Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Here are questions we are hearing from admitted candidates

Candidates admitted to SAIS Europe have a good many questions as they weigh their options. Below are some frequently asked queries. We will tackle another set of questions tomorrow.

Q: Now that I've been accepted, what are the next steps?
A: First, give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back. You deserve it.

Then read very carefully the material for incoming students on this web page. Be sure to have a good look at the SAIS Europe Guidebook for Incoming Students.

Once you have made the matriculation payment nailing down your spot in the class, you can turn your attention to three matters of importance. First, do you have to take economics this summer to meet the requirements for starting your course work at SAIS? Second, will you need a visa? And third, what about health insurance?

Q: What are the introductory economics requirements?
A: All students must have passed introductory microeconomics and introductory macroeconomics to start course work at SAIS. If you have not taken economics before, you need to take and pass a university-level course that will give you the adequate preparation to start classes at SAIS.
Read that guidebook.

Your letter of admission will have indicated whether or not you have satisfied this requirement. If you have not, SAIS offers an online Principles of Economics course that is tailored for SAIS students. The next two courses are offered from April 30 to July 24, and from May 21 to August 14.

If you would prefer to take an introductory economics course offered outside of SAIS, be sure it is a university-level course provided by an accredited institution. Before enrolling, non-U.S. students need to send the course syllabus for approval to

Q: Can I satisfy the introduction to economics requirement in pre-term?
A: No. The micro and macro courses offered during pre-term are at the intermediate level. Before being able to take either of them, one needs to have taken and passed a Principles of Economics course.

Q: Will I need a visa?
A: It depends. If you are a citizen of the European Union, you will not need a visa. If you are a non-U.S. national from outside the EU, once you have matriculated, we will send you a letter in Italian that allows you to apply for a student visa ("Visto Tipo D" -- in English, Type D visa). You can apply at an Italian embassy or consulate in your home country. From there on, it's pretty straightforward. If you get on this early, you should not lose any sleep. But if you hit a snag, be sure to contact us.

Incoming students from the United States should be in touch with Erin Skelly ( in the SAIS DC Admissions Office about their visas. U.S. students should make use of the Italian visa service offered in Washington.

Q: What about health insurance?
A: All students are required to have a health insurance policy that is valid in Italy. All non-EU students will be automatically registered and billed for a U.S.-based insurance policy. Those who already have equivalent coverage will be required to follow the online waiver procedures. Details are available here.

Students who purchase the health insurance policy available through SAIS should be aware that they will have to pay any expenses they incur in Italy and then request reimbursement from the insurance company.

If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to obtain a permesso di soggiorno soon after you arrive in Italy. To get a permesso di soggiorno you need a valid visa. Information on applying for a permesso di soggiorno will be available at the Registrar’s Office upon your arrival in Bologna. The fee for the permesso di soggiorno is approximately €137 (as of March 2014).

The requirements for the health insurance when you apply for your visa may be different from the requirements when you apply for the permesso di soggiorno in Bologna. For the purpose of the permesso di soggiorno, the local police need evidence in Italian or English that you are covered for the full duration of the academic year.

EU and European Economic Area citizens do not need a permesso di soggiorno. However, before leaving for Bologna, they should make sure they are registered with the local health authorities in their home country and obtain the appropriate card or form to access health services while in Italy.

If any of this is not clear, please write to, and we'll get back to you.

Tomorrow: Finances, deferrals, working in Bologna.

Nelson Graves

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