How to Get a Dichiarazione di Valore

I couldn’t decide if I should title this post: “How to get a Dichiarazione di Valore” or “How to apply to graduate school in Italy” or “Please learn from my mistakes completing the most difficult task in the history of mankind so that you don’t go totally crazy.”

Dichiarazione di valore for Italy

 

Do you want to move to Italy to go to graduate school? Well, take a deep breath and mentally prepare yourself to jump through some hoops because you are going to need a Dichiarazione di Valore.  A Dichiarazione di Valore is a statement of value that is issued by the Italian consulate in your home country.  Non-EU students or post-graduate researchers who want to study in Italy must obtain a Dichiarazione di Valore in order to verify their university credentials.

Basically, your Non-Italian degree means diddly-squat to Italian schools. You’re going to have to prove it is real.

How to Get a Dichiarazione di Valore

Step 1: Find out which Italian consulate is going to help you. Is it the consulate nearest to where you went to school or the consulate nearest to where you live now? Call them and verify who has jurisdiction.

Step 2: Obtain official copies of your college transcripts and diploma.  The registrar at your college must sign each document, and have the signature witnessed by a notary. This step is not as bad as it sounds- most registrar offices are familiar with this request and have a notary on staff.

Step 3: Once you receive the signed and notarized documents, take them to the County Clerk to verify the notary’s signature.

Step 4: Once the County Clerk has verified the documents, take them to the Secretary of State to get an Apostille.  In most states, you can skip the County Clerk and send the documents straight to the Secretary of State, just know that this means extra processing time.

Step 5: Have the transcripts (and the university grading scale) translated into Italian.  Also translate your diploma into Italian. These do not have to be official documents and you are welcome to do the translation yourself.

Step 6: Make copies of EVERYTHING.  The Apostilled documents do not need to be duplicated, but I suggest making a copy to save for yourself.  In my case, the consulate needed to send the entire application on my behalf. I have heard of others being able to pick up the dichiarazione di valore and send it themselves, but most times the consulate must apply to the university as your intermediary. That means you must bring two copies of all of your application forms (one for the consulate and one for them to send to the university), 2 passport sized pictures, letters of recommendation, transcript with Apostille, diploma with Apostille, Italian translation of transcripts and diploma, AND an pre-paid pre-addressed envelope so the consulate can mail your complete application with the dichiarazione di valore to Italy.  Some consulates even require your high school transcripts. Check with them!

Step 7: Done! Go grab an espresso and dream of Italia.

TRUST ME, this is the easy way to get a “Dichiarazione di Valore.” If you want to do it the frustrating way, then just follow my lead with these simple 28 steps.

75 thoughts on “How to Get a Dichiarazione di Valore

  1. Royce says:

    That does not sound quite as hard as it seemed it would be. But maybe just dealing with the bureaucracy is the maddening part.

    What does dichiarazione di valore translate to?

  2. Alex says:

    Thanks for posting this! I am applying to a masters program in Italy right now and they require a DV. I had no idea what it meant so thanks for this info! Sounds like a pain in the butt but now I can avoid making the same mistakes you did

    • La americana says:

      Good luck, Alex! I’m here now and it’s totally worth it.. just get ready for a few frustrations, but it will all work out.

  3. Babar says:

    Dear all,

    Thanks for your information regarding Dichiarazione di Valore, I am also stuck in this process as I have already done my Masters degree from University of Bologna, Italy.

    Best Regards

    BABAR
    Pakistan
    Cell Ph.00923002723976

  4. Inger Rasmussen says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I am in the process of translating my transcripts now. On the list of requirements I got from the Detroit Italian Consulate one of them was I translate all my course descriptions from University catalog. Did you have to do that?

    • La americana says:

      I didn’t! That’s a little ridiculous, even for Italy. I had to provide a grading scale translation, so that they could determine an approximation, but that was it. Every geographic consulate has its own set of rules (yup. brilliant.) but that’s a new requirement for me. Yuck. Good luck!

