What happens when my humanitarian permit expires?

As you may already know, Italy has stopped issuing humanitarian protection or renewing humanitarian permits. This means that, since the Salvini Decree went into force October 5, 2018, some things have changed. A few important developments:

  • ⚠️ Questure are no longer renewing or issuing the permesso for humanitarian protection, the Permesso per Motivi Umanitari.
  • ⚠️ To stay in Italy legally after your humanitarian permit expires, you’ll need to get either a work permit or another kind of permesso.
  • ⚠️ These days, many people who go to the questura and don’t prove they should get a work permit are getting a new kind of permesso called the Permesso per Protezione Speciale, which cannot be converted to a work permit later.
  • ⚖️ Most important to know: We talked to our legal partners at ASGI, and they had one message they asked us to share with you: No matter when your humanitarian permit is going to expire, the right time to seek legal advice is now.

If you were granted humanitarian protection, read on for what to expect your next questura appointment now that the Salvini Decree is in force.

👉 If you have a job

If you are supporting yourself through work, you may be eligible to convert your humanitarian permit to a Permesso di Soggiorno Per Motivi di Lavoro (work permit).

In Italy, there are 2 kinds of work permits:

  • Permesso di Soggiorno per Motivi di Lavoro Subordinato, for people who are employees of a company or organization
  • Permesso di Soggiorno per Motivi di Lavoro Autonomo, for people who are self-employed, either as freelancers or as business owners

You’ll have to meet certain minimum income standards, provide other paperwork, and show your national passport. Learn more about the other requirements here on our website.

📃 Preparing in advance

If you want to request a work permit, the legal experts at ASGI advise that you:

  • Talk to a helpdesk or lawyer right away to start preparing your documents.
  • Ask your lawyer to send your job contract, or other paperwork showing you’re working, to the questura via certified email as soon as possible.
  • Make sure that at your appointment, you ask to convert your permit to a work permit, and not to renew your humanitarian permit.
  • Tell the questura that you have a job during your appointment. If you don’t, they may give you another kind of permesso, and that decision can be very hard to appeal.

👉 If you don't have a job

If you don’t have a job or you don’t meet the criteria to convert your humanitarian permit to a work permit, the experts at ASGI say it’s still a good idea for you to contact a lawyer.

If you don’t have a job, the questura will consider you for other permessi, including a new permesso created under the Salvini Decree called the Permesso di Soggiorno per Protezione Speciale.

Under the law, the Permesso per Protezione Speciale is for people who face persecution and torture in their countries of origin. Lawyers don’t know yet who is most likely to get this permit, but you can read more on our website about what we do know so far.

Usually, the Permesso per Protezione Speciale is valid for 1 year, but our legal partner ASGI reports that right now, questure are giving many people a 6-month Permesso per Protezione Speciale while they wait for the commission to decide if they qualify for a 1-year Permesso per Protezione Speciale.

It’s important to know that this permesso can’t be converted to a work permit, but it can be renewed.

You and a lawyer can discuss the best option for you before your appointment.

👉 If you had your appointment recently

A few common questions:

I have a job, but the questura gave me a 6-month Permesso per Protezione Speciale instead of a work permit! What do I do?

This could have happened because:

  • You didn’t meet the requirements for a work permit
  • You didn’t tell the questura that you have a job
  • The questura didn't get your supporting documents in time
  • Someone made a mistake

If this has happened to you, legal experts advise that you contact a lawyer right away. You may wish to appeal your decision and try to get a Permesso per Motivi di Lavoro instead, but you have a very short period of time to do so, and you’ll need a lawyer.

If you did not tell the questura that you are working before they issued your Permesso per Protezione Speciale, your appeals process may be a little bit trickier, but it’s still a good idea to talk to a lawyer and consider appealing, ASGI advises.

My lawyer told me I have been granted humanitarian protection, but I got a 2-year permesso that says “casi speciali” on it. Can I convert my permesso to a work permit?

Yes, you can, if you meet the requirements. 2-year permessi like yours that say “casi speciali” come with all the same rights and permissions as a Permesso per Motivi Umanitari. That includes the right to ask to convert your permesso to a work permit. You can read more about humanitarian permits and your permesso on our website.

Legal experts say that no matter when your humanitarian permit is set to expire, the right time to seek legal advice is now.  

👉 Help finding help

You can visit a help desk or ask a lawyer for help preparing for your next appointment at the questura, and it’s never too early to start getting ready, ASGI emphasized. The process of getting all your documents together can take time.

Need a hand finding someone who can help? You can message us on Facebook and we’ll try to find help near you.