Do you need a visa to travel to Italy? That all depends on which passport you hold. Visa requirements for Italy range from precisely zero – no visa or registration needed – to mandatory visas which must be applied for well in advance of your trip. That’s in addition to restrictions on the length of stay, which also vary, depending on what passport you have.
Whether it’s the cliffside Cinque Terre villages or the cityscapes of Rome, Florence and Venice that draw you in, Italy is one of Europe’s big-hitter destinations with good reason.
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Deciding to go is the simple part, but figuring out the rules around visiting can be a bit trickier. To make things a little simpler, here’s our guide to visa requirements for Italy, with everything you need to know about the different visa types available and the rules around them.
Visa-free travel to Italy
Italy is part of the Schengen area – a bloc of 27 European countries that comprise the largest border-free area on the planet. Citizens of these countries, as well as the wider EU and EAA, do not require a visa to enter Italy, and there is no time limit on how long they may stay.
Around 60 countries outside the EU, including the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, are also granted visa-free travel to Italy and other Schengen countries for a maximum of 90 days within any 180 day period. Your passport must be valid for at least three months after your intended departure date, and you may be required to show documentation justifying the reason for your stay and your date of departure. To see if your country is covered, use the questionnaire on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Note that the 90 days covers travel in the entire Schengen area; for example, if you’ve spent 30 days in France, your maximum stay in Italy is 60 days. The 180 days are calculated on a rolling basis and the 90 days don’t have to be consecutive – you can dip in and out of Schengen throughout the year. Calculate dates carefully, as the 90 days cannot be extended, and overstayers risk being deported or barred from re-entry to the bloc. Various online calculators exist to crunch the numbers and work out your remaining allowance if you input your travel dates and destinations.
Note that the EU plans to bring its long-awaited ETIAS visa waiver scheme in 2024. Non-EU passport holders who currently travel visa-free to Italy will need to get preauthorization before travel, in a system similar to the United States’ ESTA program. It is set to cost around €7 and should give speedy online authorization.
It’s easy to travel through the Schengen Zone by train once you have your visa © Oscar Wong / Getty Images
Visa requirements from other countries
Travelers from all other countries require a Schengen visa to enter Italy (and the wider Schengen area). Such countries include India, Pakistan, China, Egypt, Thailand, the Philippines and Rwanda. Again, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website lists requirements by country.
If required, visas should be applied for at the nearest Italian consulate in your country of origin. Documents needed include a recent passport-size photograph and a passport with an expiry date of at least three months longer than that of the visa requested. You may also be asked to show a return ticket and booked accommodation, as well as proof that you have the financial means to support yourself during your visit to the country, and health insurance to cover your trip.
Schengen visas cost €80 for adults and €40 for children (aged 6-12; there is no charge for children under 6). The tourist visa duration is 90 days for the entire Schengen area. Visas are usually valid for six months and can only be extended in exceptional circumstances. The website for your nearest Italian consulate will have details on how to book an appointment and make the application.
Take a working holiday in Italy and get to know the locals © Westend61 / Getty Images
Can I get a working holiday visa for Italy?
Italy offers a working holiday visa to 18-30 year olds from Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, and 18-35 year olds from Canada. These visas allow holders to stay in Italy for one year, and work for a maximum of six months (for a maximum of three months for the same employer) during that time to financially support themselves.
It’s also worth noting that a permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay, also referred to as a residence permit) is required by all non-EU nationals who stay in Italy longer than three months. In theory, you should apply for one within eight days of arriving in Italy.
EU citizens do not require a permesso di soggiorno, but are required to register with the local registry office (Ufficio Anagrafe) if they stay in Italy for more than three months.