How to find your way in the higher education system in Italy
Study in Italy
The Study in Italy portal is a section of the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that offers practical information on the higher education system in Italy. The portal is intended for anyone wishing to study in Italy at a University, an Academy of Art, Music and Dance (AFAM) or a Higher Technical Institute.
The portal offers:
- a general overview of the Italian higher education system;
- specific information on the international recognition of academic qualifications, enrolment procedures and requirements;
- useful information for your stay in Italy, such as health insurance, opening a bank account and so on;
- instructions for obtaining a visa and residence permit;
- clarifications on university fees in Italy.
There is also a periodically updated search engine for finding the desired course through the following search parameters: city, university, subject area, course in Italian or English.
Visit the website www.studyinitaly.esteri.it
Thanks to the collaboration with the Uni-Italia Association, the centre of academic promotion for study guidance in Italy, students who wish to study in Italy can ask for support in finding a course and in the pre-enrolment procedures. Uni-Italia has Centres in China, Iran, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
How to enrol at an Italian university
Rules for admission to higher education and recognition of foreign academic qualifications
Detailed information on the requirements for admission to higher education and on the procedures in force for the academic year 2020/2021 are available on the website www.studiare-in-italia.it, as well as on the websites of the individual higher education institutions.
Academic qualifications for admission to courses
Admission to Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes and Level I Academic Diplomas usually requires a final certificate of upper secondary level education, awarded after at least 12 years of schooling and that guarantees admission to higher education in the home educational system (if the home system also requires a national test or a final exam, this is also required for admission to courses in Italy). In the case of qualifications obtained at the end of education lasting less than 12 years, the higher education institutions may require compensatory measures, shown in Attachment 1 of the Procedures for entry, residence and enrolment for students requiring a visa; here, you can also find information on the academic qualifications issued by universities of ecclesiastical studies based in Italy and approved by the Holy See, on US High School qualifications and on UK qualifications. Attachment 2 provides information on qualifications obtained in “frontier schools”, European schools, foreign schools in Italy, schools in the Republic of San Marino, Italian sections of foreign schools and on the International Baccalaureate.
Admission to Master’s Degrees, PhD and Master’s programmes requires an equivalent academic qualification comparable in level, nature, content and academic rights to the Italian academic qualification required for admission to the chosen course.
Usually, academic qualifications obtained abroad are not automatically recognized in Italy. For admission to higher education courses, the recognition of foreign qualifications is the responsibility of the individual institutions. In order to fully evaluate foreign academic qualifications, the individual institutions may ask the student for documents such as the Declaration of Value issued by the Italian embassies and consular offices abroad, Statements of Comparability and Verification issued by CIMEA, translations or legalizations, a Diploma Supplement, exam certificates, etc. For other forms of recognition of foreign academic qualifications, see www.cimea.it.
Pre-enrolment and enrolment procedures
1- For students not requiring a visa
Candidates from non-EU countries already legally resident in Italy and those from EU countries (or from the Swiss Confederation, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the Republic of San Marino and the Holy See) do not require a visa to live in Italy. All these candidates have unrestricted access to higher education courses as long as they possess an academic qualification corresponding to the Italian one required, recognized by the individual higher education institution. They submit their enrolment applications directly to the chosen institution, according to the procedures and deadlines established by the institution and providing the documentation required for the evaluation of the qualification.
2- For students requiring a visa
Higher education institutions advertise the list of places reserved for students requiring a visa for each course on the website www.studiare-in-italia.it.
Applicants for Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree courses (single and non-single cycle) who require a visa must pre-enrol on the UNIVERSITALY portal. Visa applications are made directly on the portal.
Applicants for courses at non-university higher education institutions (Academies of Art, Music and Dance, Higher Technical Institutes, High Schools for Language Mediators, etc.), for PhD courses or Master’s degrees who require a visa must submit their applications directly to the chosen institution; once it has been accepted by the institution, students then apply for a visa from the Italian embassy or consular office for their territory of residence. From the 2021-2022 academic year, the pre-enrolment procedures through the UNIVERSITALY portal will be extended to non-university higher education institutions.
