Welcome to the FAQ page. Here you will find answers to some of the most common questions about visa rules and procedures. The questions are listed by type;
Where do I have to apply for visa?
I am a third-country national living in China. Can I apply for a non-immigrant visa here in China or do I have to apply in my home country?
- Visas must be requested at Italian missions abroad having jurisdiction on the applicant¡¯s place of residence. As a rule, residence is defined as the place where a person lives and works. If the applicant¡¯s place of residence is not in agreement with their passport¡¯s place of issue, the applicant is asked to submit a residence permit issued at least six months prior to application. The Embassy may require extra documents (like working contract or house property) to support residence permit.
My husband holds a Beijing permanent residence permit, while I hold a Shanghai one; I have recently moved to Beijing and I do not have any temporary residence permit yet. Can we apply for visa together at the same Consulate?
- While there is no prohibition for third country nationals to apply, applicants should be able to provide evidence of their legal permission to reside in our Consular District, by producing their student or work residence permit. The Embassy may require extra documents (like working contract or house property) to support residence permit. Application procedures and relevant evaluation criteria are the same as those for Chinese nationals.
I already hold a multiple-entry Schengen visa that is about to expire. Can I apply for a new visa in advance?
- No. In this case you have to apply for visa separately at the Consular District having jurisdiction on the province that has issued the permanent residence permit.
My Schengen visa has a 6-month validity. How long can I stay in the Schengen area?
- Yes. The validity of the new visa will start from the expiry date of the previous visa.
Can I bring friends and family with me, if I am to be interviewed?
- If you hold a 6-month multiple-entry visa, you can stay in the Schengen area up to a total of 90 days, which might be spent in different periods but in the space of 180 days.
How far in advance of my travel date can I apply for visa?
- We regret that there is not enough space in our visa section for friends and family. We therefore ask you to come alone, if possible. We make an exception for family accompanying applicants aged 18 or under, elderly relatives aged 65 or over, as well as for sponsors of settlement applications.
Can I apply by EMS?
- Three months maximum. For example, if you plan to depart in September, you cannot apply before June. We recommend that you apply at least three weeks before your planned date of departure.
Which is the expiry date of my visa?
- No. Neither the Italian Embassy Visa Section nor the Italy Visa Application Center will be able to accept applications sent via courier. However, if you do not wish to return to the Italy Visa Application Centre, a courier service will be available at an additional cost.
What should I do after obtaining visa?
- Two important data appear on the visa: the visa expiry date (e.g. 17th November) and the duration of the stay expressed in days (e.g. 10 days). The applicant must leave the Schengen area before their visa expiry date, making sure that the duration of their stay does not exceed the one stated on their visa.
Should I refer to a travel agent or other advisor to help me with my visa application?
- Upon entering Italian territory, you have to make sure that you hold all the documents already submitted for your visa application, as well as proof of financial means. Where applicable, you will have to apply for a residence permit at the local police station ("Questura").
I have heard that it is better to say that I am going for business rather than for tourism or to see relatives. Is this true?
- No. It is not necessary since the Italy Visa Application Center can assist you on any issue related to your visa application. Please distrust people promising a speedy processing of your visa application. No one can guarantee visa issue to you. Application forms and information are available free of charge on the websites www.ambpechino.esteri.it and www.italyvac.cn/beijing .
Shouldn't I conceal the fact that I have close relatives living in Italy, that I have an immigration visa application on file, or that I have previously been denied visa? What are the consequences if an applicant conceals or misrepresents information or submits fraudulent documents to the Embassy?
- No. On the contrary, problems arise when applicants deliberately mislead the interviewing officer during the interview. Once a misrepresentation is made, it will be difficult to believe any other information supplied by the applicant.
- The risks of fraud are serious. Applicants who provide incorrect information will be denied visa. All applications are checked against computer records to see if certain information on the application was truthfully presented. Applicants submitting fake documents are reported to the Italian Prosecutor. Public passport holders submitting fraudulent documents will be reported to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I often go to Italy for business purposes and I wish to apply for a 1-year multiple-entry visa. Do I need to draw up a 1-year insurance policy?
The inviting Italian company undertakes to provide me with an insurance coverage for the whole duration of my stay in Italy. Do I need to further draw up a Chinese insurance policy?
- The insurance policy has to cover only the first period of stay in Italy, which has to be documented. It is implied that applicants will draw up an insurance policy every time they travel to Italy within the period of validity of their visa.
The inviting Italian company issued an invitation letter for a period of 10 days; I will then proceed to Paris for a 3-day conference. Can I apply for a Schengen visa whose duration covers both visits?
- Undertaking to provide health insurance is not sufficient. If the Italian company has drawn up an insurance policy in Italy, relevant certification has to be attached to the visa application. Otherwise, the applicants will have to draw up an insurance policy themselves.
I am going to Italy a for 10-day training session at a Milan-based company. Before returning to China, I wish to go to Vienna on a 3-day holiday. Shall I apply for a business or a tourist visa?
- Yes. However, it is necessary to submit a letter of invitation from France, or, on the alternative, a declaration by the Italian company stating that the applicant will proceed to France and specifying the reason of the trip and the hotel where the applicant will stay.
Two colleagues and I have been invited by the same Italian company for a 10-day training session in Rome. I hold a public passport with previous Schengen and US visas, while my colleagues have never travelled before and hold standard passports. Can we apply for visa together?
- You can apply for a business visa. However, you will need to provide proof of financial means and hotel reservation in Vienna.
- No. Even though you have been invited by the same company, visa applications from public passport holders MUST NECESSARILY be forwarded to the Italian Embassy by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What should I do to obtain a working permit in Italy?
