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New US Visa System: US Mission Italy

Non Machine Readable Passport Non Machine Readable Passport

Colonnade with snow, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican. 149137675Beginning Monday, July 15th, 2013, the US Mission Italy (including US Embassy Rome, US Consulate Milan, US Consulate Naples, US Consulate Florence) is transitioning to a new visa system, including appointments, payments and passport returns, for visa applicants in US consular posts in Italy.

If you, your business associates, family or friends need to apply for a visa and have:

  • TRAVEL PLANS BEFORE JULY 18th: during the busy summer application season, the US Mission Italy strongly urges everyone to make appointments before and pay your visa fees.
  • BEFORE FRIDAY, JUNE 28th, 2013: Beginning Saturday, June 29th and through Sunday, July 14th we CANNOT process new appointment requests. BNL Bank will STOP collecting your visa application fee payments on June 29th.

Please be assured that appointments made and fees paid at the BNL bank BEFORE June 29th will be interviewed and processed under the current system, as usual, during the June 29th-July 12th period.

Please keep in mind that if you are unable to schedule an appointment at your preferred date and post, you should check for appointment availability at the other visa processing posts in Italy: US Embassy Rome, US Consulate Milan, US Consulate Florence or US Consulate Naples.

Visa appointment scheduling will resume Monday, July 15th under the new appointment system. Details of the new appointment processing system soon. Please check the US Mission Italy website regularly for updates and new details.


Millions of foreign visitors travel to the US each year for business or pleasure. They come for tourism or to visit family and friends. Others come for specific purposes, such as business, scientific, educational, or professional conferences and conventions, training, or consulting with business associates. Other foreign visitors come for medical treatment, for voluntary programs conducted by charitable organizations, for religious purposes, or as personal/domestic employees, under certain conditions.

Some foreign athletes and sports teams may come to the US with visitors visas. Most of these visitors need B-1/B-2 visitors visas to enter the United States.

Foreign visitors add greatly to US cultural, education and economic life. The US welcomes citizens from around the world who genuinely want to visit, study, and do business in the US. We are dedicated to protecting their safety and keeping our doors open to them. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the US made some changes in US laws governing visitor entry and exit. Changes in visa procedures reflect the US’s concern for ensuring the safety of both US residents and visitors. To avoid travel delays and disappointment, the US Embassy in Rome and the US Consulates General in Milan, Florence, and Naples strongly encourage nationals and residents of Italy to apply early for their visas. Students and exchange visitors, in particular, should apply as soon as they have their required documents. Plan ahead to allow enough time to process your visa before your trip. During the summer months, we recommend that travelers begin the visa application process at least one month before they plan to travel. This will ensure that there is time to schedule your appointment, conduct your interview, review your application, determine whether we can issue a visa, and arrange for delivery. Final travel plans or the purchase of non-refundable tickets should not be made until a visa is issued.

These webpages will help you learn if you need a visa for your travel to the US and, if so, how to apply for the correct type of visa.

Do You Really Need a Visa?

The Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the US for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa, as long as they meet specific requirements. By carefully reading this page and answering the following four questions, you will learn if you meet all requirements to travel under the Visa Waiver Program. If you are traveling with your children, please read the paragraph about “Individual passports” at the end of this page.

1) Nationality

If you are a national of Italy or any other Visa Waiver Program Country (see directly below for list of Visa Waiver Program countries), go to the next question.

If you are NOT a national of one of the Visa Waiver Program Countries, you will need a visa to travel to the United States.

The Visa Waiver Program Countries include: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and The United Kingdom.

Please read the page entitled “Nonimmigrant Visas” to learn what type of visa you need and how to apply.

2) Purpose of travel to the US

If you are traveling to the US for tourism and/or business, or for transit to another destination, go to the next question.

Visa Waiver Program travelers can go to the US for tourism and/or business, or for transit to another destination only. If the purpose of your travel is different, such as, for example, taking classes at University or participating in cultural exchanges, you will need a visa to travel to the United States.

Please read the “Nonimmigrant Visas” page to determine what type of visa you need and how to apply.

3) The duration of your stay

If you plan to stay in the US for less than 90 days, go to the next question.

If you plan to stay in the US for more than 90 days, you will need a B-1 or B-2 visa. Please visit the page on how to apply for a B-1 or B-2 Visa.

4) Your passport

Recent regulations allow only certain travelers to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program, depending on the type of passport they hold and its issuance/renewal date.

You can determine whether your passport is valid for travel under the Visa Waiver Program by carefully reading the following.

“Electronic” Passport:

Electronic Passport EUIf you hold an e-Passport you don’t need a visa to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. The new Italian “e-Passports” contain an electronic chip and are easy to identify because they carry the International e-Passport symbol on the front cover. E-Passports have an integrated computer chip that stores biometric information of the holder. The chip allows faster data acquisition during the inspection process at ports of entry. The data page, which includes the photograph of the holder, is similar to that of photo digitized passports, except that the “ghost image” is now located in the top right corner of the data page. The chip is embedded in the passport and is invisible. The front cover of the passport carries the e-Passport symbol and looks like the picture on the left. In Italy, these passports have been issued starting October 26, 2006.

“Photo Digitized” Passport:

Photo-Digitized-PassportIf you hold a photo digitized passport issued before 26 October 2006, you don’t need a visa to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program.

“Machine-readable” Passport:

Machine Readable PassportIf your machine-readable passport was issued before October 26, 2005, and –if renewed- it was renewed before October 26, 2005, you don’t need a visa to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If your Machine-readable passport was issued or renewed on or after October 26, 2005, you need a visa for travel to the United States. Keep in mind that if you renew this type of passport you will be required to apply for a visa in order to travel to the United States.

“Non Machine-readable” Passport:

Non Machine Readable PassportYou will not be allowed to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on a non machine-readable passport. You will need to obtain a visa OR the new e-passport. Additional information can be found at: “Nonimmigrant visas.”


Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) All travelers wishing to enter the US on the Visa Waiver Program must obtain an ESTA authorization BEFORE boarding. All information about how to request and ESTA authorization is available on the ESTA webpage of this website.

Individual Passports To travel under the Visa Waiver Program: each traveler must have his or her own passport. If you are traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) with your children, each child must have their own individual passport, which must meet the requirements listed above. Children who appear in their parents’ passport must have a visa to travel to the United States.

How to apply for a new passport: Information on how to obtain a new Italian passport is available on the Polizia di Stato website (in Italian).

Visa Waiver Program (VWP): Additional information on the Visa Waiver Program is available here.

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