If you want to stay in Italy for a short period of time (up to 90 days), you need an Italy Schengen Visa. For stays that are longer than 90 days, you have to apply for an Italy National visa instead.
However, depending on the country, not everyone needs to apply to get an Italian Visa for short stays. Some countries can freely travel to Italy with simply a passport or identification document.
Who Needs an Italy Visa?
Italy is part of the Schengen area, which consists of 26 European countries that have established visa-free and border control-free travel between them. As such, you do not need an Italian visa for short stays if you are:
Italy Visas for San Marino and Vatican City
Even though San Marino, a microstate, and Vatican City, a city-state, are not in the Schengen area, the EU, or the EEA, you can still enter there with an Italian visa. That’s because they are both located within Italy, and as such, the same visa rules apply to them as well.
Italy Visa Application
When you apply for an Italy visa, you must go through these application steps:
- Determine the type of Italy visa you need.
- Determine where to submit the application.
- Book an appointment.
- Fill in an Italy Visa Application Form.
- Gather the required documents.
- Submit the Italy visa application and enter the Italy visa interview.
- Pay the Italy visa fee.
- Wait for processing.
Determine the type of Italy visa you need
Before you apply for an Italy visa, you should first determine what type of visa you need. The type of visa you have to apply for depends on your purpose of travel. As such, you may have to apply for an Italy visitor visa, business visa, or tourist visa accordingly.
Knowing the type of visa you need is also important because different types of visas may have additional/different requirements.
See the types of visas for Italy below in the article.
Determine where to submit your Italy visa application
Where you can submit your Italy visa application differs based on the country. So, depending on what country you are from, you will have to submit your application in one of the following:
- The Italian representation in your country, such as an Italian embassy or consulate.
- A Visa Application Center to which the Italian government has outsourced visa applications, such as FS Global, COX and Kings, or TLS International.
- Another Schengen country’s representation. If there is no Italian representation in your country, the Italian government will have outsourced visa applications to the embassy/consulate of another Schengen country.
If you are travelling to more than one Schengen country
The Italian visa for short stays is a Schengen visa. As such, you can use it to travel to other Schengen countries as well, as long as you do not exceed the amount of days allowed.
So, if you will be travelling to more than one country, you should only submit an application to the Italian representation if:
- You will spend the longest amount of days in Italy than other countries
- Italy is the first country you will visit
Book an Italy visa application appointment
Once you know where you should submit your Italian visa application, you must contact the Italian representation for an appointment. You cannot submit an application without a prior appointment.
Keep the wait times in mind when booking the appointment since your application date might not be for a few weeks.
Fill in an Italy Visa Application Form
You can usually find an Italy Visa Application Form online. You must complete and print the form before signing it. The application form requires you to provide personal information (name, nationality, date and place of birth) as well as your travel purpose, employment status, whether you have had any previous Schengen visas, etc.
You must attach the application form with all the other required documents.
Gather the required documents
Before you apply for Italy visa, make sure you have all the required documents you need. Ask for information about any additional requirements when booking your application.
There are a standard set of documents that everyone must have when applying for an Italy visa. Then, depending on the purpose of travel, there may be additional documents. Find below in the article the Italy visa types to determine the document requirements for each.
Submit the Italy visa application and enter the Italy visa interview
When the date of your appointment arrives, you have to appear at the Italian representation in person. Also make sure you arrive on time, as the impression you make on the visa officers can help determine whether you are granted an Italian visa or not.
When you submit your application, you will also be asked to enter a visa interview. This interview lasts around 10-15 minutes, and includes questions about your purpose of travel, how you will provide for yourself, where you will stay, and even personal questions about your life. Be sure to answer all questions truthfully and without hesitation. Also make sure you are friendly (but not overly so) and have proper posture. Remember, making a good impression helps the fate of your Italy visa.
Pay the Italy visa fee
When you submit your application for an Italy visa, you will also have to pay a non-refundable visa fee. The fee is obligatory for almost everyone, though minors 6-12 pay a reduced fee, while those under 6 are exempt.
Wait for your Italy visa application to be processed
After you submit your Italy visa application, you will have to wait for it to be processed. If all your documents are alright, this can take around three weeks. If you need to submit additional documents, the Italian representation will return your documents asking you to resubmit when it is complete. This can delay the processing time.
If your Italy visa application is accepted, you will receive a sticker on your passport. The sticker is your Italy visa which allows you entry into the Schengen zone. It shows the issue and expiry date as well as the validity of the visa.
If your Italy visa application is rejected, you will receive a letter informing you why. The letter of rejection also lets you know whether you are eligible to appeal the decision and how you can do that.
