Italy attracts approximately 50 million tourists from all over the world each year. Some of them enter the country with just a passport and/or ID, while others needed to apply for an Italy Tourist Visa beforehand.
A Tourist Visa for Italy is simply a Schengen Visa with the purpose of tourism. That’s because Italy is part of the Schengen Agreement which consists of 26 Eurpoean countries that have established visa-free travel among them.
So, if you want to travel to Italy for tourism purposes, you may have to apply for a Schengen visa. Your Schengen tourist visa for Italy will allow you free travel to the other Schengen countries as well within the time that the visa is valid.
Do I Need to Apply for an Italy Tourist Visa?
The main indicator of whether you have to apply for a tourist visa for Italy is your nationality.
You can travel to Italy without a visa if you are:
- A national from a Schengen Country
- A national from an EU (European Union) or EEA (European Economic Area) member state or from Switzerland
- A national from another (non-EU/EEA/Schengen) country who has been exempt from Schengen Visas
- A holder of a residence permit/visa issued by another Schengen country
Otherwise, you will most likely have to apply for a visa.
When Can I Submit the Application?
You can apply for an Italy Tourist Visa:
- At the latest: Two weeks before your planned trip
- At the earliest: Six months before your planned trip
However, you have to apply well in advance because the Italy visa processing time can take up to three weeks (15 working days) or more depending on your country or particular case.
For example, if you have omitted to submit a particular required document, it will delay the processing time. That’s because the visa officials have to send you back your application so you can resubmit once it is completed.
Furthermore, depending on the country and time of year, even booking an appointment can take some time so you have to keep that in mind if you need to enter Italy at a particular time.
Where Should I Submit the Italy Tourist Visa Application?
If you are from a country whose nationals need a visa for Italy, you must apply for an Italy Tourist visa at the appropriate location for applying for Italian visas in your country. This could be one of the following:
- The Italian Representation in your country (such as an Italian embassy or consulate).
- A Visa Application Center, such as VFS Global, COX and Kings, or TLS International, to which the Italian government has outsourced visa applications to.
- The Representation of another Schengen country to which the Italian government has outsourced visa applications to (if there is no Italian Representation in your country).
Before you apply however, you must book an appointment. You cannot submit the application for an Italy visa without prior appointment.
Italy Tourist Visa Application
An outline of the Italy tourist visa application process is:
- Book the appointment.
- Complete the Italy Visa Application Form.
- Gather the required documents.
- Submit the application in person.
- Enter the visa interview.
- Pay the visa fees.
- Wait for processing.
What are the requirements for the Italy Tourist Visa?
When you submit the application for a tourist visa for Italy, you must have several supporting documents. One of them is the Italy Visa Application Form.
The requirements for an Italy Tourist Visa are:
- Complete Travel itinerary. You must include a document detailing the dates of your travel (entry and exit) as well as flight numbers. You also have to specify what places you will be visiting in Italy or elsewhere in the Schengen Area. It does not necessarily have to be an actual flight ticket, only a flight reservation.
- Letter from your tour organizer. (If you are travelling with a tour agency)
- Proof of accomodation. Depending on where in Italy you will be staying, this could be a hotel/hostel booking, or a rental agreement.
- Proof of sufficient financial means to provide for the duration of your stay.
However, if you are planning on visiting a relative or friend in Italy, you should submit the following documents:
- Letter of invitation from your host. If you are visiting a family member/friend in Italy, then they serve as your Italian host. Your host can be an Italian citizen or residence permit holder (in which case they must include a copy of their residence permit with the letter). The invitation letter must state that you are their relative/friend and specify the dates that you will be visiting them.
- Proof of family relationship. If your host is a family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent, you must provide proof. This can be a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or a certificate of registered partnership. You must include this with the letter of invitation.
- Proof of sufficient financial means. Depending on how you will fund your trip, this can be through:
- Your own bank statements from the past six months (if you will fund the trip yourself).
- Letter of sponsorship from your host along with their bank statements (if your host will be funding your trip).
- Proof of accommodation. Depending on where you will be accommodated while you are in Italy, you could submit:
- The address of the house/apartment of your host.
- A hotel/hostel booking or home rental agreement. (If you do not intend to stay with your family member/friend, you may be asked to prove proof that you will actually visit them in an alternate way.)
In addition, there is a set of standard documents that everyone, regardless of travel purpose, must submit when applying for an Italy visa.
How Long is the Italy Tourist Visa Valid?
An Italy Tourist Visa is valid for the same amount of time that all Schengen visas are: a maximum of 90 days within a six month period.
In some cases, your visa can be issued for less than 90 days, depending on the type of Italy Schengen Visa you receive (single-, double-, or multiple-entry).
You cannot stay in Italy (or any other Schengen country) with a Schengen visa for more than 90 days. This is why it is called a short-stay visa.
When you receive your visa, the visa sticker on your passport informs you on how many days you can spend in the Schengen area. It also informs you when you can enter the Schengen area and what is the latest date you can leave.
If you want to stay with a family member in Italy for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for an Italian Long-Stay Family Visa.