European Union Immigration Requirements

If you do not have a passport, apply for a passport immediately. It can take from three to six weeks or more. You need a passport in order to enter a the European Union. If your visit is 90 days or less, you do not need a visa if you arrive with a valid passport. If you plan to stay for more than 90 days, you do not need a visa. You must have a valid passport in order to obtain a visa. You can apply for a visa at your local consulate.

Who requires a student visa?

You do not need a study permit if you are planning to study in a short-term programme of three months (90 days) or less, if you have a valid Canadian passport. For longer programs of study, you will require a visa.

What documents are required?

When you come to study in the EU as an exchange student, you will need in any case need the following:

  • an official letter of acceptance from the host institution/university
  • proof that you have enough money for accommodation and living expenses
  • a valid passport

How long does it take to obtain a visa?

This depends on the country concerned, but it usually takes 3-6 weeks.

How much does it cost?

This varies according to country.

How long is the visa valid for?

Student visas and authorization are valid for the duration of the program of study

Visa application procedure

Submitting an application

As a general rule, Schengen visas are issued and are valid for the territory of the ten countries presently implementing the Schengen Agreement. With such a visa, a person may enter and remain for a short period (90 days at most during a six-month period) within the territory of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Non-EU nationals subject to the visa requirement must contact the diplomatic or consular authorities competent for their place of residence or the place of destination.

The relevant diplomatic or consular authorities for the Schengen States may be determined by asking the following questions:

  1. What is the sole or main destination of the trip?
  2. What country will the interested party be visiting for the longest period?
  3. Which country will the interested party visit first?
  4. In which country will the non-EU national enter the Schengen territory?

In the framework of Schengen cooperation, any diplomatic or consular authorities for a Schengen State may represent another Schengen State, which is not represented locally, for the processing of the visa application and issue of the visa.

Personal appearance

In principle, visa applicants must appear in person before the diplomatic or consular authorities, notably so as to provide or receive orally any requisite explanations. At this time, they must provide the documents required for the visa application.

Documents to be provided when applying for a visa

  • a valid travel document (a passport, for example) to which a visa may be affixed. The validity of the travel document must be three months longer than that of the visa;
  • if need be, any documents substantiating the purpose (for example, an invitation by private individuals or companies, a medical certificate and appointments with a Belgian attending physician or in a Belgian hospital, etc.) and conditions of the planned visit (hotel reservation, for example). These documents generally have a substantiating effect only if they are originals or certified true copies.
  • any documents proving that the non-EU national (guest) has sufficient means of support to cover the visit and the return, as well as any medical expenses, in the form of an undertaking of responsibility if need be.


All information on this page has been carefully investigated. However the information is provided without any warranty.