REPATRIATION AND MEDICAL REPATRIATION
A particularly delicate sector within the assistance activities aimed at Italian citizens abroad concerns the repatriation of Italian nationals in serious difficulty that cannot be resolved locally in the foreign countries where they find themselves. The repatriation services provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the competent local authorities (prefectures, police commissaries, municipalities, local health departments, social services) concern:
· Italian emigrants who need to return to Italy permanently for economic or health reasons;
· abandoned minors;
· the mentally ill (the procedure is very complex in this case since it requires the presence of one or more qualified escorts, as well as the identification of specialised hospitals);
· Italian citizens who have reached the end of a period of imprisonment or have been expelled;
· elderly people without families for whom admittance to retirement homes in Italy has been requested;
· seriously ill people who cannot be treated locally for lack of suitable facilities.
Repatriation procedures at the expense of the Treasury are limited to cases of substantiated indigence as verified by the diplomatic-consular network; in all other cases, repatriation takes place subject to the signing of loans along with the promise of repayment to the Treasury.
REPATRIATION OF DECEASED CITIZENS
The loss of a loved one is always painful but, should it happen abroad, the need to resolve certain practical problems compounds that sorrow. Contact the nearest Consulate or Embassy for assistance with these problems.
In order to repatriate a corpse, the Consulate will have to forward a request to the Italian municipality concerned to obtain a declaration of “nulla osta all’introduzione della salma” (police clearance for a corpse to be received in Italy from abroad).
Once this declaration has been received from the municipality, the funeral home appointed by the family, who are having the corpse of the person repatriated at their own expense, will be able to proceed.
It is possible, however, to apply for reimbursement of expenses or contributions from regional and the local government bodies.
In the case that an Italian national has died in a certifiable state of indigence, the Consulate or Embassy that has been contacted can provide assistance to the deceased Italian national’s destitute relatives residing abroad in the form of the total or partial refund of any properly documented funeral expenses sustained locally.