Who is eligible to apply for a Religious visa and residence permit?
The entry visa for religious reasons allows entry, for a short or long-stay stay, to foreign religious persons, meaning those who have already received priestly ordination, or equivalent status, religious, ministers of cults belonging to confessional organisations registered on the list kept by the Ministry of the Interior, who intend to participate in religious events or to carry out ecclesiastical, religious or pastoral activities.
More precisely, a distinction must be drawn between
A) Entry visas allowing a period of continuous stay in Italy up to 90 days every semester: a uniform Schengen visa (U.S.V) for religious reasons issued to foreign ministers of religious cults – who have already received priestly ordination or an equivalent qualification – belonging to religious organisations registered on a list made and updated by the Ministry of the Interior, for the performance of their religious or pastoral activities (entry visa for temporary religious reasons, e.g. pilgrimage or participation in a religious event);
B) Entry visas for religious reasons allowing a period of continuous stay in Italy longer than 90 days: a national visa (N. V.) granted to foreigners who submit
1) documentation proving his/her actual status as a religious person;
2) proof of the religious nature of the event or activities constituting the reason for staying in Italy;
3) travel document;
4) proof of available means of subsistence in Italy or, if the costs of the stay are to be borne by a religious organisation, an appropriate statement from the organisation itself;
5) invitation/statement from the religious organisation. if the foreigner is a Catholic, the invitation/ statement should be endorsed by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See or the Apostolic Nunciature based in the foreigner’s country of origin.
Main Procedural Steps
1. Applying for and collecting the ‘Nulla Osta’ (the Certificate of No Impediment issued by the competent Immigration Desk);
2. Filing the visa application at the Italian Consulate of the applicant’s place of residency;
3. Entry in Italy and application for the residence permit at the Police headquarter within 8 days (in case of a national visa issued to reside in Italy for longer than 3 months per semester);
4. Registration of the applicant’s Fingerprints at the Police headquarter (in case of a national visa issued to reside in Italy for longer than 90 continous days per semester);
5. Issuance of the residence permit (in case of a national visa issued to reside in Italy for longer than 3 months per semester).
Validity of the Religious residence permit
Only foreigners holding an entry visa for religious reasons that has been requested and obtained in order to carry out religious or pastoral activities in Italy (National Visa with a validity up to 90 days) may be issued with a specific residency permit. The validity of the residence permit will be that one of the visa (usually vary from 1 to 2 years).
The residency permit for religious reasons allows the holder to carry out work activity strictly related to his religious ministry, excluding, however, the exercise of other work activities.
The residence permit is renewable under the same substantive conditions for the issuance of the first one, as long as the foreign national is never absent from the Italian territory for longer than 6 continuous months.
The applicant can renew the residence permit on their own or be assisted by us.
After 5 years of continuous registered legal residency in Italy, the applicant would be eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit.
The expected time frame to obtain the religious visa is approximately 2 months from the application. Once the applicant obtains the visa, they can travel to Italy and reside there legally.