What is a study visa?
An Italian study visa is permission from the Italian consulate to stay in a country for longer than 90 days for the purpose of studying.
How to obtain an Italian Study Visa:
First, check with your consulate. Every region in the United States has its own Italian Consulate. You must first identify which consulate has jurisdiction the state you reside in. After that, you should carefully review that consulate’s website and instructions. Some consulates require you to apply in person, while others accept mailed in applications. Check here to identify your consulate.
Generally, the consulate requires the following documentation to be considered for a study visa (Click here to download the Italian Study Visa Checklist):
1) Passport: A valid passport with at least 2 blank visa pages; expiration date of passport should be at least 3 months longer than hypothetical visa expiration date.
2) Proof of Sustenance: All this means is that you can prove that you have enough money to support yourself while abroad. For long-term stay, the required amount is about 30 euro/day. I showed the consulate that I had at least $8,000 for 6 months and they accepted this.
If you are a young student and your parents are going to support you financially, you need the following:
- Affidavit of Support, signed by the supporter and notarized
- Supporter’s Bank Statement – Bank Statement must be on the bank letterhead and must verify that you (or the person that is supporting you) is the account holder and has XXX amount in their account at the time the letter was written. It must be signed and dated by a bank representative. You must present the original copy to the consulate.
If you are going to support yourself, you need the following:
- Your Bank Statement, with the same formatting as above
3) Proof of International Medical/Travel Insurance: You need to show the policy number and the dates of coverage. Most international insurance companies offer “study abroad” insurance which should cover at least $45,000 of expenses, including Emergency Medical Evacuation, Hospitalization, Medical Expenses and Repatriation.
4) Proof of Accommodation: Typically, the school or program that you are studying through will provide housing. They should state this in their letter to the consulate. If you are booking an accommodation on your own, you need to prove this by showing hotel reservations, a rental contract or a lettera d’invito.
5) Letter of Acceptance: You need a letter of acceptance from the institution you are planning to study at. Usually, schools that deal with foreign students are familiar with what this letter should include. From my experience, the letter should indicate how long you will be studying for, number of hours per week and any accommodation provided. It also should include information about the institution, “la dicharazione” and proof that you have paid IN FULL for the course.
6) Letter of Enrollment OR Affidavit of No Current Enrollment: If you are currently a student, you need a letter of enrollment from your current institution verifying that you are a student and explaining why you are studying in Italy. If you are not currently a student or recently graduated, you should write an Affidavit of No Current Enrollment explaining the details of your previous education and why you want to study in Italy. Check here for these forms.
7) Travel Itinerary: You should print a copy of your airline ticket, showing the dates and destinations of your trip. It is typically best to book a roundtrip flight for two reasons: Usually, booking a round trip flight is cheaper than booking two one way flights AND the Italian consulate prefers to see that you have already purchased your return flight. If you do not want to book your return flight now, you need to factor in this cost and add it to you “proof of sustenance”.
8) 2 passport-style photos: You can usually get these taken at your local drugstore for less than $10.
9) Long-term Visa Application: Check your consulate’s website for the long-term study visa application form. Please note that you should NOT sign the visa application form until you are in the presence of the consulate or a representative of the consulate. Leave the signature box blank until you are told to sign.
10) USPS express mail envelope, stamped and addressed to yourself: This is important if you want the consulate to be able to mail your passport and visa back to you after you apply.
11) Photocopy of each document presented, for your own records!
*Note – this is just based on my experience. You must check your consulate’s website for specific instructions, as they may differ from these!