On 26 October 1997, Italy entered the Schengen system at the end of a gradual adaptation process to the common visa policy envisaged by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement. The strengthening of the common external border, therefore, was matched by the parallel and gradual abolition of controls at internal borders, and therefore the affirmation of full freedom of movement in all the territories of all the States signatories to the Schengen Agreements: the realization of the so called Schengen Area.
THE ENTRY OF FOREIGNERS IN ITALY
The entry into the Italian territory of foreigners coming from the external borders of the Schengen Area is allowed only to the foreigner who:
- present through a border crossing;
- is in possession of a passport or other equivalent travel document recognized as valid for crossing borders;
- has documents that justify the purpose and conditions of the stay and proves to have sufficient financial means in relation to the nature, the expected duration of the stay, and the costs for returning to the country of origin (or for transit to a State third). Foreigners already residing in the territory of one of the contracting parties, and having a regular residence permit, are exempt from this demonstration;
- is equipped, where required, with a valid entry or transit visa;
- is not reported for the purpose of refusing entry into the Schengen Information System;
- is not considered dangerous to public order, national security or international relations of one of the Contracting Parties, by national provisions or by other Schengen States.
The foreigners already resident in a Schengen State and holding a residence permit are exempt from visas for stays of up to 3 months, provided that they do not enter Italy for reasons of employment, self-employment or traineeship.
A foreigner who does not even have one of the required requirements can be refused entry, which can be implemented by the competent border authorities even if they have a regular entry or transit visa.
The foreigner who intends to enter the National Territory, or the Schengen Area, must have financial means that can guarantee his livelihood during the intended stay. The availability of financial means of support is therefore considered one of the indispensable prerequisites for entry into the Schengen Area (Common Consular Instructions).
The visa, which consists of a special "sticker" applied to the passport or other valid travel document of the applicant, is an authorization granted to the foreigner for entry into the territory of the Italian Republic or that of the other Contracting Parties for transit or for stay.
Every foreigner who enters Italy legally and stays beyond 90 days must compulsorily comply with the rules governing the stay of foreigners in Italy, presenting himself within 8 (eight) days of entry into the National Territory at the territorially competent Police Headquarters, and requesting - as required by art. 5 of the T.U. 286/1998 - the residence permit.