If you are planning to travel somewhere for an extended period of time, you might be wondering: Do I need a student visa? Watch the video, or read on, to find out.
The short answer is a conditional yes, but, first and foremost, there are two things you need to know about student visas: they cost money, and they’re a hassle to obtain.
A student visa is an official looking sticker that they affix to your passport. Your visa allows you entry into certain countries for a certain length of time. Depending on the visa you apply for and the country you’re going to, you can get a visa that will also allow you to work and earn an income. But do you really need one?
Scenario #1: A Month Abroad
You do not need a student visa. Honestly, the consulate will probably laugh at you if you show up and apply for one. You’re not going to work in a country if you’re only there for four weeks. That’s a total of 28-31 days, You’re 60 days away from the trouble deadline. If you apply for one, you’re going through a lot of unnecessary hassle and throwing money at something that could be used for something else.
Scenario #2: A 6-Week Program
You do not need a student visa. This is basically the same scenario as Scenario #1. Unless you are planning on doing an extensive amount of travelling (ie. another six weeks), then getting a visa is pointless. You won’t be utilizing the investment you made.
Scenario #3: Not Quite 90 Days
You do not need a student visa, but you should get one. Why? You’re going to be in Europe. EUROPE. Are you telling me you don’t want to travel abroad after your program? Say your program is 80 days long. What happens if you fly in a few days early to get rested before the craziness starts? What if there are weather cancellations for your flight home? If your program is anywhere close to 90 days, you should get a visa. This will give you the freedom and peace of mind to travel and enjoy whatever amount of time you want to without being constrained to a deadline of 90 days.
Scenario #4: 180+ Days Abroad
You must have a student visa. If you are going to be in the Schengen States for 180 days (specifically Spain), than you must have a background check completed before you apply. This must be done through your state (not local) police, or through the FBI. Fingerprinting and the whole shebang. If this is you, make sure you are jumping through these hoops early, or your flight might be leaving without you.
I hope this was helpful! If you’ve decided to apply, check out THIS POST all about what documents you’ll need and how much time you should plan.
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