Italy Visa For US Green Card Holders: Visa Application and Requirements

Written By: Ishaan Leghari
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Jun 13, 2022

14 min read

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If you're a US Green Card Holder, like me, you'll know that we don't enjoy the same benefits as US citizens when it comes to traveling overseas. Like many of my best friends, I enjoy traveling to different countries, especially the Schengen Countries. However, I don't enjoy the same visa-travel benefits my best friends do.

You see, unlike US Green Card Holders, US citizens enjoy the benefit of visa-free travel to the Schengen Area. That means they can travel to the Schengen Area for 90 days per 180 days without the need to apply for a Schengen Visa. All they need to do is present a few documents at the Schengen border, and that's that.

I, however, need to apply for a Schengen Visa each time I plan a trip to the Schengen Zone. With this comes a lot of uncertainty. "Do I have the correct documents? Will I get my Visa? What if my Schengen Visa gets denied?."

At times, this can be very frustrating and tiresome. I have so many things to worry about while all my US friends lounge around excited for our next trip.

If you don't know, let me first explain who needs a Schengen Visa to travel to the Schengen Zone...

What Is The Schengen Visa And Who Needs One?

What Is The Schengen Visa?

The Schengen Visa, also known as the Tourist Visa, will allow visitors to enter the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days per 180-day period. However, the Schengen Visa will only allow visitors to travel for non-essential purposes like tourism or short business trips. In addition, holders of the Schengen Visa aren't allowed to work in the country they visit. If you plan an extended stay, you'll need to apply for another type of visas like a National visa or long-term visa (temporary residency permit).

Who Needs A Schengen Visa?

US Citizens

US citizens don't need to apply for a Schengen Visa when visiting the Schengen Zone. As mentioned, they enjoy the benefit of visa-free travel to these countries. US passport holders can stay a maximum of 90 days per 180-day period within the Schengen States. However, this only applies to US citizens who plan a short stay. Those who plan a more extended stay need to apply for a National Visa that allows such purposes.

US Green Card Holders

Unlike US citizens, US Green Card Holders (like me) need to apply for a Schengen Visa to visit the Schengen Area. It's worth mentioning that US Green Card Holders can apply for their visas within the US. They don't need to travel back to their home country to apply from there.

For a full list of countries that don't need a Schengen Visa, read this in-depth guide about the Schengen Agreement.

2 Methods Of Applying For The Schengen Visa

In this post, I'll share 2 methods you can use to apply for your Schengen Visa as a US Green Card holder. Both these methods will lead to a successful visa application. However, you, the reader, need to decide which option you prefer.

How It Started

Now that you know why I need a Schengen Visa, let me continue with my story.

One day I was scrolling through the internet reading a bunch of tech articles (I love new innovations) and found this article. In short, it talks about an app called Atlys. Atlys promises to take the hassle out of the visa application process. It simplifies the visa application process and enables users to confidently apply for their visas, eliminating uncertainty. It auto generates documents like flight itineraries, accommodation, and so on for you. Meaning, you spend less time worrying about your visa and more time getting excited for your trip.

Finding this article was perfect timing, as my friends and I planned our next trip to Italy. But, of course, this meant I had to apply for my Italy Schengen Visa. So, after reading through the article, I decided to use this miracle app, Atlys, to apply (you can even apply online).

But before I tell you more about my visa application through Atlys, I want to explain how I would usually apply for my Schengen Visa to Italy...

How To Get An Italy Schengen Visa The Traditional Way - How I Used To Do It

For our next trip to Italy, I first planned to apply for my Schengen Visa the old traditional way. So here's how I would have to do it...

Step 1 - Gather All The Required Documents

The first thing I had to do was gather all the required documents for my Italy Schengen Visa application (later, I'll talk about the required documents). This is a tedious process! It takes so much time, and there is always a possibility that I would accidentally forget something. And guess what, if you don't submit even one of the required documents, your Schengen Visa might be denied. No one wants that!

Step 2 - Fill In The Schengen Visa Application Form

After I had gathered all the required documents, I had to either download the application form online or head over to the Italian Embassy/Consulate to get one. After I finally have the Schengen Visa application form, I need to fill in all my personal details and trip information. This would usually take between 45 - 60 minutes. Moreover, if the information provided was not correct and accurate, my Schengen Visa may have been denied.

