Last update : March 2019

Here you can find information about the new “Security Decree” (December 2018) and Italian reception and detention centres (CIE)

The “Security Decree” (or “Salvini Decree”) is a decree/law on “migration” and “security” issued by the Italian government been approved by Parliament on December 2018. This Decree/Law represents an attack on the rights and freedom of everycitizen, especially foreign people living in Italy, and violates the principles enshrined in the ItalianConstitution and in major international treaties and conventions about Human Rights and Asylum Rights.

About detention this law provides for the following:

  • The extension of detention time within CPR (Centre for Permanence before Repatriation) from 90 to 180 days;

  • New measures for administrative detention of foreigners and asylum-seekers: asylum seekers can be held for up to 30 days in the so-called hotspots for identification procedures or toverify identity, and for up to 180 days in the CPRs (amounting to 210 days in total). Undocumented foreign nationals can also be hold within border offices and informal areas;

  • Reintroduction of roadblock as a crime: Roadblocks and obstruction of railways become acrime again (including also the obstruction or encumbrance of the train tracks) while “trespassing property and lands”can be punished with a maximum of two years reclusion, withthe time doubled (4 years) if committed by a group of five people or more


Once arrived in Italy, you are sent to one of these centres:


From 2016 the Italian Government stated that some CPSA are used as “hotspots”. The law does not provide a
clear legal framework which procedures are implemented in those centres and, even if the period of stay
should be as short as possible, in practice you could be detained there for many days or weeks.
The law now provides that those who are rescued at sea are taken to the hotspots to be identified. Those who
are stopped while trying to cross an internal border irregularly can also be brought to the hotspots.
Currently there are 4 hotspots opened - Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Trapani and Taranto - and probably 5 more
will be opened in Crotone, Reggio Calabria, Palermo, Messina and Corigliano Calabro (Cosenza).
According to what is stated in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the Italian Government the main
steps would be: rescue and disembarking operations, health screening, transfer to the hotspots, security
checks on the basis of local conditions, delivering paper-based information, pre-identification (photo ID and
use of identification bracelets), delivering information on current legislation on immigration and asylum,
identification, photo-signaling and controls of databases (as EURODAC), reception in the hotspots and
medical controls, de-briefing made by Frontex (in different phases) and transfer to a secondary reception
centre (as regional hub, temporary structures etc.). In fact some of these steps - such as the delivery of
information in the languages spoken by migrants and the medical checks - often are not carried out or are
carried out only partially.
In the hotspots have been reported many cases of violations of fundamental rights such as: detention longer
than 48 hours without any court validation and without legal support, physical and psychological violences
while taking fingerprints and arbitrary division between “economic migrants” and “asylum seeker” either by
using questionnaires that you have to fill out at disembarkation or by orally asking you the reason why you
decided to come to Italy. In such cases, due to the hurry of these steps and the lack of accurate information
and independent cultural and linguistic mediators, it could be very difficult for you to understand what is
happening. If you are considered as “economic migrants” you get a rejection order and, if there are places in
identification and expulsion centres (CPR), you may be detained there or forcibly expelled through flights
organized also by European agency Frontex. Many people are considered as “economic migrants” only
according to their nationality (as it happens with many migrants from North African and Sub- Saharan
countries and some Asian countries) against migrants’ fundamental rights . Instead, if you are considered as
“asylum seeker” you are sent to one of the regional “hubs”.

IMPORTANT! Inside the hotspots you cannot formalize your asylum application but you can only say that
you want to apply for asylum (the so-called “manifestazione di volontà”) by communicating it to the
organizations and the UNHCR; remember to take pictures of all your documents and send them to your
contacts and / or to the contacts that you can find in chapter 6. According to the new law, if you refuse to
give your fingerprints the police might consider that you are at flight risk and thay can send you to a CPR.


These centres are managed by public local entities, consortia of municipalities and other public or private
bodies. The situation of some of these centres is particularly critical due to overcrowding - some cases are
the centres in Mineo (Catania), Bari, and Gradisca (Gorizia) - and bad living conditions as well as the lack
of the basic services and supports (medical assistance, cultural mediation, legal support, etc.).

CAS (emergency/temporary reception centres)

CAS are considered as “emergency centres” (centri di accoglienza straordinaria), identified and activated by
the Prefectures. Those facilities should be opened only in specific and limited cases (when there are not
enough places in the Governmental first reception centres) but in fact have become quite widespread all
around Italy (currently CAS are hosting over 75% of the total number of asylum seekers that is around
150.000 people.

  • CPSA: first aid and reception centres (centri di primo soccorso e accoglienza): these are some of the
    centres where migrants are received just after having arrived in Italy. These centres usually carry out
    fotosegnalamento (see paragraph 3.1) and in some cases they start the application for asylum. According to
    the law, the maximum stay in a reception centre must be 3 days (72 hours).

