Italy Student Visa: Your FAQs Answered

Embarking on a journey of higher education in Italy is a thrilling prospect, but it comes with its set of challenges, particularly understanding the intricacies of applying for a student visa.

This guide aims to demystify the process, offering answers into crucial questions like the necessity of language certification, study gap acceptance, and sponsorship possibilities.

Aspiring students, especially those eyeing Italy for their academic pursuits, will find valuable information to pave the way for a successful application process.

Applying to Italian Universities

Receiving an acceptance letter from an Italian University marks the first step in the visa application process. If you have any doubts whether you meet the eligibility criteria to obtain one, read through our answers to the most common question on this topic to get an idea whether Italy is the right option for you.

Are My Academic Qualifications Valid in Italy?

International students should verify whether their academic qualifications are recognized by each Italian university they intend to apply to. Different courses may have different criteria, so to make sure that your previous education aligns with the standards set by the institution check the official university website for this kind of information.

How Much Study Gap Is Acceptable in Italy?

Generally speaking, Italian universities accommodate breaks in enrollment, allowing up to a 2-year hiatus for bachelor’s programs and an 8-year gap for master’s programs. However, a valid reason or relevant work experience must be provided to justify the gap.

Does Italy Require IELTS or other language certificates?

While many Italian universities offer programs in English, some may require proficiency in the Italian language, especially for certain courses. Verify the language requirements of your chosen program and institution. International English language proficiency tests like IELTS or TOEFL are widely accepted but not always required, it’s really up to the program you enroll into. 

What Documents Do I Need to Study in Italy?       

 Academic achievements, encompassing degrees, training certificates, and academic transcripts from high school or university are required in their original form (i.e. printed out diplomas). Non-EU applicants need translations and apostille stamps, unless their diplomas adhere to The Hague Convention. Italian universities also require a Declaration of Value (Dichiarazione di valore) for previously earned diplomas to verify their alignment with the Italian higher education system. This declaration is issued by the Italian Diplomatic Representative. Furthermore, applicants from specific countries may need to provide a certificate demonstrating successful completion of an entrance examination in their home country, as mandated by Italian higher education institutions.

How much money do I need as a student in Italy?

On top of your university fees, you’ll need to demonstrate that you can travel back to your home country after your studies are completed and that you have enough funds to live in the country. Usually this is estimated around €10.000 a year, but it’s best to always check with your University’s ISO (Internation Student office) as it fluctuates based on cost of living assessments.

Do international students get financial aid in Italy?

In Italy, there are primarily two types of financial aid available: government scholarships for international students and scholarships provided by individual universities. These financial assistance programs vary in the offered amount and may or may not include coverage for accommodation expenses.

Are there any entry exams?

Italian universities fall into two categories: State-funded and private. While private universities typically have entry restrictions, State Universities require a test only for specific degrees in healthcare, architecture, veterinary sciences, and education. If you opt for a State-funded university and a degree outside these fields, meeting language proficiency and academic background criteria is usually sufficient.

Securing a Student Visa in Italy

Preparing to study in Italy involves understanding the key steps and requirements for obtaining a student visa. This section outlines the essential requirements and procedures to ensure you are well-prepared to commence your studies in Italy.

Who Needs a Visa to Study in Italy?

Students from non-European Union (EU) countries planning to study in Italy for more than 90 days generally require a student visa. However, students from Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland are exempt. Check out the official website for further details.

What types of student visas are available in Italy?

Italy offers different types of student visas based on the nature and duration of the academic program. The primary categories include:

Short-Stay Student Visa (Type C)

  • Applicable to short-term courses or language programs, exchange & mobility programs, vocational training and apprenticeships.
  • Valid for a duration of up to 90 days.
  • Generally not extendable, and it does not lead to residency.
  • Under this category fall exchange & mobility programs, single university course, vocational training, academic short course, apprenticeships.

Long-Stay Student Visa (Type D)

  • Designed for students enrolled in graduate or post-graduate courses.
  • Allows for a stay longer than 90 days.
  • Extendable for the duration of the academic program.

How to apply for an Italy Student Visa?

To obtain your student visa, visit the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country. Schedule a visa interview roughly 4 to 6 weeks before your intended departure. It’s advisable to initiate the application process at least 3 months before your planned arrival in Italy, considering the processing time, which can range from 1 to 3 weeks or possibly longer.

What documents do I need for a student visa in Italy?

