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The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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So, everyone of us is familiar with the US Visa process, even though one might not have been to the States at all. Thanks, to the several discussions on Edulix about the same. However, to many the whole process of obtaining a visa to study or for long term stay in Europe may look very complicated and many may not be familiar with it. So, for all you folks heading to Europe, here is everything that you wanted to know about the Visa policy in the EU, but were afraid to ask Wink

For starters, let me clarify a few terms, which often tend to confuse us! (Although, I know most of us who are already residing in the EU or are future immigrants, don't anymore, but for all those who are new to this)

The European Union
This link gives you a list of the member countries of the EU.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
It is simply a free trade organization between four European countries that operate in parallel and is linked to the EU. Today's EFTA Member countries are Leichtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, the latter two being the founder members of the same.

The Schengen Area
It is an area comprising of 26 countries which do not have any passport and immigration controls at their common borders. It functions mainly as a single country with a common visa policy for international travel purposes. 22 of the EU countries and 4 of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries are a part of this Schengen area. The 5 EU members that do not form a part of this area are Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus, and also Ireland and UK. The 4 non-EU but EFTA member countries part of the Schengen area are Iceland, Leichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland. So, the countries that form a part of the Schengen area are:
Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Leichtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland

The European Economic Area (EEA)
EEA brings together 27 EU member countries and 3 EFTA member countries bound by an agreement which allows the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons within the 30 member countries. Switzerland is not a part of the EEA agreement but has a bilateral agreement with the EU. It is however a member state of the EFTA countries.

Now, why did I take the pains of explaining these known terms? Well, for some who are new to Europe and its policies, chances are that you will get confused, trying to figure out which country is a part of which of these organizations/areas and hence, what will be the visa policies for the same. Initially, I used to be, but not anymore. In case, you are better than me with your Geography, History, Civics and Economics, well then I guess you won't get confused. So, good for you. Applause

Now that (hopefully) the terms are clear. Let me proceed towards the explanation of the visa policies in the European Union.

As mentioned earlier, 22 EU member states are part of the Schengen area and have a uniform visa policy. In addition, four countries outside the EU but EFTA members are also part of the same area and hence adopt the same visa policy. The 3 EU member countries that are not part of the Schengen area yet too follow policies based on the Schengen acquis.

Two EU member states-Ireland and UK are not part of the Schengen area and operate a travel zone called the Common Travel Area. The two countries have their individual visa policies that are different from the Schengen area.

Having said that, let me delve into the details of each of the three different visa policies

1. Visa policy for travel to the Schengen area

In order to travel to the Schengen area, it is quite obvious that you would be needing a Schengen visa. Each country in the Schengen area follows the same policy but has different procedures for the visa application which will be outlined in not a very long while from now. So, read on!
So, there is a short stay visa. The name itself is quite self explanatory IMO. Well, it is that visa that you should obtain if you will be visiting one or more of the Schengen countries for a short while or temporary period. Now how short is short? The answer is 90 days out of a 6 month period. Also, there are two types of short stay visas

1. Single-entry visa:- Allows an uninterrupted stay for the maximum period and once the person leaves the Schengen area, (s)he would need to obtain another visa in order to return.

2. Multiple entry visa:- Allows multiple stays in one or more Schengen countries. The stay maybe for a continuous period of 90 days out of a 180 day period or it may spread over several visits during the period of validity of the visa. A multiple entry visa maybe valid for a year and the visa sticker affixed to your passport must read MULT. If the visa reads a particular number, let's say "02" then that means you are allowed only two entries. One must keep in mind that the visa may expire as soon as the number of exits==number of authorized entries, even if the validity is for a longer time.

So, what if you have to stay in one of the Schengen countries for a period of more than 90 days, e.g. when you are working or studying in one of those countries? Well, you obtain a Category-D or Type D visa initially. A category-D visa is more like a national visa. It allows you to stay for a period of more than 90 days in a Schengen country and has a validity of 6 months from the date of issue. Once you have arrived at your destination country, you must therafter obtain a residence permit to continue staying there for a longer period.

A Category-D visa will be labelled with the destination country and not as Schengen. Since, it is a national visa, it will be only valid in the country of residence. However, you can travel with a category-D visa within the Schengen territory within the first 3 months of your arrival.

Airport transit visa:- An airport transit visa is needed for people who are transiting the Schengen territory without leaving the transit area of the airport. However, since most hotel accomodations would require the person to exit the transit area, therefore one would need a regular tourist visa to stay in the hotel overnight.

2. Visa Policy for the United Kingdom

I think I don't need to explain this in detail as the website of UK Border Agency or the UKBA has all the information required consolidated at one place.
Additionally, you could also read this for information regarding UK visas.

3. Visa Policy for Ireland

Again, you will get all the information you need about Irish visas here

So, having talked about Visa policies in the EU at a great length, it is important to get all the application procedures and documents required to apply for the Visas to different EU countries consolidated in one place.

