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Visa Troubles: Barcelona Edition

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Hey folks,

I'm going to study abroad in Spain this Fall semester and so I tried to apply for a student visa. I was declin. I only had 12 hours of class registered instead of 20. 20 seemed like more than I'd like when my main goal is to travel the country and city and have fun, not sit in a classroom and read books I could read anywhere on the planet. So because I can't get a student visa I have 3 options and I wanted opinions about the three:

1) As a U.S. Citizen, take advantage of the 90 days I have in Spain as part of the Schengen Agreement, and truncate my class days by missing the first week of class (the director of the program said this could be done). It would work but I hope it doesn't come to this because I wanted the full experience including before/after the class days.

2. Go to Spain at the time I'd normally go (a week before class starts) and when the 90 days are coming to an end I would go to the police station and request an extension to my visa-free stay in order to take final exams.

3. (MOST IFFY) I will be studying abroad in France next Spring too so I was thinking of getting a 1-year tourist visa for France, and not really spending that time in France until 2016. Is this possible? A french visa would allow access to Spain, and I wouldn't necessarily have to prove that I've been hanging out in France that whole time, would I?

Between those three, or maybe other recommendations, I'd like to figure this problem out soon. Thank you for your help!

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