How We Traveled Through Italy With Four Children Part 1
The Prakash family shared their insights with us on how they, a family of 6, traveled through Italy for 30 days on their Dream Holiday.
NOTE Starting June 1, Italy has lifted all covid19-related restrictions.
I bet you've probably been searching for something about "Italy Visas," "Italy Visa requirements," and "how to get my Italian Visa now!" Well, if you're a US citizen, look no further (if you're not, don't worry, you'll still find something useful here).
A long time ago, this was me. Before, I wasn't what you would call a "seasoned traveler." No. It took me quite a while to understand the world of travel, especially the world of visas. Nonetheless, my years of travel did not go to waste. I learned a few things about visas and their individual requirements, specifically to the Schengen Area.
Today you'll find out exactly how US citizens can travel to Italy effortlessly without getting a visa. You'll be able to see the historical city of Rome, the breathtaking architecture of Florence, and everything else Italy offers in no time!
Excited? Let's get started:
First, you'll need to understand who needs an Italy Schengen Visa and who doesn't. For the purpose of this guide, I'll only talk about citizens in the United States. However, if you're not a US citizen, don't worry. [Here's a dedicated guide specifically for Italy Visa and for the Schengen Area.
US citizens will be happy to know that they don't require any Italy Tourist Visa to travel to Italy. US citizens enjoy visa-free travel to Italy for tourism and business purposes for up to 90 days. Meaning, no need to go through the tiresome visa application process. This is known as the Visa Waiver Program.
Although this might be true, there are still a few minimum requirements US citizens need to meet in order to "qualify" for visa-free travel to Italy. Later, I'll walk you through everything you need to know about these requirements in the blog.
Fun Fact: US citizens enjoy visa-free travel to all Schengen Countries that form part of Europe. Currently, the 26 Schengen Countries US citizens can visit without getting a Schengen Visa/short-stay visa are:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
It is well known that millions of US Green Card holders reside in the US. Truth be told, I am one of them. However, unfortunately, we don't enjoy the same benefit as US citizens. We have to apply for a Schengen Visa to travel to Italy or any other Schengen Country.
If you're a US Green Card holder, I recommend reading this in-depth Italy's Tourist Visa requirements guide to learn all about and how to apply for one.
US Green Card holders understand how challenging and frustrating a visa application can be. Applying for a visa is probably the worst part of traveling to another country. We spend most of the time worrying about getting a visa instead of being excited about our next trip.
Luckily, I have found a helpful travel hack I use for all my Tourist Visa applications. "Drum roll, please..." It's an app called Atlys...
Atlys does all the hard work for you. All you need to do is choose your destination, how long you plan to visit and enter your personal details (for the visa application form). Next, Atlys will guide you through the entire application and what you can expect.
Atlys automatically generates some required documents for you (like a travel itinerary), so you don't have to go through the process of getting it yourself. You can also check for visa fees and Italian embassies on Atlys.
Honestly, using Atlys has saved me so much time and frustration. Now, I spend more time getting excited about my trip than stressing about getting a visa. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself.
Before entering Italy, you'll need to meet the specific entry requirements for US citizens. Generally, these requirements are easy to meet as they aren't very demanding.
However, it's worth mentioning that authorities always have the right to deny you entry if you don't meet them. In the next section, I'll walk you through everything you need to know about the specific entry requirements for US citizens.
Once you enter Italy, border authorities may ask you to present the following documents:
The most crucial travel document you will need for Italy is your passport. The US passport must be valid for at least 3 months after you plan to leave the Schengen Area (Italy).
A passport, valid for between 3 to 6 months beyond their stay, is true for most European countries. However, if your passport is close to its expiry date, it would be best to renew your passport. You must also ensure that your passport is not older than 10 years.
For example, if you plan to visit Italy and return to the US in January, your passport must be valid until March/April (depending on the date). Therefore, ensure that your passport is in good condition and not close to its expiry date.
Your passport must have at least two blank pages for the stamps. The passport will be stamped by an immigration officer when you arrive in Italy via an international flight or any other port of entry. The stamp on your passport will be considered a declaration of presence and will be checked when you leave Italy.
Another travel document that will be crucial for American citizens to acquire in November 2023 is the ETIAS visa waiver.
ETIAS, or European Travel Information and Authorization System, is a visa waiver program similar to America's ESTA program. US citizens wanting to visit any country in the Schengen area for a short-term stay (90 days) will have to submit an online application for the ETIAS travel authorization form.
