http://www.librarising.com/astrology/celebs/heathergraham.html

Decoding The Student Visa

This is for those of you applying for your student visa to Italy from U.S.A

Two options:

  • Go in to one of the branches.
  • Mail it in.

I. Gather Your Information (for both mailing in & going in to a branch):

  1. You’ll need a visa if you’re staying over 90+ days : read http://cgla.info/Visa/ItalianStudyVisa.htm
  2. Make 3 copies of everything. They state 2 but, you really need 3.
  • 1 original copy for the General Consulate of Italy
  • 1 copy for the police department
  • 1 copy for yourself

3. Letter of recommendation & a motivation letter: Do not include this unless it is requested but, they did eventually asked me for it. Every school I’ve applied to elsewhere did request this as part of their admission policy but, the school I applied to in Italy didn’t. Make sure to have it just in case. Why it wasn’t listed under their visa requirements is beyond me.

II. Going in to a branch – L.A. location

  • Schedule an appointment online a month in advance. The General Consulate office in L.A. is busy. They seem to look understaffed and has specific business hours and dates set. There are no walk-ins unless specified & they’re closed on Thursdays.
  • Making an online appointment is also a whole different animal in itself. The system works a lot like scheduling an appointment with DMV; It’s UX/UI challenged, it’s not user-friendly nor has any availability whatsoever. Tip: If, you need to get an earlier time than say a month from now, try to re-visit the website at different times in a given day or hit refresh every 30 min. or re-visit the website another day. Usually someone cancels their appointment at some point. I tried this with DMV and it worked.
  • Before you make an appointment, make sure the date is within the 3 months prior to the day you start your school. It can’t be more than that start date because the visa stamp will need to cover the full year you’re in school.

III. Appointment Day: 

1. Organize your documents –

Double check everything! I think it’s better to have more information that they’re requesting than not having enough. Make sure you have all of your documents that they’re asking for and organized in each section. I used paper clips to section each request like this http://www.housecleaningcentral.com/en/cleaning-tips/organizing/organizing-paper-files.html. The clips don’t need to be this large but, it’s a representative of how each documents are organized. Basically, make it easy for them to spot the important information they want and/or need.

2. Day of the appointment.
Read the reviews on yelp. It helped me prepare for what to expect http://www.yelp.com/biz/italian-consulate-general-los-angeles

  • Go in 45 min. early even if, you have to wait. Double check that you have everything they’re asking for on the VISA list http://cgla.info/Visa/ItalianStudyVisa.htm.
  • Park across the street (the mall). It’s cheaper than the public parking next to the building of the General Consulate. We’re talking $3 as oppose to $20.
  • Dress for an interview. Lastly, approach this appointment as a real interview. Be presentable.

3. Interview.

When you arrive (there are 2 doors) you’re greeted by someone who will guide you. Keep in mind that they don’t have lockers so, plan to bring in only the necessary documents. I was debating about bringing my cell phone with me or not but, I decided to do so since, I needed it in finding my way to the building from the mall. It helped. You will be able to put your keys, documents and cell on a small table before you walk through a body scanner.

After you go through the body scanner, you wait. Everyone who comes in needs to have an appointment so, everyone will be checked in and seen base off of your time slot. If you have all of your documents you should be able to finish within 15-20 minutes.

The actual interview process was quick. I was asked about my document copies, whether I had my own set of copies and how long my school will last for. That was it.

IV. Helpful links:
http://www.insidersabroad.com/italy/forums/italy-red-tape/topics/how-to-get-a-visa-for-italy-simplified-all-here
http://girlinflorence.com/2012/06/01/permesso-di-soggiorno-in-italy-my-experience/

Now sit tight and approx. wait for a week. Read my lovely posts😉
https://astintabroad.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/consignment-stores-apps-tested/
https://astintabroad.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/counting-down/
https://astintabroad.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/in-the-zone/

Featured Image Source: http://www.librarising.com/astrology/celebs/heathergraham.html

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