How to apply for ricongiungimento familiare (family reunification)

Ricongiungimento familiare (family reunification) allows family members of non-EU citizens to obtain a visa and a residence permit to live in Italy. The foreign citizen can apply for ricongiungimento familiare for his family only if he has a permesso di soggiorno valid for at least one year. In this article, you can learn about ricongiungimento familiare and how to get it.

If you are a citizen of a non-EU country and you have a carta di soggiorno (EU residence permit for long-term residents) or a valid permesso di soggiorno (or the “cedolino“, ie the renewal receipt from the Questura or the Poste) for at least one year, you can apply for ricongiungimento familiare (family reunification).

Ricongiungimento familiare allows you to bring your family members to Italy. This is possible because the Italian law recognizes the right of people to have a family and to keep it together. With ricongiungimento familiare, your family obtains a visto and a permesso di soggiorno to enter and live in Italy.

People can apply for ricongiungimento familiare with a residence permit for:

  • Motivi di lavoro subordinato o autonomo
  • Asilo and protezione sussidiaria 
  • Motivi di studio 
  • Motivi religiosi
  • Motivi di famiglia
  • Attesa cittadinanza

For whom can you apply for ricongiungimento familiare?

The people for whom you can apply for ricongiungimento familiare are:

  • your husband or wife of at least 18 years of age (if you are legally separated you cannot apply for reunification),
  • your children under 18,
  • your dependent children of age (only if they are totally disabled),
  • your parents, if there are no other children in the country where they live or they are there but they cannot help them.

Requirements for ricongiungimento familiare

To be able to apply for ricongiungimento for your family, you must have:

  • a house suitable both in size and in hygienic conditions. To prove that your home is suitable, you must obtain the housing suitability document, called “certificato di idoneità alloggiativa. To obtain this document, you must submit the planimetria catastale and the visura catastale of your home to the Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione of your municipality, which you can request from the Catasto; if you are renting you must also present the lease agreement (usually called a contratto di affitto) and the document of registration of the contract, which the landlord must give you.
  • a minimum income (income is the sum of the net salaries you receive in a year). If a family member joins you in Italy, the minimum income is € 9.813,77 per year, while for two family members it is € 13.085,02) (if you are a refugee or have subsidiary protection you do not need to have this requirement in order to apply for ricongiungimento).
  • health insurance only if the family members who come to Italy are your father or mother and are over 65 years old.

How to apply for ricongiungimento familiare

If you have these requirements, you can apply for the nulla osta for the ricongiungimento familiare. The nulla osta is an authorization from the Italian State that will allow your family member to obtain an entry visa. This request can only be made online on the website and it will be examined by the Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione of the Prefettura of your city. To enter the site you must have the SPID.

The documents you need to make the request are:

  • Photocopy of your permesso di soggiorno
  • Photocopy of your passport and that of the family member for whom you are requesting the nulla osta
  • Your certificato di famiglia (family certificate) (to be requested from your municipality of residence)
  • The marriage certificate translated with sworn translation and legalized (only if you have to reunite your husband or wife). Legalizing a document means that the sheet must be stamped by the Italian embassy or consulate of the country in which it is issued. If the country is a member of the Hague Convention, a stamp from the Italian embassy or consulate is not needed, but you only need an Apostille stamp. For more information on how to obtain this document, ask the embassy or consulate of your country in Italy.
  • The certificate of widowhood (only if the family member for whom you are requesting the nulla osta is a widower) translated with a sworn and legalized translation.
  • Documents stating that you and the person you are applying for are members of the same family (only if you are requesting clearance for your children). For example, the registry certificate to be requested in your country of origin. These too must be translated with a sworn translation and legalized.
  • The documents that certify your income (for example the CUD, the Modello 730 or the Modello Unico).
  • Certificato di idoneità alloggiativa issued by your Municipality of residence.
  • If you are a guest in the house where you live, so you do not pay rent and the house is not yours, you must present the Modello S2. In this Model, your homeowner declares that he agrees to host other people from your family. However, if the person who comes to live with you is a child under 14, then the homeowner will have to fill in Modulo_S1
  • If you are an employee, your employer must declare that you are still working for him with the Modello S3.

After sending the request

After sending the request, you will receive a raccomandata (so you will receive a letter at home) from the Prefettura. In this letter, the Prefettura tells you the date of your appointment. In this appointment you will have to show all the original documents that you attached to your ricongiungimento application. It is very important that you go to the appointment with all the necessary documents.

The Prefettura has 90 days to issue the permit. The nulla osta is sent by the Prefettura directly to the Italian Consulate or Embassy of your country of origin and where the family member you applied for lives. The Consulate or the Embassy will make the necessary checks, especially on the family relationship that exists between you and your family member. If all goes well, within 30 days the Consulate or the Embassy will issue the visa for reunification with which the family member can come to Italy.

However, if the Prefettura does not issue the nulla osta, your family member will not be able to obtain a visa to come to Italy. In this case you can make a ricorso. To appeal, you need the help of a lawyer. Remember that if you have a low income you can request free legal assistance, the gratuito patrocinio.

After the arrival of your family member in Italy

Within 48 hours of the arrival of your family member in Italy, you must submit the Cessione del fabbricato to the Questura. The Cessione del fabbricato is a document where you declare that you are hosting a non-EU citizen in your home. (This is the form to fill in and submit to the Questura.)

Then, within 8 days of his entry, you must notify the Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione of the arrival of the family member. Then you will have to wait for the Sportello to call you to collect the documents you need to apply for a residence permit for your family member. Your family member will obtain a permesso di soggiorno per motivi familiari.

With the permesso di soggiorno per motivi familiari, the person holding the permit has access to assistance services, can enroll in study or professional training courses and can carry out subordinate or self-employed work. This permit can be converted into a permesso di soggiorno per lavoro.

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