  5. Chris says:

    Hi, What a terrific rendition. Carry on! It’s a great read. How did you find housing? A family member is thinking of going to school in Rome and I’m wondering how one finds a place to rest their head without going through the school….Any thoughts?

  6. Olivia says:

    This is so helpful! I’m going to be matriculating into medical school in Milan this Fall and I’m feeling like I want to rip my hair out. Solidarity! Still, I feel like I’m adhering to the 28 steps-problems arise when the american school doesn’t have a notary public on site to verify signatures of diplomas and transcripts. grrr.

    • Ruth says:

      You find a Mobile Notary. Notary123.com or NotaryRotary.com
      The one we found (in CA) specializes in Apostilles and took the notarized docs to the Secretary of State, saving us a day’s drive.

  7. Gillian G. @ When Bread Is Broken says:

    Aah, you are my hero right now! I, of course, started out the same way. Oh, I just need to go to the consulate and fill out a form or two.
    NOT. Oh Italy. What is with your love affair with bureaucracy. I feel so much better knowing I’m not the first person in this country to go through this!! Thank you!!!!

  8. linh says:

    How fun to have stumble upon your blog when I searched “dichiarazione di valore”! I was wondering what exactly this document was… and from reading your post and comments it seems as though it’ll be a while until I get mine. However, the lady at the Consulate told me I only needed a certified copy of my diploma and my transcript translated… Maybe the consulate in my city will be a bit easier…

    I am going for graduate school in Milan in October and I am in the middle of all this paper work!!!
    I’m really happy to have found your blog, it’s kinda of fun to know that other people are going through the same thing as you. I actually am also launching mine when I leave! Great blog! And thanks for letting me know beforehand that this is a long procedure… 🙂

  9. Marco says:

    Quick question:
    How long did the Consulte take to complete and deliver the Declaration?
    (once you turned in all the documents)

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  11. Tyler says:

    I am a graduate from an American High School trying to get a Declaration of Value to go to an Italian University and can not quite get a clear answer to whether a high school diploma is enough to obtain a DV to go to school in Italy. Do any of you know?

    • Ruth says:

      The problem may lie with the diploma itself. Did you do the full IB? (International Baccalaureate). Regular US high school diplomas — even with AP courses — are generally not considered sufficient for university level study in Europe.

      • L'americana says:

        Don’t tell anyone, buuuut, I didn’t have to do my HS diploma. I basically had a letter that said: “In the state of California, everyone who attends university has successfully completed high school as well.”

        I did run into trouble with translation of my degree type, however.

  12. George says:

    Hello,

    I would like to ask whether the head-master of the school is regarded as Registrar required to sign the diploma? What do you mean by “registrar” ? Also can the notary staff anyone working in my school right? So do you think headmaster and a teacher would be enough to sign the diploma before I get the Apostille for it

    Thanks a lot about the information and I’d be grateful if you could help me with my question :))

    • Ruth says:

      This blog is great and extremely helpful, but there’s one unclear bit: Nobody signs the diploma or transcript. The registrar writes a brief letter basicallystating “This is a certified copy of the xxxx (transcript, diploma) of Xxxxxx (name of student)”
      There must be separate letters for each document. The letter, together with the notary’s form, are stapled to the document. The package is then taken to the Secretary of State for the Apostille. The Apostille is a confirmation that the notary is, indeed, who (s)he says (s)he is. It has nothing to do with the documents themselves.
      MAKE SURE THE TRANSCRIPT REMAINS SEALED. The consulate will not accept it if it has been opened.

  13. melissa davis says:

    I’m sooooo grateful for you posting this!!! I don’t get why the colleges and “Studying in Italy” page make it so unclear. Writing up the process, step by step makes WAY more sense to me, and much easier.
    I went from webpage to webpage, calling this person and that before I figured out what this DV even meant! I hate jumping through hoops, but you give me hope and the ultimate experience will be well worth the trouble.
    Grazie mille L’Americana!!