Step 3 - Schedule A Visa Appointment

Once I've completed steps 1 and 2, I needed to schedule a visa appointment at the Italian Embassy. Let me tell you something. It's not as easy as a phone call and a quick chat. No! The chances of getting a visa appointment on a date I prefer are so slim that I always expect not to get one. So I always have to settle for a later date. This means I always start my visa application at least 3 months before our departure date..

Step 4 - Attend The Visa Appointment

When I finally schedule an appointment, I need to travel to the Embassy on the scheduled date to attend an in-person interview with an Embassy official. During the interview, I have to submit all my supporting documents and answer a few questions about my trip to Italy.

Even though I've done this so many times, I always get stressed about the interview. I would hate it if my visa got denied because of my interview and my friends traveled to Italy without me.

Anyway, once the interview is finished, the official would usually have to collect my biometric data. However, I have been to the Schengen Area in the past 59 months, which means the official wouldn't need to collect my biometric data.

Step 5 - Pay The Schengen Visa Fee And Wait For Feedback

After my interview, I'm required to pay the visa fee for my Schengen Visa. Once I paid the Visa Fee, I would travel back to my apartment and wait for feedback. The processing time is typically around 15 calendar days. I would usually receive favorable feedback as I've been to the Schengen Zone plenty of times before. However, this still doesn't eliminate the stress and uncertainty that comes along with the wait.

While my friends would sit around and plan our trip, I would stress about the feedback.

Step 6 - Collect My Schengen Visa

If I received favorable feedback, I would have to travel back to the Embassy to collect my new visa. If not, I would either have to appeal the decision or apply for a new visa.

My Thoughts About Applying The Traditional Way

Not that it matters, but here are my 2 cents. Applying for a Schengen Visa the traditional way takes a lot of time. Also, there are so many things you have to remember and consider while applying. The worst part is the uncertainty that comes along with applying for a Schengen Visa! Some might call it unbearable. Imagine not getting your visa and seeing your friends fly off to Italy (or wherever) without you.

What Are The Required Documents For An Italian Schengen Visa?

Anyway, now that you know the steps I use to take to apply for my Schengen Visa let me explain all the required documents I had to collect. Keep in mind that I had to collect these documents each time I applied for my Schengen Visa. The documents needed to meet the Italian Schengen Visa requirements are:

  • A Valid Passport I must submit 2 photocopies of my passport (or government-issued travel document). It has to be valid for at least 3 months beyond my intended departure date back to my home country.
  • A Valid Permanent Residence Permit/Green Card As a foreign citizen living in the USA, I have to submit a valid US alien registration card (residence permit aka. Green Card) or valid US residence visa.
  • Copies Of My Previous Visas I must submit copies of my previous visas. Also, I'll need to ensure that I have at least 2 blank pages available for my new visa.
  • 2 Passport Photos I'll need to attach 2 passport-sized photos alongside my visa application. Also, it must meets the following requirements.
  • A Filled Out Schengen Visa Application Form The information I provide on my application form must be correct and accurate. Incorrect information could lead to my visa application being denied.
  • A Return Flight Ticket Or A Flight Itinerary Authorities will want proof that I plan to travel back to my home country after my visit. I can do this by providing a return flight ticket when I submit my documents. If I plan to travel to more than 1 Schengen Country, I'll submit a flight itinerary that includes my travel dates and flight numbers. I usually submit a cover letter that includes all my travel reasons, hotel reservations, flight dates, and travel plans.
  • Proof Of Financial Means When I plan to visit Italy, I must have the financial means to support myself for the duration of my trip.     For a stay of up to 5 days, you can expect to present a total amount of €269.60 per person.     For a stay of 6 - 10 days, you can expect to have an amount of €44.93 per day.     For a stay of 11 - 20 days, you can expect to have an initial fixed amount of €51.64 and an additional amount of €36.57 per day. For example: If your trip is 11 days, you'll need €402.27 (€36.57 x 11 days) plus the fixed amount of €51.64. The total amount would be €453.91.     For stays that exceed 20 days, you can expect a fixed amount of €206.58 and an additional amount of €27.89 per day. Therefore, using the same equation as before, the total amount for 21 days would be €792.27. I usually present my recent bank statements. However, you can also submit payslips, traveler's checks, or cash.
  • Proof Of Accommodation I'll need to prove where I'll be staying while I visit Italy. In my case, I usually submit a rental agreement, hotel reservation, or an Airbnb booking.
  • Travel/Health Insurance One of the requirements for an Italian Schengen Visa is obtaining valid medical insurance. The medical insurance must provide medical and repatriation cover across the entire EU, it must be valid for the duration of your trip, it must cover all medical expenses or medical treatments that may occur during your visit, and it must provide medical coverage of a minimum of €30,000.
  • Letter Of Invitation (If applicable) Suppose I plan to visit a family member or friend in the Schengen Zone. In that case, I'll need to attach a letter of invitation to my application. The letter should include all the host's relevant information such as their personal details, address, telephone number, etc.