- The application can only be submitted by the Italian or foreign employer at the local Unified Immigration Desk ("Sportello Unico").
I wish to enroll in an Italian university. Where can I find relevant information? Which documents should I submit to apply for visa? What validity will my visa have?
I have a scholarship covering university tuition, lodging and boarding for the whole period of my stay in Italy. Do I have to show any other proof of financial means?
- You can find all the information on enrolment into Italian universities on the website www.studyinitaly.cn . The visa application is the final stage of the pre-enrolment procedure. For a list of the necessary documents to apply for visa, please visit the website www.italyvac.cn/beijing and click on the relevant checklist. Study visa is usually valid until 31st January of the year following the registration year; the validity of the residence permit will be extended accordingly by the relevant Unified Immigration Desk upon passing the prescribed university exams.
I have been granted a 3-year scholarship to study in Italy. Can I bring my wife and children with me?
- You will have to only if the amount of your scholarship is lower than the one set by the relevant directive passed by the Italian Ministry of the Interior in 2000.
- Yes. Family reunion is granted to anyone staying in Italy for a period of over 1 year. Before applying for a family reunion visa, you will have to obtain special permission (¡°nullaosta¡±) at the relevant Unified Immigration Desk.
I have already traveled to Schengen countries with business visas. I now wish to go to Italy on a long holiday. Can I apply for a 6-month multiple-entry visa?
I wish to go and visit a relative living in Italy. In order to be granted visa, is it sufficient for me to just provide proof of financial means?
- As a rule, tourist visas are issued for short periods and based on the documentation submitted by the applicant.
How much is the amount of the bank guarantee supposed to be?
- If the applicants have a solid financial position or have already travelled to the Schengen Member States in the recent past, it is sufficient for them to provide proof of financial means. Otherwise, the inviting person has to arrange a bank guarantee (¡°fidejussione¡±) in favour of the applicants. Upon application for visa, if the original certificate of bank guarantee is submitted, there will be no need to provide any other proof of financial means. The Embassy reserves anyway the right to request any other type of document that it deems necessary in order to evaluate the visa application.
I am an Italian citizen registered with AIRE and resident in China. I have lived with my Chinese girlfriend for two years; I would want to marry her, but I have a pending divorce case in Italy. I wish to invite my girlfriend to Italy for a short stay. What kind of visa should I apply for?
- The amount is set by the relevant Directive of the Italian Ministry of the Interior, circulated among all Italian banks.
I have been studying at the University of Madrid for 6 months and I hold a residence permit issued by the Spanish Police. I wish to travel to Italy for a 2-week holiday; which documents should I prepare?
- You can only apply for a tourist visa.
I am currently in Italy and my tourist visa is about to expire. Can I extend it at the Police Station ("Questura")?
- No document is necessary. As a resident and holder of a residence permit in a Schengen country, you need not apply for visa.
- No. You NECESSARILY MUST leave Italian territory before your visa expires. Visas cannot be extended, they only entitle you to enter national territory. Where allowed by law, only residence permits can be extended or converted.
I hold a valid Italian residence permit. If I wish to travel to China for a short period and then return to Italy, do I have to apply for a re-entry visa to Italy?
I have applied through the Post Office for the issue/renewal of my residence permit, but I have not obtained it yet; in the meantime, I have returned to China. What do I need to do to re-enter Italy?
- No. If you hold a valid residence permit, you do not have to apply for a re-entry visa to Italy. You will just have to show your passport and residence permit at the border customs post.
My employment residence permit expired a few days ago, after my temporary return to China. I am supposed to return to Italy in 2 weeks to resume work. Can I apply for a re-entry visa?
- You can re-enter Italy without applying for a new visa, provided that:
1. you exit and re-enter through the same border post
2. your trip does not entail transiting through any other Schengen countries
3. you can show your passport, your entry visa or expired residence permit, and your Post Office receipt at the border post
4. Foreign border authorities are aware of this procedure.
I lost my Italian residence permit in China. What should I do?
- No. In case you have applied for the renewal of your residence permit, you can re-enter Italy by following the procedures stated above. Otherwise, you will have to apply again for a working visa and, consequently, for a working permit and the special permission by the relevant Police Station ("Questura").
- You have to apply again for visa at the relevant Italian diplomatic mission in China, attaching the residence permit loss/theft report issued by the local Police Station and legalized by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I am a Chinese citizen wishing to go to Europe on holiday with a tourist group. Which documents should I submit to apply for visa?
Which Chinese travel agencies can request ADS visa?
- Please contact any accredited Chinese travel agency for detailed information. The list of accredited agencies can be found on www.cnta.gov.cn .
My agency is accredited with CNTA. Can I request ADS visa?
- Only Chinese agencies accredited with CNTA (China National Tourism Administration) can request ADS visa. The list of accredited agencies can be found on www.cnta.gov.cn .
Another courier from my travel agency is already accredited with the Italian Embassy. Am I allowed to apply for accreditation with another embassy?
- No. Accreditation with CNTA is not sufficient to request ADS visa. After verifying that the agency is authorized to provide outbound services for Europe, its two designated couriers can apply for the accreditation card at any Schengen Embassy.
The accredited courier does no longer work in our travel agency. Can we designate another courier?
- No. Couriers from the same agency must apply for accreditation with the same Embassy. The same procedure applies to accreditation card renewal.
I am a courier accredited with the Embassy of Italy. Can I request ADS visa at the Embassy of France?
- No. Only couriers included in official list are allowed to apply for accreditation. The new courier will have to obtain accreditation with CNTA, which in turn will forward the relevant updated information to all Embassies.
- Yes, visa applications can be submitted at any Schengen Embassy.
For more information on Italy Visa, please