  14. Siren says:

    Thank you very much for posting this, your tips were very helpful to me during the application process for my DV. On the other hand, it’s been a month since I’ve sent my documents and I am starting to wonder how much more I should wait before calling them… How long did it take for them to send the DV to you?

    • L'americana says:

      Hi Siren! I never had it sent to me. They sent it directly to my Italian university and I picked it up there. (A small miracle)

  15. baba says:

    Lucky you! This sounds much less complicated then the process I’m going through with the consulate in Chicago! Unfortunately each individual consulate has different requirements but equally unclear/outdated/infuriating websites. Not to mention the go to “it’s on the website” answer for every question asked through email/on the phone. This will be my 3rd Italian Visa but the process for the “dichiarazione di valore” is by far the most difficult thing I’ve dealt with so far!

  16. Karl says:

    Did you get the Apostille on your actual diploma or a photocopy? This DoV is murder…Thanks for the info.
    –Karl

    • L'americana says:

      Hi Karl! Ugh. It is murder. I had a certified copy of my diploma notarized by the registrar of my university. The apostille serves to verify that the notary is in good standing, so you need a notarized copy to get one. They wouldn’t let me use my official diploma (though out of desperation, I tried).

  17. Ruth says:

    Hi there,
    Thank you for a very helpful blog. Having been through this process (and also having already dealt with Apostilles for citizenship issues), I should point out a couple of things:

    Nobody signs the diploma or transcript. The registrar writes a brief letter basically stating “This is a certified copy of the xxxx (transcript, diploma) of Xxxxxx (name of student)”

    There must be separate letters for each document. The letter, together with the notary’s form, are stapled to the document. The package is then taken to the Secretary of State for the Apostille. The Apostille is a confirmation that the notary is, indeed, who (s)he says (s)he is. It has nothing to do with the documents themselves.
    MAKE SURE THE TRANSCRIPT REMAINS SEALED. The consulate will not accept it if it has been opened.

    If the high school is in a different state than the college, the entire process must be followed at different Secretary of States and different consulates. Generally, the consulate that provides the Dichiarazione for the high school documents will send them to the consulate dealing with the BA docs, which then forwards them to the university. If you’re unlucky enough to have a masters in a third state, the work is tripled.

    • L'americana says:

      Oofda. Where did you have yours done? In LA, my transcript was 100% unsealed. It was an official copy, but it was open and stamped by the registrar, signed and notarized. Same with the diploma. It was a copy that was signed on the back and notarized.

      The beauty of Italian consulates is that they all seem to make their own rules!

      • A Stint Abroad says:

        The sealed portion does not apply to Americans. At least, not in L.A. I had the same question when I went in to get my Apostile stamp last week and the gentleman who helped me said they need to attach the Apostile forms with the diploma & transcripts. Thus, the sealed envelope needs to be opened which, the General Consulate himself also confirmed ok to do.

        It is ultra frustrating that their seems to be a miscommunication between what the school wants vs what the General Consulate of Italy requires. For example, my school in Italy asked that I needed to include my high school transcripts in order to receive the DOV. The General Consulate confirmed I don’t need one. Right. lol

  18. L'americano says:

    Let me clarify: the governator himself signed the notary document (after having signed the degree)? It would seem quite ridiculous for the consulate to expect you to go to the governator to re-sign in front of a notary public official….

  19. Angie says:

    Hi! I’m trying to apply to an Italian Master’s Program as well and absolutely nothing they are saying is making any sense to me. (which is why I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this website!) Can you please clarify a few questions I have? I received a few sealed envelopes containing my official transcripts from my college since I knew i wanted to be applying for grad schools. Isn’t the purpose to keep them sealed?? Does the school notarize a copy of the transcript which I send along with a sealed envelope? SAme with the diploma? Am i supposed to bring that in with me as well? And in terms of translating them into Italian, is that something I do myself or does the consulate help me with that? And last question (I apologize), does the school notarize the english or italian version of the transcripts/diploma? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • L'americana says:

      Hi hi!

