Student Visa Process for Italy

WHO NEEDS A VISA? 

All U.S. citizens who intend to study in Italy for more than 90 days are required to obtain a student visa. It is your responsibility as a student in this program to obtain a student visa before departure. Non- U.S. citizens may be able to follow the procedures outlined here, if they have the required U.S. visa(s) and documentation. The consulate’s website will outline these details. 

IMPORTANT! 

Please DO NOT plan any international travel during the 3 months prior to the start of your program. Your passport must remain at the consulate while your visa is being processed.

PASSPORT REQUIREMENT

  • If you do not already have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your planned return date, start the passport renewal process immediately. Expedited processing is recommended. Airlines will not allow you to board your flight if your passport expires within 6 months after your return date.
  • Students need a passport in order to apply for a visa, so make sure there is plenty of time to apply for both, if necessary! 
  • If you have a passport from a country in the European Union: You will, most likely, not need a Student Visa, even if your program is more than 90 days. The EU passport must be valid through the end of your session in Italy. EU citizens staying longer than 90 days must obtain a registration certificate at the local police station or Oficina de Extranjeros. 
  • If your passport is from a country besides the U.S. and European Union: You will need a student visa in order to study in Italy for more than 90 days. You must also provide your U.S. Permanent Resident Card  or U.S. visa with I-20.

WHAT IS A VISA? 

The visa is an official stamp or seal that is affixed to the inside of your passport before your departure from the United States. A visa can only be granted to you by the consulate if you supply the proper documentation regarding the purpose of your stay (i.e., academics) and proof of housing, insurance and financial support. The consulates typically issue student visas only for the duration of your period of study in the host country. Once your visa expires, you will be expected to leave the Schengen zone. As such, your visa may be returned to you listing the start date of university classes rather than the start date of the API orientation. 

COVID-19 INFORMATION

  • Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the standard visa process is delayed and visa appointments may not be available at some consulates. API is monitoring consulate updates and will communicate any changes to the visa process as soon as possible. 
  • Please check with your consulate for temporary changes related to Covid-19. Some consulates are accepting visa applications through postal mail only or appointments must be requested via email.

VISA INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: If you do not currently have a passport that will be valid at least 6 months after your program ends, begin the passport renewal/registration process immediately. This step alone can take several months and you must have your passport to obtain a visa. 

STEP 2:  You must apply for your student visa directly through the corresponding Italian Consulate so you will need to determine the consulate for your jurisdiction. 

Student Visa Process for Italy

  • You can also find more information on each consulate at the end of this page.
  • Review the states covered by each consulate and select the consulate for your permanent or current address. You may be able to apply for a student visa at the consulate that corresponds to your local address while you currently are attending school, but generally you must work with the consulate connected to your permanent state of residency. The link should take you to the consulate website. 
  • Select Visas at the top of the page to find the requirements for the Student Visa.

Student Visas for Italy

STEP 3: We encourage you to make a schedule of when and how you will collect all of the necessary documents, schedule an appointment with your consulate, and make travel plans to visit the consulate well in advance of your program start date. 

    • Make sure to book your appointment for a  STUDENT VISA as soon as possible. Some consulates require you to present an acceptance letter and ID in order to book an appointment. Please note that API cannot provide an acceptance letter until you have been registered with the host institution and they have sent the letter by mail. Some consulates allow you to attend an appointment 180 days prior to your program start date, while others require that you attend an appointment within 90 days of your program start date. More information can be found on each consulate website. 
    • If you do not apply within the appropriate time frame, your documents may be returned to you unprocessed or they may not be returned to you in time for your program’s start date.  
  • Each consulate will have their own requirements listed on their website. It is extremely important that you verify the document requirements with your local consulate before submitting your application. You should research the following: 
      • Application requirements (i.e. Is an acceptance letter required to book an appointment?)
      • Standard processing times and recommended timeline guidelines  
      • Submission requirements (personal appearance or submission by mail)  
      • Appointment procedures
      • Open days/hours (if drop-in appointments are accepted)
      • Visa fees and accepted methods of payment 
      • Return requirements (Is a personal appearance required to collect the visa once it has been issued?) 
      • Personal travel plans that will affect your ability to obtain a visa before you leave the U.S. (Remember that API discourages students from making plans to travel internationally before the program.) 
      • Verify the number of copies of each document you are required to submit. Incomplete applications will not be processed by consulates. 
  • One of the forms you will need to complete is the Visa Application form. You can find a sample application here. 
  • Original documents are often required by the consulate. Some of the documents are provided by API. API will be sending the following documents by USPS* to your permanent address unless you indicate otherwise: 
  • API Acceptance Letter
  • API Proof of Enrollment
  • API Proof of Housing 
  • University Acceptance Letter
  • CISI Insurance Letter

*Please note that it can take 3-4 weeks after you’ve completed your onboarding forms to send your acceptance letter, as well as an additional 1-2 weeks for API to prepare and mail all of your visa letters. Please keep that in mind when making your visa appointment. 