Italy Visa Application Processing Time
When you submit the application for an Italy visa, it is usually processed within 2-3 weeks. However, the processing time can take much longer depending on the country you are applying from and your specific circumstances. So, you should always take into account the Italy visa processing time and apply well in advance of your planned trip.
You must apply for your Italy visa:
At the latest: two weeks before your planned trip
At the earliest: three months before your planned trip
You should also be careful when you submit your documents because if anything is incorrect or missing, the Italian authorities will send you back your application and ask you to resubmit. This sets the visa processing time back even further.
What are the Types of Italy Visas?
The types of visa for Italy depend on the duration of your stay. So, they are divided into Italian short-stay visas, which is the Schengen visa, and Italian long-stay visas, or national visas.
Italy Short Stay Visa
The Schengen visa for Italy is also known as a C-visa. It allows the holder to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days within a six-month timeframe. With an Italian Schengen visa, you can travel to the other Schengen countries as well as long as you do not exceed the 90-day limit. The types of Italian Schengen visas are then further divided depending on the purpose of travel:
- Schengen visa for tourism. This visa is for foreign nationals who want to enter Italy for tourism purposes.
- Schengen visa for business. This visa is for foreign nationals who want to travel to Italy to conduct business, attend a meeting, hold a training, and other business-related purposes.
- Schengen visa for family visit. This visa is for foreign nationals who want to visit family or friends in Italy.
- Italy Transit Visa. This visa is for foreign nationals who have to land in an Italian airport before they board another airplane and continue their travels to a country outside the Schengen area, or to seaman disembarking on an Italian seaport.
Italy Long-Stay Visas
If you want to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days, you must apply for an Italian National visa. After you obtain the Italian national visa, you can enter Italy and must apply for an Italian Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno) to be allowed to stay.
You must also apply for the adequate Italian national visa based on the purpose of travel as well.
- The Italy Work Visa is for foreign nationals who want to take up employment in Italy.
- The Italy Self Employment Visa is for foreign nationals who want to come to Italy and work as freelancers.
- The Italy Study Visa is for foreign nationals who have been accepted into an Italian (or Vatican) university, high school, professionals course, or technical school.
- The Italy Family Visa is for foreign nationals who want to come to Italy to join a family member (family reunification).
- The Italy Working Holiday Visa is for nationals whose country is included in a Working Holiday program.
Can I Extend my Italy Visa?
It is very difficult to extend an Italy short stay Visa.
However, in some rare cases, it is possible under certain conditions, such as for humanitarian reasons which make it difficult and dangerous for you to return to your home country. For example, if you will be prosecuted upon your return or if a dangerous situation erupted in your home country while you were in Italy.
Another possible ground for you to extend your Italy visa is if you have a single-entry Schengen visa and you enter later than your entry date. For example, if you were supposed to enter Italy on March 1, but you entered on March 14, then you could request a two-week extension.
In any case, if you want any chance of getting an extension, you have to apply at least one week before your visa expires. If you apply after visa expiry, you will be deported to your home country.
You can, however, extend an Italy residence permit, depending on the type of permit you hold. For example, the Italian residence permit with authorization to work can be extended for up to five years.
What to Do if my Italy Visa is Denied?
If you apply for an Italy visa, and your application is denied, then you will receive a letter from the competent Italian visa authorities informing you why they did not issue your visa. The letter also explains whether you are eligible to appeal the decision.
You have to appeal to an Italian court with the help of an Italian lawyer within 60 days of visa refusal.
Can my Italy Visa be revoked?
Yes, if you no longer meet the requirements that were set when you received your visa, the Italian authorities can revoke it.
Possible reasons your Italy visa can be revoked are:
- Committing a crime.
- If you misrepresented information when your first applied.
- If you do not abide by the rules of the visa you have (for example, if you start working when you are not supposed to).
Can I Stay in Italy Without a visa?
You can only stay in Italy without a visa if you are a citizen of an EU member state, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Iceland. Even in those cases, after three months, you have to get an Italian residence permit.
In addition to nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland, certain other countries can stay in Italy without a visa – but only up to three months.
Quick facts about Italy
Italy is surrounded by the Mediterrenean Sea, has a mild climate, an approximate of 60 million inhabitants, and, most importantly, delicious food and beautiful architecture.
It is one of the oldest and most beautiful European countries, with many famous historical and natural landmarks. In fact, for centuries, a popular nickname for Italy by poets was “Bel paese” which translates to “beautiful country”.
Italy is a very popular tourist spot, attracting an approximate 50 million tourists from all over the world each year. Many of those tourists can simply enter Italy with a valid passport or other travel document. Others may need to get an Italy visa.