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Italy Visa

Travel Visas to Italy Italy is part of the Schengen immigration zone, which means that a visa for this country is good for all 25 countries of the group. Typically, tourists are given visas that are good for 90 out of 180 days. Due to the complexity of this visa, many people overstay. As of [...]

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Travel Visas to Italy

Italy is part of the Schengen immigration zone, which means that a visa for this country is good for all 25 countries of the group. Typically, tourists are given visas that are good for 90 out of 180 days. Due to the complexity of this visa, many people overstay. As of this writing, Italy is one of the least strict countries in the Schengen region to exit from after overstaying a visa. More information on Schengen visa questions.

FAQ about Italy visas

Can I return to Italy after overstaying my visa?

Reader questions about the Italian visa

Was caught overstaying my visa in Greece but still got an Italy visa

I had been in Italy overstay 24 days , and i departed from EU zone from Greece to dubai, they stopped me at Greece airport adn they asked me to pay 550 euros , but i didnt had in that time, so they gave to me stamp with file number on passport !! i came Dubai and i applied for Italy visa and i got it!! but i didnt tried since that time for the schengen visa ? wheres the ban ?

These Schengen zone bans are often inconsistently applied and enforced, leaving many travelers with questions. Keep in mind that if Greece did slap a ban on you, it often takes a little time — one to three months — to take effect and get into the computer system. Also, the fact that Italy still gave you a visa does not mean that you are not banned from the Schengen region for your previous overstay, as Italy tends to be incredibly lax about enforcing immigration laws. Another country in the region may deny you entry or further punish you upon exiting because of the previous overstay and potential ban. The visa that you get for Italy IS a Schengen visa.

I overstayed my Italian visa, what should I do

Hello Wade! I’m doing a series of stages in Italy at the moment, studying bread and pastry work… a dream come true. However, it’s turned out that the permesso di soggiorno that I expected to come through has not. I won’t bore you with details, but let’s just say I wasn’t expecting to have to deal with this situation. It’s caused me a fair amount of mental anguish, and I was wondering if you could help me with a few answers that seem to be impossible for me to find elsewhere. I’ve been here for my legal 3 months, about halfway into my 5th (not so legal) at the moment. I have a plane ticket home for the end of my 8th. I know that if I’m noticed leaving, there’s generally a fine to pay, which I won’t be able too. Until recently, I thought the alternative was a schengan ban. Is there any possibility that they would instead detain me until I could pay, or in any way prevent me from leaving? Rome FCO would be my exit airport back to the states… do you know anything about their Terminal 5 exit controls? If there could be such problems I didn’t know about, I’m considering facing them sooner rather than later. Your advice and information would really set my mind at ease. Thanks so much!

Thanks for consulting me with your question about overstaying your visa in Italy.

To be honest with you, a one day overstay in Schengen Europe is punished the same as a 10 year overstay haha. Not kidding. And the punishments are often applied very inconsistently: someone who overstayed by a day could be banned while someone who has been in Europe for 10 years could enter and exit freely without being caught. The system is a joke, and, ultimately, whether you are processed or not depends mostly on the immigration inspector you get upon exit from the region.

Because of this, it is my impression that leaving on your scheduled date in May would be just as good as leaving right now — you already overstayed, there is not really too much more that can happen to you additionally at this point.

I would say not to worry too much about your predicament as Italy tends to be one of the more lax countries in the Schengen zone about nailing overstayers — though this is never fool proof, and they could bust you just as efficiently as Germany. Just be sure that your flight is direct and does not route through another Schengen country. To set your mind at ease a little more, I have received hundreds — maybe even over a thousand — stories about travelers being caught overstaying their Schengen visas and never once have I received a report from Italy. Again, this is not fool proof, but, ultimately, it is my impression that you are in the same boat if you left the region now as you are in May.

As to possible punishments, a 3 year ban is most common and fines are pretty rare. Sometimes travelers are given a choice between paying a fine or receiving a ban, but this seems limited to Switzerland — it is my impression that this “fine” is actually a bribe. As to being detained, I have only had one report of someone being detained while trying to exit the region after overstaying a work visa (and there seems to have been more to the story that was not reported to me), so I would not worry about this. The processing of Schengen overstayers seems to be pretty straight forward, the immigration official takes you into a special room, tells you that you MAY be banned, and away you go. I would not worry about this too much.

If you do a search through VagabondJourney.com for “Schengen” you will get a ton of pages across the site which address your concerns in additional detail.

Thanks for the donation, it is really appreciated. Wish you the best when exiting Europe, but, for now, I say breath easy, enjoy your classes — there is not much else that you can do.

Walk Slow,


Can I stay in Italy for two years studying?

Dear Wade, I’m an American and have decided to do my studies in Europe. However, my studies do not require me to be in Europe. I chose to be in Europe as the fees are cheaper. Therefore, I am staying with friends who are willing to support me during my studies. My program is 2 years. However, I recently was denied by the UK. Now I have the black cross in my passport. I was then sent back to Italy. Italy didn’t see it, or care. My friend took my passport to the city’s immigration officer and asked what this means. The immigration officer looked at it, didn’t know what it was, thought it was dumb of the UK to do such a thing and said that I shouldn’t be worried. However, the officer told my friend that it is my decision to take the risk and stay here the 2 years without a visa. She said she’s never heard of Americans being denied entry and to just lay low. (This is all unofficial comments) Therefore, I’ve decided to remain here, if she thinks there is little threat. However, I want to still travel every 3 months, just to look like I’m not taking advantage of the situation. I’m constantly looking up information about this and I know for a fact several American girls are doing the same thing as me–it’s not uncommon. So, I would like to know your opinion of this situation. Should I run home with my tail between my legs asap, or just relax, play it cool, but don’t do anything to attract attention. Please let me know as soon as you can! Thanks!!

