How to Apply for an Italian Visa

  1. Get excited about the prospect of actually travelling to the land of the Pope.
  2. Open Google and type “Italian Visa in Nairobi.”
  3. Land on this website. Learn from it that you do not have to go to the Italian Embassy to get a visa. They have a “visa application center” which handles this process.
  4. Notice the emphasis laid on having travelling insurance. Initiate the process of acquiring the insurance.
  5. Notice that it says on the website , you have to have an appointment to submit your application.
  6. Call the visa application center to book an appointment.
  7. Talk to a someone at the visa application center who will explain that “you don’t actually need an appointment unless you are a vicar. “Sorry ?” “Unless you are a priest or a nun , you can come in any working day between 8 and 3” , they say.
  8. Ask a couple of other questions , which will be answered with “all information is on the website!”
  9. Download the visa application form from the said website.
  10. Painstakingly fill up the 4-page font 4 form , noticing how many times the phrase “family re-union” appears on the form. Find it weird especially because your reason of travel is “business”.
  11. Fill up the form anyway.
  12. Gather other documents required including hotel confirmation , invitation letter , letter from your sponsor , their registration documents if they are an organization , and bank statements……..to prove that indeed they can cater for your expenses while in Italy.
  13. Make your payment for the Visa at one of the designated Barclays bank branches.
  14. Show up at the visa application center in some kind of forsaken building in Parklands , with the pile of documents and a photocopy of each , as instructed , feeling very pleased with yourself.

15.  Be informed curtly that “this is not the correct application form”.” This form is for visits longer than 3 months (Well , may be that explains the family re-union thing??). “The correct form has a larger font” (Font 6 maybe?)16. Smile and say that , if they would give you the correct form , you would gladly fill it…..right here , right now.

17. Be informed that “we do not have forms , you have to download from the website. ”  But I DID download THIS from the damn website?!!

18.  Try to argue out your case …. explaining that you have “come all the way”. Try to make Limuru sound far from Nairobi. Realize they won’t budge and walk away begrudgingly , after writing down some link they give you , where you will find the right form.

19. Show up two days later , on a Thursday morning , with the forms and everything.

20. “We ingia tu laking leo wanahudumia waSomali tu (You just go in , but on days like to day they only serve Somalis) ” , the security guy at the gate , breaks your heart…..unless of course you are Somali! The hell?! You guys said I can bring the forms any freaking day……I mean WORKING day?! “Yes. Except Thursday. On Thursdays , we only accept applications from Somali citizens.”

21. Ask to speak to the supervisor.

22. See the supervisor who tells you , “those ladies (the ones that serve you) will not agree” , making it clear who the boss really is!

23. Ask if you can “send someone tomorrow”. “NO. We prefer you to be present when we are serving you”.

24. Dutifully show up the next day on Friday morning. Submit the forms. “Come check after a week”. Well , that’s Okay , because your trip is two weeks away.

25. Stop at the next fast food joint you find , to take a cold soda. FINALLY , they accepted the application. It is then , that your phone beeps. A new e-mail. “Dear all” , it reads , “the pre-conference meeting that was scheduled to be held in Italy , will NOT be held in Italy….but rather , in Paris….”

>>>Continued here

14 comments for “How to Apply for an Italian Visa

  1. November 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Hahaha! My guess is if there were real Italians serving you the service would have been pleasant by far. *Think stereotypical Italian with bread and pasta and loud laugh*

    • November 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Like the Pizza inn logo… :)

  2. David
    November 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Wow, visa applicants in this country are an endangered species (in any embassy).  I like how you’ve cleverly found a way to share your experience in a very humourous way. I am sure it wasn’t funny when you were going thro it :)

    • November 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      It wasn’t! Even accounts (I suspect) were getting weary of my mileage claims to “submit Visa application” . :)

  3. Mrs pumpkin
    November 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Is this a true story…..?it is not funny i would be blowing steam from my ears,nose and mouth.But it is so funny…..

    • November 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      It is true. Thanks for reading. :)
      Happened mid last month.

  4. Maggie
    November 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Nice read.True its a nightmare getting visas on these embassies nowadays.Meanwhile,the last part killed me!

    • November 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm

      I didn’t see it coming too! :) I was like …YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING..

  5. November 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    He he, funny but also feeling sorry for you, he he. Goodluck with the French Visa

    • November 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      LUCKY for me , you can use an Italian Visa to go to France…and several other countries in Europe within the “schengen area” which consists of most countries in the EU.

      I already did go actually ; that’s a blog post for another day. :)

  6. November 8, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Sorry about that adventure. I’d heard about the Somali only day from someone else, but the rest of the staff issues are not a good testament for the land of the pope
     

  7. Binti
    November 9, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Lol! I started off with the Italian Cultural Center telling me I needed a translation of my documents from Eng to Italiano which I paid for and got done. They also told me I would get the form from the visa place. Showed up at the VFS place and where I found out they did not need the translations and did not keep any forms. Was given a link and days later went back, form filled, irrelevant translations left at home. Then, wait for it … It was the wrong form! I defended myself by saying that the lady said to fill this one. No, said the other lady, this is only if you’re in the country less than 90 days. But, but, I protested, it says here how many days do u intend to stay and here it says for stays of over 1 year. Well, I learnt a lesson: Do not argue with the VFS ladies! And I got my visa once I internalized the lesson. To be fair, that was the fastest, least hustle visa I ever got! Great Read!

    • November 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks Binti. The VFS ladies are vicious!
      I did get my visa within a week , as well though. :)

  8. Herb
    December 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Yes…. I heard this before.  It’s embarrassing being a European nowadays and see that your friends have to go through so much trouble to get a simple visa.  One of our friends couldn’t get an appointment at the German Embassy on time, so she applied for a visa at the NL embassy. Reason for travel was “to visit a friend” who’s actually my wife and staying in Nairobi with no plans to go the NL.

    Our friend had to proof that my wife was in NL at the time she was to visit.  So my wife booked a ticket on KQ, opted for payment at one of the offices and printed the booking (you need a BOOKING not a TICKET at least, when you apply with the NL embassy). Never paid, never lost out.  However, it was good enough for the visa application and she got it within 2 weeks.  And since it’s all Schengen territory she happily travelled to Germany on the NL Schengen Visa.

    Long story, but the lesson is that no matter how complicated they try to make it, the procedures are devised by someone behind a desk in Europe, having no ff-ing clue of how things work here….

    Besides, also at the NL-embassy I think Thursday is Somali-day…. 

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