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Consular Protection


Consular Protection


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.


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.


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.