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Non-Married Partners: How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Italy as De Facto Cohabitants

Posted on July 31st, 2023

by Adriana ruiz

In Italy, “De facto cohabitants” refer to couples who live together in a stable and committed relationship but are not legally married or in a civil partnership. They are commonly known as “cohabiting partners” or “unmarried couples.”

While they are not married in the eyes of the law, de facto cohabitants often share a household, contribute to each other’s lives financially and emotionally, and may have children together. The concept of de facto cohabitation recognizes the rights and responsibilities that arise from long-term cohabitation, allowing these couples to regulate certain aspects of their relationship through a cohabitation contract.

This cohabitation contract, as mentioned in the previous message, allows de facto cohabitants to regulate their property relationships related to their life in common, specifying aspects such as financial contributions, property ownership, and other legal matters. The “legge Cirinnà” (n. 76 del 20.5.2016) in Italy regulates this contract and provides legal recognition and protection to de facto cohabitants.


To enter into the cohabitation contract, certain criteria must be met:

– Both parties must coexist in fact, substantiated by corresponding anagraphic registration.
– The cohabitants must be adults and not interdicted, with no current marriage or civil union, and not have entered into another similar contract within its validity period.
– The contract must be written and can be executed through a public or private act, authenticated and subscribed by a notary or attorney who verifies compliance with mandatory rules and public policy.
– To proceed with the contract signing, each contractor must fulfill the following requirements:

● Be an adult with the capacity to understand and consent.

● Be free from any existing marriage, civil union, or other cohabitation contract within its validity period.

● Have no relationship of kinship, affinity, or adoption with the other contractor.

● Establish a stable cohabitation with the other contractor, with proof derived from anagraphic results.

● Register the cohabitation at the comune/city hall.

● Additionally, they must not be judicially interdicted.


The cohabitation contract should include the following elements:


– Indication of the residence of both contractors.


– Modality of financial contributions from both contractors, based on their contributive capacity.

– Choice of property regime. Unlike married or civilly united couples, cohabitants do not acquire a different legal status.

Termination of the Contract:

The cohabitation contract can be terminated under the following circumstances:

– Death of one of the contractors.

– Marriage or civil union between the contractors or with a third party.

– Agreement between the contractors to terminate the contract.

– Unilateral termination by one contractor, with notice to the other, followed by notification and registration at the comune/city hall.


Cohabitation Contract with a Non-EU Citizen

The cohabitation contract also enables a non-EU citizen to apply for and obtain a family permit. The Italian public administration facilitates the stay of non-EU citizens who can demonstrate a stable relationship with an EU citizen. This proof of a stable relationship is established through the registration of the cohabitation contract.


To formalize the cohabitation contract, the following steps are involved:

– Collection of documents for the declaration of residence, including a residence certificate, and for non-EU citizens, a multiple language certificate of free civil status (with clearance/nullaosta issued by the Embassy) and rental contract or property deed.

– Preparation of the cohabitation contract, to be subscribed and authenticated by a notary or attorney.

– Choice of the property regime.

– The signing of the cohabitation contract.

– Registration of the contract with the revenue agency (agenzia delle entrate).

– Notification of the contract registration to the comune/city hall. After 30 days from the notification, the certificate of the cohabitation contract can be obtained.

In conclusion, the cohabitation contract grants non-EU citizens the opportunity to apply for a family permit, allowing them to reside in Italy as a cohabitant with an EU citizen partner. This legal recognition provides additional benefits and rights to de facto cohabitants in Italy.


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