Anyone traveling to Italy from outside the 15 Schengen agreement countries (which essentially comprises all of western Europe except the U.K. and Ireland) will need a passport to enter. You technically do not need a passport to travel between these countries, although you are required to present one to authorities upon request, as they are commonly looking for fugitives from justice or illegal immigrants. You are required to present a passport at hotel desks in Italy for the same reason. Citizens of the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand are allowed to stay in Italy for 90 days; after that period, they are required to have a residence visa.
See www.frommers.com/planning for information on how to obtain a passport.
For other information, please contact the following agencies:
For Residents of Australia[em]Contact the Australian Passport Information Service at [tel] 131-232, or visit the government website at www.passports.gov.au.
For Residents of Canada[em]Contact the central Passport Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, ON K1A 0G3 ([tel] 800/567-6868; www.ppt.gc.ca).
For Residents of Ireland[em]Contact the Passport Office, Setanta Centre, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 ([tel] 01/671-1633; www.irlgov.ie/iveagh).
For Residents of New Zealand[em]Contact the Passports Office at [tel] 0800/225-050 in New Zealand or 04/474-8100, or log on to www.passports.govt.nz.
For Residents of the United Kingdom[em]Visit your nearest passport office, major post office, or travel agency, or contact the United Kingdom Passport Service at [tel] 0870/521-0410, or search its website at www.ukpa.gov.uk.
For Residents of the United States[em]To find your regional passport office, either check the U.S. State Department website or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free number ([tel] 877/487-2778) for automated information.
U.S., Canadian, U.K., Irish, Australian, and New Zealand citizens with a valid passport don't need a visa to enter Italy if they don't expect to stay more than 90 days and don't expect to work there. If, after entering Italy, you find you want to stay more than 90 days, you can apply for a permit for an extra 90 days, which, as a rule, is granted immediately. Go to the nearest questura (police headquarters) or your home country's consulate.
For more information on visas to visit or stay in Italy, go to the Foreign Ministry's English-language page at www.esteri.it/visti/index_eng.asp.
What You Can Bring into Italy -- Foreign visitors can bring along most items for personal use duty-free, including merchandise up to $800, such as fishing tackle, a pair of skis, two tennis rackets, a baby carriage, two hand cameras with 10 rolls of film or a digital camera, computer, CD player with 10 CDs, tape recorder, binoculars, personal jewelry, portable radio set (subject to a small license fee), and 400 cigarettes and a quantity of cigars or pipe tobacco not exceeding 500 grams (1.1 lb.). There are strict limits on importing alcoholic beverages. However, for alcohol bought tax-paid, limits are much more liberal than in other countries of the European Union.
If you are planning to mail items to Italy, you can mail only merchandise costing up to $200. That means that if you are having your laptop or your skis shipped to you, make sure they do not appear to be straight from the shop. Otherwise, you could face either providing a receipt that you may have discarded years ago, or paying the 20 percent Value Added Tax (IVA).
What You Can Take Home from Italy -- For information on what you're allowed to bring home, contact one of the following agencies:
U.S. Citizens: U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/287-8667; www.cbp.gov).
Canadian Citizens: Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).
U.K. Citizens: HM Customs & Excise, at tel. 0845/010-9000 (from outside the U.K., 020/8929-0152), or consult their website at www.hmce.gov.uk.
Australian Citizens: Australian Customs Service, at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to www.customs.gov.au.
New Zealand Citizens: New Zealand Customs, the Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington (tel. 04/473-6099 or 0800/428-786; www.customs.govt.nz).
There are no special medical requirements for entering Italy.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.