The residence permit for natural disaster reasons is provided for by Article 20 bis of the Testo Unico Immigrazione (Decreto Legislativo N. 286/98). It is a permit introduced by DL 113/2018, subsequently amended and extended thanks to DL N. 130/2020. Then, the so-called Cutro Decree, converted with amendments into Legge N. 50/23, effectively deleted the amendments made in 2020, further narrowing its scope.
Under what conditions can a natural disaster permit be obtained?
A residence permit for natural disasters is issued to a foreigner already present in Italy who cannot return to their country of origin due to a serious calamity that does not allow them to remain there safely.
Article 20 bis, as amended in 2020, included a generic mention of the seriousness of the event, constituting in itself the real reason for not wanting to return to the affected area.
The intention was to allow this permit to be issued in any case in which “the socio-environmental context was so degraded as to expose the individual to the risk of seeing their fundamental rights to life, freedom and self-determination reduced to zero or below the threshold of their essential core” (Order of the Cassazione, section II, n. 5022/2021).
Following the amendments introduced by DL 20/23, it is now required that the calamity- situation be “contingent and exceptional”.
How to apply for a natural disaster permit?
The permit must be requested to the Immigration Office of the Questura competent for the territory. It is not necessary to already hold a residence permit.
According to the circular issued by the Ministry of the Interior on 18 January 2019, the Questore (Police Officer), once the application has been received, can request information from the competent consular authorities in order to ascertain the existence of the 'state of calamity' in the geographical area the foreigner comes from. Following the amendments introduced by DL 20/23, the permit can be granted when there is a situation of exceptional and contingent calamity in the applicant's area of origin.
How long does it take to obtain a permit for natural disasters?
The permit should be issued within 60 days from the application (Article 5, par. 9, of TUI), as it does not require a lengthy investigation, since it concerns natural disasters whose consequences are presumed to be easily ascertainable. Requesting information from the consular authorities of the country of origin is not compulsory, and the police headquarters may also proceed autonomously at their own discretion.
How long does the permit for natural disasters last?
The residence permit issued for natural disaster lasts six months and is renewable for a further six-month period if the conditions persist. The permit is only valid within the national territory.
Is it possible to work with a natural disaster permit? Is it possible to convert it into a work permit?
Yes, this permit allows you to work, but following the changes introduced by DL 20/23, it can no longer be converted into a work permit.