I’ve been getting hundreds of emails asking me, “do you need a visa for Italy?” The rules and regulations surrounding visas for visiting Italy are getting a little more complicated and you’ve only got a few more months to enjoy visa-free travel to Italy. The short answer, for now, is no. But beginning in 2024, you will need to apply for the new ETIAS if you are visiting from a non-EU, visa-exempt country like the United States.
Do I need a visa to go to Italy in 2023?
If you are from a non-EU, visa-exempt country like the United States and traveling to Italy in 2023, you do not need a visa or ETIAS for Italy.
Do I need a visa to go to Italy in 2024?
If you’re planning a trip to Italy in 2024, there’s an additional step you’ll need to take before living la doce vita! Beginning in 2024, certain travelers to European Union countries, including Italy, will face an additional prerequisite before departing on their vacations.
As per the newly instituted travel authorization guidelines by the E.U., under the framework of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), intending visitors from over 60 “visa-exempt” nations, inclusive of the United States, will be required to complete an online form and pay a nominal charge prior to traveling to any of the 30 European nations.
When will the EU begin accepting applications?
According to the official ETIAS website, the EU will open applications “from 2024.” No one quite knows if that means January 1st or what?! This announcement was originally made in 2020, with a start date of 2021, but this date has been continuously pushed back. As of summer 2023, you cannot yet apply for the ETIAS Visa.
Who needs to apply for this new ETIAS authorization?
Nationals from visa-exempt countries intending to visit an E.U. country for a brief period are obligated to secure ETIAS authorization. Such visa-exempt countries include places like the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Mexico, among others. A comprehensive list is accessible here.
The European Union characterizes a brief period stay as any visit (or cumulative visits) not exceeding 90 days within a span of 180 days. Individuals without nationality but residing in and possessing a travel document from one of the visa-exempt countries will also have to obtain ETIAS authorization.
How much will the ETIAS visa cost?
The online application for ETIAS authorization will require a fee of 7 euros, approximately $8. This permit stays valid for three years, or until the expiration of the travel document used in the application, whichever comes first.
This permit allows travel up to 90 days within a span of 180 days. If a traveler wishes to return to an E.U. country after 180 days since the permit was first used, even if they have not stayed for a full 90 days, they need to apply for a new authorization. Therefore, starting in 2024, for instance, individuals visiting an E.U. country just for a week annually will need to pay the 7 euro fee and apply for the permit each year.
What information is required for the application?
To apply, you will need to give personal details like your name, birth date, where you’re from, where you live, your parents’ names, email, and phone number. You also need to share what jobs you have, your education level, and information about your trip and stay in E.U. countries. You will also need to share your travel document details like passport number, expiration date, etc. You may also be asked about any criminal convictions you may have had.
How will I know I’ve been approved or the ETIAS and how long will it take?
You should receive an email stating that your application has been received and a second email stating that you have been approved. This should happen in a matter of minutes in most cases. But you should plan to receive it within at least four days. More documentation may be needed depending on your situation, and in extreme cases, an interview may be required.
How far in advance should I apply for the ETIAS?
Ideally, you should apply for the ETIAS at least a month before your travel date, but the earlier the better, especially with these new systems and processes. Things may be unpredictable and it’s best to give yourself plenty of time in case there are any issues that arise.
Do I need to carry my ETIAS with me?
Yes, you should carry your ETIAS along with your passport everywhere you go in Italy and in the EU. Learn why you need to carry your passport in Italy.
Will this affect my speed at the airport?
Given that ETIAS authorization is a new procedure, it could possibly lead to delays at passport control, potentially causing issues for closely scheduled flight connections. Currently, if a U.S. traveler is flying to a country within the Schengen zone via a connecting flight in another Schengen zone country, they are required to pass through passport control prior to boarding their connecting flight. So just keep this in mind when planning layovers that connect in Europe.
Should I use an unofficial ETIAS site?
While you can use these unofficial sites, it’s best to stick with the official ETIAS website. Many of these unofficial sites are legitimate, but to avoid scams, it’s just safer to use the ETIAS website itself.
TL,DR – Do You Need a Visa to go to Italy?
Beginning in 2024, yes, travelers from previously visa-exempt countries, like the United States, to European Union countries, including Italy, will be required to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System). You can apply online, it costs 7 euros, and is good for 3 years.
Honestly, the new ETIAS Visa for non-EU citizens is not a huge deal. Most visitors to the US need to apply for something similar and pay a small fee. As Americans, we are pretty spoiled and allowed to travel most of the world visa-free. Those days are most likely coming to an end in the near future. And really this is a small price to pay for being able to visit beautiful Italy!