For members


Italian student visa: Five things you need to know about applying

If you’re planning to move to Italy to study, you may know you'll need a visa. But how does the application process work? Here's what to be aware of before you start.

Every year, thousands of students relocate to Italy – not simply because of the manifold amenities it has to offer but also because of the quality of its higher education system and its relatively low tuition fees.

With that being said, moving to Italy isn’t always a smooth process, especially for non-EU students.

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In fact, while EU citizens enjoy freedom of movement across the entire Union, international students are required to obtain a student visa before entering the country. If you’re not familiar with Italian bureaucracy, the ins and outs of the application process can be a headache.

So, to help you out, here are five things you need to know prior to applying.

What type of visa do I need?

This is entirely dependent upon the length of your chosen course and, in turn, of your stay in Italy. There are two types of student visas: a type-C visa and a type-D one. The former is for short stays (a maximum of 90 days), whereas the latter is for long ones (anything over the 90-day mark).

Now, given that most Italian academic courses last longer than three months, the majority of foreign students are required to obtain a type-D visa. As a result, that is going to be the subject of this guide.

If you do require a type-C visa to enter the country, you can find details on the Italian foreign ministry’s website here.

Where do I need to apply?

All applications for a type-D visa must be submitted to the Italian embassy or consulate of your own home country. Should you not know where your nearest Italian consulate is, filling out this online questionnaire will give you the answers you seek.

Before you do go ahead and start applying for an Italian student visa, you should make sure you have proof of pre-enrollment on an Italian university course. This can be easily requested and downloaded through the Italian universities’ official online portal Universitaly (a close relative of the British UCAS, if you will).

The moment you get the above-mentioned document, you can start filling out your application.

What do I need to apply?

Unfortunately, a whole lot of things, including the pre-enrollment paper we’ve just touched upon. 

Here’s the full list according to the Italian foreign ministry

  • Visa application form;
  • Recent passport-size photograph;
  • Travel document expiring at least three months after the expiry of the applied-for visa;
  • Proof of pre-enrollment in an Italian university course;
  • Proof that you have any type of accommodation in Italy (proof of a hotel booking is sufficient in this case); 
  • Proof that you have financial means which are sufficient to support your livelihood for the entire length of your stay (the Italian government sets the bar at 467 euros per month and bank statements are generally accepted as evidence);
  • Insurance coverage for medical treatment and hospitalisation (unless your home country has relevant ongoing agreements and/or conventions with the Italian government).

Find further details about the required paperwork on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website here and here.

You may notice that the ministry hasn’t provided an English-language version of the application form online (you can find the form in Italian here). Your best bet is to reach out to the Italian consulate in your own home country and request the latest English-language version of the form.

How much is the visa going to cost?

You’ll be charged 50 euros for “the administrative costs of processing the visa application”, the foreign ministry states.

Except in as-yet-unspecified “special cases”, fees are to be paid in the local currency (ie. euros).

Is a type-D visa the only thing I’ll need to enter Italy?

Yes…and no.

No document other than a type-D visa (or type-C one for shorter stays) is required to simply enter the country.

However, in order to lawfully remain in Italy for the entire length of your stay, you will have to apply for a residence permit (‘permesso di soggiorno’ in Italian) within 8 days of your arrival. The length of time this document will remain valid depends on the type of visa you have.

For more information about visa applications, see the Italian Foreign Ministry’s visa website, or contact the Italian consulate in your country.

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For members


REVEALED: EU plans digital-only Schengen visa application process

Soon those non-EU nationals requested to have a Schengen visa to travel to European countries will no longer need to go to a consulate to submit the application and get a passport sticker, but will be able to apply online. 

REVEALED: EU plans digital-only Schengen visa application process

The European Commission has proposed to make the Schengen visa process completely digital.

The special visa, which allows to stay for tourism or business (but not work) in 26 European countries for up to 90 days in any 6-month period. 

Nationals of third countries such as South Africa, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka need the Schengen Visa to visit Europe, but they are not needed for other non-EU nationals such as Britons or Americans. You can see the full list of countries who need a Schengen visa here.

The proposal will have to be approved by the European Parliament and Council, but is in line with an agreed strategy that EU governments are keen to accelerate in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

Once agreed, the system will be used by the countries that are part of the border-free Schengen area. These include EU countries, excluding Ireland (which opted out), and Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus (which do not issue Schengen visas). Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, which are not EU members but have signed the Schengen Convention, will be part of the new system too.

Paper-based processes required applicants to travel to consulates to submit the application and collect their passports with the visa, a procedure that “proved problematic during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Commission said.

Some EU countries have already started to switch to digital systems but not all accept online payments for the visa fees. 

When the new system will be in place, the Commission says, applicants will be able to check on the EU Visa Application platform whether they need a visa. If so, they will create an account, fill out the application form, upload the documents and pay. 

The platform will automatically determine which Schengen country will be responsible for the application and applicants will be able to check their status and receive notifications. Travellers will then be able to access the visa online, and if needed extend it too.

“Half of those coming to the EU with a Schengen visa consider the visa application burdensome, one-third have to travel long distance to ask for a visa. It is high time that the EU provides a quick, safe and web-based EU visa application platform for the citizens of the 102 third countries that require short term visa to travel to the EU,” said Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.

“With some member states already switching to digital, it is vital the Schengen area now moves forward as one,” said Commission Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas.

However, first-time applicants, people with biometric data that are no longer valid or with a new travel document, will still have to go to a consulate to apply.

Family members of citizens from the EU and the European Economic Area, as well as people who need assistance, will also be able to continue to apply on paper. 

The EU Visa Application platform will be used from third countries whose nationals must be in possession of a visa to enter the EU and is different from the ETIAS (European Travel Information Authorisation), which is currently under development.

The ETIAS will be used by non-EU nationals who are exempt from visas but who will need to apply for a travel authorisation prior to their trip. This will cost 7 euros and will be free for people below the age of 18 and above 70. 

Based on the discussion between the European Parliament and Council, the Commission could start developing the platform in 2024 and make it operational in 2026. EU countries will then have five years to phase out national portals and switch to the common online system.