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If you need a visa


As soon as you join the program, make sure that you have a current and valid passport (valid for at least three months after the last day of the program and your departure from Italy).
Students with a U.S. or E.U. passport will not need to obtain a visa for their stay in Italy. However, some international students (depending on nationality) may need to obtain a visa.

To find out if you need a visa to enter Italy, you can consult the visa page of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Complete the fields for nationality, residence, duration of stay (“up to 90 days”) and reason for visit (“Tourism”). This will take you to a page with information on whether you need a visa to enter Italy and information on the application requirements. Please note, this information is not exhaustive and is intended as guidance only.

If you need to apply for a visa please do not delay: although it usually takes less than a month to get a visa, sometimes it can be a lengthy process and you could have to wait weeks before getting an appointment.
You are responsible for gathering all documentation and going to your regional Italian Consulate to obtain the visa. As you are not going to enroll in an Italian institution and trips and visits represent a significant part of the program, you should apply for a tourist visa (“short stay Schengen visa”) (not for a student visa or for a “long stay” visa). Click this link for more information about the documents that you need to bring to the Consulate.

The Consulate General of Italy in Boston provides visas to permanent residents of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, including Harvard students and students enrolled in colleges and universities in those states, provided that their American F1 student visas expire at least three months after the last day of the program and their departure from Italy.  If your American visa expires less than three months after the last day of the program, you should renew your American visa or go to the Italian Consulate in your home country in order to obtain an Italian visa there.
The Italian Consulate in Boston is located on the 17th floor of the Federal Reserve Bank Building, 600 Atlantic Avenue, tel. 617-722-9201/02/03. The closest T stop is South Station.
Visa applications are accepted only by appointment: click here to register and book an appointment. Please book an appointment as soon as possible as in certain periods you could have to wait for several weeks before getting one,

Please note:
1) You are required to download, print, and fill out a Schengen Visa application (Short Stay). Bring it to the Consulate but sign it only when asked by the consular officer. Click here to fill out and download the form. See below for a few information on how to fill out the form.
2) You must pay a visa fee. The visa fee is payable by money order only. Make the money order or cashier check payable to: Consulate General of Italy. Click here for the exact amount of the fee. Be sure to pay the exact amount; the Consulate will not accept money orders or checks for larger or smaller amounts.
3) Bring to the Consulate your passport, American visa, and form I-20. Bring also a photocopy of the three documents.
4) Bring also your round-trip ticket or proof of your reservation (point 4 in the Consulate’s list). Please understand that you cannot change the departure date after applying for the visa.
5) As you will be required to show “proof of lodging” (point 5) and proof of enrollment in the program, contact both the Harvard Summer School at <> for proof of enrollment and Prof. Erspamer for his personal letter in Italian. You will need to specify the names and addresses of your residences in Milan, Trento, and Siena (find them here).
6) As “proof of economic means of support” (point 6) you must submit your three most recent bank statements from a US banking institution or an official letter from your American bank. If you are fully funded by OCS or from another institution, I would submit also their award letter.
7) As “documentation of socio-professional standing” (point 7) you must provide an enrollment certificate to Harvard University or to your college.
8) You must also submit proof of health insurance (point 8) with a minimum coverage of $50,000 (€ 30,000) for emergency hospital expenses. Your policy must include coverage for “medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.” Contact your health insurance provider to request that document.
9) You need also to provide proof of residence in the U.S., for example your green card or an F1 Visa. Either of them must be valid for at least three months after the last day of the program and your departure from Italy.
10) You must bring with you a recent passport-size photo (1″3/8×1″3/4 or 3.5×4.5 cm) on white background, full face and front view.
11) Citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan need to provide full names of mother and father and it must result from a birth certificate or Consular declaration.

A few suggestions on how to fill out the Schengen visa application form. Please note that if you are not a Harvard student and your are not a resident of Massachusetts, some answers should be different.

  • In the page Home address:
    Residence permit or equivalent: it’s your American F1 student visa.
    Applicant’s home address: your address at Harvard or in the Boston area.
  • Page Travel information:
    Main purpose of the journey: Study.
    Other purpose(s): leave it blank.
    Number of entries required: any answer. However, if you plan to go on a trip to the UK or to another country that is not part of the EU or the Schengen area, you must ask for multiple entries; please understand that you might need a visa also to enter that country.
  • Page Sponsor:
    Inviting type: leave it blank.
    The applicant’s travel and subsistence expenses are charged: Other.
    Means of support: Means autonomous.
  • Page References EU, EEA or CH citizens: leave it blank.

You should have no difficulty in getting a visa directly from the Italian Consulate. If you need assistance, Harvard Global Support Services is able to provide advice on outbound visa requirements and has a number of resources on its website.

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