Italian Student Visas

Student visa requirements and procedures are constantly changing. We are doing our best to keep our information up to date, but students are asked to confirm all information via the Consulate website.

In accordance with Italian law, students studying in Italy for 91 days or more are required to obtain a student visa. Those with Italian/EU citizenship are exempted. It is not necessary for US students studying for 90 days or less to obtain a visa. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for details on student visa requirements.

If you need to apply for a new passport or renew a passport set to expire within 3 months of your program end date, please plan accordingly. SAI highly encourages expedited passport processing to ensure your new passport is received 3 months prior to your program start date if your program requires a student visa. If your program does not require a visa please ensure you receive your passport at least 1 month prior to your program start.

The SAI Student Visa Office assists all students in getting ready to apply for their visa, and we provide simple step-by-step instructions for the application process to students after they are accepted.

Some Consulates require an in-person appointment to submit the visa application. Your specific Consulate is determined by the location of either your permanent address or your address while at school. In some cases, your nearest Italian Consulate may require air travel. Please plan and budget accordingly.

The turnaround time for processing visa applications varies from Consulate to Consulate. Some Consulates will process a complete application within 3 – 4 weeks. Other Consulates will process visa applications according to a student’s departure date. We highly suggest you not book any travel outside the US between the time you submit your visa application and when you depart for your study abroad term.

SAI Student Visa Processing

SAI offers Visa Processing for students applying through the Boston, Detroit, and New York Consulates. With SAI visa processing we will review your visa application so it will be approved without any issues. All you need  to do isl mail your complete application to SAI rather than making an in-person appointment. All documents must be received by the visa deadline and we will handle the rest! You will not need to appear at the Consulate or Honorary Consul. Please see the Consulate Checklist with more information. 

Please note that once a passport is submitted to a Consulate, it may take 6 weeks or longer for the visa to be issued. Therefore, students should not schedule any international travel before their SAI program starts if they wish to use the SAI processing service, as we cannot guarantee early return of a passport.

Fall 2024 Deadlines

  • Student Visa Processing Request Form: May 8th, 2024
  • Application submission (all application materials must be received in our office): May 15, 2024

Spring 2025 Deadlines

  • Student Visa Processing Request Form: October 3, 2024
  • Application submission (all application materials must be received in our office): October 17, 2024

Before you Begin

  • Obtaining a student visa may be a time-consuming process, therefore the application should be started as early as possible, and all documents should be gathered in a timely manner.
  • You may start looking for appointments approximately 6 months before your program starts.
  • It is ultimately each student’s responsibility to verify the requirements and obtain their student visa. Since Consulates may change student visa requirements at any time SAI cannot guarantee that any of the information given has not changed or will not change.
  • Consulates have full authority to evaluate and request additional documentation, if they deem necessary, in addition to what is submitted. Submitting all required documentation does not guarantee the issuance of a student visa.
  • Since Italy is a member of the Schengen community, upon obtaining a student visa students will have free access to travel throughout the Schengen area.
  • Non-US citizens and students not residing in the US should contact their nearest Italian Consulate and follow those directions for obtaining a student visa.

All visa information may be found in your Ready-Set-Go! Pack.

Use the Italian Consulate Guide to determine your specific Consulate.

  • Your specific Consulate is determined by either your permanent address or your address while at school.
  • Most Consulates also have Honorary Consulates in alternative locations. These volunteers review your visa application and “notarize” your signature allowing you to then mail your visa application to the main Consulate to finish the process. To locate a nearby Honorary Consulate go to Consulate Network on the Consulate’s website.

Complete the visa application and all supplemental materials, following the SAI instructions. Make a copy of your completed application to bring with you for your program.

SAI will send 3 visa letters to your permanent address to be included with your visa application:

  • Official acceptance letter in Italian
  • SAI enrollment letter with proof of housing
  • Proof of insurance letter

Your official Italian School Acceptance Letter is sent to the SAI office directly from the school in Italy and is not immediately available upon enrollment. When your letters are ready, you will receive a confirmation email that they are being sent.

Let us know ASAP if they have not arrived within 15 days after their mailing.

All Consulates require that you show some form of financial documentation to prove you have finances to live on once you arrive in Italy. All 10 Consulates require different documentation . We strongly suggest you look at the checklist for your specific Consulate to see what is needed to complete your application. Your application will be rejected if you do not give them exactly what they want.

Permit to Stay (Permesso di Soggiorno)

After students receive their student visa, one more step remains. While visas allow students to be in Italy for more than 90 days, the Permit to Stay (Permesso di Soggiorno) allows students to reside in their host city. Students receive SAI’s detailed step-by-step instructions prior to departing for Italy, as well as a list of the items that need to be brought to Italy to complete the Permit to Stay Application upon arrival.

Our Student Visa Office is available to assist you with any questions, please reach out! For visa-related questions, please contact us at