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A visa is not required of US citizens who wish to travel to the Holy See for tourist purposes and stay for up to 90 days. A passport should be presented, and this should be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date of departure from the Holy See.
Americans who are staying or traveling within the territory for less than 3 months are considered non-residents, including those on vacation, students who are registered with authorized schools or those conducting research or independent study.
The Italian law requires all non-residents to complete a dichiarazione di presenza (declaration of presence). For tourists arriving from a non-Schengen country like the United States, a stamp in the passport obtained upon arrival is considered as the equivalent of a declaration of presence. Those arriving from a Schengen country (e.g. Greece), must request the declaration of presence form from a local police office (commissariato di zona), police headquarters (questura) or their place of stay (e.g hotel, hostel, campgrounds). They should then submit this form within 8 business days of their arrival to the police or to their place of stay. Tourists are strongly advised to keep a copy of the receipt that will be issued to them by the Italian authorities. Failure to comply with the law concerning the declaration of presence is punishable by expulsion from the territory. More information is available from the Portale Immigrazione and the Polizia di Stato, in Italian language.
US citizens who plan to stay for more than 3 months are considered as residents and are required to secure a permesso di soggiorno (permit of stay), including those who intend to work or do business, and even those who want to settle in Italy permanently.
The application kit for the permit of stay is available from any of the 14,000 national post offices. There are 5,332 designated Post Office acceptance locations where the completed application kit must then be submitted to. The receipt that will be issued by the post office should be kept by the applicant. US citizens are required to apply for residency at the local Visa Statistics Bureau within 20 days of receiving their permit to stay. The certificate of residence (Certificato di Residenza) will be issued to applicants after 1 to 2 months from the date of application.
Those who wish to obtain more information on visa requirements should contact:
Embassy of Italy
3000 Whitehaven Street NW
Telephone: (202) 612-4400
The Italian Embassy Website has further information for those living in Boston, Miami, Chicago, Newark, Detroit, New Orleans, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco from the local Italian Consulates General.