STEP 4: Gather the necessary documents and submit them to the appropriate consulate according to the specific consulate’s rules. 

  • Consult API’s sample documents, as well as the documents provided on the consulate’s website.  
  • The average processing time for a student visa is 30 days.  Please note that there may be additional delays due to covid-19. When submitting the application, please be sure to keep a copy of the tracking number of the return envelope so that you can track the package at a later date. Italian Consulates do not have an expedited visa processing service. You must apply on- time or you risk not receiving a visa before your program start date. Students whose passports and visas have not been returned to them prior to their scheduled departure date will have to wait for their passport and visa to be returned to them before traveling.  They will not receive a discount for missed orientation activities from API. 

REMINDER: You cannot travel internationally while waiting for your passport to be returned to you so please do not make any international travel plans during the visa process. 

STEP 5: Most students  receive the visa within 30 days or less. If you do not, you should follow up. Please note that there may be additional delays due to covid-19. 

  • Track the return envelope to see if it has been sent or not
  • Contact the consulate to check the status
  • If you elect to pick up the visa at the consulate and did not submit a prepaid mailing envelope, the consulate may not notify you when the visa is ready. Instead, you should go back to the consulate during their public office hours after the standard processing time listed on their website.
  • Once issued, the visa is affixed to a page in your passport, and it will list the start and end date of your academic program in DD/MM/YYYY format. The consulate will often use the official Italian institution’s letter that accompanies your visa application to determine visa validity dates. In addition, each consulate may issue different lengths of validity for a student visa, with some listing the validity as only the length of the program, while others listing the visa end date to be much after the program has ended* 

*This visa information is based on the published API program dates. Students who plan to travel outside of the program dates are responsible for any additional procedures or research required as a result of their plans, as that would fall outside of the scope of the program. 

STEP 6: Permesso di Soggiorno 

This permit is another document that allows you to reside legally in Italy and must be shown in case of an emergency and/or hospitalization. API will assist you on- site with the process of obtaining the permit. You will also receive more detailed information approximately one month prior to your program start date. The fee for the Permesso di Soggiorno is approximately 130 Euro that you will pay via credit card or cash once in Italy. Italian officials may ask for your permit at any time. When you apply for your visa, the consulate will stamp or attach a seal to the Italian university’s acceptance letter and give it back to you, sometimes at your appointment and sometimes mailed back with your visa and passport. You will need this stamp in order to apply for the Permesso di Soggiorno, so if you have received your visa but do not have the stamped letter, you should contact the consulate immediately.

API GROUP VISA SERVICE

  • If you qualify for the Boston consulate, you may be eligible for the API Group Visa Service*
  • Cost: $185-API Visa Service fee plus $54.50 Italian Consular fee (subject to change) for U.S passport holders. For non-U.S. passport holders, students must check their consulate’s website for the exact fee.
  • Service includes:
    • API will provide expert review of submitted visa materials along with individually customized feedback regarding any corrections needed or if all is okay and ready to submit.
    • Optional one on one Italian Visa Advising via zoom or phone call.
    • Assistance with completing and ensuring accuracy of visa application and supplemental information required for our batch processing appointment.  This will save you time and money from multiple trips to the Consulate.
    • API will appear on your behalf to the Consulate’s Office to submit your visa materials.  So, no need to worry about an individual appointment with the consulate or worry of getting there, etc.
    • After your student visa has been issued into your passport, API will retrieve it from the consulate and return it via FedEx; otherwise the student must appear in person for pick-up.
  • You can select this option in your APIConnect portal and our Visa Director will be in touch with more information. 

*Please note that the appointment dates we receive are decided by the Italian Consulate and we are unable to offer this service outside of these dates. We strongly recommend submitting your application early in order to qualify for this service. 

ITALIAN CONSULATES

For a complete list of consulates and honorary or vice consulate offices, please visit this link: https://ambwashingtondc.esteri.it/ambasciata_washington/en/informazioni_e_servizi/la_rete_consolare 

*Please note that there may be processing delays due to covid-19 and honorary consulates may have additional processing time.  

BOSTON – GROUP VISA PROCESSING AVAILABLE!

  • Jurisdiction: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont 
  • Applications cannot be submitted more than 90 days prior to your program start date.
  • https://consboston.esteri.it/consolato_boston/en/i_servizi/per_chi_si_reca_in_italia/ 
  • Appointments made via: Online 
  • Average Processing Time: 15 days 
  • Email: [email protected] 
  • Note: The Boston consulate is one of the busiest in the U.S. Keep this in mind and book your consulate appointment as soon as possible! In addition, you must complete the Affidavit of Insurance from the Boston Consulate’s website. They will not accept just the CISI insurance coverage letter provided by API. You may be required to pick up your passport after processing if you reside within the state of Massachusetts. 

