The What, When, Where and How of student visa applications
There are hundreds of universities and study options across Europe. Here at EDUopinions, we talk about a wide variety of them. If you have been reading our articles, you are most likely interested in studying in one of these Universities. If this is the case but you happen to have citizenship from a non-EU country, and you have no idea of how to apply for a student visa, worry no more! Throughout the article you will get acquainted with the what, when, where and how of a student visa application within the European Union.
First of all, Who needs a student visa?
Aspiring students who are not citizens of a European country but still wish to live and course a study programme in the European Union must apply for a student visa. Also, if the duration of your studies will be longer than 90 days, as is usually the case, you will have to apply for a residency permit for students. Such license is called student Schengen Visa.
Also, if you a looking to study outside Europe, the most common thing is that no matter how long you study there, you will need a visa from day one. However, in this article, we want to give you insights and helpful information about the process of applying for a Schengen Visa.
What is a student Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa is a legal permit issued by the chosen country’s government to students who are already accepted as a certified educational establishment. With this license, you can not only live in the designated country for one year (with the chance of renewal every year), but you are also allowed to travel within the Schengen area without any further visas. If you happen to have a citizenship that requires permission to enter many countries in Europe, the Schengen Visa gives you a lot of freedom when travelling.
What documentation is required?
The documents to hand in are all easy to obtain. These are the up-to-date student-visa requirements, according to the official site of the Schengen Visa application.
- Download and fill out the student-application form available at the Schengen website
- A valid travel document/ passport (At least three months up to its expiration date)
- Proof of how you will be supporting your stay in Europe. You may present the following as proof of means of subsistence: cash in convertible currency, traveller’s cheques, chequebooks for a foreign currency account, credit cards or any other means that guarantees funds in hard currency.
- Proof regarding your accommodation. A contract from the apartment you will rent during your stay, a confirmation of a room in a student dorm or a letter of a family member residing at the country stating that you will live with them.
- Two recent (taken in the last six months) passport-sized photos (Appropriate for the designated embassy/consulate)
- Proof of flight/travel itinerary
- Medical insurance valid during your entire stay in the Schengen country
- A bank receipt to prove you have paid the processing fee (around 120 euros)
- Last but not least, letter of acceptance from your university/educational establishment.
The most important one is the acceptance letter by your designated educational establishment. Some aspiring students think you will only be granted a Schengen Visa if you study at a statal University. However, there are many institutes endorsed by the government which count for the application of a Schengen Visa. You just have to ask your establishment of choice before applying, to avoid any misfortunes. Once everything is ready, the documents should be handed in personally at the embassy or immigration office of the selected country.
Access the website of the country’s government to check whether you require a visa before entering that country. If you do, then you have to submit your student-visa application in the consulate or embassy of the country where you will be starting your studies. If you have a citizenship that is allowed 90 days in the Schengen area without a visa, then you may submit your documents at the immigration/visa submission office of the city once you are already there. However, it is recommended to apply at the embassy in your country, because in the case of a denied application then you won’t waste money on the flight.
You should start the application process as soon as you get the acceptance letter of the educational establishment. Gathering all the documents and its translations take around one month. After submitting everything, you should get a response after one till up to three months.
So calculate four months before your estimated travel date.
After your application is successfully approved and you are granted a student Schengen visa, it will be valid for exactly one year with the option of renewal every year. The process of renewal may be started three months before the expiration date.
All in all, the process sounds difficult, but all it takes is time and patience. If you gather all the required documents on time and exactly as described, you should not have any problems in obtaining it. You should also access the specific requirements of the country of your future university to have a better grasp of what you need. Good luck in the process!
Have you already applied for a student visa and had some interesting facts about the process?
Share them with us in the comments below!