Residency rights extended to non-EU de facto partners of Italian citizens

Feb 28, 2020

Italian law provides for a general rule according to which non-EU individuals need to obtain a permit of stay (issued by the Police) to be registered with the local Municipality.

The Court of Modena, with an innovative decision, ordered the local Municipality to record in the Register Office (“Anagrafe”), a non-EU woman, unmarried partner of an Italian citizen, even though she did not have a permit of stay (“permesso di soggiorno ” ).

This follows another decision from the Court of Bologna also allowing another non-EU woman living together with an Italian citizen to register without a permit of stay.

According to the judges, the official “contract of cohabitation” with the EU partner signed before a notary/lawyer can replace a  permit of stay for the purpose of registration.

The Court’s decision, therefore, may facilitate the issuance of a  permit of stay to non-EU unmarried partners, as long as they have official documents (the cohabitation contract signed in front of a lawyer or notary, duly registered) proving they are in a de facto relationship with an EU citizen.

Please note that the above decisions are not binding precedents. Italian law still requires NON-EU nationals to have a permit of stay in order to register at the Municipality Register office. Even though the Court of Modena’s decision sets a favorable orientation toward regularization to the many non-EU de facto partners of Italian citizens currently living in Italy, we discourage our clients to follow this route. It is instead advisable for the non-EU partner (i) to enter Italy with a Schengen D visa (work, study) (ii) to obtain residency registration with the City Hall (iii) after residency is confirmed register their cohabitation (coppia di fatto) (iv) the non-EU partner can then convert his/her permit of stay and apply for a family permit.

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