Monday, 16 May 2011

Visa & health issues

Below is a post that we published on May 12 before it was wiped from our blog by a mysterious gremlin. We are repeating it today as we know many incoming students have questions about visas and health issues.

Today is the deadline for admitted candidates to accept. We already have a very good idea of next year's class, and it looks to be very bright and very diverse. Later this week we hope to post a map indicating where incoming students come from.

It feels like yesterday that we started receiving applications, and now the process is all but over. The admissions cycle has been fun for us. It has been great to meet you in person or via email. We now look forward to having you as part of the Bologna Center's Class of 2012.

Now some Q&A. (Keep in mind that U.S. citizens should direct any visa questions to the SAIS DC Admissions Office. Others can address questions to SAIS Bologna Admissions.)

Q: I have matriculated as a non-U.S. citizen, but I have not yet received my visa request letter. What should I do? ("Matriculation" means to accept an admissions offer.)
A: If you have matriculated and you are a non-U.S. citizen, you will receive a visa request letter. Please allow us a couple of days after you have submitted the matriculation form.

Q: I have been told I need the original copy of both my letter of admission and the visa request letter.
A: Many Italian embassies and consulates accept the PDF documents we have been sending you via email. However, if that's not the case, please get in touch and provide the mailing address at which you would like to receive the letters. You will receive the letters shortly after your request.

Q: The embassy I applied to has told me that I must provide proof of accommodation.
A: Some Italian embassies or consulates require you to have accommodation before coming to Bologna. If you have been asked to indicate where you will be living whilst in Bologna, please contact us. We will make sure the authorities understand we won't let you live under a bridge.

Q: My embassy asked me to provide a dichiarazione di valore.
A: As a U.S. institution we do not require you to provide a dichiarazione di valore. If Italian authorities have requested it, let us know and we will inform them that we do not need such a document.

Q: I am not a European Union citizen. Do I need health insurance?
A: Yes. All non-EU nationals are required to come to Italy with health insurance. Although you might feel as fit as a fiddle, you will still need health coverage in case you need assistance.

Q: I am not a European Union citizen and I have health insurance. Do I still need to purchase Italian insurance?
A: You are not required to buy the Italian emergency health insurance. However, we strongly recommend you do. This type of insurance is helpful in case of emergencies. While we are sure you will have a good health plan, in case of an emergency you will be required to pay expenses out of your own pocket before being reimbursed by your insurance company. The Italian insurance covers those kinds of  emergency.

Q: So, what is the difference between my health insurance and the Italian one? And why would I need both?
A: Italian health insurance will cover you in case of an emergency and will save you having to spend money if you are hospitalized. Your own insurance should cover all other situations. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Q: How much is Italian health insurance?
A: It costs €98 for the academic year. The emergency health insurance is inexpensive but keep in mind that it only covers emergencies. Therefore, it will not help if you need to go to the dentist or the optician, even if it's an emergency.

Q: I am a European Union citizen. Do I need health insurance?
A: No. However, you will need an international health card which will give you the same rights to assistance as Italians.

Amina Abdiuahab