During the last few days, the Italian Government has published a series of decrees containing urgent emergency measures implemented in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and aimed at reducing the spreading of the disease across Italy.

As a result of the last emergency decrees, approved by the Italian Government on March 9 and 11, the restrictive measures previously applied only to the "Red Zones" (the Lombardy Region as well as other Provinces in the North of Italy) have been extended to the entire Country and are therefore now fully binding and effective nationwide. All individuals shall stay at home and avoid social interactions. For that sake: (i) schools and universities will be closed until April 3, 2020, (ii) public events (concerts, cultural exhibitions, demonstrations, football matches) and indoor centers or activities (movie theaters, museums, gyms) are suspended/closed, (iii) restaurants and bars will be closed as well, while supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open but strict safety measures shall apply, such as keeping a distance of at least 1 meter.

It is strictly forbidden for people who are under quarantine or have been tested positive to the COVID-19 virus to leave their homes and to travel.

Travels in particular are only permitted for documented work, health and family reasons, emergencies, other serious documented reasons, or to allow travellers to return to their home. In order to do so, individuals shall mandatorily provide a signed self-certification (autodichiarazione) on the reasons of their travel, which shall be shown to the police authorities.

Furthermore, any person landing in Italy will be required to declare the purposes of travel upon arrival. Many foreign countries are currently taking measures towards travellers coming from Italy, by either restricting their access to the country (such as in UAE, Japan, Jordan, India, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Maldives, Mauritius, Serbia, Seychelles) or providing a compelling quarantine period upon their entrance in the foreign country (as it has been decided by countries such as Chile, the UK, Romania, Russia, Vietnam). Several airlines have also shut down services to and from Italy for all March.

From an immigration perspective, the Italian Government has also suspended the issuance of permits of stay for 30 days (measure taken and effective starting from March 2, 2020) and has also temporarily suspended, for the same period of 30 days, the legal terms to submit permit applications.

In light of the above, the 8 days term from arrival in Italy to file the first work permit application, as well as the 60 days term prior to the expiration (or within 60 days after expiration at last) for the submission of stay permits renewal applications, are subject to the above mentioned 30 days suspension and those third-country nationals who do not file their applications within the standard terms provided by law will not be subject to any consequence.

In general, due to the current situation, strong delays - both in the issuance of the final stay permits as well as in any other immigration procedure (issuance of work authorizations, scheduling of fingerprinting appointments etc.) – are expected at least until the end of April 2020.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.