Becoming Legal: The Study Visa Process

So you’ve been accepted to study abroad at John Cabot University – congratulations!  Whether you were accepted as a degree-seeking student or a study abroad student, you will have an incredible international experience in a city full of history, culture, and of course, excellent food.

Luckily (or unluckily) for you, your Roman experience will begin months before getting on the plane.  We are referring to the study visa application process.

While time-consuming and often frustrating, this process will allow you to begin getting acquainted with your new home away from home.  Applying for your visa will provide you with a first-hand perspective on the way that national governments regulate movements of people across their borders, and will allow you to learn about specific Italian national laws that govern this process.

Becoming Legal: The Study Visa Process, study abroad in Rome, International schools abroad, visa process for students, what you need to know before studying abroadTo make the process more complicated, Italian Consulates do not follow identical procedures. As a result, is your responsibility to contact the Italian Consulate in the geographic area of your legal, permanent address and review the specific study visa requirements listed on the web site of that Consulate (click here to determine which consulate you should attend).  Each Consulate also has specific forms noted on their website which they require you to download and complete.

Please prepare to attend your appointment at the appropriate Italian Consulate Visa Office with the original copy of each of the documents listed below, as well as one photocopy. Immigration authorities abroad may ask you to show the documents that were submitted to obtain the visa, so you should also have copies of the documents for your own records to bring on your flight to Italy.

So what documents will you need?

1. Completed visa application form. As each Consulate Visa Office has its own form, you must download the study visa application from the respective web site.  This can be found under the title “Long term Visa Application Form” or “Application for National Visa”.

2. Two recent passport-style photos.

3. Your passport. Make sure that it is valid for at least three months after the visa’s projected expiration date and has at least one blank page to affix the visa.

4. Proof of financial support in Italy. The Italian government needs to know that you will have enough money to support yourself during your time in Italy.  A semester-long visiting student must provide evidence of financial support of at least $6,000.  To show this, you will need:

  • A letter from your bank (on the bank’s letterhead and signed by a bank official) indicating your name and account balance (or that of your parents, if you are a dependent) for at least the amounts noted above. The Consulate office may require its own Bank Statement form.
  • If your parents will be supporting you financially, a notarized “Affidavit of Support” from certifying that they will be supporting you during your time abroad.

5. Evidence that you have the funds necessary to return to your home country. The Consulate will require you to show a round trip airline ticket for this purpose. E-tickets are acceptable.

6. Health insurance valid in Italy:  You must demonstrate having adequate health insurance coverage by providing a notarized “Affidavit of Insurance.” We strongly suggest the purchase of a health insurance policy through CISI. The Affadivit of Insurance is a written statement/letter from your U.S. insurance company, written on the insurance company’s letterhead, and signed by the insurance company official indicating:

  • name, full policy number, effective dates of the policy
  • proof of unlimited coverage or a minimum of $50,000 for hospitalization and emergencies
  • valid coverage in Italy and other Schengen countries during the specific dates overseas
  • the policy coverage page and health insurance card

7. Letter of Acceptance to John Cabot University

8. Official JCU Visa Request letter beginning with AL CONSOLATO DI COMPETENZA GENERALE…” The Official JCU Visa Request letter is a legal document. Once your visa is granted, the Italian Consulate typically returns this official letter to you as it is necessary for your Mandatory Permit to Stay session during Orientation.

9. Proof of Adequate Lodgings in Italy

  • Students who choose JCU Housing: letter provided by JCU beginning with “Dichiarazione disponibilità in Italia…”
  • Students who do not choose JCU Housing: Please consult the Consulate for more details. If renting an apartment, obtain a letter from the landlord with the rent contract including the full name of the landlord, the address of the apartment, the apartment/house description. If staying with friends/family you should provide a letter of invitation along with a copy of the host’s ID (“Permit of stay” for non-European Union citizens).  The letter of “Invito” may be downloaded from the Consulate website.

10. Proof of residence in the jurisdiction of the Consulate at which you are applying for your visa. This would be an original and copy of Driver’s License or State I.D, and if a permanent residence, original and copy of Permanent Residence Card OR other U.S. immigration document allowing re-entry into the United States.

11. Documentation of your educational history—obtain an official copy of your college transcript

  • A letter from your home institution, two copies, confirming your enrollment status.  The letter must be addressed to the Consulate General of Italy. State that you will complete a study abroad semester (or year) at JCU, and will return to the home institution for the following semester (or year), anticipated graduation date and major.  This information must be presented to the visa officer in official form, i.e. in a sealed envelope with the university seal.
  • Your current student I.D. from your home institution.

12. If you will be receiving financial assistance from your home institution you will need:

  • A copy of the Consortium Agreement, which you can obtain from your home university’s financial aid office.
  • Letter confirming deferral of payment due to transfer of financial aid to JCU

Please note that an acceptance to John Cabot University is not a guarantee that you will obtain the required study visa to attend JCU.  The Italian Embassy and its Consulate Offices set their own requirements and it is imperative that you read these requirements on the appropriate web site. 

For questions or assistance with this process, contact [email protected] or call the JCU U.S. Office toll-free at: 1-855-JCU-ROMA.

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