The Humanitarian Corridors based on MoU signed with public authorities in charge and Community of Sant’Egidio and other organizations that involve civil society in different European countries: Italy, France, Belgium, Andorra.

The first Humanitarian Corridors have been implemented from Lebanon to Italy in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding called “Opening of Humanitarian Corridors”, signed on December 15th 2015 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Directorate General for Italians abroad and Migration Policies, Ministry of the Interior – Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration, the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI) and the Tavola Valdese (Waldensians Church).

The first MoU allowed the safe and legal entry in Italy of 1.011 Syrians refugees from Lebanon.
Between 2016 and 2017, 1.011 people have been welcomed in 80 different cities spread out in 18 Italian regions thanks to the involvement of volunteer organisations and local/grassroot associations who foster the integration of beneficiaries, according to the “widespread reception” model.

On 2017, the extension for further 1.000 beneficiaries in the years 2018-2019 has been approved.

A third “Opening of Humanitarian Corridors” Protocol – signed on January 12th 2017 by the Italian Episcopal Conference (through Italian Caritas and Migrantes Foundation) and the Community of Sant’Egidio – is currently in progress and assure the legal and safe entry in Italy for 500 Eritrean, South-Sudane and Somali refugees from Ethiopia.

Furthermore, two different Humanitarian Corridors Protocols have been signed for refugees from Lebanon to France and Belgium, for a total of 650 visas for humanitarian reasons.

The “Human Corridor” project based on the following Protocols:

Lebanon – Italy signed by
The Community of Sant’Egidio
The Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI)
The Tavola Valdese (Waldensians Church)

Ethiopia – Italy, signed by

The Community of Sant’Egidio
The Episcopal Conference of Italy (CEI)

Lebanon – France, signed by

The Community of Sant’Egidio,
The Episcopal Conference of France
Caritas France
Protestant Federation of France
Federation of Protestant Mutual Assistance



To avoid deaths of people at sea


To struggle against trafficking on human beings


To strengthen security in Europe


Sustainable welcoming and reception of refugees


Effective pathways towards autonomy


Intercultural mediation


  • Careful (on site) assessment of applications received from the potential beneficiaries living in transit countries (Lebanon, Ethiopia): ascertainment made on personal histories, needs, commitment to the project and, as long as possible, prospect capacity to live in EU destination countries (at least three interviews to evaluate personal, social conditions, vulnerabilities); legal and basic language training.
  • Visas issued pursuant to Art. 25 of Regulation EC No 810/2009, based on protocols signed by the project promoters with the competent authorities in EU countries (Italy, France, Belgium)
  • Several levels of security checks: three different checks conducted by the competent authorities, both in countries of departure and in countries of destination
  • Persons in need of protection channeled into “widespread reception schemes” into the civil society (local communities, parishes, organizations, families, etc.) in EU destination countries: primary needs of people satisfied and Access to healthcare system and medical treatments for vulnerable people or people in need
  • Integration pathways oriented to people’s autonomy: language courses; vocational training; support to job placement; inclusion and integration of refugees children into the education system and extra-curricular supportAssistance in the process of request of asylum / international protection and residence permit / travel permitCultural orientation and knowledge transferring on rights and responsibilities
  • Transversal (pre-departure and post-arrival activities): reinforced presence and role of the intercultural mediators to favor the process of building bridges between project beneficiaries and host people and communities.

Who are the beneficiaries

  • People standing in conditions of vulnerability, whose definition is provided for by the European Directive 2013/33 of 26 June 2013 and in vulnerability conditions because of age, gender, health status (e.g. families with children, single mothers with children, disabled persons, people with emergency health status, victims of trafficking, torture and violence);
  • People who fall within the cases provided for in Article 3 of the Memorandum of Understanding (or the project Protocol), which remains substantially unchanged compared to the geographical areas of applicability for the different Humanitarian Corridors in force up to now, without any foreclosure or discrimination having regard to religious or social groups or personal characteristics;
  • People recognized by the UNHCR as prima facie refugees according to the 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 Protocol,
  • People facing serious threats to their life or freedom because of armed conflicts, endemic violence or systematic violation of human rights,
  • People with relatives in the country of resettlement.

