International students requiring a visa to enter the European Union, including Indian students, must obtain a student visa before arrival in order to pursue their higher educational studies in any EU Member State (hereinafter EU MS).
There are two types of visa – short stay and long stay. If planning a short stay of up to ninety days in any six-month period of time in an EU country, that is a part of Schengen area, students may apply for a Schengen visa which entitles them to travel to the twenty two EU MS which are members of the Schengen area (i.e. Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden), as well as four non EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein).
Before leaving students should apply for a Schengen visa at the Embassy/Consulate of the relevant Schengen country whose territory constitutes 1) the sole destination of the stay or 2) the main destination of the stay (in terms of the length or purpose) or 3) if no main destination can be determined, the visa application shall be lodged at the Embassy/Consulate of the Schengen area Member State whose external border the applicant intends to cross in order the enter the territory of the Schengen Member State (i.e. port of first entry).
Six EU MS – Bulgaria, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and UK – are currently not or not yet members of the Schengen area. If they wish to study in any of these countries students should thus apply for a separate visa at the competent Embassy / Consulate of the relevant country.If students plan a long-stay to any of the 28 EU MS (i.e. more than ninety days) they mayneed a national long-stay visa and/or a residence permit.. The national long stay visa is the most common amongst students as higher education studies are usually longer than 90 days and many students wish to complete a whole academic year, or even more. When applying for a national long-stay visa the exact type of supporting documents that are required depend on the rules in the destination country. For specific details please refer to the Embassy or Consulate where you will apply.
In most EU MS you will need to show some or all of the following, in addition to a valid travel document/passport:
- Proof of financial means – documentation to prove how you intend to support your stay
- Documents proving the purpose of the intended stay, i.e. a letter of acceptance from the European University, a certificate of enrolment at an educational establishment as well as student cards or certificates of the courses to be attended, etc.
- Travel insurance.
- Students may also need to have several documents certified by their national government authorities and/or translated by authorised translators which would also need to by certified by the EU MS. In some EU MS students must enroll to University through the relevant Embassy/Consulate.
Once all the documents are ready and, if applicable, visa fees are paid, students would usually need to schedule an appointment for a visa interview at the competent Embassy or Consulate of the EU MS. For additional info please refer to the EU immigration portal:
http://ec.europa.eu/immigration/ and http://ec.europa.eu/immigration/.