Student Visas/Schengen Zone

May 23rd, 2014, 05:22 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
Got it...and glad you're around to advise people!

We are somewhat familiar with the rules as well - partly because we travel very often to Europe for work, and partly because dozens of our kids' friends have gone abroad in the last few years. Please forgive me, but we cannot the find the rule that says one cannot travel as a tourist before studying. Nor can the study abroad advisers from the university...and the officer at the consulate said it was fine. Can you direct me to a link that describes the rule that you say is "clearly laid down"? Thanks so much for your time, Alec.
crosscheck is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 05:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You don't need any specific rules in order to stay as a visitor prior to the start of your type D visa stay. But the crucial fact - regardless of whether Spain implements or not - is that 90-in-180 day tourist stay does NOT roll into student visa, and there must be a clear evidence of ending the tourist stay and activation of type D visa through exit/entry Schengen stamps.
While the Schengen Border Code does allow passengers to present other evidence to show compliance, I recommend having clear evidence of ending and starting the two different kinds of stay.
Alec is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 05:55 PM
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I know of a case in France of a student doing exactly that - coming earlier as a tourist and just staying on to start his studies. When he tried to get his residence permit, the absence of Schengen entry stamp to show type D visa activation caused no end of trouble, and eventually had to book a quick trip out of Schengen in order to comply and get the permit issued. I'm not saying the same thing will happen to your children or in Spain, but since all Schengen states follow the same rules, it's irresponsible not to point that out.
Alec is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 05:00 AM
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Thank you both Alec and Crosscheck for this discussion. You both have been immensely helpful in calming my uncertainties and helping me understand the best route of action to take!
brwatts is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 09:39 AM
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Alec, do you know if it is possible to get this exit/entry stamp in Andorra?
brwatts is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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No. While Andorra is outside Schengen, there is no border check as such (as all travellers have to come by land from France or Spain; there is customs check because of tobacco smuggling etc) so you won't get a Schengen exit/entry stamps.
Alec is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 12:09 PM
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We have now spoken to representatives my son's program and they have confirmed that it is okay to travel in other Schengen countries (without leaving) before entering Spain as a student. They said to hang on to the boarding pass as proof of your date of entry. Program representatives will meet the kids when they arrive and get the residency cards for them.

And my son's friend just forward the email below from his program. Bottom line: check with the program you're registered with.

crosscheck is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 12:14 PM
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As I said, the rules allow other evidence (such as boarding pass) to show arrival in the country for the activation of type D visa (or any other purpose). But others reading this shouldn't assume the same will apply, esp in other Schengen states.
Alec is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 01:11 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
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I'm sorry to resurface this discussion but I found this message thread very helpful - however I have a few more questions. I am in a situation very similar to your son's - I will be studying in Spain in a few weeks but am arriving in the Schengen area prior to my program start date to travel. I am flying into France and will be entering Spain from there via train. I am wondering if you know where I can go to activate and stamp my visa? Was your son able to activate his visa without exiting and re-entering the Schengen area? Thank you for your time. I appreciate any advice or recommendations you can give me! I am new to international travel so this is all very overwhelming.
dth93 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2014, 03:10 AM
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Hi dt93, It turns out we're going on a family vacation to Istanbul before my son goes to Spain, so he will be entering from Turkey, which is not a Schengen country. However, when it looked as if he was entering from a Schengen area, the reps from my son's program told him to save his boarding pass and take it the police in the Madrid airport upon arrival to activate the student visa.

How long will you be in France? I'm not sure if you can hold onto your train ticket, so you might have to go from France to London (or another non-Schengen area), then fly to Spain from there. (Not sure we're you're going in Spain, but discount flights from London to Madrid are very cheap.) However, the rules are very fuzzy, so I would check with the people running your program and follow their advice.
crosscheck is offline  
Aug 1st, 2014, 06:28 AM
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since you HAVE to go to the immigration police when you arrive in Spain to start the student residency process.. I really wouldn't worry about it. Take whatever proof you have.
lincasanova is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2014, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1
Hi all! I have been reading your comments, and they have been pretty useful. Thank you!

I had however a few questions myself on this topic (Schengen rules can be so complicated!) I was wondering if any of you knew what would happen if the Schengen entrance stamp is not placed on the same page as the type D student visa.

Although my student visa is for Spain, I entered Schengen through Germany (connecting flight situation...), and I did this a few days after my visa had begun (my visa began August 24th, and I entered on the 26th). Knowing that I would require a stamp at one point or another during my stay, I insisted that the German officer stamp my passport (I showed him my student visa), and he did, but he placed the entrance stamp on another page. So, my question is, did this “activate"my student visa? Or if I am bound to run into trouble later on? (aka am I unknowingly on my 90 days on 180 days visitor’s visa?)

Thank you!
tinky23 is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2014, 01:42 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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Hi tinky, With the caveat that I am just a parent of two kids who studied abroad and not anyone in an official capacity, I don't think it matters where your passport is stamped.

The German authorities are clearly used to students in transit, so I can't imagine that they would stamp a passport on the wrong page. (My younger son's situation was different because he traveled in the Czech Republic several weeks before entering Spain, but my older son entered Italy the way you did, via Germany.)

However, since you are now in Spain, I would check with the people who run your program.

BTW, this thread has some erroneous info. For example, students who are remaining in Spain for fewer than 6 months do NOT need a residency card.
crosscheck is offline  
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