Choosing the Right Italian Visa
Italy is an amazing place with a great history, awesome culture, and beautiful views. Lots of people dream of going there, whether it's for the art in Florence, the romance in Venice, or the pretty scenery in Tuscany. But before you can go, you need to figure out the right visa for your trip, that is if you need one at all. Italy has different visas for different reasons, so it's important to pick the one that fits your plans. This way, you can enter the country smoothly and legally.
Types of Italian Visas
There are two main categories of Italian visas: the short-stay and the long-stay visas. These visas have different types which serve different purposes depending on the length of your trip and your reason for entering Italy.
The Short-Stay Schengen Visas:
- Type A Schengen Visa or Airport Transit Visa:
- Family Reunification.
- Religious reasons.
- Medical care.
- Self Employment.
- Diplomatic Mission.
- Type C Uniform Schengen Visa:
- Business visa.
- Cultural visa.
- Medical visa.
- Official Visit visa.
- Sports visa.
- Study (Italy Schengen Student visa).
- Tourism visa.
- Family and Friends Visit visa.
The Long-Stay National Visas:
- The Family Visa.
- The Italian Student Visa.
- The Internship Visa.
- The Italian Golden or Investor Visa.
- The Elective Residence Visa.
- The Startup Visa.
The Short-Stay Schengen Visa:
A short-stay Italian visa is typically known as a Schengen visa. These visas are suitable for tourism, business, or visiting family and friends and it is convenient for exploring multiple European destinations.
There are 3 main types of short stay, Schengen visas. These are:
- Type A Schengen Visa or Airport Transit Visa: The type A Schengen visa allows citizens who are not from Schengen countries to wait for their connecting flights in the international zone of an airport located in a Schengen country. If you are travelling from a non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen country and your connecting flight is in the airport of a Schengen country, you must have this visa. Having this visa does not mean you are allowed to enter the Schengen country. You’re only allowed in the international zone of the airport.
- Type B Schengen Visa: The type B Schengen visa was used for journeys lasting fewer than five days. It was replaced by the type C Uniform Schengen visa in 2010 but has the condition “transit” indicating that you are only in transit. The Type B visa discontinued in 2010 after the implementation of the EU Visa Code. This change was part of a broader effort to streamline visa policies within the Schengen Area.
- Type C Uniform Schengen Visa: The Type C Uniform Schengen visa is the most common short-term visa in Italy. It is issued by the visa services of a country in the Schengen area. It allows you to stay in Italy and other Schengen countries for a short time, usually up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Depending on the purpose of your trip, the short-stay category C Schengen visa can be:
- A single-entry visa: This is indicated as “1” on the visa sticker and allows you to enter the Schengen area only once. If you leave the area, the visa automatically expires even if the validity period isn’t over yet.
- A double-entry visa: This is indicated as “2” on the visa sticker and allows you to enter the Schengen area twice during the validity period of the visa. This means you can leave the Schengen area and re-enter it during that period. When you leave the second time, your visa expires.
- A multiple-entry visa: This is indicated as « MULT » on the visa sticker and allows you to enter and leave as many times as you wish for a maximum of 90 days over a 180-day period.
The Long-Stay National Schengen Visas (Type D)
The national visa is also known as the type D long-stay Schengen visa. If you are a foreigner planning to live, study or work in a Schengen country for longer than 90 days (up to 1 year), you must have this visa. It lets you stay in the initial Schengen country of your choice and any other country in the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period or during your entire visa validity period. This visa is issued by the consular authorities of the intended Schengen country following national legislation. This visa can be used for study, business and even family reunification.
Types of Italian Long Stay National Visas
1. The Family Visa: Non-EU citizens who want to join a family member who has already obtained permanent residence in Italy can obtain this visa. The following family members can come to join you in Italy through the Italian family visa:
- Your spouse.
- You and your spouse's children who are under the age of 18.
- Children, dependent on you who are over 18, and unable to provide for themselves due to health problems.
- Your parents, if they are over 65, dependant on you and have no other children who can care for them.
2. The Italian Student Visa: This visa allows non-EU citizens to enter Italy for study purposes. You have to prove your enrollment or pre-enrollment into an Italian institution. This visa is usually valid for the duration of the course. It allows you to work part-time in Italy and, can be converted to a work permit after it expires.
3. The Internship Visa: This visa allows non-EU nationals to do an internship program in Italy if they have undergone vocational training or education in their country. The visa is valid for at least 3 months and no more than 12 months meaning the internship cannot be longer than this period.
4. The Italian Golden or Investor Visa: The Italian Golden visa is for foreign nationals who choose to invest in strategic assets for the Italian economy and society. The visa is valid for two years and can be renewed in Italy. To get an Italian golden visa, you must:
- Make the investment or donation declared in the visa application within 3 months of entry into Italy.
- Must keep the investment for the duration of the validity of the visa.
