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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I am a US citizen currently living in the US, and my husband is Bulgarian living in Italy. He has EEA/EU rights and currently resides in Milan as a student. We are marrying in a month and I wish to join him in Milan after marriage. He relies on family for financial support at the moment, but I have sufficient funds saved up for one year according to the EU family income support guidelines, but hope to soon work and so does he. I want to know if I need to apply for a visa in the states in order to go join him in Italy, or if I can fly to Italy as a 'tourist' and then apply for residence after I arrive, because I heard that non-eu family members of eea/eu nationals can apply within 3 months of arrival.

Thanks for your help, advice, or experience!!
 

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Generally speaking, you should be able to join your EU national spouse in Italy under a "simplified" procedure as long as he is "established" as resident in Italy. You shouldn't need to apply for a visa, just to enter Italy legally (i.e. on the Schengen tourist visa - the "stamp in the passport" - that you would use to visit Italy).

Someone should be along shortly with more details on how the process works, and possibly with a bit more detail on what Italy's requirements are for showing that your spouse is properly "resident" but it's normally a fairly simply process.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I am a US citizen currently living in the US, and my husband is Bulgarian living in Italy. (...)We are marrying in a month and I wish to join him in Milan after marriage.
If you are not yet married to him, you can't be considered his spouse and therefore you are not eligible to obtain an entry visa as family member of an EEA national. Italian law doesn't recognize civil partnerships as valid, so you will either have to enter Italy as a tourist and get married within the visa waiver term, or apply for a visa at your nearest Italian consular office.

If you plan to get married in Italy, be sure to get all the required papers before your departure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. As I said, I am planning to join him in Italy, AFTER we are married (he's going back in September to finish school, and then I'll go in October). So he will be my legal spouse. No plans to marry in Italy (would be redundant). As his wife, do I need to apply for a visa at a consulate before departure?
 

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As his wife, do I need to apply for a visa at a consulate before departure?
No, since you are a U.S. citizen, and U.S. citizens enjoy Schengen visa waiver privileges.(*) Those privileges are sufficient for these purposes. There are a few other threads describing the residence registration and residence permit formalities you and your spouse will need to complete once you arrive in Italy.

(*) Unless your visa waiver privilege has been revoked due to a previous overstay, for example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No, since you are a U.S. citizen, and U.S. citizens enjoy Schengen visa waiver privileges.(*) Those privileges are sufficient for these purposes. There are a few other threads describing the residence registration and residence permit formalities you and your spouse will need to complete once you arrive in Italy.

(*) Unless your visa waiver privilege has been revoked due to a previous overstay, for example.
Alright, thank you so much. It certainly simplifies things to skip a family reunification visa. No overstays here. Final inquiry, when I enter Italy and they ask me what I'm there for, is it sufficient or will it raise red flags to tell them that I'm off to join my hubby? I will check other threads for the permesso process.
 

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Final inquiry, when I enter Italy and they ask me what I'm there for, is it sufficient or will it raise red flags to tell them that I'm off to join my hubby?
Simply answer the question asked truthfully and succinctly....or decline to answer only if you're about to admit to a crime. Joining your husband in Italy is certainly not a crime and not a "red flag."
 

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No, since you are a U.S. citizen, and U.S. citizens enjoy Schengen visa waiver privileges.
This is not correct. There is no such thing as "Schengen visa waiver privileges", as the provisions of the Schengen Treaty do not apply to non-EU nationals who are not already legally residing in a Schengen treaty signatory country.

The Visa Waiver Program is a multilateral treaty between the United States and several foreign countries which allows US citizens and the citizens of the member countries to travel among them for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.

The relevant legislation in your case is the European Council Directive 2004/38/EC, which allows non-EU member country nationals who are spouses or family members of EU citizens to travel and reside freely in any EU member country together with their family.

Therefore, if you plan to travel to Italy on your own to join your husband already living there, you will have to apply for and obtain a visa for "ricongiungimento familiare" from the Italian consulate. This is also what the webpage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on entry visas says about the matter.

Failure to do so could result in problems upon your arrival in Italy, particularly if you will be traveling with an one-way air ticket, as border controls have been tightened recently following an increase of cases of illegal immigrants trying to enter the territory of European Union member states.

For the same reason, it would be advisable to get your marriage certificate in "long form" authenticated with an "Apostille" and with a translation into Italian certified by the relevant Italian consular office as faithful to the original text, in order to prove to the Italian police authorities your right to reside in Italy with your husband.
 

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Arturo, you're just wrong on that point. Flat wrong. European Council Directive 2004/38/EC is silent on entry, thus only legal entry is required. U.S. citizens can already legally enter Italy, without a visa. Quite the contrary, spouses are very well protected under EC legislation (and domestic enabling legislation) and cannot be refused entry or deported except in very narrow circumstances, i.e. a genuine security threat.

These are two separate issues, entry and right of residence. They must not be conflated.

As for airlines and their occasional reluctance to board passengers with one-way tickets, the other threads I referred to discuss that issue and the very easy workaround in that eventuality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, I have gotten some conflicting answers.

The thing is, on the Consolato Generale of Italia in Chicago, the ONLY visa application they list for "Family Reasons" is: "Family Reasons for Spouse or Family Member of non-EU/EEA Citizen."
Apparently they have no visa application for a spouse of an EU/EEA citizen. I am contacting the consulate directly in order to get more direct, certain answers. That is, unless someone who has had a similar experience (non-EU spouse trying to join their EU citizen spouse), can tell me what they did.

