Are you considering a study abroad experience and want to apply for a university in Italy? Well, complimenti! Italian universities are among the most prestigious in the world and you will not only experience excellent teaching, but you will also have the chance to enjoy famous cuisine, magnificent architecture and get to see numerous breath-taking attractions.

If you need to prepare for a study visa though, check out the following details.

The student visa for Italy is granted only if you enrol or apply for any degree course that has at least 20 hours of courses per week (or 80 hours a month). This means that if you want to sign up for a language course that has less than 20 hours/week, the Italian Consulate will not consider your application compatible for a student visa, you will have to apply for a regular/visitor visa for Italy.

Only a visa issued for study purposes is valid for your enrolment at a higher educational institution in Italy.

Check if you need a student visa

  • EU students – don’t need a study visa for Italy.
  • Non-EU students – will need to apply for a student visa for Italy at the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate.

Conditions you have to meet to apply for visa

  1. 1. You must have a valid passport with at least two blank visa pages
  2. You must provide a copy of your flight itinerary
  3. You must not have a criminal record
  4. You must not have been refused entry into Italy previously

Tips when applying for a visa at the Italian consulate

  • Try to schedule your appointment at the consulate 90 days prior to the start of the study programme.
  • You will have to appear personally at the consulate for the visa interview. Some consulates accept if the applicant appear in person at an Honorary Consulate, if it is closer to the applicant's home, in order to sign the application form and then mail it to the consulate for processing. However, first check with the consulate in your area if this option is available.
  • You will have to book the interview around four to six weeks in advance as available dates for appointments are limited and they usually fill quickly.
  • If you missed on scheduling for an appointment at least four weeks in advance, check with the consulate for cancellations and try to schedule the appointment date earlier.
  • Visa processing takes between 1 – 3 weeks to complete.

Visa language requirements

In order to obtain a study visa for Italy, there are no specific language requirements. Since this is one of the mandatory conditions for admission in an Italian university, consulates don’t consider applicants should present any proof of language proficiency as well. However, visa officers will be more impressed and will appreciate if you speak Italian at least on a conversational level. You can say hi and introduce yourself by speaking in Italian, for example.

Required documents for the Italian visa

  • Entry visa application form
  • Recent passport-size photograph
  • Valid travel document (the expiry date should be three months longer than that of the visa requested)
  • Proof that you have arranged accommodation in Italy (for the whole period of your studies)
  • Prove you have sufficient financial means to support your studies (450 EUR/month)
  • Health insurance (the minimum medical coverage is at least 30,000 EUR)
  • Copy of the diploma of a previous education
  • Acceptance letter from an Italian University
  • Receipt of the visa application fee (116 EUR)

Study and work in Italy?

If you are from the EU, you are allowed to work in Italy without the need of a work permit. Working hours should not exceed more than 20 hours a week basis during the semester. If you would like to work full time, you can only do that during holidays between semesters.

International students from outside EU will need a work permit, but they are not allowed to work if they pursue a course that lasts less than six months.

With a part time job you could not earn enough money to pay for your tuition fee. However, getting a student job is not that difficult, especially if you speak a little Italian as well. You can even find job opportunities within your university and work as library assistant or office attendant.

Getting a job as an International student is not difficult in Italy, especially if you know how to speak Italian. Regional job portals, newspapers, and the international office helpdesk are the best places to check for job listings.

Italy is such a great place for pursuing your study abroad dream and amazingly, it does not imply high costs. You can get high-standard education in one of the most renowned universities in the world and also see some of the most famous attractions, stepped in history and culture, all at very affordable prices. Here is some detailed information about costs for students in Italy.

1.Tuition fees

Tuition fees at Italian universities are very affordable, especially in the case of public universities. Although the tuition fees are different according to the level of degree, the university and the study programme, the average ones range between 850 and 1,000 EUR per year in public universities and you should expect larger sums in private universities. However, some of the prestigious public universities in Italy can have tuition fees that exceed 1,000 EUR/ yea

In most institutions, EU students also benefit from lower tuition fees compared to non-EU students and some of the state universities in Italy set the tuition based on the student’s parental income.