While filling out the online application form, you will be asked for a few personal details and security questions and pay the fees. The processing time for the online application will be 10-15 minutes, and you will receive your approved ETIAS travel authorization via email.
You can read a detailed post on the ETIAS travel authorization on Atlys.
Upon arriving in Italy, the immigration officers or border authorities will ask you the purpose or why you plan to visit Italy. Therefore, you must have documents that support the reason for your trip.
These documents can include a complete travel itinerary, booked tours, a travel agent, and so on. In addition, you can present any relevant document or reason supporting the purpose of your trip (and the duration of your stay).
Finally, you'll need to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself during your stay in Italy. You can do this by presenting your most recent bank statements or credit cards.
Italy has very specific financial requirements you need to meet. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, you need to meet the following financial requirements:
In short, your financial resources must be adequate for daily expenses for the duration of your stay and your return from Italy.
Although not a requirement, it is highly recommended that US citizens have valid health insurance when visiting the European Union.
Quick Tip: Entry requirements may differ depending on your country and the type of passport you have. Here, you'll find a helpful link that you can use to check the entry requirements for your specific country. With this, you don't need to contact the Italian Embassy/Italian Consulate to learn about the requirements.
There are not many restrictions in place for US citizens to visit Italy. However, there are a few general rules you'll need to consider when traveling to Italy visa-free:
You're only allowed to visit Italy for a duration that does not exceed 90 days (3 months) in 180 days. In addition, you must not overstay and must return to the USA after your trip. If you overstay, you may face some unwanted consequences.
Immigration authorities record each person who enters and leaves the Schengen Area (length of stay)—because of this, overstaying (even for 1 day) will not go unnoticed. Overstaying in a Schengen Country like Italy could lead to deportation, a heavy fine, or even a ban. In addition, you must abide by the 90/180-day rule.
Suppose you plan a longer stay in Italy. In that case, you'll need to apply for another type of visa that allows an extended stay. This type of visa is typically known as a National Visa or long-term/long-stay visa. These can include Study Visas, Work Visas, Residence Permits, etc.
When traveling to Italy visa-free, you're only allowed to travel for non-essential purposes like tourism and short business trips. Also, keep in mind that you're not allowed to work in Italy without obtaining a work permit that will enable such purposes.
Tourism includes visiting friends, visiting family members, going on vacation/holiday, tours, etc. Whereas short business trips involve attending meetings, concluding a contract, etc.
Regardless of destination or purpose of travel in Italy, you must comply with the covid-19 requirements in place for Italy. Currently, you must present one of the following upon arrival in Italy:
For your vaccination certificate to be recognized by the Italian Government, it must contain:
If you fail to provide any one of these documents, you will have to undergo 5 days of quarantine and take molecular or antigen tests at the end of it. In addition, you must always wear a mask in Italy and follow the WHO recommend precautions against covid-19 when traveling in Italy.
Travel regulations and restrictions are constantly changing due to the current global pandemic, known as COVID-19. In addition, each European Country has its specific COVID-19 requirements that all visitors must meet.
Because these requirements change often, I will include a tool you can use to check the latest COVID-19 developments. With this tool, you'll be able to stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 news and travel information.
NOTE Children under the age of 6 are exempted from the covid-19 requirements of the pre-departure covid test and quarantine. However, children above 6 years must adhere to all covid-19 rules and regulations.
Once you have all the information about the requirements and restrictions, it is pretty simple to enter Italy. Upon arriving at the international airport or border crossing in Italy, you'll need to follow the standard arrival protocols. In addition, you'll need to undergo the usual border control checks.
Here is where the immigration officer will ask you about the purpose of your trip, the duration you plan to stay, and other additional information.
Ensure that all your documents are up to date and not missing any documents. If the immigration officer is satisfied with all the documents provided, you will be granted entry into the country. In addition, the immigration officer will stamp your passport with the date indicating your arrival in Italy. You're now free to enjoy your visit to Italy.
If the immigration officer suspects you are not fit to enter the country, they will deny your entry into Italy. Unfortunately, you will not be permitted to enter the country and be sent back to the United States to apply for a relevant visa from the Italian Consular Office.
Keep in mind that authorities don't always ask for these documents. However, this does not mean you don't need to collect them. Should you fail to present a valid reason for your trip, you may be denied entry to Italy.
Italy is considered a safe country, and crime rates are low to moderate. Although petty theft and tourism scams happen in major cities, violent crimes are extremely rare, especially against foreign visitors.
