What is the change? Family entry clearance applications will be expedited by allowing applicants to file supporting documentation online and by reducing the government processing time from 180 days to 90 days.

What does the change mean? The policy will help relieve burdensome procedures and shorten wait times for family applications that are currently taking up to one year to process.

  • Implementation time frame: The new features will be available in the online system starting Aug 17 and will be fully functional by October.
  • Visas/permits affected: Family reunion and accompanying family member processes.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals regularly residing in or traveling on a visa to Italy and applying for family members to join them.
  • Impact on processing times: Online document submission will speed the review process.
  • Business impact: The new procedures will reduce bureaucracy for foreign nationals applying for family reunion and accompanying family member processes.

Background: The policy was announced via an Interior Ministry circular Monday with the aim of unifying procedures and reducing inefficiencies in processing of family reunion and accompanying family clearance applications.

Currently, applicants already file online, but supporting documents are not reviewed until they attend an appointment. Under the new procedures, applicants will be able to upload copies of supporting documents at the time of application and only show originals when collecting the entry clearance. The change only affects family reunion and family accompaniment procedures (lodged in Italy before the family members join or accompany the principal); it does not affect family cohesion cases where the family member enters Italy and then applies for a family permit in Italy.

BAL Analysis: The new procedures should speed up family clearance procedures by allowing immigration authorities to review supporting documents immediately upon submission of the application. However, Italian authorities are typically slow to adopt new policies and it may take several months to see improvements.