The legal requirements for visiting or staying in Italy depend on citizenship - European Union (EU) or non-European Union (EU) citizen - reason for entry into Italy, and intended duration of the stay.
EU-citizens do not require a visa to enter in Italy, regardless of the planned duration of the stay.
All non-EU citizens require a visa for a stay of longer than three months (90 days). The home country Italian Embassy can provide guidance on the type of visa required and the documents needed for the application. The visa must be inserted into the passport before leaving for Italy.
Under Italian law, every foreigner in Italy is considered to be either a tourist or a resident. As a rule, a tourist is a foreigner staying in Italy for less than three months. People coming on a business trip, students enrolled in short courses, people doing research on their own, for example, are considered to be tourists, as long as the stay does not exceed three months.
Note: As of May 28, 2007, all non-residents from non-Schengen countries (including Canada and the United States) are required to complete a Declaration of Presence (Dichiarazione di Presenza). Obtain and complete the Declaration of Presence at the airport on the day of arrival. Tourists arriving from a Schengen country can request the form from a local police station (commissariato di zona or questura) and submit it to the police within eight business days of arrival. It is important to keep a copy of the receipt issued by the Italian authorities. Failure to submit a Declaration of Presence within eight days is punishable by expulsion from Italy.
A resident is anyone who plans to stay in Italy for more than three months. Foreigners working in Italy, seasonal workers, students enrolled in full-time education for a full academic year, or those who wish to live in Italy are considered to be residents. Residents require a permit or certificate of registration.
The Italian Immigration authority (Portale Immigrazione) provides comprehensive information in Italian for EU and non-EU citizens and their family members. (Note that the English version of this website may not be up to date).
The Public Security System in Italy, Polizia di Stato, has detailed information about all cases of immigration.
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