Italy attracts around 50 million visitors every year – people who want to see the famous historical landmarks, take a gondola ride through Venice’s canals, or enjoy delicious Italian food right where it originated.

Many people also want to move to Italy long-term, whether it is to join a family member already there, work, or pursue a higher education.

If you are planning a trip to Italy, but found yourself thinking, “Do I need a visa to go to Italy?”, this article aims to clear your doubts.

Do I Need a Short-Stay Visa for Italy?

Italy is part of the Schengen Agreement, which consists of 26 European that have established visa-free and border control-free travel among them.

An Italian Schengen visa allows the holder to stay in Italy and any other Schengen country for a maximum of 90 days within six months.

You do need a Schengen Visa for Italy if your country is mentioned on this list.

Do I need a Transit Visa for Italy?

An Italian transit visa allows the holder to change their travel vessel in an Italian port in order to continue onward travels to a non-Schengen country.

If you need to change airplanes in an Italian airport, depending on your country, you may need to apply for an Italian Airport Transit Visa, also known as an A-visa.

You need an Airport Transit Visa (ATV) for Italy if you are a national of the following countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Senegal
  • Syria

Italy Transit Visa Exemptions

However, even if you are from one of the above-mentioned countries, you may still be exempt from an Italian Airport Transit Visa if you fall under one of the following categories:

  • You already have a valid visa issued by a Schengen country, an EU/EEA country, Canada, Japan, or the United States of America.
  • You have a valid residence permit a Schengen country, an EU/EEA country, Canada, Japan, the United States of America, the Principality of Andorra, or the Republic of San Marino.
  • You are the holder of a diplomatic passport.
  • You are a family member of a citizen from the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
  • You are part of an airline crew and citizen of a country that is part of the Chicago Convention on international civil aviation.

Please note, however, that you only need an Italian airport transit visa if you are switching planes to travel to a country that is not in the Schengen area. If your destination is a Schengen-area country, you will need a regular Schengen visa (C-visa).

If you are a third-country seaman and will be changing sea vessels or disembarking on an Italian seaport, you will need an Italian Transit Visa for Seamen. This type of visa allows the holder to remain in the country for a time until they get their next means of travel.

You need a transit visa for seamen if you are from a third-world country who falls under the visa regime for Italy.

Do I need a Long-Term Visa for Italy?

You need to apply for an Italian Long-Stay visa if you want to live in Italy for longer than three months to work, study, or join a family member who is an Italian citizen/resident.

All Schengen, EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals are free to travel to Italy without a visa if their travel does not exceed 90 days. In addition, several other countries that are not part of the aforementioned agreements can enter Italy visa-free for short stays as well, as mentioned above.

But for stays longer than 90 days, different rules apply, although the rules are still based on whether or not you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland.

Anyone who wants to stay in Italy longer than 90 days, even EU/EEA/Swiss nationals, must get an Italian Residence Permit. You apply for a residence permit once you are already in Italy. The difference is:

  • EU/EEA/Swiss nationals do not need an Italian Long-Stay Visa to enter Italy.
    • They can stay in Italy up to three months without having to meet any requirements. If they want to stay longer than three months, they have to register for residency in their local Italian municipality.
  • Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals do have to apply for a Long-Stay Visa before they are allowed to enter Italy.
    • They also have to apply for an Italian Residence Permit within 8 days of entering Italy.

What if I have More Than One Nationality?

If you have more than one passport, whether you need an Italy visa or not depends on which passport you present when travelling.

If you intend to travel with the passport issued from a country exempt from Italy Visa requirement, then you do not need to apply for a visa.

If you intend to travel with the passport issued from a country that requires a visa for entering Italy, then you do need to apply for an Italian visa.