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

Last Updated : Sep 4, 2023

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If you're a US Green Card Holder, you'll know that we don't enjoy the same benefits as US citizens when it comes to traveling overseas. You see, unlike US Green Card Holders, US citizens enjoy the benefit of visa-free travel to the Schengen Area.

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?."

In this post I will discuss everything you need to know about getting an Italian Schengen Visa from the US, by explaining the process of applying for an Italian visa for US green card holders and US citizens.

What Is The Schengen Visa And Who Needs One?

    Firstly, What Exactly is A Schengen Area?

    What Is The Schengen Visa?

    Who Needs A Schengen Visa?

Firstly, What Exactly is A Schengen Area?

There are 26 countries that form part of the Schengen member states. These countries cover nearly the entire mainland of Europe.

The 26 are the following: 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.

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.

How To Get An Italian Visa for US Green Card Holders The Traditional Way

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

    Step 1 - Gather All The Required Documents

    Step 2 - Fill In The Schengen Visa Application Form

    Step 3 - Schedule A Visa Appointment

    Step 4 - Attend The Visa Appointment

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

    Step 6 - Collect My Schengen Visa

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 Italy Visa Application Form

After I had gathered all the required documents, I had to either download the Italy application form. 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/Consulate general. 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.

Also, you're required to submit all your supporting documents at your Italian Visa interview. I advise you to read up on how to ace your Schengen interview.

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 Italian 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.

The Schengen Visa Fee are as follow:

    Adults - €80

    Children between the age of 6 - 12 - €40

    Children younger than 6 years - Free

The Italian Visa processing time are as follows:

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

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 for Italy from the USA.

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.

Return Flight Tickets:

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.

Proof Of Accommodation:

Authorities will want accommodation proof in the form of hotel bookings etc.

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:

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.

Submission of the required documentation does not automatically guarantee visa issuance.

What Are The Financial Requirements To Travel To Italy?

"Why is it important?"

Because you must prove to the border officials that you are traveling for tourism and not looking for work. Therefore, you have enough money to support yourself during your trip.

    Let's say you are traveling for a stay of up to 5 days, you can expect to present a total amount of €269.60 per person.

    Let's suppose you're planning a longer stay of up to 6 - 10 days, you can expect to have an amount of €44.93 per day.

    For long-stays of up to 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.

What Are The Schengen Visa Photo Requirements?

Now that we've covered the required documents, let's look at the photo requirements:

    2 identical photos (not older than 6 months)

    Must be in color

    Size: 35mm (width) x 45mm (height)

    Your head must be in the middle and facing the camera

    You must have a natural facial expression

    Ensure your photo does not have marks, creases, or stains

Please check out our Schengen visa photo requirements guide for more information.

You can now use Atlys' free passport photo tool to get yours. It's as easy as taking/uploading a photo, and the tool crops and resizes everything for you.

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

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.

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.

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.

In short: A guided procedure will help you decide if you need to apply for a visa based on your nationality, country of residence, reasons for your visit and length of stay.

How To Schedule A Italian Visa Appointment?

Booking visa appointments can be confusing. That's why we suggest you use our visa appointment tool I mentioned above.

Here's how you'll use it:

    Step 1: Go to our visa appointment tool

    Step 2: Select The Country You Are Traveling To

    Step 3: Select an appointment slot

    Step 4: Enter your email address

Once you have verified your information, you will get an email verifying your visa appointment booking.

Also, the German Embassy decides how many appointments they are willing to take. That's why it's important to ensure you book yours well in advance with Atlys' free appointment tool.

Free Atlys Tools You Can Use To Travel With Certainty

I know you will be very excited about this next section because I am. You've probably noticed that we've linked some of our tools, such as the flight itinerary and hotel itinerary tools.

These tools were created by travelers for travelers to make traveling easier. Here's a list of Atlys' free tools that will make your next visa application a breeze:

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.

Expert Tips To Get Your Visa To Italy For US Greencard Holders Fast

Okay, so we've covered everything about getting a visa to Italy from the US. But now, let's discuss a few tips on the fastest way to get your visa:

    Use Atlys

    Apply At A Smaller Schengen Country

    Have A Detailed Cover Letter

    Apply Early

    Schedule Morning Visa Appointments

Use Atlys

The first tip is to use Atlys. With Atlys, it's as easy as downloading the app, entering your travel and personal information, and paying the visa application fee.

Once you've completed the relevant information, Atlys will do the rest for you. No strings attached.

Apply At A Smaller Schengen Country

Suppose you decide to rather go through all the hassles yourself. In that case, we suggest you apply for a Schengen visa through a smaller Schengen country.

Remember, you can either apply for a Schengen visa to the country you'll be entering or where you'll spend most of your time.

Here's a list of all the Schengen countries:

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.

Have A Detailed Cover Letter

It's very important to include a cover letter when submitting your application. This is because your cover letter serves as communication between you and the Embassy.

Therefore, ensure you have a detailed visa cover letter and that your information is correct. Please check our guide on how to write the perfect cover letter.

Apply Early

We see that travelers leave their visa applications till the last minute. So please ensure you apply at least 2 months before your planned trip.

Embassies can receive large amounts of visa applications, therefore, ensure you plan ahead.

Schedule Morning Visa Appointments

The last thing is to try and schedule a visa for the mornings. The reason, therefore, is visa appointments can run late.

You don't want to book an appointment close to lunch and risk sitting there while staff members take their break.

Rather book an appointment slot when everyone is still fresh and ready for the day.

Arriving In Italy - What To Expect?

Once you've touched down and got your bags, it's time to face the border control authorities. I don't know why but this part always makes me feel stressed.

When you arrive at the border control desk, the officer will ask for your passport and travel details.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your exit date.

The officer might ask you for additional documents regarding your trip. I suggest having a file in your hand luggage with the following documents:

    Proof that you meet the financial requirements (bank statements, employment contract, etc.)

    Invitation letter (it's always good to have one when visiting family or friends)

US Greencard holders will be asked to present their Schengen visa at the Immigration desk. US Citizens that enjoy visa-free travel might only be asked to show their additional documents listed above.

And There You Have It

I think we officially covered everything you need to know about the Italian Schengen Visa. However, check our FAQ section for additional information about getting a visa to Italy from the US.

Frequently Asked Questions

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