Case study: Italy’s D-Visa for seafarers

The debate over Italy’s D-Visa — what it does and doesn’t cover, who is eligible and how to get one — rumbles on.

In the meantime, British captain, Billy Stevens, has kindly provided some detailed, factual information based on his and his crew’s own experience. Their boat will shortly be relocating to a new base in Italy, making for an excellent case study of crew requiring a long-term visa, which enables them to live and work in Italy for a year at a time.

1. Having attempted to apply for the D-Visa in Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Madrid*, they managed to book appointments** (with three weeks’ notice) in the UK, via the link below. Cost of the appointment is £15.00.

*Captain Stevens reports that while the Italian visa department in Madrid has issued D-Visas in the past, it will not be issuing any more.
**Italian visa processing is carried out by visa outsourcer, VFS Global.

2. Having made the appointment, a list of required documentation is sent to the applicant. However, in Captain Stevens’ research, he learned that this list of documents is *incomplete* and further documentation is needed to complete the application at the in-person interview. Failing to bring ALL the required documentation to the interview will result in a 3- or 4-week delay to the issuance of the visa.

Here is the list of all PRINTED documentation required at the interview:

☑ Completed visa application form
☑ VFS’ appointment confirmation
☑ Passport + photocopy of passport (no certification necessary)***
☑ Crew list
☑ In-bound flight to Italy (any flight will do, you do not need to be planning to use it)
☑ Employment contract/Seafarer Employment Agreement
☑ Captain’s letter stating the vessel’s plans, naming each crew member
☑ Coastguard letter, confirming the vessel’s arrival on X date
☑ Port/marina booking confirmation for the duration of the visa

Cost of the visa is €116.00

***Passport must be valid for at least 3 months after expiration of the 12-month D-Visa. ie. It must have no less than 15 months remaining upon application.

3. Turnaround of the completed visa (in the UK) is 8 working days****, during which your passport is *retained* by VFS Global. Upon issue, you may have the passport couriered to you, or you can collect it in person between 16:00h-17:00h on the designated day.

****Geneva and Frankfurt reportedly will issue D-Visas on the day of the VFS Global appointment, if all documentation is submitted by the applicant at least two weeks prior to the appointment.

Our thanks go to Captain Stevens for sharing this detailed information. If you have any feedback on this topic, or your experience differs from the above, please get in touch with James at or +34 696 598403.

For general information about D-Visas, see our earlier post: