GETTING YOUR STUDENT VISA

After the process I had to go through to obtain my Dichiarazione di Valore (statement of value) for all of my high school and university transcripts and diplomas, applying for a student visa was a piece of cake. I’ve done it twice now, once as an exchange student for a 3-month study abroad program, and most recently as an incoming grad student planning study in Milan for 15 months.

As always, different consulates will ask for different documents for your visa application, and they will process your application at different speeds. I’m lucky in that the Italian Consulate of Houston, to whom I apply for my student visa because I’m a permanent resident of Arkansas, has a visa office that processes visas rather quickly. My study abroad visa was returned to me in one week, and my recent study visa for my Master’s program was returned to me in two days.

Below is the copied text of a list sent to me by the visa office in Houston outlining the necessary documents for my student visa application. This was sent to me in July 2015, so the list could be out-of-date or different based on which consulate you will use and when you apply. It’s best to check the consulate’s website and/or email for an updated list of the required documents, but feel free to use this as a general guideline. The italic notes below each document are my own personal notes from my own experiences in applying for a student visa.

STUDY VISA
Documents check-list

  • Visa Application Form for long term stay (91 to 365 days) or for short term stay (1 to 90 days). 
Please notice that all the names appearing on the passport must appear on the application form (all data must match those on the passport). The form must be dated and signed in front of a Visa Officer at the Consulate General or, if mailed, only in front of the Honorary Consul/Consular Correspondent (not Notary Public).

This form should be found on your consulate’s website.

  • Recent passport-size photograph (1.2”x1.5” or 3×4 cm), on white background, full face and front view, stapled/glued to the application form. Scanned or photocopied photos will NOT be accepted.
  • Valid passport plus 1 copy of the page with photograph and expiration date. The passport or travel document must be valid at least three months after the visa expiration date. Please make sure the passport has at least two blank pages to affix the visa.
  • For non-US citizens: original and copy of Permanent Residence Card or other US immigration document allowing re-entry into the United States (e.g., valid long-term US, Advanced Parole, etc.). The US Residence permit or visa should be valid at least three months beyond the intended departure from the Schengen territory. International students must also submit original and copy of F-1 Visa and valid re-entry (“travel”) signature on I-20. Please provide copy of old passport if US visa is affixed there.
  • Original and copy of Driver’s License or State ID as proof of residence in the jurisdiction of this Consulate General. Full-time students may also use original and copy of Student ID. If you recently moved and have not updated your ID, you must submit another proof of current address (e.g., utility bills, bank statements, etc).
  • Original and copy of the official letter of acceptance from an accredited academic institution in Italy. The letter, on the institution’s letterhead, must be addressed to the Consulate General of Italy and specify the period of study, the full-time enrollment (at least 20 hours per week), and if tuition and room/board are covered in full.
  • For Study Abroad students: original and copy of letter of enrollment from home academic institution addressed to the Consulate General of Italy, indicating the student’s current status (full-time in good standing) and expected date of graduation. This letter must be accompanied by the letter of acceptance into the Study Abroad Program (original an copy), when this is sponsored by a different US College or University.
  • For non-Study Abroad students: original letter from home academic institution addressed to the Consulate General of Italy indicating the student’s current status and expected date of graduation. If no longer studying, provide copy of transcript. In addition you must show proof of payment in full of the course you will attend in Italy and proof of accommodation.
  • For enrollment in Italian Universities for “Corsi di Laurea” or “Corsi Singoli”: before you can apply for the study visa, you must have complied with the regulations on Universities pre-enrollment registration, posted on this website under Consular Services/Students/University enrollment.
  • For Internship: applicants must present in original and copy an INTERNSHIP PROJECT (Progetto Formativo e di Orientamento), drawn up by the hosting Italian company or organization  (Soggetto Ospitante) and formally approved by the competent Regional or Provincial Office (Soggetto Promotore) on the basis of an existing agreement (Convenzione di Tirocinio). The Progetto Formativo must conform to the guidelines found in the Ministerial Decree n. 142 of 25 March 1998 (Decreto Interministeriale n. 142 del 25 marzo 1998 per Tirocini formativi e di orientamento). Study/Internships Visas can only be issued in the presence of available yearly quotas.
  • Proof of financial means. A bank statement or a letter from a US banking institution, on the bank’s letterhead, signed by a bank official and with a recent date, indicating account balance (a minimum of $ 800.00 per each month of stay in Italy is required). Students who receive financial aid must present an official letter from their University stating amount of aid and time of disbursement.

If you are getting a bank statement, you will want the most recent three months of statements. The consulate in Houston did not accept my bank statements that were from earlier months in the year. Also, have every page (both front and back) of the bank statement stamped and initialed by the bank official.

  • Affidavit of Support. If the applicant doesn’t have own funds because supported by the parents, one or both parents must submit an affidavit of support with the bank statement (see Proof of financial means). The Affidavit must be signed in front of the Visa Officer if the parents come with the applicant to the interview, or notarized by a Notary Public.

This form should be found on your consulate’s website.

  • Proof of health insurance coverage abroad as follows: Certificate issued by the health insurance company or by the Study Abroad Program, stating that the student has minimum coverage of $50,000 for hospitalization, emergencies, evacuation and repatriation and Affidavit of Overseas Health Insurance This statement  must be signed by the student in front of the Visa Officer or notarized.
  • Proof of lodging if not included in the letter of acceptance from the Italian Institution.
  • Confirmed flight reservation for a round trip. If your stay is longer than 6 months, you can present a one-way ticket together with proof of available funds for the purchase of the return ticket.
  • Return envelope: required in the event that applicants cannot collect the passport with the visa in person. Please provide envelope of UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICES EXPRESS MAIL or PRIORITY MAIL with a tracking number, pre-paid and self-addressed.

That’s it! Again, you should contact your consulate or check their website to see which specific documents they want, as this list may be out-of-date or inaccurate based on when and where you are applying. Also, be sure to notarize everything! If you are unsure as to whether you need to notarize a document and the listen doesn’t clarify, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Go ahead and notarize it. As always, I will try to help with any questions. Thanks for reading!

1 Comment on GETTING YOUR STUDENT VISA

  1. Glen Peil
    September 7, 2016 at 2:46 pm (1 year ago)

    Excellent write-up. I certainly appreciate this website. Thanks!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *