- European citizens of the 26 countries of the Schengen Area can travel to Italy with their national identity card alone. All other nationalities must have a valid passport and may be required to fill out a landing card at airports.
- By law you are supposed to have your passport or ID card with you at all times. You'll need one of these documents for police registration every time you check in to a hotel.
- In theory, there are no passport checks at land crossings from neighbouring countries, but random customs controls do occasionally still take place between Italy and Switzerland.
Visitors coming into Italy from non-EU countries can import the following items duty free.
- 1L spirits (or 2L wine)
- 200 cigarettes
- up to a total of €430 (€150 for travellers aged under 15) in value for other goods, including perfume and eau de toilette
Anything over these limits must be declared on arrival and the appropriate duty paid. On leaving the EU, non-EU citizens can reclaim any Value Added Tax (VAT) on any purchases over €154.94.
For more information, visit www.italia.it.
These are not needed for residents of Schengen countries or for many visitors staying for less than 90 days.
- European citizens of the 26 countries of the Schengen Area can enter Italy with nothing more than a valid identity card or passport. British nationals only need a passport.
- Residents of 28 non-EU countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the USA, do not require visas for tourist visits of up to 90 days.
- All non-EU and non-Schengen nationals entering Italy for more than 90 days, or for any reason other than tourism (such as study or work), may need a specific visa. For details, visit www.esteri.it or contact an Italian consulate.
- EU citizens do not require any permits to live or work in Italy but, after three months' residence, are supposed to register themselves at the municipal registry office where they live and offer proof of work or sufficient funds to support themselves.
- Non-EU foreign citizens with five years' continuous legal residence may apply for permanent residence.
- You should have your passport stamped on entry as, without a stamp, you could encounter problems if trying to obtain a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno). If you enter the EU via another member state, get your passport stamped there.
Permesso di Soggiorno
Non-EU citizens planning to stay at the same address for more than one week are supposed to report to the police station to receive a permesso di soggiorno. Tourists staying in hotels are not required to do this.
A permesso di soggiorno only really becomes a necessity if you plan to study, work (legally) or live in Italy. Obtaining one is never a pleasant experience; it often involves long queues and the frustration of arriving at the counter only to find you don't have the necessary documents.
The exact requirements, such as specific documents and marche da bollo (official stamps), can change. In general, you will need a valid passport (if possible containing a stamp with your date of entry into Italy), a special visa issued in your own country if you are planning to study (for non-EU citizens), four passport photos and proof of your ability to support yourself financially. You can apply at the ufficio stranieri (foreigners' bureau) of the police station closest to where you're staying.
EU citizens do not require a permesso di soggiorno.
Non-EU citizens who want to study at a university or language school in Italy must have a study visa. These can be obtained from your nearest Italian embassy or consulate. You will normally require confirmation of your enrolment, proof of payment of fees and adequate funds to support yourself. The visa covers only the period of the enrolment. This type of visa is renewable within Italy but, again, only with confirmation of ongoing enrolment and proof that you are able to support yourself (bank statements are preferred).