Action’s phases


Applications are submitted by potential beneficiaries and come to promoters associations who assess the applications and identify the beneficiaries through the following activities:

Interviews with potential beneficiaries carried out by the local operators of the promoter organisations;
Evaluation on the reliability of the personal history described by the potential beneficiaries;
Assessment of the personal judicial situation by the public authorities in the countries of transit and destination.
If all the evaluations have a positive response, the coordinator confirm the selection of the project beneficiaries and start the bureaucratic procedures (eg. collection of the personal ID documents, Etc..) for the release of the humanitarian visa for Europe.


At the same time, coordinators activate operators in destination countries (Italy and France) to find possible suitable geographical locations where refugees can be hosted and where accommodations fitting with their specific needs are available. The reception and integration system involves volunteer organisations and local/grassroot associations spread out in the national territory (Italy and France); these networks are activated also thanks to the awareness raising activities with the host communities carried out by the promoter associations.

Successively, through the web platform, the promoters carry out the matching between the selected beneficiaries and the available accommodations according to the specific needs of each beneficiary.


The contact persons of the promoter organizations explain to the potential beneficiaries: motivations and modalities of the Humanitarian Corridors; current legislation on the right of asylum that will be applied to them. Moreover, training courses are organized before departure to Europe on linguistic, cultural, socioeconomic aspect of European societies.


Completed the bureaucratic procedures, the competent authorities of countries of destination release the humanitarian visa to the selected beneficiaries.
The operators belonging to the promoter associations elaborate a list with data and information on beneficiaries to be sent to Unhcr, competent authorities in countries of departure and the airlines companies to select the flight/s. Medical checks are planned for all the beneficiaries and are carried out not earlier than 4 days before departure.

Once the beneficiaries arrive in the country of destination, the request of international protection is submitted by each beneficiary to the Frontier Office at the airport and then, beneficiaries meet the persons responsible for their hospitality in the country and are accompanied to their final destinations in local communities.


Refugees are hosted in apartments, share apartments, small reception centers or private rooms according to their specific needs.
In order to foster the integration pathway in the civil society and the achievement of self-sufficiency, refugees benefit of the following services:

• Legal counselling
• Health-care
• Intercultural mediation
• Psychological support
• Academic scholarship and inclusion
• Language training
• Job counselling
• Vocational courses/Internships


On average, a family unit needs a year and a half to achieve full autonomy or, at least, a significant semi-autonomy. This period of time may be, obviously, even longer: for example, it takes two years on average in cases of people with specific vulnerabilities. However, since the most part of the families supported by the project are composed by vulnerable persons 1.5 years to get autonomy represents a very good result and is an important evidence of the success of the Humanitarian Corridors model.

Slightly lower periods of time are recorded, on average, for individuals.

Possible Law Developments

The humanitarian corridors are based on European legislation: the Schengen Agreement and the Lisbon Treaty already provide “subsidiary and temporary protection” for those fleeing wars or natural disasters, and demonstrate how, using the legislative instruments already available of the Member States of the European Union, regular admissions can be guaranteed for vulnerable persons in need for international protection.

The corridors, therefore, constitute a valid response, on the one hand to the needs of refugees who escape critical situations crossing the Mediterranean risking their lives and, secondly, to the needs of the destination countries that require control, security, legal access and appropriate reception.

This good practice can be the premise of two regulatory developments:

  • the first one concerning the possibility of using the humanitarian visa more widely and for a great number of people (through adjustments to the current discipline of the Article 25, Regulation No. 810/2009);
  • the second one could be the affirmation of the sponsorship as an ordinary legal entry channel also in the field of the immigration policies.


The programme is funded by the promoter organizations and by the solidarity networks scattered throughout the national territory. The humanitarian corridors do not include costs to be paid by the State for the reception and the integration pathways: the costs are entirely borne by promoter associations and civil society.

© 2019 Humanitarian Corridor