I highly recommend that you do not overstay your visa in the Schengen zone. They are cracking down everywhere, and you could face a three year ban (or longer) from the region if you are caught overstaying — an overstay is obvious to an immigration official when you exit. Although Italy is currently not very vigilant about prosecuting visa overstayers, this may change prior to your departure. Also, it is the last country that you exit the Schengen zone from that does the immigration, so if your flight out has a connection, this is where you will be stamped out. If this country is Switzerland, Germany, or the Netherlands (this is an ever growing list) you WILL be busted and banned. I strongly urge you to leave the Schengen region every 90 days for at least 90 days before returning if you care about being able to return to Europe. You already have one black mark on your travel record from England, another would not be to your benefit if you want to continue to be able to travel freely.

This is just my advice, do what makes you feel comfortable, but Croatia, Albania, and Turkey are also pretty nice places to spend 90 days a couple of times a year.

Essential pages about travel visas

More information

Italy Travel Guide
Spouse visa after overstay and ban

More Vagabond Journey.com Travel Guides

Submit links and add comments about visas to Italy


Filed under: Italy, Visas

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3691 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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11 comments… add one

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  • Awstrain November 10, 2010, 5:03 pm

    Dear Wade,

    i will be studying abroad in Rome next semester. I will not be on a student visa but just a typical US passport. I would like to travel in France after my semester is up, but I would have to overstay my 90 day limit to do so. Is there anyway to get a Visa extension or apply for a visa that will allow me to do this? If not how dangerous is it to overstay in France?

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com February 13, 2011, 5:27 pm

      No, there is no way to extend your tourist visa — which is what you are going to be studying on. You need to exit before the time is up and then wait 90 days before returning.

      Link Reply
  • millene November 15, 2010, 11:21 pm

    hi good day,,,can you help me to answer my question please…..i am planning to take my mother here in italy shes in philippines and im philipina to but im here in italy for almost 1year with my italian husbond,,,its a possibility that can i take my mother to bring here???even if im 1year…thanks

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com November 15, 2010, 11:25 pm

      Yes, I am sure that it is possible to bring your mother to Italy, many Philippians emigrate to other countries all over the world. But, if you want her to stay for a year, it seems as if you may need to go through the procedures for a temporary residency permit, as tourist visas are generally only for stays of no more than three months.

      Getting the permit though may be difficult, though. What is your immigration status in the EU? Are you a citizen? A resident? On a work visa? Staying illegally?

      Your status may be called upon when trying to get your mother to join you in Italy.

      If you have any further questions, you can post them in the comment form on this page.


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  • Silvana November 26, 2010, 7:34 pm

    If you come to Italy on a 6month visa from Canada and it expires while you are still in Italy- how do you get it extended? If you go to the canadian consulate will they send you home? Cna you apply from in Italy? What kind of trouble do you get in if you are expired?

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com November 26, 2010, 7:48 pm

      It is my impression that your 6 month visa to the Schengen Zone of Europe is only valid for 90 days in the region. There is no way to get a tourist visa extended within Italy. The Canadian consulate probably won’t send you home for overstaying your visa. You can be banned from all of the countries in the Schengen zone (25 of them) for at least three years and face a potential fine for a visa overstay.

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  • karla Amador March 13, 2011, 10:55 am

    I am on holidays in Europe

    got enrolled in a course for 5 months without student visa I am Australian I am not sure if I can extend my tourist visa but was wondering If I go to an italian embassy in a nearby country like France or Slovak can I apply for a student visa with an Australian passport or in England where Im not allien coz of commonwealth? plase tell me Im desperate!!

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  • Ravindra May 20, 2011, 7:09 pm

    Hi, I am Indian studying in Italy..
    I have one problem, I have applied for renewal of my stay permit in Italy, I want to go to India and come back to Italy via Doha (non Schengen country), can I do this trip with receipt of soggiorno ?
    Is there any problem in Indian immigration point while returning, because from Italy to india is no problem according to my friend who travel one way but not sure for returning.
    Please help me.

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  • Jalal March 31, 2012, 8:27 am

    Hello Dear …I received a Schengen Visa from Greek Embassy Can I visit another schengen zone country without visiting Greece

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  • Tan September 8, 2013, 9:06 am

    Hi Wade, I am from Philippines and am planning to visit Italy and Germany. I have already booked my flights. Point of entry is Rome and exit is Frankfurt. I have not applied for a visa yet. If I apply for schengen visa through Italian Embassy, do I as well need a sponsor letter from Germany? The company I am working for will sponsor my trip. Do we need to mention in the letter that I am as well travelling to Germany? Please help, I am running out of time and yet still do not what to do. Thank you.

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 8, 2013, 9:13 am

      Generally, you just need a visa for the first/ main county you will visit.

      Note to other readers:

      I no longer do free Schengen visa consultation. If you want my service they are available for a $29 fee payable via Paypal. Email me at vagabondsong [at] gmail for more information.

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