship Law that went into force in October, is now in effect.  The decree, also known as the “Salvini Decree,” abolishes residence permits on humanitarian grounds and creates stricter requirements for citizenship by marriage and naturalization applicants.

  • Implementation: The decree was signed and ratified into law Dec. 1.
  • Visas/permits impacted:  Residence permits for humanitarian protection, citizenship by marriage and naturalization applications.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing times for foreign nationals applying for citizenship by marriage and naturalization will be lengthened.

Key Changes:

Humanitarian Protection Residence Permits

  • The decree abolishes residence permits previously granted for humanitarian protection. Certain categories of applicants—such as victims of exploitation, domestic violence and natural disasters, and those in need of medical care–will be eligible for “special reasons” permits.

Citizenship by Marriage and Naturalization Applicants

  • Individuals applying for Italian citizenship through marriage and naturalization will have to prove an “adequate” knowledge of the Italian language—at least level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages—with the exception of those who have an EU long-term residence permit and comply with the Integration Agreement provisions.
  • Maximum processing times for citizenship by marriage and naturalization applicants will be doubled, from 24 to 48 months. Citizenship by marriage can now be rejected after the maximum processing time.
  • Application fees have increased from €200 to €250.
  • Individuals who applied for their Italian citizenship through marriage and naturalization can now have their citizenship revoked in case of final conviction for offenses related to public security.

BAL Analysis:  The changes may cause delays in citizenship by marriage and naturalization applications, as the processing time increases to four years. Foreign nationals may find it harder to achieve citizenship by marriage due to the change. Foreign nationals living in Italy under “humanitarian” protections may lose their legal status when their documents expire.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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