      The school will notarize an English version of the transcripts. It doesn’t have to stay in a sealed envelope, because the notary stamp serves to ensure the document is official. You send that notarized version to the Secretary of State. Then when you get the apostile, bring that English official version with you and a translated copy of the transcript in Italian. The consulate will not do the translation for you, you can hire someone to do it.

      • Sylvia says:

        Thanks for your blog and everyone else who is lost for your questions! I am wondering about the translation bit .. if you try to do it yourself or get someone else to translate your transcripts, is it simply done in a word document or does it need to be on some form of legal paper? Also, where did you get that letter that stated “everyone who attends university has successfully completed high school as well”? It would make this way easier! Grazie!

        • Natalie says:

          Hi Sylvia,
          I used a certified translator, because they have to endorse the translation. And I wish I knew where I got that letter! Maybe from my college registrar? Sorry, it has been several years and I simply cannot remember 🙁

  20. Please hellpp :) says:

    Hi,

    How long does it usually take to get a Dichiarazione di Valore? How long did it take for you L’americana?

    I gave my application in at the last week of May and need to get a Dichiarazione for the end of July. Do you think there is enough time?

    Cheers

    • L'americana says:

      The beautiful thing is that most deadlines in Italy are flexible. So if the consulate is behind, you can negotiate with the university 🙂 Good luck!

      • Please hellpp :) says:

        Thanks for your answer but I’d really want to learn how long it usually takes :). How long did it take for you?

        • L'americana says:

          6 months or so? Then it went straight to my university, I couldn’t get it from the registrar for another year after that.

  21. Quick question says:

    Hello,

    I made a last minute decision to apply to an Italian University, and am afraid that I won’t be able to get everything I need together before the deadline to apply through the consulate, which I believe is around June 20th (around a week from now), are those deadlines at all flexible? Or am I basically completely screwed? Lol.

    Thank you! 🙂

    • L'americana says:

      For my masters, it was flexible. I sent an application via fedex myself and made the deadline, then informed them that the formal app and the DV were still in process with the consulate. It worked for me, but I can’t promise it is universal. Good luck!

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  25. haquarius says:

    Oh I want to cry after reading all these emails!! I have lived in italy for 10 years and know all about the hoop-jumping! What I would like to know please is can I get a DV from outside Italy or do I actually have to be in the US to do all the running around….I may not be going back before I want to apply for a masters program! Can I handle it all from abroad? please say yes!!

    • Natalie says:

      You can do it! You just need more lead time because you will need to mail everything to the state capital for the apostille instead of being able to drop it off in person!

  26. Daniel says:

    Hi! L’Americana. i know this has been asked before but i still have the doubt.
    How much time does it take to get an answer from the consolato one you have “introduced” all the papers needed, correctly filled and signed?i concerned about having to wait years for that answer.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Once I magically figured out what documents were needed, I think it only took the consolato about 2 weeks to send everything to Italy. One confusing thing that happened- I was trying to send in an APPLICATION, but they sent everything to the registrar’s office (as though I was already a registered student there). It took awhile to track it down once I got to Italy but all worked out in the end.

  27. Jamie says:

    Hi there!

    I have a question! So I have submitted all the documents for my DOV, and they said that they are processing. From your experience, how did you get the letter from the university stating you would be attending school there as to obtain the student visa? I’m having a very difficult time having the consulate email/call me back so I don’t know how exactly I should go about getting the letter if the school doesn’t even receive my DOV for awhile!

    Any info helps!
    Thank you!
    -Jamie

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Jamie! I definitely got a letter for the visa. While the DdV went to the main student services office, it was fine that my letter came directly from the department that I was applying to. I just had to show my DdV before graduation, so they didn’t mind writing the letter ahead of time. Good luck!

  28. Lindsey says:

    Hi there!

    I’m so happy I stumbled upon this thread because I have been FREAKING OUT about the DV. I’ve been accepted to study in a Master’s program at Cattolica in Milan beginning in September. I just finished my bachelor’s degree in May.