2. Living costs

The overall living costs for students in Italy range between 1,000 and 1,500 EUR/month, this including: accommodation, food costs, public transportation, local travel and/or entertainment.

Rome is just a little more expensive, compared to the rest of the Italian cities. Excluding the accommodation, students in Rome usually spend between 700 and 800 EUR/month, while in Salerno, you should prepare a budget of at least 650 EUR/month. In other student cities from Italy like Pisa, Padua, Turin or Bologna, an average student spends 550 EUR/month the least and a maximum of 750 EUR/month.

Check the list with average prices in Italy.

3. Accommodation

Out of the total monthly expenses of EU students, they usually pay around 35 % on accommodation, 9% on transportation and around 12% on tuition fees. Rates for accommodation in Italy are in the international range of 200 – 300 EUR/month.

On average, students that live alone pay about 266 EUR/month, students living in student accommodation pay around 257 EUR/month, while those who live with partner/child(ren) spend less, around 133 EUR/month.

A small percent of 2% of the international students live in student halls of residence, the rest choose other housing options. Regardless of where they choose to live, 75 % of students are very satisfied with their accommodation, which is above the average of 60 %.

Most common accommodation and prices for each of the options in Italy are:

  1. 1. Student residence halls – between 200 and 300 EUR/month.
  2. Rent/share a flat – average rates range between 250 and 600 EUR/month.
  3. Host family – the average price is 450 EUR/month and often includes meals.
  4. Youth hostels – mostly a choice only for a temporary stay; rates are between 20 and 30 EUR/night.

If you rented an apartment, apart from the rent, you would have to pay an additional sum of around 30 EUR per month on utility bills.

4. Food costs

Italian food is one of the most delicious in the world and the good part is that it is not expensive. Enjoying a traditional meal in an Italian restaurant is one of the greatest pleasures while living in Italy. You should try Fegato alla Veneziana, gnocchi (dumpling dish made with wheat flour, potatoes, butter, and egg or the famous risotto (made with Arborio rice and usually cooked in a broth and served with cheese).

In Italy, lunch or dinner start with antipasto, (a sort of appetizers or hors d'oeuvres) a course consisting of various types of cold meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, with prices between 5 and 12 EUR. For the next course, called primo, you can choose from soup, risotto or pasta, and for the secondo, you can opt for meat or fish, usually served alone. Of course, you can choose one or two of the courses.

You will find there are different types of restaurants in Italy, so you should pay attention to a few details. Trattorias are cheaper and usually serve more of the home-style cooking and osterias are old-fashioned restaurants or pub-like places, also specialized in home cooking. Best pizzerias are those with a forno a legna (wood-burning oven) rather than an electric one. In mid-range restaurants, pasta dishes are between 6 and 12 EUR, while the main fish or meat courses will normally cost between 8 and 16 EUR.

One particular detail that you may find confusing when you check a restaurant receipt is the coperto. Any Italian restaurant will charge you for the bread and cover that is present on every table; this usually costs around 1–2.50 EUR per person.

Buying food from the supermarkets is not expensive, as you could spend on average 150 EUR/month.

5. Transportation

The public transportation would be the easiest and most convenient method to travel in Italy. Public transportation in Italy is affordable and if you hold a student card, you would pay even smaller rates. A monthly bus/tram/metro ticket for students is somewhere between 25 and 35 EUR/month, depending on the city. The metro is really efficient and the metro maps are easy to navigate; you just have to be careful during rush hours, as metros can get crowded.

Taxis are a little expensive and also not recommended in large cities due to frequent traffic jams.

The train network in Italy is fast and well maintained, so visiting other cities in Italy is definitely an option. If you book earlier tickets, you could save money and benefit from discounts that can get to 70% less than regular tickets.

Although not necessarily bike friendly, you can always travel with a bicycle, even for simply admiring the city. In Milan, for example, you will find the BikeMi! – a bike-sharing initiative, where you can rent a bike for a daily 2.50 EUR or weekly 6 EUR.

6. Extra costs

The weekly costs for phone bills and other miscellaneous expenses can run to 30-40 EUR.

