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Protezione Consolare


Protezione Consolare


Much of the help provided within the framework of consular protection and assistance concerns citizens who have encountered problems with the local legal system, or who are involved in accidents; the repatriation of bodies of deceased persons; the search for Italian nationals who have not maintained contact; assistance to Italian parents whose foreign spouse (or a spouse with dual citizenship) has abducted a child and taken it to another country.

In the case of accidents occurring abroad, the diplomatic-consular representations make sure that Italian citizens receive adequate medical treatment locally, that relatives are duly informed and that all possible assistance is provided in case return to Italy is required.



In the case of an Italian national being arrested in a foreign country, the Consulate can:

- make consular visits to the detainee;

- indicate a possible lawyer;

- maintain contact with family in Italy;

- provide the detainee with healthcare, food, books and newspapers where necessary and permitted by local regulations;

- intervene as regards transfer to Italy should the Italian detainee in countries belonging to the Strasbourg Convention on the transfer of prisoners or other ad hoc bilateral agreements;

- intervene, in certain cases, to support requests for pardon on humanitarian grounds.

The Consulate cannot:

- intervene in court on behalf of the Italian national;

- pay the detainee’s legal expenses.

For more information on the assistance by Embassies and Consulates to Italians detained abroad and to their families, it is possible to check the following manual: Guida Pratica all’Assistenza Consolare.



The problem of the international abduction of minors has become increasingly relevant in the last few years, both due to the increase in often turbulent separations between people of differing or dual citizenship, and due to the greater awareness and sensitivity with which the problem is being viewed in our country.

The only binding instrument at the disposal of the Italian parent for recuperating the minor is the Hague Convention of 25.10.1980 (Central Authority for Italy and the Department of Juvenile Justice at the Ministry of Justice). In cases where the Convention is not applicable the Ministry fully implements its institutional functions, adapting its intervention to the specific nature of each case.

Disputed minors, new Foreign Ministry guidelines

The revised and updated version of the guidelines on "Disputed Minors: Consular Guidance and Assistance" is now available on the Foreign Ministry website. The guidelines,rolled out by the Directorate-General for Italian Citizens Abroad,target Italian nationals who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to deal with so delicate and complex a matter as the international abduction of a minor (in 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairsdealt with over 500 such cases). This new reader-friendly version of the guidelines provides guidance and support to mothers and fathers of abducted children, describing the various forms of assistance that the Foreign Ministry, and our network of Embassies and Consulates around the world, can give. It also contains FAQs on how the Foreign Ministry and the diplomatic-consular network operate, with regard to international child abduction, based on the valuable experience built up over the years, by our offices abroad and the Directorate-General, thanks to the daily handling of concrete cases.

You can download the manual HERE



Law 675/96 regarding the privacy of personal information states that no public body can release information on persons to private citizens without the consent of the parties concerned.

Therefore, once the person being traced has been located, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must obtain that person’s consent before informing those who submitted the request for the search.

In certain countries, such as in the U.S. for example, the local privacy law does not allow the release of information on people within their territorial jurisdiction. Application of legal restrictions and constraints must therefore be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Within these guidelines it is possible to initiate a search in one of the following manners:

- fax to Office IV of the Directorate General for Italians Abroad on 06 36918609/06 36918628;

- fax to the locally authorised Italian Consulate;