Visa Appointment at the Italian Consulate

I just completed the longest trip the US that I have taken since moving to Italy in 2010.  The main motivation was to see my family and friends, so I took plenty of trips to celebrate and reconnect.

However, another part of any stateside visit for me is renewing my Italian visa.  Somehow during my weeks in America, I managed to forget about government bureaucracy. Then I called the Italian Consulate to ask what I deemed a fairly innocuous question, and I got straight up chided.

Then I went to the appointment, and I got straight up yelled at.

My offense?

I walked into the waiting room and sat down.

“Did you just walk in here?!?” a security guard yelled at me.

“Oh. Hello. Yes. Sorry. I did. I was trying to follow the directions.”

“It’s not something you do YOURSELF,” the guard snapped.

Oh really? Because when I made the appointment online, I got this CRAZY list of directions that I had to print out and bring with me and I am pretty sure that “do-it-yourself” is exactly what they instruct me to do.

I swear to God that the entire convoluted process is to just screen people out.

Here were my instructions – all caps and colors original (I’ve removed the contact info only):


In view of your upcoming appointment at our Consulate, please be advised of the following:
1) As you enter the corridor to the left of the Italian Shield, the first door to your right is the Waiting-Room Area for general consular services (passports, citizenship, notary, registrar….);
2) If you have a visa appointmentPROCEED down the corridor, third door to your right;
3)     As you enter the Waiting-Room Area, you will have to walk through a metal detector (very much like at an airport);
4) No attendant will be on duty  near the detector: you will be MONITORED through a surveillance camera;
5) The GREEN READY light must appear before you are permitted to enter the Walk-Through Box for inspection;
6) Before entering the Walk-Through Box for inspection , please REMOVE  all metal objects in your possession (particularly cell phones, which must be turned off at all times) and PLACE THEM on the side table located at your right;
7) NOTE: presently  our building does not offer storage facilities (lockers): in order to avoid delays during the screening process, please DO NOT TAKE  with you at the time of the appointment items like luggagebagsbriefcasesbackpacks… these items CANNOT BE INTRODUCED into the Waiting-Room AreaCARRY – BY HAND  – necessary items onlypaperswalletcar keys. By the same token,  AVOID WEARING METAL OBJECTSNO FOOD OR DRINKS allowed in the Waiting-Room Area;
8) STEP INTO the metal detector Walk-Through Box and STOP for five seconds;
9) If metal is detected on you, (a) you will hear an ALARM SOUND (b) RED LIGHTS will turn on  (c) the gate in front of you will close automatically;
10) DO NOT PROCEED, DO NOT TRY TO FORCE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE GATE:  STEP BACK and exit IMMEDIATELY the metal detector walk-through area;
11) SEARCH YOURSELF  for other metal objects that might trigger the alarm: place them too on the table located to your right,  well in view of the camera;
12) GO AGAIN through the  Walk-Through Box;
13) REPEAT  steps 6-7-8 UNTIL no metal objects are detected;
14) Once you are done with your appointment, DO NOT EXIT back through the gate and metal detectorEXIT to the left of the table next to the metal detector;
15)  Please NOTIFY us at ———- of any special needs. 



So go to your visa appointment with plenty of time before your departure. Bring all your documents (passport, copy of passport, passport photo, application, and any housing or monetary documents requested).  Be respectful, but keep a (silent) sense of humor, or you will totally lose it.


9 thoughts on “Visa Appointment at the Italian Consulate

  1. Emerald Allen says:

    OMG, so you were able to renew abroad for 5 years? How did your renewal appointment go? We have our initial visa appointment on April 4th at the Houston consulate and I’m thorough STUDYING your blog.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Emerald! Actually, I renew just about every year. I have had several visas but everyone’s situation and what they qualify for is slighty different. My appointment was fine — and yours will be too! Just bring copies of everything.

  2. Sara White says:

    Wow, your consulate is hard core, seriously. Mine was almost too informal – no security guard whatsoever, you literally just waltz into the building, take an elevator directly to their floor, ring a doorbell and you’re right in the main room. Handbags, backpacks and all!

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  4. Mandy says:

    Oh boy….any insight into obtaining a visa from the Chicago consulate? Formal, informal? Tips and tricks? I’m just waiting on my DoV(being told it will be done tomorrow!!!) to secure the work permit/blue card and then I am being told I can apply for the work visa.

    • Natalie says:

      Every consulate is different, but I would say business casual, and come prepared – have copies of everything and have all the documents well organized. It will be fine!

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  7. Eva marie Bugarin says:

    My fiancé lives in Italy and I’m going there in August we wanted to make an appointment and come down to room to talk to somebody to see what the procedures are and what we need to petition him as my fiancé how do we do that?

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