Schengen countries have started reopening the student visa application services for candidates from other countries. This comes after almost a five-month break as application services were halted due to restrictions on international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy, France and Germany are among the European countries where Indian students can start applying for visas for long-term courses and short-term stays.
Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India, announced on social media that the country’s visa service is now open for receiving applications in the student visa category, for short as well as long stay.
Finally, the wait is over!
Delighted to announce that our visa service is now open for receiving applications for the short-stay and long-stay student visa category. (1/2)
Do read about the conditions for applying and travelling to France→https://t.co/WhY4ag7AfR pic.twitter.com/gkajCfU5nZ
— Emmanuel Lenain (@FranceinIndia) August 20, 2020
Around 300,000 Indian students travel abroad every year to pursue higher education, and Europe takes in about 45 percent of these candidates.
Other Schengen and European Union member states that have also announced the reopening of their visa centres in India are Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and Portugal.
However, applicants are required to make appointments in advance in order to ensure social distancing in light of the pandemic.
Usually, getting a Schengen visa takes between 15-30 days. However, considering the pandemic and possible manpower shortages at the visa centres, student visas could take 30-40 days.
Taking into account these delays, overseas education consultants have sent advisories to Indian students to apply at least 60 days in advance so that they receive the approvals on time.
Due to the pandemic and the subsequent country-specific lockdowns in several parts of Europe, it is likely that physical lectures will resume only by or after November 2020.