CHICAGO 

DETROIT 

HOUSTON 

LOS ANGELES 

  • Jurisdiction: Arizona, Southern California (see San Francisco listing for specific counties), Nevada, New Mexico
  • https://conslosangeles.esteri.it/consolato_losangeles/en/i_servizi/per_chi_si_reca_in_italia/
  • Appointments made via: Online 
  • Appointment date must be within 90 days of your program start date and no later than 3 weeks prior to your start date.
  • You must confirm your appointment as early as 10 days prior to your appointment, but no later than 3 days from the scheduled date.
  • Average Processing Time: At least 3 weeks 
  • Email: [email protected] 
  • Note: Provide a cover sheet with your name and contact information in case the consulates have a question and need to contact you. In addition, the consulate prefers that students submit a FedEx return envelope. 

MIAMI 

NEW YORK 

  • Jurisdiction: Connecticut, New Jersey (Counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, Warren) New York
  • Students enrolled full-time at a University located in our jurisdiction meet the resident requirement.
  • https://consnewyork.esteri.it/consolato_newyork/en/i_servizi/per_chi_si_reca_in_italia/
  • Appointments made via: Online
  • Appointment date must be within 180 days prior to your program start date.
  • Average Processing Time: 7-90 days
  • Email: [email protected] 

*Note: The New York consulate is one of the busiest in the U.S. Keep this in mind and book your consulate appointment as soon as possible! New York is also unique in that they REQUIRE that passports with the visas be mailed back to students (which you will need to provide the appropriate materials/postage for) and they want students to submit an official transcript as part of their student visa application. Please remember to obtain the appropriate documentation and materials before you go to your appointment! 

PHILADELPHIA 

  • Jurisdiction: Delaware, Maryland (except Montgomery and Prince George counties), New Jersey (only Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem counties), Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia (except for Arlington and Fairfax counties), West Virginia
  • Students enrolled full-time at a university located within our jurisdiction meet the residence requirement.
  • https://consfiladelfia.esteri.it/consolato_filadelfia/en/i_servizi/per_chi_si_reca_in_italia/ 
  • Appointments made via: Online
  • Appointment dates must be no earlier than 180 days prior to the start of your program and no later than 15 days prior to the start of your program.
  • Average Processing Time: At least 3 weeks and up to 90 days.
  • Email: [email protected] 

SAN FRANCISCO 

  • Alaska, California (except the following counties: Imperial Valley, Kern, LA, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, & Ventura which are under the jurisdiction of Italian Consulate General in Los Angeles), Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington
  • Students are considered resident at their universities OR their home addresses. If either one is in our jurisdiction, they may apply here: https://conssanfrancisco.esteri.it/consolato_sanfrancisco/en/i_servizi/per_chi_si_reca_in_italia/ 
  • Your appointment date must be within 180 days of your departure date.
  • Appointments made via: Online
    Average Processing Time: At least 30 days
    Email: [email protected] 

WASHINGTON D.C. 

  • Jurisdiction: District of Columbia, Maryland (only Montgomery & Prince George Counties), Virginia (only Arlington & Fairfax Counties & the City of Alexandria) – see Philadelphia listing for other counties. 
  • Appointments made via:  Online 
  • You must confirm your appointment as early as 10 days prior to your appointment, but no later than 3 days from the scheduled date.
  • https://ambwashingtondc.esteri.it/ambasciata_washington/en/visti 
  • Average Processing Time: At least 15 days 
  • Email: [email protected] 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

  • Lost Documents: If you lose or do not receive the letter of acceptance from Italy, the API Letter of Enrollment or the Insurance Verification letter, we can reissue those documents.  Additional fees will be assessed to cover shipping charges.  Please contact the API office for current shipping rates.  It can take up to two weeks to process a request for a new letter of acceptance from Italy. The other letters can be processed within approximately 3 days. 
  • Batch Processing: You can ask the Study Abroad Office on your home university campus if they work with your regional Italian consulate to offer batch visa processing, which could save you a trip to the consulate. Italian consulates will allow university representatives, but not representatives of private organizations like API, to submit visa applications in batches on behalf of their students. 

DISCLAIMER: Consulates may change their rules, fees, and regulations at any time.  Be advised that API does not have any control over consular procedures, and requirements vary greatly between consulates.  For this reason, your primary source of information regarding visas should be your local consulate. API can offer advice based upon our past experiences working with participants, but please be aware that each situation is unique and immigration rules are constantly evolving. The ultimate authority on the visa process will be representatives of the consulate for your jurisdiction. 

The information outlined here pertains specifically to participants who are U.S. citizens. Participants who are not U.S. citizens are advised to consult with their local consulate for requirements. API can only offer limited advice for students who are not U.S. citizens, but in many cases, non- U.S. citizens will have additional requirements for visas in terms of required documentation and locations where they are eligible to apply for their visa. Additionally, students who plan on traveling outside of Italy during their study abroad session may require additional documentation beyond the Italian student visa for that travel. 

To summarize, 

  1. You are solely responsible for obtaining the proper documentation for your study period in Italy. 
  2. The university you will be attending in Italy requires that all students have the proper documentation for their period of study. Students who do not follow the correct procedures may not be eligible to complete their semester or obtain credit for courses taken abroad.