Cheers
 

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Arturo, you're just wrong on that point. Flat wrong.
What you say is based only on your personal opinion and assumptions, while my posts are based on precise references, and backed by the contents of websites managed by the respective national authorities who enact and enforce the laws and regulations we are talking about. Are they too flat wrong?

I also speak from experience, because back in 2004 my American wife applied for and obtained a visa for "ricongiungimento familiare" in order to join me in Italy. The visa was issued in few days an free of charge. When she had to fill in the application form for her "carta di soggiorno", there was a section where the number of the visa sticker and the date of issue had to be filled in.

I hope that a reply from the Italian Consulate-General in Chicago will cłear the issue.
 

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Arturo, you have failed to find any requirement for a visa in the residence registration procedures for a non-EU spouse. That's because such a requirement doesn't exist. Legal entry is always a requirement, but U.S. citizens can already do that.

This is a very different situation compared to employment, study, etc.
 

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Arturo, you have failed to find any requirement for a visa in the residence registration procedures for a non-EU spouse. That's because such a requirement doesn't exist. Legal entry is always a requirement, but U.S. citizens can already do that.
If you click on this link, you can download a specimen of the application form for the "Carta di soggiorno" that has to be submitted to the "Questura" by registered mail by the spouse of the Italian citizen (or Eu citizen residing in Italy). Towards the end of page 2 there is a "Sezione visto", where the applicant must fill in the data of his entry visa.

US citizens (and citizens of other countries with which Italy has a visa waiver agreement in force) can enter the Italian territory without an entry visa for up to 90 days only for tourism. Overstaying the 90 days or engaging in activities other than the stated purpose of their stay is a felony under Italian law, and violators could be arrested and deported. It would happen pretty much the same to any Italian citizen who traveled to the US and stated in the I-94W form that he was going to stay in the US and live with his American spouse. He would be very likely stopped at the border by CBP upon his arrival, and be sent back to Italy with the next available flight, never to be allowed to return to the US for 5 years.

Back in the time when I was working at Fiumicino airport, the enforcement of these rules toward citizens of the US and other developed non-EU nations (such as Canada and Japan) was very lax, and border police officers rarely bothered to date-stamp the passports of passengers arriving from those countries, particularly when they had to deal with several planeloads of them arriving all at once. This allowed many Americans and Japanese to stay in Italy illegally and live for years under the radar.

After 9/11, and particularly now that the threat of citizens from developed nations joining terrorists organizations in the Middle East is becoming a pressing issue, EU governments have agreed upon and enacted a series of safety measures aimed at stamping out illegal immigration. For this reason US citizens arriving in Italy with an one-way ticket and without a hotel reservation or sufficient funds could be subjected to further scrutiny upon their arrival.

You are free to think otherwise, but it is a fact that these laws and regulations are currently in force and must be abided to by any non-EU citizen willing to legally enter and reside in Italy. Trying to get around them (and being caught in the act) doesn't put the violator in the good graces of Italian law enforcement officers.
 

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Towards the end of page 2 there is a "Sezione visto", where the applicant must fill in the data of his entry visa.
No, you're not correct. The specimen you linked to leaves that section blank, even though that example, for a citizen of Somalia, would involve an entry visa since Somalia is an "Annex I" country.

US citizens (and citizens of other countries with which Italy has a visa waiver agreement in force) can enter the Italian territory without an entry visa for up to 90 days only for tourism. Overstaying the 90 days or engaging in activities other than the stated purpose of their stay is a felony under Italian law, and violators could be arrested and deported.
Absolutely incorrect. Co-resident legal spouses of Italian (or EU/EEA treaty exercising) citizens are incapable of "overstaying." They cannot be deported unless they present a genuine risk to public security.

You're just flat wrong on this, and you're causing needless anxiety. Refer to EC Directive 2004/38/EC Article 5 Paragraph 2 which, in turn, refers to EC Regulation 539/2001 and its "Annex II" countries. Both have been incorporated into Italian domestic legislation.

It would happen pretty much the same to any Italian citizen who traveled to the US and stated in the I-94W form that he was going to stay in the US and live with his American spouse.
The United States is entirely different in this respect. You cannot draw any conclusions about Italian legal rights from the lack of corresponding U.S. legal rights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you both for your information, and I'm taking both opinions into account, but arguing back and forth is kind of needless. I've also heard the same two opinions from others, so I will do further research and try to come to a conclusion, and I will also announce what the consulate says to me (if I ever get a reply), and leave the info for others' benefits as well.
 

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BBCWatcher said:
You have to provide current, accurate, relevant information.
I may be wrong about what goes on in the US, which is bound by treaty to treat citizens of other nations on the basis of reciprocity (which doesn't always happen), but the information I have provided so far, regarding Italy's laws and regulations on entry and residence of non-EU nationals, is indeed current, accurate and relevant, as it was backed by law references and documentation available on current websites.
 

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With due respect, you haven't backed anything. A specimen CdS application -- with the visa section blank! -- is not even close to supporting your assertion.

In contrast, I have provided the correct regulatory reference. Readers can also refer to the Polizia di Stato's helpful guide (published in English) entitled Staying in Italy Legally. Page 8 describes the requirements for family members of EU citizens. The relevant requirement is that "you have entered Italy legally" (quoting from the guide), and you will note that there is no requirement to provide a copy of any visa. U.S. citizens have the independent ability to enter Italy legally, so they can easily satisfy that requirement and all others.
 
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