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Italian visa requirements

Italian Visa requirements | How to stay in EU and Schengen area

Explore the Italian visa requirements to secure your stay in the EU. If you hold a UK passport and are looking for a way to stay longer than 90 days in Italy, there are many visa routes you can apply for.

Italy attracts around 68 million visitors every year.

You can experience a variety of attractive landscapes as you travel from the north to the south of Italy, including mountains, lakes, and beaches, and explore beautiful architecture along the way.

Since Brexit, UK passport holders are no longer allowed to have freedom of movement within the EU.

However, applying for a visa would enable you to extend your stay beyond 90 days.

The Italian visa requirements vary for each type of application, including visa options that permit work and those that do not.

The duration of stay depends on the type of application you submit.

Let’s delve into the Italian visa requirements and available options below.

What are the requirements for an Italian visa?

The requirements for an Italian visa can vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for (e.g., tourist visa, student visa, work visa) and your specific circumstances.

However, here is a general list of documents and requirements often needed for an Italian visa application:

  1. Completed Visa Application Form: You will need to fill out and sign the appropriate visa application form. This can usually be found on the website of the Italian embassy or consulate in your country.
  2. Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned stay in Italy and must have at least two blank pages for visa stamps.
  3. Passport Photos: You will typically need to provide recent passport-sized photos that meet specific requirements in terms of size, format, and background colour.
  4. Proof of Travel Itinerary: This includes details of your planned trip, such as flight reservations, hotel bookings, and a detailed itinerary of your stay in Italy.
  5. Proof of Accommodation: If you’re not staying in a hotel, you may need to provide proof of accommodation arrangements, such as a rental agreement or letter of invitation from a host in Italy.
  6. Proof of Sufficient Funds: You will need to demonstrate that you have enough money to cover your expenses while in Italy, which could include bank statements, sponsorship letters, or proof of employment and income.
  7. Travel Insurance: It’s often required to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses and repatriation for the duration of your stay in Italy.
  8. Proof of Purpose of Visit: Depending on the type of visa you’re applying for, you may need additional documents, such as a letter of admission from an Italian educational institution for a student visa or a letter of employment for a work visa.
  9. Health Certificate: In some cases, you may need to provide a health certificate confirming that you are in good health and free from contagious diseases.
  10. Police Clearance Certificate: This may be required to demonstrate that you have no criminal record.
  11. Proof of Ties to Home Country: You may need to provide evidence of ties to your home country, such as family relationships, property ownership, or employment, to show that you have reasons to return after your visit to Italy.
  12. Visa Fee: There is usually a non-refundable fee for visa processing, which varies depending on the type of visa and your nationality.

What are the options for Italian visa requirements?

If you plan to stay longer than 90 days in Italy, you’ll need to apply for a long-stay visa, specifically a type D visa, which permits an extended stay.

Italy is part of the Schengen Agreement, signed with 27 other European countries. Therefore, holding an Italian visa allows you to travel freely within these 27 countries.

Let’s explore the Italian visa requirements and options for obtaining a long-stay visa in Italy below :

1) EU Blue Card Work Permit:

To qualify for the EU Blue Card, individuals must meet certain Italian visa requirements, including possessing a higher education qualification and securing a valid work contract or job offer from an employer based in Italy.

The primary purpose of the EU Blue Card is to allow highly skilled non-EU/EEA workers to work and reside in an EU member state. It grants you the right to work in a specific job and for the employer mentioned in the card.

2) Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Work Permit:

If you are a non-EU citizen and you are willing to work in Italy, you have to obtain a work clearance or work permit to be able to work in Italy. Before applying for ICT, you must be employed by the company before submitting your application.

3) Service Agreement Assignment Work Permit:

If you are willing to perform your services or activities under a contract as a foreign employee, this is the right work permit for you. Extra-quota is for foreign employees temporarily assigned to Italy to perform their services or activities under a contract agreed upon by the current employer and a company in Italy.

4) Italy Golden Visa:

The “Golden Visa” is an investor visa program that offers residency or citizenship to investors in exchange for qualifying investments, particularly popular in European countries since 2017.