    I am a resident of Arkansas with a high school diploma from Arkansas, but I graduated from a university in Missouri, so I have to use the Houston consulate for my high school diploma and the Chicago consulate for my Bachelor’s degree.

    I sent in all of my high school documents to Houston in the beginning of May. I have emailed them several times and called them asking if they have received my documents but I haven’t heard back, so I have no idea if they ever got them or processed them. I pre-registered with them in time back in April and received positive responses from them. I have a letter from Cattolica addressed to the consulate for my student visa.

    However, I’ve been waiting to send in my bachelor’s degree documents to Chicago, because I was thinking I had to receive some kind of notification from the Houston consulate saying they’ve processed my high school documents already. But I haven’t heard back and I haven’t received my documents back from Houston.

    My student visa appointment is August 10 and I leave for Italy on September 9. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. The Houston consulate told me that I can apply for my student visa only after the DV has been processed for both my high school and bachelor degree. Any advice?

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  30. anna says:

    Ciao L’Americana! Do you mind me asking which Masters program you completed in Rome? Also, was it in English or Italian?
    Thanks!

  31. Yas says:

    Hey Natalie,

    Glad I came across your blog! I went to a UC and will be studying for my masters in Milan in August. I was wondering what your thoughts were on translating my transcripts and diploma myself? I spoke with the San Francisco consulate and they don’t need it to be completed by an offical translator.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

  32. anon says:

    Save yourselves. The value of a graduate degree, in terms of actually getting a job in all but the most booming, lucrative fields, is networking with your cohorts / instructors

    Networking with Italians won’t help you get a job in the US usually. And no, you won’t get an academic position in Italy- they don’t even have jobs for themselves, much less foreigners. So don’t go to graduate school in another country UNLESS:

    a) It’s free, unlike a lot of US grad school (And italy is free, if you win the grant)
    AND
    b) It’s not a hassle. Meaning they don’t abuse you and waste your time with stupid crap like this DoV and their byzantine consulates. If I’d wanted to shuffle papers and spend all this time getting things notarized, I could have kept my old job, which I actually got real money for, instead of a tiny Mediterranean grad stipend.

    All of the US and Western Europe are about the same; the experience of living in these countries isn’t different or interesting enough to justify the hassle of having to fly back and forth for holidays etc all the time. Bitter much? Yes.

    • Natalie says:

      Sorry to hear you had that experience! I personally found my Italian masters degree to be a very good value based on the cost vs. future career leverage.

  33. Melissa says:

    Hi there Natalie! I know this program is old but I’m entering a masters program in January in Milan and this step is tripping me up. The most confusing part to me is the apostle part- what does that entail? And if the notary is legal, why does it have to be approved by a county clerk? My consulate is LA so idk how different t that is from yours.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Melissa – all of the information should still be valid.

      An official notary is recognized within in the US, but if you would like to use the document internationally, it has to have an apostille from the government. (E.g. Italy has no way of confirming if the notary was valid – it needs an internationally recognized stamp from the US government to confirm). I recently had to the do the same with my Irish marriage certificate to prove it was a real document.

      Good luck!

  34. Amer Ahmed says:

    Is there any university of agency authorized inside Italy to prepare DOV so that we do not need to go back their consulate?
    Thanks

    • Natalie says:

      Not that I know of. It is the duty of the consulate in the place where you obtained the degree (just in the way that visas are never issued from within Italy)

  35. Lauren Greco says:

    HI Natalie, My high school does not keep official copies of my Diploma. Do you think I will have to give them my one and only copy? Or are transcripts enough?

    Thank you!
    Lauren

  36. Moses says:

    Hello Natalie, thank god I found your blog. I already live in Italy and plan to take the state test for the medical program. I don’t plan on going back to America anytime soon and I need la dichiarazione di valore. Will I have to return to America or can I have all my documents sent to the consulate? I’ve called the Italian consulate in New York many times and no one answers.

    • Natalie says:

      You don’t have to appear in person and can do it all by mail! It more depends on your timeline because having all the documents mailed between the different parties takes time.

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