Entertainment and social activities can add another 30-40 EUR a week.

Books and other learning supplies and materials should cost you around 40 – 50 EUR/month.

7. Scholarships

In Italy, scholarships are offered by the Italian government at the national and regional level. In addition, some Italian Universities offer Italian scholarship programmes for international students; these are usually between 5,000 and 12,000 EUR/year.

Other scholarship and student grant opportunities that international students can apply to are through the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of these opportunities is the “Invest your Talent in Italy” programme, mainly dedicated to students from Azerbaijan, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam.

Tips for saving money

  • Use the student card in every place they accept it, to get discounts in museums, stores and even restaurants.
  • When you choose to buy from the supermarket, better go to Lidl, Penny Market or Esselunga, known in Italy to have the lowest prices.
  • Have an inexpensive meal at the university cafeteria or "mensa", or check the crowded places that serve street food and you can get a sandwich or a slice of pizza for 2 – 3 EUR.
  • In most pubs, small restaurants and cafeterias in Italy, if you choose to eat or drink at a table, you will pay double the price that is listed on the menu! So, when you can simply take away, you should just do it!
  • Some restaurants in Italy have the Apertivo (similar to the American Happy Hour), where they offer a free buffet if you buy a drink, for around 6 EUR; this is usually between 6 and 9 pm.

Studying in the beautiful home away from home – Italy, is a dream come true for anyone who has got the opportunity to do so. Italy is a tourist location, filled with ancient monuments, sites and cities that have spectacular themes. The country is also home to the magnificent Vatican City and hosts millions of tourists from all over the world yearly. This is the reason why anyone going to study in Italy should adequately prepare to have a rewarding stay.

As a non-EU citizen, the first thing to do is to determine which school to study at, the language of instruction of the programme and expected diploma. These details will help one ascertain the usefulness of the course to one's future and career. Italian is mostly spoken at schools, except select schools with courses taught in English or any other language. Language is important for prospective students; it is important to know the basics of the Italian language before leaving for Italy so a crash course on the language is advisable.

Once the admission to study comes through, a prospective student needs to start assembling travel documents – original admission letter, international passport, academic certificates and any other documents the embassy may require. Embassy locations and required documents can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. It is important to thoroughly study the requirements and comply with instructions to avoid unnecessary delays. In certain countries, a period of 2 – 4 weeks is needed to process visa application; it is advisable to apply early enough in order to have enough time to prepare for the travel.

In most cases, the school requires that a prospective student obtains the consular formalization of their documents at the competent diplomatic authority located in their country. This may well be copies of degree certificates submitted to the embassy to be formalized with a “Dichiarazione di valore” (DV). It is important to keep the school authorities in the loop while the process is on-going as they may lend a helping hand in facilitating the quick processing of the visa.

There are other essentials for prospective students coming to Italy. Every student should have health insurance for the duration of stay and the “codicile fiscale”, which is a number assigned by the government to anyone staying more than 3 months in Italy. The health insurance is usually required by the embassy for visa processing and also required to obtain the “codicile fiscale” needed to stay in Italy. Also, one should bear in mind that health insurance coverage obtained from elsewhere may not be acceptable in Italy or recognized by the agency issuing the “codicile fiscale”. It is best to obtain a students’ health insurance coverage acceptable in Italy.

Once your travel visa is ready, ensure that you have both warm clothing for the winter and light clothing for the summer. Also, remember to pack an umbrella for the rainy days. Check the weather forecast to know which season you will meet on arrival and be ready for it. Another important thing to do is to search the internet for the map of the city where the school is located and identify landmark locations close by. Driving from the airport to the school may require mentioning certain locations and communicating with the basic Italian words already learnt.

A very important aspect is the currency exchange. Italy is within the Eurozone and transactions are carried out in the Euro. Currency exchange is best done at the airport so that initial basic expenses like taxi fares, motel costs and meals can be met. The next and final thing to check is that the list of items not allowed in Italy and can be removed at the airport during luggage check-in.

As soon as all these steps are followed and completed, you are ready to travel. Good luck!