Pre-Departure Information


Do you need a visa to travel to Italy?   Check out this useful page of the Italian Consular Service to find out:

Visa requirements depend on your nationality and the length of time you plan to spend in Italy.  For example, if you are from the USA or Australia, you can be in Italy without a visa for up to 90 days as a tourist, but if you are staying for more than 90 days you need a study visa.  Unless you are from an EU country, visitors of any nationality need to get a visa to stay in Italy and the broader Schengen European area for longer than 90 days.

Semester Program Visas

The visa process is like a circle from Dante’s Inferno. In some cases, you will have to arrive early and line up before the Consulate opens to put your name on a list because they only accept a certain number of applications per day. You will come back the minute they open to get an appointed time to return, and most likely you will have to wait a long time although you have an appointment. Also, even if you are sure you have all the right documents, it is almost certain that there will be one small thing missing and you will have to do the process all over again. Therefore, start as soon as possible and don’t be discouraged if you don’t get your visa the first time around.

NOTE: You may only begin the process 90 days prior to departure.

The visa procedure for US Semester Program students is as follows:

After receiving the non-refundable deposit that ensures your enrollment in the program, we will mail you two official acceptance letters, one in Italian and one in English. You will need these two letters to apply for your student visa.

Check with your study abroad advisor for the appropriate consulate. Some consulates will require you to go to a consulate near your official residence while other consulates will allow you to apply in the area that your school is in.

Then, we suggest that you check the Italian Embassy website. Near the top, click on “Consulates in the USA” and find the Italian General Consulate in your area. You cannot apply for a visa at the adjunct consular offices; you will need to apply at the primary consulate for your designated area. Check the website of your specific consulate for a list of the required documents needed for a student visa.

Consulate officials are VERY picky about having ALL REQUIRED INFORMATION.

You will most likely need:

  • an application form from the consulate;
  • a passport-sized photo;
  • your flight itinerary;
  • a signed and notarized statement from your parents assuming financial responsibility for you;
  • a personalized letter from your health insurance provider with account number, date, and name of card holder, and the explicit statement that the policy will cover you abroad*;
  • the two letters of acceptance sent from the Siena School (as mentioned above);
  • a personalized letter from your college or university study abroad office;
  • photocopies of each document.

*It may happen that, even though you brought a letter from your insurance provider that explicitly states that you will be covered abroad, the consulate official will ask you to sign an affidavit which requires you to purchase an alternate insurance coverage plan upon arrival in Italy. If this happens, sign it, and upon your arrival we will determine if this is absolutely necessary.

Again, check the site of the consulate you will visit to check what you need. Once the consulate has accepted all of your documents, your visa should be ready to pick up within a week. Some consulates will allow you to leave a postmarked envelope so they can send the passport back to you rather than you having to pick it up. Look at the consulate website for more information.

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