Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Italy are some of the most preferred destinations for students from all across the globe. Although most of the students travel to the European countries to take part in a long-term study, quite a significant percentage travel to take part in a short-term course with the Schengen student visa.
What is Schengen Student Visa?
Being a type of the ‘C’ category, the Schengen student visa is a permit that lets students enter a country to take part in studies for a duration of up to 90 days. The visa can be issued in the form of single-entry, double-entry, and even multiple-entries. On successfully applying for the permit according to the Schengen student visa requirements, an individual can procure the visa.
Note that if you require to enrol in a course that lasts longer than 90 days, you will have to apply for the National visa (D category) instead.
How to Apply Schengen Student Visa?
Before starting the Schengen student visa application, you must check that you are eligible to travel to the respective country on a student permit. Following this, you can make the application as mentioned below. However, note that the process may vary slightly for certain countries.
- The first step is to find out where you have to lodge your application. Depending on the country you are applying, and your destination country, you may be able to submit the application directly at one of the embassy/consulates situated in the country or through visa application centres (VAC).
- Proceed to fill in the Schengen visa application form. In the form, you will have to mention that the reason for your visit is ‘study’. Although, certain countries may also have an online application form.
- Book an appointment for the document and biometric submission. The appointment must be at an embassy/consulate or a VAC depending upon the requirements of the respective embassy/consulate. You can do the booking using the online facilities provided by the embassy/consulate/VAC or by contacting them via email or call.
- Attend the visa appointment with the documents. You will have to submit the application and pay the fees at the centre. In some cases, you may be able to pay the fees online while filling the application form. As a mandatory requirement, all applicants for the Schengen will also have to submit provide their biometrics at the respective appointment centre.
Note that, in certain extreme cases, you may also be required to attend an interview with the consular officer at the application centre/embassy/consulate on the same day of the appointment or at a later date.
Who should apply or eligibility for Schengen Student Visa?
To be eligible to apply for the student visa, you will have to meet the following conditions. If you do not meet these, you must apply for the type that suits you instead.
- You must be living in the country you are lodging the application. If you are residing on a residence permit in a foreign country, you may apply it to a corresponding visa issuing authority there.
- You must possess a valid passport that meets all the requirements.
- The primary purpose of your visit must be to take part in studies in the country for a short duration.
- You must be invited by an educational institution in the country for studies, training, or research, etc.
- You must be able to cover all your expenses during the stay period in the country.
- You must apply to the embassy/consulate of a country only if -
- The country is your only travel destination, or
- The country is one of your multiple Schengen destinations, in which case you will be spending the majority of the time there, or,
- The specific country is your port of entry into the Schengen region.
Documents Required For Schengen Student Visa
As per the Schengen student visa requirements, you must submit the following documents. Apart from these, there will be additional documentation based on the destination country as well as on the age of the applicant.
- 2 fully filled application forms.
- A valid passport according to the regulations.
- 2 passport size photos.
- Flight reservation for the round trip.
- Proof of civil status - marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.
- Proof of sponsorship (if any).
- Proof of accommodation - hotel bookings, invitation to stay, hostel/dormitory reservations, etc.
- Medical travel insurance coverage up to at least 30000 Euros.
- Letter of acceptance from a Schengen school/college/university.
- Proof of academic qualifications such as degree certificate, transcripts, etc.
- Proof of occupation/study such as employment letter, enrollment letter, etc.
- Financial documents such as bank statements, passbook copy, scholarships, etc.
Photo Specification of Schengen Student Visa
The photos to be submitted along with the application must be of the following specifications -
- Dimensions: 35mm X 45mm
- Colour: Coloured
- Head must occupy the central position
- Must be captured within the last 3 months
- Background: Solid, plain white or grey
- 80% face coverage
- Neutral expression
- Glasses: Non-thick framed and prescription glasses
- Headgears - only for religious reasons
- Facial hair - permitted
After you apply for Schengen Student Visa
Once you have made the application at the respective centre, it is then sent for processing. If you have applied at a VAC, they will forward it to the embassy/consulate for processing (as per the jurisdiction). Note that the VAC has no influence over the processing of the visa. This is solely the responsibility of the embassy.
If your application is successful, you can collect the passport with the visa stamped in it, directly from the VAC/embassy/consulate in person, or you can have them deliver it to you for an additional charge.
Processing Time of Schengen Student Visa
The processing time for the student visa depends on the volume of applications at the respective embassy, the number of entries, as well as your previous travel history. Normally, your application will be processed within 15 working days. However, this can take longer up to 30 or even 90 days in certain extreme cases. As a result, you must apply for the visa at least 2 weeks before the travelling date. However, you cannot apply more than 3 months before your intended travel date.
How to check Schengen Student Visa Status?
There are multiple ways in which you can check the status of a Schengen student visa. The Schengen visa status tracking facilities depend on the lodging country as well as on the embassy of the destination country. If you have applied at one of the VACs, you will be able to track the status using their online portal by using the application reference number and your date of birth. Certain embassies also provide similar facilities. In other cases, you can contact a travel agency you have applied through to have them track it for you.
When you have Schengen Student Visa?
If you have finally managed to beat the waiting period and received your visa in hand, you must keep in mind the following points just to ensure that you have a hassle-free trip.
- Before travelling -
Before you travel to the country, you must note the following -
- You must carry all your travel documents. These include the passport, visa, letter of acceptance and the copy of other documents you have submitted during your visa application.
- You must travel to the country within 6 months of the visa issuance date or as mentioned in the visa sticker.
- Note the expiry date, validity period, and the number of entries mentioned on your visa sticker.
- At the border -
Once you are at the border of the port of entry, you must keep in mind the following -
- You will have to show your travel documents to the offices at the port of entry.
- You will be stamped with the date of entry in your passport. Your stay duration cannot be more than 90 days from this date.
- In the Schengen country -
Once you have entered the Schengen nation, you will have to keep in mind the following points -
- You must not extend your stay for more than 90 days.
- While you are on a student permit, you cannot take part in paid work. You may, however, engage in unpaid voluntary work.
- You are free to take part in tourism and other related activities.
- Ensure that you carry a copy of your passport pages and visa while you are travelling across the country.
- You are free to visit any other Schengen countries unless you have been issued with the Limited Territory Visa (LTV).
- You must strictly abide by the immigration laws of the country as well as respect their customs and culture.