I am a US citizen, my wife is Belgian. We intend to spend 6+ months in Italy. Do I need a visa?

  • 2
    Note: you should think also about taxes: 6+ months it means you may need to pay them in Italy (or at least fill them), and also in US. Commented May 21 at 8:53

3 Answers 3


do I need a visa

No, as a US citizen, you are already allowed into the Schengen Area visa-free, + as a family member of a Union citizen, you benefit from the same freedom of movement as the union citizen (as long as you are traveling with, or joining, the Union citizen).

However, as a non-EU citizen, you will need to apply for a residence card once in Italy. You have 90 days from your entry to apply for one.

An Article 10, family of union citizen, residence card (Carta Di Soggiorno Per I Familiari Del Cittadino Comunitario) is what you want to apply.

To do so, you must provide (source and full info) :

a) €16 revenue stamp

b)4 recent and identical passport-sized photographs

c) a valid passport - bearing an entry visa, where applicable - and a photocopy of its relevant pages (there is no need to photocopy blank pages)

d) documents confirming the existence of a family relationship to an EU citizen and, where applicable, a certificate confirming the status of dependent family member of an EU citizen

e) self-certified Statement of cohabitation (and of maintenance if the applicant is a dependent family member of an EU citizen) duly undersigned by the EU citizen who must state the full current permanent address where they live together under the same roof, along with a certificate of registration of the EU citizen issued by the Anagrafe (Registry Office of the municipality of residence). If the EU citizen is Italian, a photocopy of his/her valid identity document will suffice in lieu of the certificate of registration

f) up-to-date supporting evidence, if any, that the applicant is financially independent or that he/she is dependent on an EU citizen

g) the prescribed fee for all residence cards issued after 2nd August 2021 is €30.46. This fee can be paid for through post office help desks displaying the sign “Sportello Amico” by filling in the dedicated pre-printed paying-in slip.

You will apply at the Questura of your place of residence

  • 1
    No, you won't, as a family member of a Union citizen, you benefit from the same freedom of movement as the union citizen (as long as you are traveling with, or joining, the Union citizen). Actually, the deciding factor here is that the OP is a US citizen, some people do need visas in this situation, it's just that the visa is easier to obtain.
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 20 at 16:24
  • @Relaxed Visa nationals can technically turn up without visa provided proof of relationship Commented May 20 at 16:49
  • That's not exactly the way it works nor a good way to describe the law. Border guards do have to give members of the family of an EU citizen “every reasonable opportunity to […] corroborate or prove by other means that they are covered by the right of free movement and residence” but that doesn't mean they don't need a visa. In practice, if coming by air, they wouldn't even make it to the border without one. But that should be of no concern to the OP, not because of this rule but because they are a US citizen. This ought to be explained in the answer.
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 20 at 18:32
  • By contrast, ignoring all that and just showing up at the airport would be extremely bad advice for people who don't have the same privilege. On the other hand, proof of relationship is (technically) required in any case.
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 20 at 18:33
  • Yes this may apply to someone from Africa but not from US rules bend for different people. I guess @NicolasFormichella is right in some ways you could enter Europe if your passport allows you and can apply for residency while you are there , most countries permit you to do that and they say like this if you are legally in on of the member states so you could send your application etc… Commented May 20 at 19:49

we intend to spend 6+months in italy, do I need a visa?

No, when traveling or joining a EU citizen the normal restrictions for 3rd country nationals do not apply.

Non-Italian EU citizens must, however, register their presence in Italy when their stay in Italy is longer than 3 months.

The spouse would then also be registered since the spouse also benefits from the freedom of movement that the EU citizen has.

  • 2
    (+1) That's all true but it's important to note that the main reason the OP does not need a visa to enter the Schengen area is that they are a US citizen. Some people do need a visa even when they are covered by their spouse's freedom of movement.
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 20 at 16:28

While I can't answer regarding your status as a US citizen, it feels worth pointing out that your wife actually needs to register as well.

EU citizen have a legal right to stay in any other EU country for up to three months without really doing anything, assuming they can support themselves, but beyond three months requires registering and the details vary from country to country.

See the Italian ministry of internal affairs website for details on how it works in Italy:

If you are a Union citizen and wish to stay in Italy for a period longer than 3 months, you must apply for registration in the public records office of the municipality of residence. In this case, in addition to what is required by current legislation for Italian citizens, you must submit the following documentation:

  • if you are staying for work reasons: the work pursued;
  • if you are staying without pursuing working activities or for study or training reasons:
  • the availability of sufficient financial resources for your stay, calculated on the basis of the annual social pension in relation to the number of dependent family members, which can be done by self-certification;
  • your health insurance policy,
  • Just as a clarification: This is because she's not going to her country of nationality. The rules that apply are likely different and more relaxed for citizens (vs EU nationals).
    – ave
    Commented May 21 at 14:55

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