Finished Your Studies In European Union? How long can you stay? European Union Explained

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In my previous post entitled “Countries where you can Immigrate/Settle easily “, I covered the countries around the world where you get visa extension and hopefully permanent residence (pr) card easily. 

The countries which were focused on that articles where Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, USA and Singapore. The reason being these countries provide a visa extension up to a minimum of one year (Singapore doesn’t but if you study there in a subsidized fee then you get three year visa). And it is really easy to get a PR in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore than in any other country around the world.

But what if you are not going to these countries! What if you want to study in Europe, since studying in Europe has many pros than many other countries in the world including –

  • There are 4000+ universities in Europe and offer quality education in various fields.
  • Very low or nil tuition in countries like Germany, Finland, Norway for students.
  • European institutions are some of the best in the world. Many universities are ranked in the top 100 in the world and all boast state-of-the art facilities, cutting-edge research, and knowledgeable professors.
  • You can travel from one country to another using a single visa. i.e. if you are studying in Austria with a student visa then you can travel to other countries which are parts of  European  union without a need of any other visa.
  • Multicultural and you can learn a new language. And I mean seriously you can and most of the language schools teach students for free.
  • And if you want to study history of countries like Italy, Germany, France etc or arts of Botticelli, Leonardo the Vinci or Michelangelo , Europe is the best place

Currently there are 28 countries in the European Union and 5 more are on their way to join the European Union. Also a group of countries are members of EFTA (European Free Trade Association) which is just a free trade organization between four European countries that operate in parallel and is linked to the EU. The group includes countries Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Out of these 28 countries, 23 countries is together known as “the Schengen Area" and this are do not have any passport and immigration controls at their common borders. This forms a single country like thing which have common visa policy for travel purposes. The 5 EU members that do not form a part of this area are Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and UK.
The EEA (European Economic Area) has 27 countries of European Union and 3 countries from EFTA. This area has free movement of goods and basically there is no limit to trade among these countries. Only Swiss and Norway is not part of this area. The image below
shows the blue colored countries falling under EEA category.

The 28 countries being-

The five countries which will become a part of European Union in the year 2014-2015 would be-

Also Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo are the possible candidates of the European Union in future.

Thus in a nut shell, the visa policy in UK and Ireland is entirely different than the visa policy of European Union even though they are part of it. And the Schengen Area countries and countries which are members of EFTA have common visa policy. I hope you guys can follow this, since it is very important if you are thinking to travel around the Europe.

But out of these many countries students concentrate on only few of the countries which is currently thriving or which has been famous for higher education. The countries include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, and United Kingdom

Non Schengen Area Countries Visa Policy-

UK is the top most preferred study abroad destination in European Union and since this article’s focus is on the visa one gets after graduating from a college, I must remind you that, student in master program get a maximum of 4 months for searching a job and PhD students get a 1 year search visa. And since the economy is currently in crisis in Britain it is not that easy to get a sponsor who will be ready to extend your visa in UK.

First you get a visa for 3 months and after enrolling in our university you can extend it up to the duration of your studies. Ireland gives you a visa extension of 1 year and you can search a job in Ireland during that period. Remember that you can’t go or travel around other European countries after finishing your education in Ireland or UK since you need a Schengen visa for that.

Schengen Area Countries Visa Policy-

Even though countries like Belgium, Austria, Italy, France, and Finland’s job market is down students still go to these countries due to quality of education.

You need a Schengen Visa to travel around or study in the countries 23 which are part of Schengen Area. There are basically two kinds of visa.

Short Stay Visa is the Visa which you need while going for short term internship or business trip which doesn’t exceed a period of 90 days. Also if your stay is going to be for the entire period and you won’t be leaving the European Union then you go for short term single entry visa. If you want to leave in between and come back again to European Union then you have to go for short term multiple entry visa. The validity for multiple term visa is 1 year during which you can enter or exit as many times the European Union as mentioned in your visa. But obviously you can stay only for 90 days in the European Union. Example- If your multiple entry visa is having 2 entry scheme then you can stay enter European Union only twice within a span of 1 year.

The other kind of visa is long term visa aka Category D visa. 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 then obtain a residence permit to continue staying there for a longer period. This is a national visa and after you arrive to the country where you want to study you can travel to Schengen Country within a span of 3 months. Also your visa (category D) will have the name of country where you arrived. Yup I know it Sucks! 

You enter EU with a Schengen visa usually valid for 6 months. After you come here, the university/you apply for a residence permit for the duration of the studies. Once the study period is over, there are possibilities to extend your stay. If you get a job, then you/company applies and get a work permit for certain duration. If you get a job in :-

1. Netherlands - You can apply for Zoekjaar or as a highly skilled immigrant. It is like a job search visa for 1 year. More details in the below link

2. Sweden - You cannot stay after your residence permit expires. The only possibilities are that you get a job or move on to PhD or position as a post master researcher for which u need a letter from your supervisor. More details below

In Netherlands you get a one year visa extension after you graduate and you can search for jobs in the Schengen Area. When you first arrive in Netherlands a residence permit is applied for at the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) within 3 working days. Within few weeks you will get the status of your residence permit. Basically the university applies (and sometime you may have to apply) for a VISA known as the MVV and resident permit (either the university applies or you may have to apply at the Dutch embassy). Apart from this you require a health form, photographs (two). With this permit you can travel around the Schengen Area.

For Belgium, Norway and Sweden there is no visa extension after graduating and process after arrival is same as Netherlands except the health form. Here note that Norway is not part of Schengen Area. But the formalities change every now and then.

Germany as mentioned many times before offers a extension of up to 18 months and thus becomes by far the most preferred destination in Europe for higher education. Also you get a blue card if you get a job and are sponsored by you employer there. 

Finland and France offers six months of extension. In Denmark students can apply for a 1 year visa if they have finished their masters in a European Union territory without spending any extra penny for visa extension.  

Update- France has changed its visa policy and is thinking to start visa extension policy of upto 5 years for international students from india with masters and PhD degress

I did not cover all the countries since these are the most sought after countries for students in abroad and particularly for students in India. But in case you have any doubt or want to know visa extension of any other country feel free and comment here.


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