Question: My husband who is a Kenyan, was expelled from Italy a year before we got married. Can I apply so that he can join me in Italy? Thank you.
Answer: According to the Italian Law, a foreigner who is living legally in Italy has a right to be joined by his/her family members who were expelled from the country in the past because they didn’t have the permit.
In the past the Immigrations Offices at the Prefecture used to reject all applications for family reunification with expelled family members.
But from 2007, when Italy adopted the EU Directive on family reunifications, things have changed.
In order to safeguard family life, the Directive says that even a foreigner who was expelled from the country can be allowed to return before the end of the 10 year ban. A foreigner who is living legally in Italy can apply for family reunification if he/she meets the following requirements:
- he/she is a holder of a Permit of Stay valid for at least one year and which can be renewed for unlimited number of times (for instance, Permit of Stay for work or family reasons)
- he/she has sufficient income to take care of the family members who are to join him/her
- he/she has suitable accommodation meeting basic health standards established by Regional laws. This can be proved by showing certificate of suitable accommodation issued by the competent offices from the employer’s City Council of residence or local health offices (ASL).
A person who meets the above requirements can submit application to the Immigrations Office at the Prefecture for family reunification even with a family member (spouse, child, parent) who was expelled from Italy in the past.
The family member can only be denied entry to Italy if he/she is actually a concrete threat to public order and State security. This is established by examining the crimes he/she committed in Italy.
The application for family reunification with an expelled family member is submitted online by logging on to the website of Ministry of Home Affairs at www.interno.it
Once the Immigrations Office receives the application, it is forwarded to the police station for security checks. If the police officers are convinced that the expelled family member is not actually a concrete threat to the public order and State security, they issue a temporary clearance and forward it to the Immigrations Office.
The Immigrations Office forwards this note to the foreigner who submitted the application for family reunification, and instructs him/her to ask the family member in their home country to go to the Italian Embassy/Consulate and present documents proving family relationship. In case of a spouse, one has to present the marriage certificate.
The family member must therefore go to the Italian Embassy/Consulate with marriage certificate and the clearance note from the police station. The Italian Embassy/Consulate will legalise all the presented certificates showing family relationship, and then send to the police station and Immigrations Office a note approving the application for family reunification.
At this stage the police will cancel the expulsion order and the Immigrations Office will summon the applicant to collect authorisation for family reunification (nulla osta).
The next thing to do is to send this document to the family member abroad so that he/she can take it to the Italian Embassy/Consulate to apply for family visa.
Once the family member arrives in Italy, he/she must go to the Immigrations Office at the Prefecture within 8 days to be issued forms for applying for the family permit.
By Mascia Salvatore