The Golden Visa program in Italy requires a minimum investment of €250,000, along with meeting other Italian visa requirements to obtain residency or citizenship.

5) Italy Elective Residency Visa:

If you’re considering relocating to Italy without seeking employment, this visa option might be suitable for you.

For the Italy Elective Residency Visa, applicants must demonstrate proof of consistent passive income, among other Italian visa requirements.

You would be required to provide proof of consistent passive income, amounting to at least €31,159.29 per year. Initially granted for 1 year, this visa is renewable for an additional 2 years.

Special emphasis is placed on demonstrating a stable and substantial income and showcasing a genuine intention to establish permanent residency in Italy. Holders of an elective residence permit are restricted from engaging in employment.

6) Italy Startup Visa:

The ‘Italy Start-up Visa‘ is designed for non-EU citizens interested in establishing an innovative start-up business or joining a start-up company in Italy.

The Italy Start-up Visa has specific Italian visa requirements for non-EU citizens interested in establishing or joining a start-up company in Italy. To qualify, you must demonstrate financial capability of at least €50,000 to be used for establishing and operating the business. 

Alternatively, you can join a start-up company in Italy with an investment of at least €100,000. In this case, you must hold one of the following positions: chairman, CEO, auditor, or member of the board of directors.

7) Self-Employment Visa for Freelancers:

The Self-Employment Visa for Freelancers is accessible to individuals who can prove their proficiency, experience, and/or training to work independently in a specific field or occupation. 

To qualify for this visa, applicants must demonstrate financial stability by having a yearly gross income of at least €8,500 earned in the year prior to the visa application.

Alternatively, applicants can provide assurance of earning €8,500 in a year through a signed engagement proposal from one or more Italian clients.

8) Self-Employment Visa for Entrepreneurs:

The Entrepreneur visa is designed for foreigners with an investment plan that will bring significant economic benefits to Italy.

In order to stimulate positive economic impact, the Italian government introduced this visa for entrepreneurs intending to invest in Italy. To obtain this visa, entrepreneurs must commit to investing a minimum of 500,000 euros and creating at least 3 new jobs in Italy.

9) Residence Permits for Family Members:

If you have legally resided in Italy, your family has the right to join and live with you regardless of your nationality. The applicant must meet requirements such as providing financial proof. Whether the applicant’s family members are EU citizens or non-EU citizens, the entire family is eligible to apply for residence permits.

10) Italian Permanent Residency:

If you have legally lived in Italy for more than 5 years, you are able to apply for permanent residency in Italy regardless of your nationality. The proof of minimum income and the income should not be less than an annual amount of the welfare allowance. You would also need to take the Italian language test equivalent to the A2 level.

11) Converting Student Permit to Work Permit:

With a valid study permit in Italy, you are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, totalling 1,040 hours per year.

Upon expiration of your study permit, if you wish to pursue full-time employment or extend your stay in Italy, you must apply for an employment or self-employment permit.

Is it difficult to meet Italian visa requirements?

The difficulty of obtaining an Italian visa depends on factors such as your nationality, the purpose of your visit, and your documentation.

However, preparing your application may pose some difficulty, particularly if you are not familiar with the Italian language and the required documents.

Generally, if you fulfil the Italian visa requirements and provide all necessary documentation, the process should not be overly complicated.

How long does it take to process an Italian visa?

The processing time for an Italian visa can vary depending on the type of visa you’re applying for, the workload of the consulate or embassy, and other factors.

It’s advisable to apply well in advance of your planned travel date to allow for any potential delays. Processing times can range from a few weeks to a couple of months.

Can you apply for an Italian visa online?

Yes, you can typically start the visa application process online by filling out the application form on the website of the Italian consulate or embassy responsible for your area. However, you will likely need to submit supporting documents in person at the visa application center or the Italian consulate.

How long can a UK citizen stay in Italy without a visa?

UK citizens can stay in Italy and the wider Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without needing a visa for tourism or business purposes.

How long does it take for an Italian visa to be approved?

The approval time for an Italian visa can vary, but it typically ranges from a few weeks to a couple of months, as mentioned earlier. It’s important to start the process well in advance of your intended travel dates to allow for processing time and potential delays.


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