1. Belgium Visa procedure and documents required have been described in great detail already. For, folks who will be savoring on the amazing Belgium chocolates soon Wink go through it very carefully, before posting any query regarding the same.

2. Finnish Residence Permit and Student Permit. You can find all discussion on Finland Residence Permit for 2014 here. Some more on Finnish Residence Permit Hope you guys have a great stay in Finland Very Happy

3. A compilation of all threads pertaining to the German visa is HERE

4. For Sweden, read all about the Swedish Residence Permit

5. Spanish Visa

6.Danish Student Visa

In the subsequent posts, I shall try and gather more of the visa application procedures and requirements for everyone. So, keep reading! Smile

PhD, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie(HZB)
ChemE|UG internships|Profile|EU Visas
(This post was last modified: 09-17-2014 11:12 PM by Rogue.)
06-15-2013 12:57 AM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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The Visa (MVV) Process for Netherlands
The procedure and requirements for the Netherlands Visa is in general same as that of the Belgian visa. However, for us students the advantage (at least for TU Delft, I speak) is that the university applies for your visa and residence permit also known as the MVV. Once, you accept the offer and submit your fee and confirmation statement to the university, the university reverts back with a list of application forms and health forms that need to be filled in. Along with the MVV application form and the health form, you need to send two non identical photographs (35mm * 45mm, which is the std. visa photograph dimension) to the university. After processing the application, the university notifies you about the visa approval by mail, upon which you are supposed to schedule an appointment with your nearest Dutch embassy, which will be mentioned in your email that the university sends you, and go and pick up your visa. Especially, for TU Delft students, you will not be needing a Legalized Birth Certificate, unless you begin work or stay outside the Delft municipality. Since the university and accommodations are all within the Delft municipality a legalized BC is not needed. You do not need any apostilled documents.
So, clearly the procedure is quite simple here for students (i.e. if the application for Visa and Residence Permit is done through the university).

The Khula Saand and anuragm
It would be great if you guys helped in outlining the application procedures and requirements for students heading to other Schengen countries too. You could tag other active guys in this forum who can also give their inputs on the same.

PhD, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie(HZB)
ChemE|UG internships|Profile|EU Visas
(This post was last modified: 06-16-2013 12:25 AM by Rogue.)
06-15-2013 01:10 AM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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Wonderful post. If you all can contribute some more to it, we'll make it a sticky. The Black Swan, can you keep track of this, thanks.

1) Please mention as many details as possible about your academics, research and work-ex, in terms of projects worked on, technologies used, roles/responsibilities handled, papers published/presented, awards/honors obtained, etc. All those have to be put in the misc details section of your UniSearch profile if you expect any help on Edulix. Also, before requesting for profile evaluations, please go through this excellent post.

2) Please take some time out to read this and this thread in their entirety. PLEASE do that before asking questions about universities from a comparison perspective, or jobs, or coursework, or H-1B visas, or "placements", irrespective of which univ/department/program/major you're applying to.

"Don't be daft." - Ancalagon The Black

"With the exchange rate where it is now, it should be a strong deterrent against picking a slightly better program for a lot more tuition fees." - coolguru
06-15-2013 01:44 AM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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I am unaware of the Visa procedures in the other countries, so I have mentioned about Netherlands only, if others can pitch in too it will be good Very Happy

PhD, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie(HZB)
ChemE|UG internships|Profile|EU Visas
06-15-2013 02:00 AM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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I see you are making good use of your time Smile. I will write a relevant post for Germany as soon as I find enough time. In case someone else is willing to volunteer for it, you may go ahead and do it.

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06-15-2013 04:52 AM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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anuragm I do not know too many people from the EU forum, so if you can tag some people here, it will be nice to get their inputs as well. Thanks! Smile

PhD, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie(HZB)
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06-15-2013 09:37 AM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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Rogue
the visa procedure for TU/e is same as delft except for some changes.
the university applies for your visa and MVV, except there is no need for a health form to be submitted and just one photograph needed.
and of-course, you need a legalized and apostilled birth certificate. and once you enter eindhoven you are supposed to register yourself at the city hall and submit 3 documents namely, passport photocopy, apostilled birth certificate and college confirmation letter.

06-15-2013 11:57 AM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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rishimetawala Thank you for the insight. With slight differences in the procedure, it is more or less the same.

Of course, once you are in Delft, it is mandatory to register yourself at the Delft municipality as well.

PhD, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie(HZB)
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06-15-2013 01:21 PM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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Aha, my bad for not reading the whole thing. Here you go:

Finland - here and here

Tagging,
krazzycool - Norway
billa / gowthamtce - Sweden
ddd17 - France
rohitvk - Spain

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06-15-2013 01:50 PM
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A small note on Residence Permit in the Netherlands

A residence permit is applied for at the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) within 3 working days after your arrival in The Netherlands. The IND will place a sticker in your passport confirming your residence status, and a note that you are/are not allowed to work and that you do/do not require a work permit to work. After 2 to 3 weeks, you will receive the formal decision from the IND regarding your residence status. In this respect, applying for a voluntary authorisation for temporary stay (MVV) can be advantageous, even for those who do not need them. Through this procedure, your request for a residence permit is already reviewed before you arrive in the Netherlands, and the sticker from the IND will state that you are allowed to work in The Netherlands right after you have submitted your request. You do not need to wait for the formal decision of the IND, which is expected only after 3 weeks after submitting.

