The entry visa
The entry visa consists of a sticker placed on a passport or other valid travel documentauthorizing its foreign bearer to set foot on the soil of the Italian Republic or that of another contracting country for transit or stay, to be evaluated on the basis of the needsassociated with the status of international relations and with the defence of national security and the public order.
Visas issued by Italian missions abroad allowthe bearer access, either for transit or for brief residence (up to 90 days) to Italy or othercountries that apply the Schengen Convention, and is called a “Uniform Schengen Visa” (VSU). Likewise, a VSU issued by the diplomatic mission of another Schengen country allows access to Italian soil.
The entry visa for stays of longer than 90 days is called a “National Visa” (NV) and allows long-term residence on the soil of the State that issued it and, as long as it is valid, free circulation for a period of no more than 90 days per half-year on the soil of another Member State.
Responsibility of issuing visas
Authority over visas to enter the Italian Republic is vested in the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its network of accredited diplomatic and consular offices, which are responsible for ascertaining that applicants are in possession of the requisites entitling them to obtain a visa, which is issued by the diplomatic or consular mission with territorial jurisdiction over the place of residence of the applicant.
The authority issuing Uniform Schengen Visa (transit or short sojourn) is the diplomatic mission of the Schengen State present locally which is intended to be the sole or main destination.
Where it is not possible to identify the main destination, in case of several stages in the journey, the visa shall be issued by the diplomatic mission of the Schengen State of entry.
The authority issuing a National Visa (long sojourn) is the diplomatic mission of the Schengen State present locally in the place intended to be the long sojourn destination.
If the Contracting Party competent in issuing the visa does not have a Mission in the alien's country of residence the Uniform Schengen Visa can be issued by the Mission of another Contracting Party on its behalf.
National Visas may not, however, be issued by delegated authority.
The possession of a visa does not give an alien automatic right of entry to Italy, because the border authorities may always refuse entry to an alien who is not in possession of adequate means of subsistence or is unable to provide full details regarding the circumstances of the sojourn in Italy, or for reasons of security or public policy.
No visas (and no extension to previously issued visas) may be granted to aliens who are already on Italian soil.
In exceptional cases the border authorities may issue a transit or short-term sojourn visa (Art.35 of Visa Code).
Visa types and validity
Pursuant to the Visa Code (EC Regulation no. 810/2009, which entered into effect on 5 April 2010) visas are divided into three main categories:
1. Uniform Schengen Visas (USV): valid for all the Contracting Parties' territories, issued for
Airport Transit (type A); Transit (type B), type of visa abolished by the above Visa Code. As of 5 April 2010 Transit visas are all type C; brief-sojourn or travel visas (type C), valid for up to 90 days, for single or multiple entry.
Exceptionally, the Schengen regulation enables important or well-known persons who frequently require a visa and who can provide the necessary guarantees, to be issued type C visas which permit a visit of up to 90 days in any half-year and are valid for one (C1), two (C2), three (C3) or five years (C5).
2. Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV): these are only valid for the Schengen State whose representative issued the visa (or in particular cases for other Schengen states where specifically named) without any possibility of access to or transit through the territory of any other Schengen States. They are issued solely for humanitarian reasons, or in the national interest, or under international obligations as an exception to the common USV system. An alien may not directly apply for these visas, which are issued in a few specific cases by the diplomatic or consular representative when it deems it appropriate to issue the visa for the reasons as stated even though not all the conditions are met for the issue of a Uniform Schengen Visa, or when the applicant does not hold a validly recognised travel document, in particular emergencies or in case of need.
3. Long sojourn or "national" Visas (NV), which are only valid for visits that are longer than 90 days (type D), with one or more entries, in the territory of the Schengen State whose diplomatic mission issued the visa. Holders of type D visas are permitted to circulate freely in Schengen countries other than the issuing one for a period of not more than 90 days per half-year and only if the visa is valid.
Procedures for issuing visas
Visa applications must be submitted in writing, giving all the details required on the special visa application form which must be signed by the applicant, and accompanied by one passport-size photograph.
As a rule, aliens applying for visas must visit the diplomatic or consular offices in person to be interviewed on the reasons and circumstances of the visit.
Applications must be accompanied by a valid travel document on which it is materially possible to appose the visa, together with any supporting documents that may be required.
This documentation, depending on the type of visa requested or which the Mission deems it can issue, is obliged to state:
• the purpose of the visit
• means of transport and return
• means of support during travel and sojourn
• accommodation arrangements.
Once the visa application is accepted on the basis of the documentation produced by the applicant and the results of the interview, which is normally conducted directly and personally, the diplomatic mission carries out the statutory preliminary security checks. This involves line accessing the SIS (Schengen Information System) through the "world visa network", to consult the list of aliens to be refused admission into the Schengen area.
Terms for issuance of visa
The terms for issuance of a Schengen visa are listed in art. 23 of the Visa Code: 15 days, extendable in specific cases to 60.