This varies based on the country of origin, but here’s a comprehensive list:                                     

1. Visa application form for either Visa Type D or Visa Type C
2. Passport-size photos.
3. Valid Passport with at least two blank pages.
4. Academic documents; these include all your certificates & academic transcripts, including translated copies if not in Italian. Only approved translators can provide these and universities will let you know which ones they recommend.
5. Pre-enrollment form, which can be obtained through the Universitaly website. Registration on the portal is necessary, and applicants should upload required documents. On the website, choose your university, leave the tax code blank if not available yet, and select the Italian Embassy/Consulate where you’ll apply for the study visa. The university will conduct a preliminary assessment, requesting academic qualifications and relevant documents and if you get admitted, the university will send you a Pre-Enrolment letter through Universitaly. After this, candidates need to contact their country’s Italian diplomatic office for instructions on obtaining a study visa. Note that preliminary acceptance does not guarantee visa approval.
6. The Document Refinement form, also known as Form C, which can be acquired through the Declaration of Value (DOV) or CIMEA, both of which serve as equivalency certificates assessing the student’s education years for eligibility in chosen courses. The DOV, obtained during the visa application at the Italian embassy, involves filling out Form C, acting as a request form for the DOV certificate. On the other hand, CIMEA, consisting of Statement of Compatibility and Statement of Verification, serves a similar purpose as DOV and can be obtained before the visa application, offering flexibility in timing but with a higher cost. Students typically need to choose between DOV and CIMEA, depending on the university’s requirements, considering the cost difference and issuance timing.
7. Bank statement.
8. Proof of all legal fees.
9. Correct processing visa fee receipt.
10. National Identity Card if available.
11. Language certificate if required.
12. Travel & Health insurance.
13. A Family Registration Certificate (FRC), which indicates that your family record is complete in the country’s database. This document includes details about your siblings and parents, and sometimes, your spouse. It is crucial for applications for Italian regional scholarships such as DSU or EDISU, making it advisable to obtain the certificate.
14. Copy of flight booking & hotel reservation
15. Affidavit, if sponsorship is required. 
16. Polio & Coronavirus vaccination certificate, which is optional depending on your country of origin.
17. CV, statement of purpose, cover letter or letter of motivation, which are optional.
18. Police clearance certificate.

What to do if your visa application is rejected?

In the unfortunate event of a visa application rejection, it’s crucial to assess the grounds for refusal. Seek guidance from the Italian consulate and address any deficiencies or issues identified during the initial application.

How Much Does an Italy Student Visa Cost?

Typically, visas to enter Italy (excluding Uniform Schengen Visas) can cost up to €116.

Can I Bring My Family Members With Me to Italy On a Student Visa?

Applying for visas for accompanying family members in Italy involves obtaining prior authorization called Nulla Osta from the Sportello Unico Immigrazione at the local police station. This authorization is necessary for non-EU citizens, including those with study visas. The application, initiated through the Ministry of the Interior’s website, requires electronic registration with SPID authentication. If the applicant is abroad, a proxy can apply through Patronati offices. Obtaining this authorization can be challenging, and it is advisable to contact the Embassy or Italian Consulate well in advance for guidance.

Who can sponsor me to study in Italy?

Parents, uncles/aunts or any guardian.

Settling in Italy

After you moved to Italy, you can request a three-month study permit to take entrance exams at universities or educational institutions.

If you’re officially enrolled in a study program, you must then apply for a residence permit within eight days of arriving in Italy. The process involves submitting documents to the Post Office, and the Immigration Police Headquarters will then arrange an appointment. Required documents include proof of enrollment, health insurance, housing details, and proof of sufficient financial resources. You can read all about it in our dedicated article.

Study permits are valid for three months, while residence permits align with the study program’s duration. Renewal is possible annually, requiring proof of economic means, health insurance, and academic progress, allowing up to three consecutive years of renewal.

Life as a student in Italy

Embarking on the academic journey in Italy opens doors to diverse experiences and challenges. In this section, we delve into essential aspects of life as a student.

Which countries can I visit with an Italian student visa?

Your student visa grants access to other Schengen countries, allowing you to explore and broaden your cultural horizons during breaks.

Is Italy expensive for students?

Italy offers varying living costs depending on the city, but generally, it can be affordable for students. Careful budgeting and exploring student discounts can help manage expenses.

Can I work and study?

With a student visa for Italy, you are allowed to work part-time, either 20 hours per week for 12 months or up to 40 hours per week for 6 months. However, it’s essential to note that your work contract must not exceed the duration of your student permit. You can also work as self-employed if your job is only temporary and not on-going. In this case, when you work for a business, you’ll issue them with an invoice (notula ritenuta d’acconto), whereas if you work for a person or a family (e.g. babysitting) payment will be made directly to your bank account through a voucher. You’ll need however to register on the INPS website using the Libretto di Famiglia scheme in this instance.

Can I get an interniship?

Certainly, the study or vocational training visa enables participation in both curricular and non-curricular internships. National and regional regulations extend internship opportunities to legally resident foreign nationals in Italy, emphasizing training and orientation for job placement. It’s important to note that internships do not adhere to the working hours limit set for paid employment.

Securing a visa to study in Italy marks the beginning of a transformative journey. Beyond the paperwork, deciding to study in Italy also means immersing yourself in the country’s rich and vibrant culture, making memories that will last for lifetime. For personalized assistance don’t hesitate to get in touch

Would you like to learn more about similar topics? Then take a look at our articles, Path to residency: Italy’s permit of stay requirements, Long term rental in Italy, Living (and Paying Taxes) in Italy with a Green Card.

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