Once the pre-enrolment has been completed and the visa application has been approved, students have to enrol at the higher education institution chosen; instructions for enrolment are provided by each institution.
An admission test is required for the courses in which places are limited: Master’s Degrees in Medicine and Surgery, Medicine and Surgery in English, Dentistry and Dental Prosthetics, Veterinary Medicine and Architecture. The registration procedures for the admission tests are found on the portal www.universitaly.it. Further information is available in Part V of the Procedures for entry, residence and enrolment for students requiring a visa.
Proof of proficiency in the Italian language
The higher education institutions are obliged to verify the language proficiency for admission to the courses: each institution organizes n Italian language test, where necessary, or verifies familiarity with the foreign language in which the course is delivered. Further information, in particular on students exempt from Italian language test, is available in Part III of the Procedures for entry, residence and enrolment for students requiring a visa.
“Marco Polo” and “Turandot” projects
The “Marco Polo” and “Turandot” projects are reserved for Chinese students who wish to attend courses at Italian universities and AFAM institutions, respectively. Information on places reserved for Chinese students at higher education institutions, pre-enrolment procedures, Italian language courses and services can be found on the website www.studiare-in-italia.it.
How to apply for Visas and Permits to study in Italy
The following do not need an entry visa to study in Italy:
- EU citizens or citizens of one of the following countries: Swiss Confederation, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Republic of San Marino, Holy See;
- non-EU citizens already legally living in Italy;
- for study periods of up to 90 days, non-EU citizens already legally living in a country applying the Schengen Convention or citizens of countries for which an entry visa to Italy is not required for stays up to 90 days.
In other cases, students must apply for an entry visa to the Italian embassy or consular office competent for the country of residence. Study visa applications are made at the same time as the university pre-enrolment; information for the current academic year is available on the website www.studiare-in-italia.it. More general information on visas is available on the protal vistoperitalia.esteri.it.
Residence permits (“Permessi di soggiorno”)
Within eight working days of arrival in Italy, students with a “national” type D visa for STUDIO (University Enrolment) must submit the application for a residence permit for STUDIO to the local Police Headquarters (“Questura”) for the city in which they intend to live. Applications can be submitted through the post office or through the support desks that may be found at the higher education institutions, using the special kit available at the post office. Students can find free support for completing the application from advice and social assistance institutions and Municipal Authorities that have activated this service. Upon submitting the application for a residence permit, students are identified and pay the related charges, while the post office issues a receipt for the presentation of the residence permit application. Students also receive a notice of appearance, which indicates the day they have to go to the Police Headquarters, together with the photographs required, for photo and fingerprint recording.
After enrolment at the higher education institution, students must apply to the Police Headquarters to renew the residence permit for the entire year, within 60 days of its expiry. For renewal, students must demonstrate that they have the financial means required for entry and a certificate of enrolment at the higher education institution and that they meet all the conditions already required for the issue of the residence permit. For subsequent renewals, students must pass at least one exam in the first year of the course and two exams in the following years. The residence permit for study cannot in any case be renewed for more than three years beyond the duration of the course.
The residence permit for study authorizes part-time work for a maximum of 20 hours per week and 1040 hours per year.
Students entering Italy with a short-term visa (Uniform Schengen Visa) do not need a residence permit but must submit a Declaration of Presence (“Dichiarazione di Presenza”). If they enter Italy from non-Schengen countries, this declaration is made upon entry to Italy, presented at the border. If they enter Italy from Schengen countries, the declaration must be submitted within eight days of entry, to the local Police Headquarters (for those staying in hotels, a copy of the declaration made to the hotelier and signed by the foreign citizen is valid as a Declaration of Presence).
Information on residence permits is available on the website www.portaleimmigrazione.it. The list of documents required to apply for a residence permit for study is available at www.portaleimmigrazione.it/APR_PDS_Motivi_Studio.aspx.