What is a Schengen Visa?
Technically, short term visas are called Schengen (Uniform) Visas since they are regulated uniformly across the Schengen Area.
The Schengen Uniform Visas (SUV) allows stays of up to 90 days per semester in the Schengen area for reasons pertaining to business, tourism, family and study. Schengen visa holders can enter the Schengen area many times over the period of validity of the Visa (up to 5 years) as long as they respect the limitation of 90 days per semester spent in the Schengen area.
For this reason, Schengen Visas can never lead to the issuance of a residence permit in Italy to live in Italy on a stable basis.
Who needs a Schengen Visa?
Foreign nationals willing to enter and circulate within the Schengen area:
- who are not nationals of a country whose citizens can enter the Schengen area for reasons related to business, tourism for up to 90 days every semester without a visa, based on specific international conventions;
- who do not have a valid residence permit issued by any of the Schengen States.
On the following official source of the EU, you can find the list of Countries from which a Schengen Visa to enter Italy is mandatory, and those from which a Visa is not required (always considering the passport of the traveller and not the mere country of departure)
Which Countries can a foreign citizen visit with a Schengen Visa?
A holder of a Uniform Schengen Visa can travel to all 27 member countries of the Schengen Area, regardless of the specific Schengen Country that issued the travel document:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Where should one apply for a Schengen visa?
The application for the Visa must be submitted in the country of residence of the applicant to the competent Consulate of the Schengen country that will be the main destination of the trip.