5. The Elective Residence Visa: The Italian elective residence visa is for foreign nationals who can support themselves financially and want to live in Italy without an employment contract. To get an elective residence visa, you must not intend to work during your stay in Italy. It is valid for one year and can be renewed in Italy.
6. The Startup Visa: This visa is for foreign citizens who want to set up their business in Italy.
Who Needs an Italian Schengen Visa?
Italy is one of the 27 countries in the Schengen Area of Europe. Because of this, most of its visitors must apply for a Schengen visa if they intend to stay up to 90 days. This, however, depends on where they’re coming from.
Travellers That Need a Schengen Visa to Visit Italy:
Travellers That Don’t Need a Schengen Visa to Visit Italy:
- Travellers who are nationals of the Schengen area and/or EU member countries.
- Travellers who are citizens of non-EU countries and territories that have signed visa exemption agreements with the EU. The citizens of these countries can visit Italy visa-free by applying online for travel authorization through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
- Travellers who have a visa from one of the member countries of the Schengen area.
How to Get an Italian Schengen Visa
Step One - Make a Visa Application
You can apply for your Italy visa online, through the official visa portal system. Fill out the online form with the necessary details and submit it. If you are unable to access the online form, you can apply directly through your local Italian mission such as the Italian embassy or consulate in your country. If you need a long-stay national visa to Italy, you cannot submit your application online. Still, rather you should print and fill out the hardcopy form and apply through your Italian Embassy or visa application centre.
Step Two -Put Together the Required Documentation
Gather all the required documents for your specific Italian visa. The Italian visa requirements include:
- The filled out Italian Schengen visa application form.
- Your valid international passport.
- Two identical passport photographs (35x45m, coloured, clear, taken within the last six months. Your face must take up 70-80% of the picture).
- Civil status documents like your birth and marriage certificates.
- Copies of your previous visas.
- Your travel insurance.
- Proof of accommodation.
- Proof of sufficient funds.
- A cover letter stating your reason for travelling.
- Your travel itinerary.
- Employment status documents.
- Work permits (for work visas).
- Residence Permit.
- A signed letter of invitation from an Italian company and a schedule of your stay with your business contacts (for business visas).
- Documentation linked to your business operations (for business visas).
- Visa fees.
- Certified parental or guardian authorization (for minors).
All documents in foreign languages will need to be accompanied by an Italian-certified translation for them to be valid, especially if you are applying for a long-stay visa. Accurate certified translation services are necessary for the success of this process.
With Translayte, you will have access to certified translation services in Italy, handled by professional Italian translators that are qualified and enrolled with Italian courts. Our services are easy to order and delivered quickly, with 100% guaranteed acceptance at the Italian embassy in your country and immigration authorities within Italy.
Step Four- Submit Your Documents
After filling out the form and gathering your documents, you need to officially submit your application through your local Italian mission.
Step Five - Pay Your Italy Visa Fee
Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, you may be able to pay for your visa online. If you are not able to pay online you will be asked to make your payment during your visa interview.
Step Six - Schedule Your Visa Interview
On the online platform, schedule a day for your interview at your Italian mission. You can also schedule your appointment by reaching out to the embassy, consulate or visa application centre directly by email or phone.
Step Seven- Attend Your Visa Interview: Go early for your interview and take all the required documents. At your interview, you will submit the documents, and your biometric information and be interviewed. After this process, you will either be granted a visa or receive a rejection.
Tips for Choosing the Right Italian Visa:
- Define the Purpose of Your Trip: Clearly understand the purpose of your stay in Italy – whether it's tourism, work, study, or family reunification. This will guide you in selecting the appropriate visa category. Determine how long you intend to stay and how many times you will need to enter Italy.
- Research the Visa Requirements: After deciding the purpose of your trip, do extensive research on what you will be required to provide for the visa. This will include documentation like financial proof, health insurance and identification documents.
- Plan Ahead: Start the visa application process well in advance because planning avoids unnecessary stress and anxiety along the way.
- Consult the Authorities: If you have questions or uncertainties, consider talking to the Italian consulate or embassy in your home country. They can provide guidance on the application process and requirements.
- Check for Changes: Visa regulations can change, so regularly check for updates on the official website of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Consider Professional Assistance: Applying for an Italian visa yourself is cheaper but, in complex situations or for certain visa types, you should seek advice from immigration consultants or legal professionals.
How Much Does an Italy Visa Cost?
The Schengen visa to Italy costs €80. The fee is free for children under the age of six and €40 for children between the ages of six and twelve.
When Should I Apply for an Italian Visa?
It is best to submit your application for a visa to Italy a minimum of fourteen days before your trip, and while applying in advance is good, applying as early as over six months before the trip is discouraged.
Do I Need Travel Insurance When Applying for a Schengen Visa to Italy?
Yes, you will need a travel insurance plan with a minimum coverage of €30,000 to be granted a Schengen visa. Your insurance must also be accepted by all 27 countries within the Schengen area and must be valid for the entire duration of your stay.