Important note: Due to uncertainties for international travel amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to shift the calendar of our Fall 2020 semester at the Siena Art Institute and our partner program the Siena School for Liberal Arts to begin with 2 weeks of an online "intro unit" followed by 89 days of intensive on-site activities in Siena. As students will thus stay in Italy for less than 90 days, it will not be necessary for American students to request a study visa (which is only required for stays in Italy of more than 90 days). Students of other nationalities should confirm with the Italian embassy in their home country to confirm their visa requirements. Click here for more details on your visa requirements from the Italian embassy.
General info on the visa application process:
The visa application 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 is as follows:
After receiving the non-refundable deposit that ensures your enrollment in the program, we mailed 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 (i.e. the state/county on your driver's license) while other consulates will allow you to apply in the area that your school is in.
You need to contact the Italian consolate that serves the area where you reside. You can search online for "Consolato d'Italia" in your city. If you are in the US, we suggest that you check the American Italian Embassy website. Near the top, click on “Consulates in the USA” and find the Italian General Consulate in your area. Please note that usually you cannot apply for a visa at the adjunct consular offices; you will need to apply at the primary consulate for your state/county. 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, and a statement from their bank(s) listing their current liquid assets, OR a note from your bank(s) stating that you have sufficient liquid assets to cover your expenses while in Italy. (the consulate will have more specific information concerning the minimum amount of required funds.)
* the two letters of acceptance sent from the Siena Art Institute (as mentioned above);
* a personalized letter from your college or university study abroad official;
* your passport, valid for the entire duration of your stay in Italy.
* 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; OR a notarized insurance affidavit promising to purchase Italian student insurance upon your arrival in Siena.
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.
We understand that the student visa application process can be extremely frustrating and dehumanizing. Please don't let the inordinate amounts of red tape dissuade you from studying in Italy. It is worth the headache of the visa application process for the opportunity to come to Siena to create art, study, and experience all that Italy has to offer.
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