Obtaining a Visa

If you are studying in Italy for less than 90 days, you will not need a visa. However, if you are studying in Italy for more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa. This may seem daunting but don’t worry – your program manager will walk you through every step, and send you a complete Visa Pack with full instructions and details of everything you will need. If you are traveling internationally in the months leading up to your program start date, please let your program manager know.

Apply with the Italian Consulates

The visa process for Italy is administered in the U.S. by a series of consulate offices located throughout the country. Each consulate office administers student visas in a slightly different way, so please pay special attention to the specific requirements at your Consulate. Most consulates require that you appear in person to submit your application. However, there are some exceptions. Be prepared to travel a great distance to apply. Please refer to the instructions listed on the consulate webpage to determine whether you must submit your application in person.

Step by Step Italian Visa Process

Step 1: Passport

Be sure you have a valid, signed passport that will be good for at least six months following the completion of the program. If you do not have a passport, please begin the process of securing one immediately.

Step 2: Italian Consulate of Jurisdiction

Based on your permanent place of residence or where you attend college, determine which Italian Consulate you must apply to for your visa.

Be certain to contact your Italian Consulate to understand their specific requirements for the visa application process as each Consulate follows slightly different rules. These rules may change without notice and it is your responsibility to know exactly what is expected of you at your particular Consulate.

Step 3: Submitting Your Application to the Consulate

To apply for a student visa, the following items are required by most consulates:

  • Passport – You will need to submit your passport with your application. The consulate will keep your passport during the application period and then place the visa on a blank page in your passport once approved.
  • Visa Application Form – The application form is typically available on your consulates website. Be sure enter all information exactly as indicated on the application form to avoid delays.
  • 1-2 recent, passport-sized photos to attach to your application.
  • Acceptance Letter from Arcadia University – You will receive an original Arcadia Acceptance letter in your Acceptance Pack. Most Consulates require one original and one copy. Refer to your consulates website for final requirements.
  • Original Acceptance Letter from your overseas Italian program – You will receive two original acceptance letters from your Italian Institution in your Acceptance Pack. Most Consulates require one original and one copy. Refer to your consulate website for final requirements.
  • Arcadia Certificate of Enrollment – This document serves as verification that your tuition and housing have been paid. It also confirms the dates of the program. This form will be sent in the Acceptance Pack.
  • Affidavit of Support – This document should be filled out by the person supporting you financially while abroad (typically you, a parent or a guardian). This form proves to the Consulate Officer that you have means of support while abroad. If you are financially supporting yourself, you will need to provide proof of financial aid, scholarships or other financial awards in the form of original, official copies of the award letters.
  • Bank Account Statement or Letter – The Consulate will require an original bank statement or an original bank letter to accompany the Affidavit of Support. You will need to refer to your consulates website to verify if they require a statement or a letter as requirements vary depending on which consulate you use.
    • Most consulates will want to see that you have between $1,000 and $1,500 for each month that you are on the program. Please refer to your consulates website for the amount they require.
    • The account belonging to the person submitting the bank statement or letter MUST be the same person who signs the Affidavit of Support.
    • All documents and letters must be notarized to be considered official, prior to submission.
  • Affidavit of Health Insurance – This document is required to inform Consulate Officers that you will have health insurance for your time abroad. You should include the HTH Health Insurance letter with this document. All Arcadia students are enrolled in HTH Health Insurance, which satisfies any health insurance requirements asked for by the Italian Consulates. Because of this, you will not need to include any other health insurance information. The Affidavit of Health Insurance Coverage can be found on your consulate's website.
  • HTH Health Insurance Letter – HTH Insurance is included in your program fee. This document should accompany your Affidavit of Health Insurance. You will receive this in your Acceptance Pack.
  • Copy of your round trip flight itinerary – The Consulate will require a copy of your flight itinerary verifying an arrival and departure flight. If you do not have an itinerary showing that you are returning to the U.S. at the end of your stay, your visa application could be rejected. Most consulates will accept a copy/print out from your travel agent/service or airline. You should have this itinerary notarized if you mail the application.
  • United States Postal Service Express Mailer – Most consulates will require that you apply in person at the consulate office. Once your visa is ready, you will pick it up at the consulate office. Many consulates will allow you to provide a pre-paid, self-addressed United States Postal Service Express Mailer and they will mail the passport and visa to you when it's ready. Please refer to your consulates website to find their exact mailing instructions as some consulates have different requirements.
  • An original home school Letter of Enrollment: Please request this letter from your home institution's registrar's office. The Italian Consulate website will explain what the letter should include. Please provide an original letter signed by the registrar or a university representative, including the university seal and/or stamp.

Other important notes:

  • Be aware that each Italian consulate office retains the right to amend its visa process at any time. Please refer back to your consulate's website frequently throughout the process. As Arcadia University becomes aware of changes in the visa process, we will alert you by email.
  • Retain at least one photocopy of all documents presented to the Consulate.
  • If you are submitting by mail, all documents will need to be notarized.
  • Please note that the visa is simply a sticky label that is affixed to the inside of your passport.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, you are responsible for any Italian visa regulations that pertain to your particular citizenship. For more information, contact your local Italian Consulate.
  • Honorary Consulates are offices that have been authorized by the Italian Government to assist U.S. residents with their visa applications. If there is an Honorary Consulate in your area, they may be able to facilitate the visa application process by validating your documents.

Visa Requirements After Arrival

Once you arrive in Italy, you are required by law to report to the local police department to apply for a Permit to Stay (Permesso di Soggiorno). This is a document that all non-European citizens must have if they are staying in Italy for over 90 days. Your host institution in Italy will review this process during orientation.

The fee for the Permesso di Soggiorno is your responsibility and is approximately 154€ (The Italian government controls these fees, and they are subject to change).

You will need to bring the following items with you to Italy in order to apply your Permesso di Soggiorno:

  • The acceptance letter to your host institution stamped by the Italian consulate: This document should have been sent back with your study visa. If the consulate returned any original documents to you when you applied for your visa, bring these with you as well. Also, if you made a copy of your entire visa application, it never hurts to bring that as well.   
  • Italian Government-Approved Health Insurance Letter: This will be the HTH letter we sent you for your visa documents. This CAN be a photocopy of the original document. We will also email a copy of your HTH letters to your host institution.
  • Photocopies of your passport with visa: You are required to provide the copies of only the first page and the visa pages of your passport.
  • Photocopy of your credit or debit (ATM) card
  • Photos: Please bring 6 additional passport style photos with you to Italy. You do not have to have professional photos taken, but they should follow the guidelines of a passport photo. If your photos do not follow these guidelines, you will be required to obtain additional photos overseas and the cost is typically more expensive than in the U.S.