I also had to provide documents based on my employment status. To prove my employment status, I had to present the following documents:

Quick Note: I'll add all the documents you should provide for each employment status. In my case, I had to submit the documents that fall under "If Employed."

If Employed:

  • Contract of employment
  • Bank statements of the past 6 months
  • A letter from the employer that permits you to leave
  • Form ITR (Income Tax Return) or Certificate of Income Tax Deducted at Source (CITD).

If Self-Employed:

  • a photocopy of your company's license
  • Bank statements of the past 6 months
  • Return on Taxes (ITR).

If A Students:

  • Proof of enrollment is required for students.
  • A letter from the educational institution that permits you to travel

If Retired:

  • Pension statement from the previous six months for retirees.

If you're unemployed and married to an EU citizen, you should:

  • Have a confirmation of Employment letter from their spouse's employer, no more than three months old, specifying the job held inside the organization as well as the start date.
  • Valid passport of your spouse.
  • A legally binding marriage certificate.

I Hand Full Of Documents, Right.

The documents I mentioned above are all the documents I need to gather every time I apply for a Schengen Visa. Although my friends and I have traveled to the Schengen Area before, we don't do it very often. Unfortunately, this means I can't re-use most of the documents. For example, I need to get new bank statements, hotel bookings, travel insurance, etc.

Anyway, that's how I used to apply for my Schengen Visa...

The New And Improved Way To Apply For A Schengen Visa As A US Green Card Holder

Quick note: Understand that this is my personal opinion formulated out of my personal experience. I wrote this blog because I loved the tool so much and not because they paid me in cash or credits. Atlys has made travel easier and more accessible for people like me. People who don't enjoy the benefit of visa-free travel, people who are required to apply for a tourist visa, and people who are tired of struggling through the application process.

As you can probably tell, I decided to use Atlys to apply for my Schengen Visa for my most recent trip to Italy. This proved to be much more effective and efficient, especially in the long run.

Let me explain...

With Atlys, I cut most of the visa application process time in half. All I really had to do was attend my visa appointment and wait for Schengen Visa to be approved, literally!

All I had to do was:

1. Download the app

2. Sign-up with my email

3. Select a country, date, start the visa application process, and fill in my personal details.

It's really as simple as that. I couldn't believe it. During the Atlys application process, I was required to take a selfie, a photo of my passport, and a photo of my Green Card. The rest was easy peasy.

Furthermore, all the documents I needed, like a flight itinerary, proof of employment, and hotel reservations, were auto-generated. So I didn't have to go through the struggle to do it myself. Moreover, you can purchase travel insurance directly from the app.

The best part of the visa application process was that I didn't need to schedule a visa appointment myself. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but Atlys finds the earliest appointment available in real-time. So all I had to do was click the appointment slot I preferred and move on to the next step.

After completing the application process, I printed my Schengen Visa application form with all my supporting documents attached to it, traveled to the Embassy, and attended my appointment. Done! Now I just needed to wait for feedback from the Embassy . After I received feedback (which was favorable), I traveled back to the Embassy to collect my Schengen Visa, and that was that.

Conclusion About Applying For A Schengen Visa As A US Green Card Holder

You now know 2 ways you can apply for your Schengen Visa as a US Green Card Holder. You should decide what option you prefer and apply that way. For me, I like doing it the easy way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Countries Form Part Of The Schengen Area?

The 26 countries that form part of the Schengen Area include:

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.

Where In The US Can I Find An Italian Embassy/Consulate?

You can apply for your Schengen Visa at the following Italian Consular offices.

What Is The Processing Time For My Schengen Visa?

You can expect to wait around 15 calendar days for your Schengen Visa. However there may be certain factors that can influence the processing time:

  • Political unrest in Italy
  • New Visa changes
  • Travel restrictions
  • Political changes within the country

What Is The Visa Fee For My Schengen Visa?

The Schengen Visa Fee are as follow:

Adults - €80 Children between the age of 6 - 12 - €40 Children younger than 6 years - Free

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