Italian citizens are very welcoming, and most tourist visits are enjoyable without any incidents. However, it would be best to take basic preventive measures such as looking after valuables, not violating Italian laws, using ATMs in secured places, and looking out for scammers.
To assist and protect US citizens living or traveling in foreign countries, the US Government has introduced a program called STEP.
STEP or Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service provided by the US Government to US citizens abroad. This program can assist the US Government in quickly reaching out to you in case of an emergency, contacting you to provide safety and security information in a foreign country, sending you alters and news about your travel destination, or helping you out of a country in a dangerous situation.
You must enroll your trip on the online program to use this program. First, you must create an account on the STEP website. After making your account, you can easily enroll your future trip to get any necessary information on your destination country.
You can also enroll in this program by filling out the application form and submitting it at your nearest US Consulate or Embassy in the country.
For more information, you can visit the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program website.
Italy is overcrowded during the summer season, from May to August. However, if the cold doesn't bother you much and you would like to visit Italy when it is quiet, then the winter season is your best option. The Winter seasons fall between November and March, when you can get the best bargain deals without the jostling crowds.
The spring season falls between March and May, when you can enjoy the best seasonal meals and enjoy festivals in Italy. At the same time, you experience autumn between September and October when the crowds are reasonably low.
Visiting Italy is a beautiful and unforgettable experience, and no place you visit in Italy is less beautiful than the other. However, a few places are on top of my list if I was to name a few places.
Visiting the big citizens and the big tourist towns should be on your list first. These places are Rome, Venice, Amalfi Coast, Florence, Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Capri, Naples, Ischia, and the list goes on!
If you want to get away from the crowd and visit the quaint little towns or discover the hidden gems, you must travel off roads. Some of these places are Sirmione, Burano, Vernazza, Bagnoregio, Alberobello, Castelmezzano, Portovenere, Treviso, Bolzano.
Italy is a country where you might find the best dish or the best restaurant or discover your hidden gem.
And that's about that. So now you know how US citizens can travel to Italy without getting a Tourist Visa.
No. If you're a US passport holder, you can enjoy visa-free travel to Italy. This means you don't need to apply for an Italy visa before traveling. If you're a US Green Cardholder, you may need to apply for an Italy Visa. If you're a US Green Card Holder that enjoys visa-free travel to the Schengen Area, you don't need an Italy Visa. On the other hand, if your country of origin does not get such benefits, you need to apply for an Italy Visa.
Even though US travelers enjoy visa-free travel to Italy, they should have the following documents at hand:
One of the main requirements for US citizens traveling to Italy is a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your intended departure date back to the US and it must not be older than 10 years.
You only need to apply for an Italy Visa if you do not enjoy visa-free travel to Italy. US citizens don't need to apply for an Italy Visa in most cases.
American citizens who wish to stay in Italy for longer than 3 months or take up residency must obtain a Permesso Di Soggiorno or Permit Of Stay. You must get the application kit from one of 14,000 national post offices and return the completed application form to one of the 5,332 designated Post offices.
You can find more information about this on the official Italian immigration Website.
Unfortunately, you cannot enter Italy without showing either proof of recovery from covid-19, proof of vaccination certificate, or proof of rapid antigen or molecular test.
If you test positive in Italy, you will be subjected to 7-21 days of quarantine at your own cost. You can self-isolate or quarantine at a hospital, depending on the severity of the case.
Children under the age of 6 are exempted from the covid-19 requirements of the pre-departure covid test and quarantine. However, children above 6 years must adhere to all covid-19 rules and regulations.
Since Itlay has relaxed many of its covid-19 rules and regulations, travelers are welcome to visit Italy. Italy has also opened its international flights and land borders. Additionally, public transportation such as airlines, trains, and buses operate with reduced frequency.
Regardless of your citizenship (US nationals, Foreigners, and US permanent residents) and the country you are coming from, are required to present a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken within 1 day of departure, or covid 19 recovery certificate showing recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days before they board their flight.
Non-US citizens or foreigners also need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For more information click HERE.
Non-Us citizens will have to check if they are eligible to enter the Schengen Area without a visa. Then you must check the Schengen Visa Requiremnets and apply for a Schengen Visa.
Yes. Italy is one of the 26 Schengen countries. To check about other countries, read our blog on the list of countries in Europe.
Yes. US citizens do not need a visa for any Schengen country and can travel to another country in Schengen Area. However, for Non-US citizens, you must have a Schengen visa to visit any Schengen country within 90 days from your arrival in the Schengen Area.
You can find a list of US Embassies And Consulate General In Italy HERE.