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Assistance to citizens abroad

This Consulate General provides assistance to Italian citizens living in its consular district (Gauteng – with the exception of the Metropolitan area of Pretoria/Tshwane – Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West) who find themselves facing serious issues and situations solvable only with the consular intervention. The Social Assistance Office also provides information and contacts with local institutions and professionals in the medical or legal sector. For further details on the types of assistance provided to Italian nationals by this Consulate General, please check below.

Financial assistance

The Consulate General of Italy can provide limited financial assistance to Italian citizens residing and traveling abroad through subsidies and loans within the limits of the budget provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations.


Compatriots who find themselves in a situation of poverty may receive economic help (called “subsidy”) or other types of help (i.e.: medical assistance, medicines supply) from the Consulate General, provided that the funds allocated for this purpose allow it and in compliance with the agreements in force.

The conditions for being entitled to the subsidy are:

  • the possession of Italian citizenship;
  • the actual state of poverty;
  • to be a resident in the consular district of this Consulate General;
  • to be in compliance with the AIRE registration.

In order to obtain a subsidy, Italian citizens residing abroad must demonstrate that they are in a state of need and have insufficient means to cover it. To this end, they may be asked to show copies of their tax returns, proof of pension benefits or subsidies provided by local authorities, proof of medical and pharmaceutical expenses, bank statements, etc..

The Consulate General will also contact the applicant’s family members to ascertain whether or not they can offer assistance to the relative in need.

A home visit may also be necessary to verify the state of need.

Subsidies have an exceptional nature, depending on a state of need which may be subject to change. They are paid out based on budget availability and cannot represent in any way a continuous, mandatory or pension benefit.

The Consulate concentrates its resources on assisting the poorest segment of the Italian community, based on the following criteria:

  • Income (priority is given to those who have absolutely no income, who do not receive a pension or other benefits or have only the South African minimum pension);
  • Age (priority is given to the elderly and to minors whose parents are in a state of poverty);
  • Family situation (priority is given to homeless people or to those who do not have family members who can help them);
  • Health (priority is given to those who need prolonged and/or very expensive care);
  • Dependent family members with physical or mental disabilities.

Assistance is also provided by this Consulate General through a medical-healthcare agreement for the free supply of medicines and non-specialist medical examinations by the appointed Doctor of this Consulate General to indigent citizens.


Italians in transit, not resident in this consular district, who find themselves in a state of occasional need, can be granted financial assistance, called “loan with promise of repayment“, as the sum granted must be returned to the Italian Treasury, after the return to Italy, within the terms and in the manner provided by the Law.

In order to be granted, this form of aid presupposes that:

  • you are an Italian citizen in transit;
  • you verse in a state of occasional and urgent need (i.e.: due to a theft);
  • you are able to provide this Consulate with the theft or loss report (Affidavit), issued by the local Police authorities (SAPS);
  • from the careful checks that the Social Assistance Office will carry out through the competent Police station of the applicant’s place of residence, it is effectively proven that it is impossible to receive any type of financial help from your relatives;
  • from checking the dedicated Portal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, your do not appear to be in debt for other loans granted by other Italian representations abroad.
Final repatriation to Italy

The repatriation paid by the Treasury of compatriots residing abroad may be carried out, under exceptional circumstances, in collaboration with the territorially competent authorities (Police departments, Municipalities, Local Health Institutes, Social Services), only in favour of people in a proven state of poverty, generally having emigrated from Italy a long ago, whose living conditions are extremely precarious and without prospects of improvement in the country of residence.

The applicant must provide a declaration from family members willing to host him/her in Italy and to take the responsibilities connected with the maintenance and assistance of the repatriate through a specific declaration made to the Municipality or Police Department of residence of the family members themselves.

This declaration constitutes the essential requirement to obtain the repatriation paid by the Italian Treasury. In all other cases – of proven exceptional nature – the repatriation takes place after signing a loan with a promise of repayment to the Italian Treasury.

Legal assistance

Under no circumstances the Consulate can offer legal assistance. The Consulate, in extreme cases and only in cases of proven indigence, can provide help for the payment of legal expenses:

  • in the form of a subsidy for Italian nationals residing in the consular district;
  • in the form of a loan with a promise of repayment for Italian nationals in transit or temporarily in the country.

In the event that an Italian national is arrested in South Africa, the Consulate can:

  • carry out consular visits to the prisoner;
  • provide contacts of legal professionals;
  • maintain connection with family members in Italy;
  • ensure that the prisoner receives, when necessary and permitted by the local regulations, medical assistance and basic necessities;
  • intervene for the transfer to Italy, in compliance with the current regulations or ad hoc bilateral agreements.

The Consulate is not authorized to:

  • intervene in Court on behalf of the Italian citizen;
  • pay the prisoner’s legal costs.
Search for Italian nationals abroad

As per the provisions of Law 675/96 on the confidentiality of personal data, no public body can provide information about someone to private citizens without the consent of the interested party. Therefore, once the person sought has been identified, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation or the Diplomatic-Consular Representation must ask for the interested party’s consent to inform the person who forwarded the request for information.

Within these regulatory limits it is possible to activate a search in one of the following ways:

Other Forms of Protection and Consular Assistance

This Consulate General can provide other forms of assistance to Italian citizens abroad, in the circumstances in which citizens who are temporarily or in transit, in this consular district may find themselves involved, such as:

  • accidents abroad;
  • assistance to Italian citizens victims of theft/loss of documents or other personal belongings;
  • assistance to Italian parents from whom a foreign spouse or dual citizen has stolen a child and taken him/her with him/her abroad.

For accidents that occur abroad, the Diplomatic-Consular Representations ensure that citizens receive adequate medical treatment on site, that family members are duly informed and that all the possible assistance is provided in the event of the need to be transferred to Italy.

In the event of theft/loss of documents or other personal effects, the Social Office directs the compatriot to the competent local authorities to receive the affidavit or other type of documentation.