  • Extraordinary/temporary reception centres (centri di accoglienza straordinaria/temporanea): there are
    no clear information and regulations about their management, the authorities which own them and about the
    duration of stay. They are supposed to be temporary reception centres, but many CAS in Italy have become
    centres of second reception; inside this category of reception centres will be soon included also the CDA and
    CARA - reception centres and reception centres for asylum seekers (centri di accoglienza e centri di
    accoglienza per richiedenti asilo). According to the law, the maximum duration of stay in the CDA is a few
    days, whereas in the CARA, the maximum stay is 35 days.

A few weeks ago, the first “regional hubs” were opened in Agrigento and Bologna, as implemented by the
new Italian and European policies. In South Italy there are also additional reception centres, not classified and non-regulated. Many centres in Italy are often inadequate in size, facilities and location and therefore the migrants accommodated in these buildings have to face many difficulties and inconveniences.

In addition to the CAS centres also the centres called SPRAR centres (Protection System for Asylum
Seekers and Refugees) that are “second grade reception centres”. These are for those who are requesting
international protection or for those who have already been granted international protection. These centres
are the “official” ones for the second grade reception and are managed on a territorial level by the local
authorities and organisations of the third sector and offer a type of reception which guarantees not only the
basic needs but also activities, legal support and guidance throughout the territory.
CAS have turned also into second grade reception centres as a “substitute” of the SPRAR but with standards
and services that are very basic and often not adequate compared to those provided by SPRAR centres.
Besides, asylum seekers who get one of a protection status in CAS in many case are forced to leave their
reception centres right after the notification unlike those who stay in SPRAR facilities. The problems of
Italian reception system mean that the second grade reception does not exclusively happen within these
centres (as provided by the law), but is primarily managed by the CAS (see above) that have worse standard
and services compared with SPRAR centres.

IMPORTANT! If you are an unaccompanied minor after a maximum period of stay of 30
days in a reception centre you have the right to be transferred to a SPRAR centre

IMPORTANT: whenever you leave a reception centre (even for a short time), always take the original
permit of stay with you or, if you do not have it, an official document (in its original version) that proves
that you are waiting for your permit of stay. According to Italian law, if the Italian police do an inspection
and you do not have your original permit of stay you risk being sentenced to one year in prison and a 2000
euro fine. Always have with you also your “declaration of hospitality” (dichiarazione di ospitalità) which
was given to you by the reception centre where you are, this is needed to prove where you are living at the

IMPORTANT: in any centre you are staying in, if you go away without permission you lose the right to
stay in that centre, but not the right of asylum. If you leave your centre you risk, however, not receiving
any news about your hearing in the Commission for asylum or other important meetings. In these cases may
occur illegal practices such the interruption of the asylum application process or the transfer to Taranto
hotspot. For these reasons it is better for you to communicate the address/place where you are going to which
they can send you the date of your hearing at the Commission and/or other documents. Every centre has rules
and time schedules that you should respect otherwise you risk to be sent away from the centre. In any case it
is your right to be informed about the rules of the centre where you are in a language you understand.

CPR (Repatriation Centres)

  • In addition to these centres, in Italy there are also the CPR (Repatriation Centres), which are centres
    where, according to the definition by the Ministry of Interior, they can detain “foreigners who have arrived in
    Italy illegally, those who are not requesting international protection or those who refuse to be identified, or
    asylum seekers considered “dangerous” for the country and also those who don’t have a permit of stay
    (permesso di soggiorno) and have received the “expulsion” or “rejection” decree (decreto di
    espulsione/respingimento) who, once identified, may be deported. According to the law, the duration of stay
    is maximum 90 days, or 12 months if you are an asylum seeker.

In July 2017, the Minister of the Interior announced the reopening of 9 repatriation centers (but they have not
yet been reopened). This decision is connected to the signing of new bilateral readmission agreements with
“third countries” such as Sudan, Libya and Nigeria. Besides it, from January 2017, the Ministry of Interior
has encouraged the local Questure to carry out targeted operations to find Nigerian migrants staying in Italy
without regular documents so it is likely that many of them will be detained in the CPR
Currently the opened CPR are located in: Restinco (Brindisi), Bari, Caltanissetta, Ponte Galeria in Rome
(currently for women only), Turin and Potenza.

IMPORTANT! According to the SOPs applying at Hotspots, migrants without regular permit of stay who
have not expressed the intention to seek international protection or who do not intend to apply for
international protection may be transferred from a hotspot to a CPR or be expelled if there are agreements
that provide for it.

For more information please read also the
Welcome to Italy guide in all languages (you can read and download the guide in the “italy - Overview” and “printings” section).