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Access to basic bank services for Ukranian refugees in Italy

Last updated on 6 March 2023

On 4 March, the Council of the European Union unanimously adopted an implementing decision introducing temporary protection due to the mass influx of persons fleeing Ukraine as a consequence of the war. The decision grants these people a number of rights including residence, access to the labour market and housing, medical assistance, and access to education for children. Temporary protection is an emergency mechanism established by the European Commission Council Directive of 2001 - following the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and in Kosovo - and it had never been implemented before.

A Prime Minister's Decree (DPCM) will regulate the application of these and more extraordinary reception measures in Italy in detail. In the meantime, the Minister of the Interior has advised the police headquarters that they can already start processing the applications for temporary protection. The IT systems have been adapted to allow front desk operators to print out the application form and issue receipt of the application.

Only after the publication of the DPCM will the police headquarters be able to finalize the examination of the applications by printing out and issuing the residency permit. The permit will be in electronic format and will be valid until 4 March, 2023.

On 29 March Prime Minister Mario Draghi signed the Decree (DPCM) that adopts the 4 European Council decision of 4 March and retroactively established the effective date for temporary protection and aid to be 4 March. Ukrainians who fled the invasion from 24 February 2022 will benefit from them. Temporary protection grants access to National Healthcare, education and the labour market and facilitates access to basic bank and financial services.

The Head of the Civil Protection Departement has signed an ordinance to fund the sustenance of Ukrainian refugees in Italy by distributing a monthly contribution of 300 euros for each refugee, for up to 3 months. 150 euros for minors. The three months start from the date of arrival in Italy as certified by the application for temporary protection, at any rate, no later than 31 December 2022.

Temporary protection will be guaranteed for an initial period of one year. That period may be extended automatically by six-monthly periods for a maximum of one year. Information on who can apply for residency permit are available here (only in Italian). There is also an information booklet by the Ministry of the Interior in several languages, including Ukrainian, which contains useful information and instructions to be followed in order to regularize one's position. The booklet can also be accessed through the QR code at the bottom of this web page.

On 2 March 2023, Law Decree 16/2023 was published in the Italian 'Gazzetta Ufficiale', which extends the validity of Ukranian refugees’ residence permits until 31 December 2023.

As people who are staying in the European Union legally, displaced Ukrainians can access basic banking services immediately.

The basic bank account allows account holders to access essential financial services. These include payments by transfer and direct debit, as well as the use of a debit card for payments and cash withdrawals.

It is useful to remember that all consumers who are legally staying in the European Union can hold a basic bank account. No form of discrimination is allowed, not even based on place of residency. Anyone can access a basic bank account who has a right to stay in a member State of the European Union - in accordance with EU and Italian law - including homeless consumers and asylum applicants. Banks, Poste Italiane and other Italian authorized providers of payment services must offer at least one Euro-denominated product that has the characteristics of a basic bank account.

Further information on the Basic Account, its features and the services it includes is available on our web page.

If you have experienced problems with a bank or financial intermediary, you can file a complaint with the Bank of Italy at no cost and with no need for legal assistance. You will have to state the intermediary / intermediaries involved and provide a brief and clear explanation of your reason for complaint. In order to file a complaint with the Bank of Italy, just go to "Online Services for the Public" and select "File a Complaint", where you will find instructions to fill in the online form quickly, easily and free of charge.