The timeframe for issuance of national visas are set out in section 5 (8) of Presidential Decree 394 of 31.8.1999, as amended by D.P.R. 334/2004, which states that the diplomatic/consular mission, "after ascertaining that the application can be entertained, and after conducting the necessary investigations in relation to the visa, including the preventive security checks, shall issue the visa within 90 days of the date of application" (30 days for paid employment, 120 days for self-employment).
Pursuant to article 6(2) and (3) of Ministerial Decree 171 of 3 March 1997, these deadlines may be exceeded whenever it is necessary to carry out investigations or acquire information, documents and opinions from foreign authorities.
Any cases of forged documents produced by foreign nationals for the purposes of obtaining an entry visa shall always been reported to the Italian judicial authorities by the diplomatic or consular mission (article 331 of the code of criminal procedure). This applies both to the forgery of Italian documents and documents of foreign origin that are in any way used in support of a visa application (art. 3 par. 8bis of Legislative Decree 286/98).
In the event that the diplomatic/consular authorities are acquainted with any fact, situation or condition that would have prevented the grant of an entry visa that has already in granted, they must issue a formal REVOCATION measure.
The 21 types of entry visa
Inter-ministerial decree no. 850 of 11 May 2011 defines 21 types of entry visas, along with the requirements and conditions for obtaining them:
adoption, business, medical treatment, diplomatic, sports competition, invitation, independent work, subordinate work, mission, family reasons, religious reasons, re-entry, elective residence, research, study, airport transit, transit, transport, tourism, working holiday, volunteer work.
List of countries whose citizens are subject to the visa obligation
In view of the need to gradually harmonize the different national visa policies, the European authorities have adopted various measures including the Council Regulation 539 of 15.3.2001 containing the list of countries whose nationals are subject to the visa requirement.
Nationals bearing ordinary passports of the following countries/regional configurations are subject to visa obligations:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central Africa, Chad, China, Comoro Islands, Congo, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican (Republic), Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestinian National Authority, Papua-New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Solomon, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
List of countries whose citizens are exempt from the visa requirement for short stays
Nationals of the following countries and territories do not require a visa for visits up to a maximum of 90 days, for tourism, on missions, business, invitations, ought to take part in sports events, study:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominica, El Salvador, Emirati Arabi Uniti, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Georgia, Guatemala, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Macao, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Northern Marianas, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Santa Lucia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, St, Vincent e Granadine, Taiwan, Timor Est, Trinidad e Tobago, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Vanatu, Venezuela.
As far as Taiwan is concerned, the exemption from visa obligation is applied exclusively to holders of passports with identity card number included.
Citizens of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia are exempt from visa obligation only if the passport contains biometric data.
This does not apply to citizens of Serbia holding passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (“Koordinaciona uprava”).
Nationals of San Marino, the Holy See and Switzerland do not require a visas in any case.
List of countries whose citizens are subject to the airport transit visa
The citizens of the following countries are required to obtain visas for transit through Italian airports (Airport Transit Visa – ATV) as per Art. 3, EC Reg. no. 810/2009:
Democratic Republic of Congo
Citizens of the countries listed above are exempt from the obligation to obtain an ATV if they satisfy one of the following conditions:
• they already have a valid Uniform Visa (Type C) or a national visa for long-term sojourn (Type D) or a residency permit issued by a Member State;
• they have a valid residency permit issued by an EU Member State that does not participate in the adoption of EC Regulation no. 810/2009 (e.g. United Kingdom) or from a Member State that does not yet fully apply the provisions of the Schengen Acquis (e.g. Romania), or the citizens of third countries with one of the residency permits (valid) mentioned in Annex V of EC Reg. 810/2009 issued by Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino or the United States of America guaranteeing the unconditional return of its holder;
• they have a valid visa issued by an EU Member State that does not participate in the adoption of EC Regulation no. 810/2009 (e.g. United Kingdom) or from a Member State that does not yet fully apply the provisions of the Schengen Acquis (e.g. Romania), or are the citizens of third countries with one of the residency permits (valid) mentioned in Annex V of EC Reg. 810/2009 issued by Canada, Japan or the United States of America when entering the country that issued it or another third country or when, after using this visa, return from the country that issued it;
• are a family member of a European Union citizen
• are a holder of a diplomatic passport
• are a member of an airline crew and citizen of a country party to the Chicago Convention on international civil aviation.
For long-term sojourns (more than 90 days) for whatever purpose all aliens are required to obtain a visa, even if they are nationals of countries that do not require transit or brief-sojourn visas.
It should also be kept in mind that an alien cannot be considered as having a “right” to a visa but rather a simple “legitimate interest”. Denials must be justified and communicated to the person in question in a language understandable to that person or, short of that, in English, French, Spanish or Arabic.
Persons denied visas may lodge a claim with the Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale (T.A.R.) (regional administrative court) of Lazio within 60 days of receipt of notification of denial.
In the case of visas denied for joining or accompanying family members only eventual claims can be made to the authorised regular court.
The Avvocatura di Stato (government legal service) must be notified of eventual claims
Information Source: https://www.esteri.it/