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  • Entry to Italy

    On 26 October 1997 Italy joined the Schengen system at the end of a gradual process of adjusting to the common visa regime provided by the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement. Reinforcement of the common external border followed the parallel and gradual removal of internal border controls, allowing complete freedom of movement within all the territories of the Schengen agreement signatory States and establishing what has become known as the Schengen Area.

    EU nationals do not need a residence permit to stay in Italy.

    Admission onto Italian soil through a external Schengen Area border is only permitted to aliens who:
    a. seek entry at a border crossing point;
    b. are in possession of a valid passport or equivalent recognized travel document permitting them to cross the border;
    c. are in possession of documents substantiating the purpose and the conditions of the planned visit and have sufficient means of support, both for the period of the planned visit and to return to their country of origin (or to travel in transit to a Third State);
    d. are in possession of a valid entry or transit visa;
    e. have not been identified as inadmissible by the Schengen Information System (SIS);
    f. are not considered to be a threat to public order, national security or the international relations of any of the Contracting Parties, under Italian law or the law of another Schengen State.

    Foreigners already resident in another Schengen State, and in possession of a sojourn permit, are exempt from the obligation to obtain a visa for periods of up to 3 months, on the condition that entry into Italy is not for the purpose of subordinate work, autonomous work or study/internship or study/ training; If any one of the aforementioned conditions are not met, the foreigner may be denied entry by the border authorities even if in possession of a valid entry visa.

    A foreigner wishing to enter Italian territory, or the Schengen Area in general must have sufficient financial resources available to guarantee maintenance throughout the planned visit and the return trip. The availability of means of subsistence is therefore an essential condition for the entry of a foreigner into the Schengen Area (Visa Code). On 1 March 2000 the Interior Ministry, (pursuant to section 4(c)(3) of the Consolidated Act no. 286/1998), issued a, “Directive defining means of subsistence for the entry and sojourn of foreigners on Italian soil” (published in the Official Journal No. 64 on 17 March 2000). This Order requires foreign nationals to demonstrate that they possess means of subsistence by showing liquid cash, bank guarantees, insurance policy guarantees or equivalent credit instruments, vouchers for prepaid services or other documents demonstrating access to sources of income in Italy. Except where otherwise provided by the instruments mentioned above, the foreigner must give proof of having made arrangements for appropriate accommodation in Italy and the availability of funds for repatriation, which may also take the form of a prepaid return-trip ticket. The need to provide evidence of means of subsistence in the amount required is not only a fundamental condition for the issue of certain types of visas, but is also required at the moment the foreigner enters Italian territory. No visas can be issued in the event of failure to produce evidence of means of subsistence or, in the event that such evidence cannot be provided to Border Police, the foreigner will be formally turned away from the border.

    Entry Visa A visa, which consists of a special sticker affixed to the applicant’s passport or other valid travel document, is a foreigner’s authorisation to enter the territory of the Italian Republic or that of the other Contracting Parties for transit or visit purposes. The visa is issued on the basis of criteria related to the preservation of good international relations and to the protection of national security and public order Visas issued by Italian foreign missions are valid for access, transit or brief sojourn (up to 90 days) both in Italy and in other countries that apply the Schengen Convention, and this type is known as a “Uniform Schengen Visa” (USV); likewise the USV issued by the diplomatic-consular missions of other countries that apply the Schengen Convention, grants entry into Italy. A long-term entry visa (for more than 90 days) is called a “National Visa” NV) and grants access for long-term sojourn in the State that issued it allows, on condition it is still valid, the free circulation for a period of no more than 90 days per semester in the territory of other Member States.