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Student visa for Italy

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A student visa for Italy may be of two types: a short-term and a long-term visa.

A short-term type C visa is usually issued to attend language courses or short training sessions for a period of up to 90 days. 

A long-term national D visa allows a person to study at an Italian university or language school for a year. After entering Italy on a D visa, a student has eight days to obtain a residence permit for studies. A residence permit is renewed each year up till the end of the courses. 

Requirements for obtaining a student visa

  • To prove knowledge of English or Italian at the upper-intermediate level or higher,
  • To pass remote preliminary examinations. If the university requires to be present in person at an examination, a short-term tourist visa is to be obtained,
  • To obtain an invitation from an Italian university,
  • To prove sufficient funds for living in Italy and payment of the entire course fee or admission to tuition-free education,
  • To prove the place of residence — a shared living arrangement, own or rented apartment, invitation to stay as a guest,
  • To do biometric screening in a visa centre, 
  • To pass an interview in a consulate (for a D visa).

Obtaining a student visa online

Enrollment at Italian universities for the 2020-2021 academic year is done online. The Italian Cultural Institute is not required to participate except for education in an A.F.A.M.school (Italian Alta Formazione Artistica, Musicale e Coreutica or higher education for arts, music and dance).

A student must get access to the portal UNIVERSITALY and make a preliminary enrollment request. A confirmation of registration should be printed.

The documents should be translated into Italian and apostilled. Academic transcripts and other documents requested by the university must be translated by translators accredited with a consulate of Italy. The documents originally issued in English do not need to be translated.

Stages of obtaining a student visa

  1. Registration on the online portal UNIVERSITALY,
  2. Printing an application,
  3. Documents preparation: getting them apostilled and translated, 
  4. Confirmation of academic degree paper by a statement of value (Dichiarazione di valore), if the university requests this statement,
  5. Collecting other documents and making an application for a student visa,
  6. Passing an interview in the consulate to obtain a D visa.

See full information about higher education in Italy on the official website of the Ministry of Education, University and Research. The procedures for entry, residency, and enrollment for international students in Italy are described in the official paper (in English).

Standard procedure to obtain a visa 

A student visa is obtained in the standard way (not online) by the candidates willing to enrol at the following higher education academic establishments:

  • AFAM higher education establishments (for arts, music, and dance),
  • SSML higher school for language mediators, 
  • Specialised psychotherapy schools,
  • Postgraduate courses at higher technology schools ITS.

Higher education for arts, music, and dance (AFAM)

A student enrolling for the courses Diploma accademico di primo livello or Diploma accademico di secondo livello proposed by AFAM must follow the standard procedure contacting the Italian Cultural Institute. Online applications on the website UNIVERSITALY are available for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Open courses, a quota and number of reservations are available on the official website of AFAM.

Documents for a student visa

Two similar sets of documents should be submitted for a D visa. An applicant pays a consulate fee of €50 and a service fee of a visa centre in its home country at the applicable rate. An application for a C student visa is not subject to a consulate fee.

  • Questionnaire A questionnaire for a C visa is generated automatically. An application for a D visa,
  • Invitation to an education course from an Italian education establishment,
  • A copy of the application for preliminary registration on the website UNIVERSITALY or a signed A bis form for A.F.A.M. application,
  • A copy of academic transcript after 12 years of school studies or a Replacement certificate for all legal purpose proving completion of the first year at a university.
  • A copy of degree document,
  • The original and a copy of the consular statement of value for the level of completed education abroad (Dichiarazione di valore), upon request,
  • A bank statement or a scholarship award certificate for an amount necessary to live in Italy — €460 a month or €6,000 a year,
  • Proof of address — a rented apartment, own housing, shared living arrangement, or guest stay,
  • Medical insurance valid in Italy:
  • A foreign passport and a copy of the foreign passport page with personal information and a photograph, 
  • A home country passport (if applicable) and its copy with personal information, photograph, and registered address, 
  • One colour 35 x 45 mm photograph,
  • Flight tickets or flight reservations,
  • Consent to personal data processing. 

Visa refusal

Refusals are rare, but they do occur. Once the faults are corrected, the visa documents can be reapplied.

Reasons for visa refusal:

  • Documents have expired, 
  • Documents are missing,
  • Financial guarantees are insufficient,
  • Inaccurate or misleading information is submitted,
  • An applicant violated Italian visa rules during the last visits.

Residence permit arrangement

A residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) allows staying legally in Italy for over 90 days in a row. A residence permit may be obtained for the purpose of studies in a school, university, or Italian language courses if the duration of such studies or course exceeds three months.

After entering Italy on a D visa, a student has eight days to obtain a residence permit for the purpose of studies. A residence permit is valid for one year and is to be renewed each year up to the end of education. A residence permit for students allows working in Italy part-time — up to 20 hours a week.

A student residence permit is valid only for the time of studies and may then be replaced by a work residence permit and permanent residence in five years. A residence permit of this type is the simplest to obtain.

How to obtain a residence permit:  

  • Within eight days from arrival, go to the post office and buy a special enveloped set with blank forms and a questionnaire for a residence permit,
  • Fill out Module No.1 of the questionnaire and other documents,
  • Pay the fees and show the payment receipt to the post officer,
  • Give the envelope with the documents to the post officer,
  • Obtain a receipt with the time and date of appointment at a migration service,
  • Go to an interview at a migration department and take all the available documents there,
  • Wait for a notice of a granted residence permit and obtain the document. 
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