So for most students heading to the Netherlands, we are to apply for an MVV visa, and this is generally done through the university. So, that makes the process quite easy for us. We get to collect our residence permit within a lesser time period, than the usual procedure duration.

Also, once you have the residence permit, you are allowed to travel within the Schengen territory without a separate visa. All you need to do is present your passport at the Border controls, so that they can verify your resident status.

Once you enter Netherlands, registering with the respective municipality is an absolute necessity, to be able to continue with your stay in the country.

Documents to be submitted at the Dutch Embassy for MVV
1. A valid passport
2. A completely filled in MVV application form and 2 passport size photographs
3. A legalized birth certificate
4. A complete copy of valid passport of parents
5. Proof of Degree/Diploma

Specific to TU Delft students: Submit only 1 and 2.

Other documents to be carried
1. Admit mail/letter
2. Visa Approval Mail (if university has applied for visa and residence permit) (contains the V-number which they will ask for at the embassy)
3. Mail received from embassy in response to your mail to schedule an MVV appointment.

PhD, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie(HZB)
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(This post was last modified: 06-18-2013 09:54 PM by Rogue.)
06-15-2013 02:09 PM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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Here is the thread for German Visa procedure.
anuragm I have been able to find the above link for the German Visa. I believe that it mentions almost every detail. However, if there is anything you feel that the thread fails to point out, do mention it here whenever you can find time.

P.S. Sorry to keep bothering you again and again. EmbarassedEmbarassed

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06-15-2013 02:16 PM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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Rogue, Yes that thread seems to answer everything about German visa process. I can only think of adding this useful link for the sake of completeness. It describes in detail what steps are to be completed after your arrival in Germany and is helpful for students who don't know what to do with their time-limited (3 months) entry visa.

I hope you will consolidate this information in the first few steps Smile. And once again, this is a great initiative!

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06-15-2013 04:07 PM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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it would be an useful thread for all European aspirants .ApplauseApplause good initiative rouge .

In my case i need to get two visa at the same time Razz
Residence visa for 4 month of portugal and tourist visa of spain for 1 month
since the entrance into Europe will be via Spain in order to attend first the introduction course to be held in Oviedo (Spain), i must contact also the Spanish consulate/Embassy to ask for the relevant documents or visa to enter into the country. Visas issued by Portuguese embassy are not valid documents to enter into Europe via Spain, so its must to have the required documents to enter into Spain first to avoid any risk of being rejected at the Spanish borders/airport


Portuguese Visa :

Non EU student is required to apply for a so called residence visa ("visto para residência") before entering Portugal at the Portuguese embassy or consulate in his/her home country. The residence visa allows the student to enter Portuguese territory in order to apply for a residence.
It can take as long as two month to process a visa application via VFs.
Specific documets :
-Medical Insurance with the minimum coverage of 30.000 Euros
-Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) issued by the competent authorities of the country. The PCC, at the time of submission, shall have been issued within the previous three months. this certificate must be issued by the Regional Passport Office. Only documents that carry the stamp of the Apostille of Hague issued by Ministry of External Affairs of India will be accepted.
-Documentary proof of educational/professional qualifications (Attested by Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi(For Indian Nationals the document should be attested with “APOSTILLE” sticker by the Ministry of External Affairs, Consular Division, Patiala House).

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06-15-2013 04:21 PM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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Okay, so links pertaining to the visa procedures of a particular country, I am putting them on the first post of this thread itself. In case, there isn't a particular thread for a particular country, keep writing the procedures as new posts on this thread for people to read on! Smile

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06-16-2013 12:10 AM
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RE: The A to Z about Visa policy in the European Union
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(06-15-2013 04:21 PM)The Khula Saand Wrote:  In my case i need to get two visa at the same time Razz
Residence visa for 4 month of portugal and tourist visa of spain for 1 month
since the entrance into Europe will be via Spain in order to attend first the introduction course to be held in Oviedo (Spain), i must contact also the Spanish consulate/Embassy to ask for the relevant documents or visa to enter into the country. Visas issued by Portuguese embassy are not valid documents to enter into Europe via Spain, so its must to have the required documents to enter into Spain first to avoid any risk of being rejected at the Spanish borders/airport

Hey, I read somewhere that you cannot switch from tourist to student schengen visa. You have to leave schengen area for this switch to occur. Are you sure you can transition from Spanish tourist visa to Portuguese residence visa? If yes, even I wanna do something similar Cool

Regarding Spanish visa, I will post the details soon Smile

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06-17-2013 02:54 PM
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