Study Abroad in Europe: Types of Visas and Work Permits
The education system in Europe is one of the oldest and most popular education systems in the world. Several destinations in Europe offer a multitude of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degrees in a wide variety of fields and programs. A growing number of European higher education institutions offer international study programs with English as the main language of instruction; there are very few programs which do not offer English-Taught Degree Programs.
To study in Europe now has become particularly advantageous, as programs in English are common in the areas of Business, Management, Science, and Engineering. Any international student, who intends to study in Europe, can also pursue study programs in other European languages: German, French, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Greek, Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese; provided that they have sufficient working knowledge of one of those languages.
One salient aspect of the study programs in Europe is the project called Erasmus. Erasmus (“European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”) is the European Commission’s educational program for higher education students, teachers and institutions. Erasmus involves student mobility, teacher mobility, and curriculum development based on co-operation agreements between higher education institutions in different participating countries.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular study abroad destinations in Europe:
Germany is known as the go-to study abroad destination for master’s and doctoral programs. More than 12% of students in German universities are international students.
There are three categories of student visa in Germany:
- A student visa – if you have already been accepted to study in Germany.
- Student-applicant visa is particularly important for applicants to the Hochschule für Musik and Theater (College of Music and Drama) so that they can enter the country for the entrance examination. This visa lasts for three months and is useful to applicants who wish to improve their language skills in Germany before starting their studies. The student-applicant visa gets converted to a student visa once the applicant gets admission in a university or college during this period.
- Visa for language course is necessary for those who only wish to attend a language course in Germany. It is important to note that if you intend to begin studies in Germany immediately after your language course ends, you must apply for either a student visa or a student applicant visa before arrival in Germany. The visa for a language course cannot be automatically converted into a student visa or a student applicant visa in Germany.
Permission to work in Germany
In Germany, student work permits are granted for a maximum of three months. However, student working visa is not granted for language course visa.
Netherlands is a popular destination for PhD studies
Types of Visas in Netherlands
- For students who want to stay for less than three months, the Short Stay Visa (VKV) is available
- For a longer stay than this, the Temporary Stay Visa (MVV) is suitable.
- If you find that the stay would extend beyond the limit of three months, then the Residence Permit should be applied for. It is important to do this within three days of arrival in Netherlands.
Permission to work in Netherlands
A PhD student is treated as an employee of the university, not a ‘student’. This is because all kinds of research are deemed to be ‘work’ by law in Netherlands. Other students have to apply for a work permit in case he/she wants to work. Work should be of an academic persuasion, like lecturing, research, and student internship. On holding a residence visa, one is allowed to work for maximum 10 hours per week or work should be of a seasonal nature. The employer, in this case, must apply for the requisite student visa work permit. The application form for the visa must be duly filled and documents presented at least 3-6 months prior to the departure as the procedure for obtaining student visa is time consuming.
France is home to some of the best business schools of the world.
Types of Student Visas in France
A student identification card is required for those students who are not French citizens and are planning to study in France for more than 3 months. There are different categories of student visa available:
- Étudiant-Concours visa – Allows a maximum stay of 90 days. It is used by students who have to attend an entrance exam, undergo a short course or just to visit the university before applying.
- Long Stay visa: Expires in three months but can be renewed as and when required.
- Residence Permit (or Carte de Séjour): Given for one academic year and is renewable. It is handed out by the Préfecture de police of the residential area.
- Temporary Long Stay visa: For 3 to 6 months, but a residence permit will not be given.
Student Work Permits in France
Students are allowed a student-working visa for extra income. During the academic session, 10-20 hours of work per week are allowed. During summer vacations, 20-39 hours per week are permitted for work. There are a range of opportunities for students who want to apply for a student work visa in France. However, teaching would be the best option since it pays well, comparatively.
In Belgium, education is compulsory from the age of six to eighteen for Belgians. An estimated 98% of the adult population is literate; and the Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Belgium’s education as 19th in the world, significantly higher than the average.
For a study-related stay in Belgium, you must apply for a Temporary Residence Permit for Study (Autorisation de Séjour Provisoire pour études/Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf voor studies) from the Belgian Embassy.
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