Getting Your Student Visa
ISI Abroad assists students as they navigate the visa application process, though it is the responsibility of each student to stay informed of visa requirements and to obtain the legal documents necessary to study abroad. Please refer to these instructions as you apply for a student visa.
Note that it is absolutely imperative that you begin your application for your student visa to Italy as soon as you receive your acceptance email—in the past, students have had to postpone their flights because they did not request their appointments immediately. If your study abroad office does not handle visas, please review the guidelines below and contact your Umbra admissions advisor if you have questions:
Continue Below to
Review the Visa Application Process
Book your Visa Appointment at the Italian Consulate
You will need to apply for your student visa from an Italian Consulate representing the jurisdiction where a) You live at a permanent address, or b) where you attend college. This will not necessarily be the nearest consulate. Consulates are responsible for certain states, and the consulate for your state may not be the nearest consulate to your residence. A list of Italian Consulates and their addresses can be found using the “Consular Network” list found clicking here. From this site, you will be able to link to any consulate office in the US.
- IMPORTANT: As soon as you are accepted, book a visa appointment. Make sure the appointment is set within 90 days of the start of the program. Note that some consulates call the visa a “Study Visa” while others call it a “National Visa”, ultimately, they provide the same travel & study privileges.
- Each consulate administers visas in a slightly different way. Review the specific requirements carefully. Please refer to the instructions listed on your consulate’s webpage to determine whether you must submit your application in person.
- If you have difficulties getting an appointment, you may try either a company that expedites visas or a “consulate correspondent” at an honorary consulate. Not every consular jurisdiction has an honorary consulate that can process study visas. If this applies to your jurisdiction and you are having a hard time arranging an appointment, please contact your Umbra admissions advisor right away.
Once you have your passport and visa, please make sure that your passport is signed. Then, send a scanned copy of the primary page of your passport and the visa page to your ISI Abroad admissions advisor. Click here to view a sample scan.
Preparing for Your Visa Appointment
All students are legally obligated to have health insurance that meets specific international requirements.
Check with your study abroad office to see if they have a plan for you. If you must purchase a plan independently,
here are some links to insurance providers that are popular among our student body:
Complete the Application Form
Once you have determined your consulate of jurisdiction and made your appointment, you will need to complete an application to obtain your visa. The application varies from consulate to consulate—sometimes called a “Study Visa”, other times called a “National Visa”. Please refer to your consulate’s website to obtain the application form but if you have a hard time locating or completing the form, please contact your ISI Abroad admissions advisor.
Submit your Application to the Consulate
Once you have completed your application form, you will need to compile the documents listed below and submit it either by mail or at your consular appointment. Please note that the New York and Boston consulates do not allow for mail-in applications. When mailing your application, you will need to include a pre-paid express mailer with your application (ideally a trackable envelope).
IMPORTANT: The list below is not exhaustive. It is important that you also consult your consulate’s website for the most updated list of application items. This list includes only the most standard items required of most consulates.
- Your Valid Passport
- 2 recent, passport-sized photos to attach to your application
- Both copies of the acceptance letter provided by your ISI Abroad program
- Letter confirming health insurance coverage, or an Affidavit of Health Insurance Coverage (Affidavit forms vary by consulate and can be found on their website)
- A copy of your flight itinerary or travel tickets with exact, round-trip departure and arrival dates
- Copies of student or state identification or the original if applying in person
- Proof of financial means, which may often be satisfied by proof of financial aid
- Affidavit of Support—This document is only needed if your personal finances and financial aid do not cover the full cost of the program fee + the monthly cost of living balance required by your consulate. The Affidavit would, therefore, certify that you will receive support through other means, such as a parent or guardian. This form is typically provided on your consulate’s website and must be accompanied by a bank statement or letter that clearly displays an account balance – be sure to check with your consulate. If you choose to bring a letter, it must be typed and void of handwriting other than the signature of a bank employee and/or notary.
If you are supported by your parents/guardians, you will need to provide the following documents of support: 1) notarized Affidavit of Support and/or 2) a bank statement(s) of the Affiant or letter from their financial institution that verifies their account balance(s).
Some consulates may also request an original Letter of Enrollment from your home institution. Please request this letter from your school’s Study Abroad or Registrar’s office. The Italian consulate websites will explain what the letter should include. Please provide an original letter signed by the Registrar or another university representative.
NOTE FOR MAIL-IN APPLICATIONS: The consulate will require you to provide return postage on a self-addressed envelope so that your passport and visa can be returned to you. We recommend that you select an envelope with tracked, expedited shipping and that you place your address both as the sender and receiver. The consulate of your jurisdiction will tell you the type of mailer to use, though they typically prefer the use of USPS.
NOTE ON RECEIVING YOUR VISA: The visa will be affixed to your passport by the consulate. As soon as your passport is returned to you, open it and check the visa for errors. If the visa dates are valid for a few extra (or fewer) days than the length of your program, this is not an issue. However, if the dates vary significantly or if your personal details contain an error, you must notify the consulate immediately. They will cancel your visa and ask you to return it to be fixed. They will tell you how to return the visa and if any documents must accompany it. Errors are not common but they can take a couple of weeks to fix—failing to fix an error could lead to border authorities rejecting your entry to Italy.
Should you have any questions or concerns about your visa at any stage, please contact your ISI Abroad admissions advisor.
Now for Some Closing Tips &
A List of What to Pack for Your Flight to Italy
Then, if you still have questions, you are invited to contact us.
Every Italian consulate office retains the right to amend its visa process at any time, without notice. We encourage you to refer back to your consulate’s website frequently throughout the process. As ISI Abroad becomes aware of changes in the visa process, we will alert you by email. However, we cannot always guarantee that we’ll receive this information in time for your appointment.
Be sure to make copies of your entire application for your records. If you are submitting by mail, all documents will need to be notarized. Most financial institutions have a notary public on staff but they don’t always work full-time. We, therefore, recommend that you schedule notary appointments in advance.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you are responsible for any Italian visa regulations that pertain to your particular citizenship. For more information, contact your local Italian consulate. You can also contact your ISI Abroad admissions advisor for assistance relative to your country’s requirements.
Documents to Pack for Italy
Please bring any and all documents returned to you by your consulate (we strongly suggest that you carry these in your carry-on luggage). These and other documents necessary upon arrival in Italy are listed below.
- All (original) documents returned to you by the Italian consulate
- The originals and a photocopy of the Acceptance Letter sent to you by your ISI Abroad program
- The original and a photocopy of the Health Insurance Letter
- The original and a photocopy of your Affidavit of Support
- Photocopies of the primary page of your passport and of the visa page
Make sure to keep a record (electronic or otherwise) of the contact numbers for your bank and/or credit card providers. These can come in handy should you lose your card(s) while abroad or need to set additional travel notifications as you explore on weekends.
In bocca al lupo!
We Look Forward to Welcoming You Soon!