So you want to spend some time in Italy?  When going at it on your own, the complex bureaucracy of the visa process can be daunting and, at times, even discouraging.

This post is intended to guide you through the process of presenting a successful application. 

If you haven’t yet found a school, here is a list of certified schools composed by the Student Office at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC.  It lists schools in all regions of Italy specializing in everything from language to cooking to fashion to photography to graphic design.

Corsi per stranieri in Italia

Virginia (with the exception of Fairfax and Alexandria counties) is under jurisdiction of the Italian consulate in Philadelphia  - not the embassy in Washington DC. Make sure all of the documents you present with your application are specific to the Philadelphia office, as they may vary slightly from consulate to consulate. 

For the proof of financial means and proof of overseas insurance, your documents need to be notarized.  Your documents will need to be signed in front of a notary public – this can be done at banks, most offices, lawyers, universities, etc.

When you are ready to make your appointment, you will have to call the number listed online – it’s not free (it’s $2.40/minute), so make sure everything is ready before calling.

Completed Application for a National Visa

Form found on the Philadelphia consulate website – make sure it’s the application for more than 90 days. For instructions on filling out this application, consult the following sites for sample applications.

The application must be signed in the presence of the consular officer.

Passport-sized photograph

Official passport photograph (you can get these printed at Walgreens or CVS in about five minutes for about $10)

Valid Passport

Make sure it will be valid for at least three months after your intended return date.  (It’s a good idea to present a copy as well)

Virginia Drivers License

To prove residency in the area of jurisdiction.  If you have recently moved, you may present an alternative form of identification and proof of residency (such as a utility bill).

Letter of Acceptance from an Italian university or certified school

2 copies. Must be presented on the school’s official letterhead. May be faxed or a printed PDF (as long as it has the letterhead and signature).  You must be enrolled as a full-time student (20 hours/week).

To enroll in an Italian university, you will have to have your official academic records translated and certified by the Italian consulate before completing the visa application. This is called Dichiarazione di Valore; more information may be found here:

Student Office, Washington DC. (

The following site provides links to certified private institutes in all regions of Italy (for example, language, art, fashion and music schools)

Corsi per stranieri in Italia

Proof of prior academic background

For example, an official (sealed) transcript. 

Proof of Financial Means

The consulate website says you must show proof that you have at least $1000/month for the time you will be in Italy plus enough to cover the cost of tuition. As a student, it’s not likely you have enough money in your account for a year abroad! In that case, you may present a notarized affidavit of support and a letter showing the balance in your parents account.  A sample letter may be found on the consulate website.  (It is acceptable to have the banker write in excess of $XX,XXX rather than the exact amount in the account, if preferred)

Proof of Overseas Health Insurance

This may be purchased online before your departure online but you will get better coverage for a better deal if you get it when you arrive with the INA (which you can do at the local post office).  If you decide to purchase insurance in Italy, you will need to present a notarized affidavit of overseas insurance (form found on the consulate website).

Proof of Lodging


Finding and committing to a suitable apartment before departure is difficult; beware of scammers and realize that online profiles may not be entirely reliable.

You may have your school write a letter declaring that they will help you secure an apartment upon arrival – in this case you must also present proof of a reservation at a hotel or hostel for about a week to show proof that you have somewhere to go when you arrive in Italy.  You must present a valid Italian address and phone number.

Note – the consulate advised against presenting proof of accommodation with a host family for a study visa.  

Confirmed round-trip flight

It must be a round-trip ticket. If you are planning on studying in Italy for a long period of time, you may not be able to book your desired return date.  I advise booking through Lufthansa Generation Fly – Lufthansa’s student flights. You will have a layover in Germany but you can get a round-trip flight for under $1000 with one free date change – most other airlines will charge you $300 for each date change. 

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