How do I apply for a student visa to legally teach English in Italy?

In some European countries including Italy it can be notoriously difficult for non-EU citizens to find teaching jobs. Language schools can be reluctant to undertake the often laborious task of obtaining a work permit when they can simply hire a teacher from within the EU who requires no documentation. One option open to non-EU teachers is to apply for a student visa that allows you to legally work in a language school for up to 20 hours per week. To supplement this income, many teachers also take on private students in their free time which should enable you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while living and working in Italy.

What is the application process for a student visa in Italy?

The process of applying for a student visa can take up to a month to be processed. You will need to visit your nearest Italian Consulate in person to submit the required documents. Before applying you should ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months after your stay in Italy is completed. You also need to enroll on a study program such as an Italian language course that is recognized by the Italian government. The required documentation may vary, but the typical requirements are:

  • Completed application form
  • Valid passport
  • Additional passport photo
  • Photocopies of passport ID pages
  • Documentation regarding the study course in Italy
  • Proof of finances (either a bank statement showing access to $1,000 per month during your stay, or notarized document from parent or similar declaring responsibility for providing the funds)
  • Health insurance documentation
  • Proof of round-trip flights
  • Proof of accommodation during your stay

How can I check that I have the right documents?

To ensure you have everything in place it is recommended that you visit the website of your nearest consulate to check the exact details of any documentation required.

What should I do on arrival in Italy?

Once you have received your student visa and are on the ground in Italy, you then need to apply for a Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno). Your application should be made at a local post office within eight days of your arrival in the country. Processing time can be up to three months and requires the following documents:

  • Completed application form (obtained from post office)
  • Valid passport, plus copies of ID and visa page
  • Four passport photos
  • Tax stamp (obtained from post office)
  • Acceptance letter from study program
  • Public health insurance (49 euros for six months, 98 euros for twelve months. Obtained from post office.
  • Once your application is sent, you also need to apply for a tax number through the government tax department

How easy is it to get a student visa for Italy?

If you supply all the necessary documentation throughout the visa application process, things should run smoothly. However, it is by no means certain that every application will be approved so it is important that you follow the instructions supplied by the Italian Consulate to the letter.