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Moving to Italy: How to Get a Visa
If your dream is to move to Italy, you’re not alone. Thousands of people from all over the world relocate to the boot-shaped country every year.
From the snowy Alpine mountains of the north to the sun-soaked islands of the south, Italy is more geographically diverse than you might imagine. The country has a rich culture and history that goes back thousands of years.
Italians have a reputation for living life to the fullest—they don’t call it la dolce vita for nothing!
Italians are very proud of their language and have a strong sense of national pride and identity. They appreciate when visitors and new residents make a genuine effort to learn the language and learn about Italy’s history and culture—doing so is likely to score you points and make living there easier.
If you’re on a mission to move to Italy from the USA, whether you want to live there for a little while or your long-term goal is obtaining dual citizenship in Italy, you need to know how to make it happen. Below we provide some practical information about how to get a visa in Italy.
Getting an Italian Visa
It can be difficult to establish residency in Italy because the laws are designed to prevent immigration rather than promote it. You must obtain any necessary visas before you move.
U.S. citizens don’t need a visa for stays of 90 days or less, but, if your goal is to live in Italy for longer than three months, you’ll need one. There are several different types:
- Student visa: If you get accepted into an education program in Italy, it’s relatively easy to get a student visa. In fact, many programs pursue overseas students. For young people, this is the easiest way to move to Italy. If haven’t started your post-secondary education, look for schools in the U.S. with programs in Italy.
- Work visa: Work visas are one of the hardest to get. There are several types:
- Artist visas
- Dependent worker visas (for employees of Italy-based companies)
- Independent worker visas (for freelancers and independent contractors; qualifying for this type of visa is tricky because it’s hard to get a job without a visa, but you can’t get a visa without a job).
- Residency visa: This type of visa requires that you demonstrate you’re financially stable and can support yourself while in Italy. It’s not a worker visa, which means your income can’t be based on employment in Italy. So, who can get one? A person who has substantial savings and owns a rental property in the U.S. that brings in monthly income, for example, might qualify for a residency visa.
Documents You’ll Need to Get a Visa
To get your visa you must prove that you meet one of the requirements above. Once you do, you’ll need:
- A valid U.S. passport
- Proof of employment if applying for a work visa
- A letter of acceptance from the college or university you’ll be attending in Italy if applying for a student visa
- Bank statements and other financial statements that prove you have adequate savings/income if applying for a residency visa
You’ll need to collect the appropriate visa or permit from a U.S. embassy or your regional Italian consulate office. It can take a long time to get a consulate appointment, so call right away.
During your visa interview, you’ll be asked questions about your background and the length and purpose of your stay. The goals of these questions are to confirm that you will be a law-abiding, productive member of society once in Italy. You could be approved on the spot, but you may also be told that a background check is required, which will delay the process.
The approval process can take several weeks or months. Once you receive your visa if approved, check it to make sure it’s accurate, and then plan your move to Italy!
Note: There are other acceptable reasons for applying for a visa, including adoption, business travel, family reunions, religious grounds, medical treatment, and tourism. Contact or visit your local embassy or regional consulate office for more information.
Get Help from the Experts
A visa doesn’t grant you citizenship, and it isn’t intended for permanent relocation to Italy. For that, you’ll need to become an Italian citizen. There are three ways to do it: through ancestry, marriage, or naturalization.
The Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program is staffed by experts who can help counsel you on obtaining dual citizenship in Italy. Our Italian citizenship program has helped hundreds of people discover their Italian heritage and become dual Italian-American citizens! Contact us today to learn more.