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jdc222 Aug 12th, 2013 06:19 PM

Studying abroad in France and Spain VISA question

I have a rather long-winded question and would appreciate any feedback or advice:) I am planning on studying abroad through a program for one semester in France from 08/31/13-12/22/13 and then continuing on for another semester in Spain from 01/07/2013-05/20/2013. I have already received my VISA to study in France for the entire period but I am having some difficulty deciding on the best plan of action to receive my Spanish student VISA. I understand that you not supposed to apply for or receive a VISA from another country when you are outside of your home country (U.S.) but I am out of options. The program I am studying with offers group VISA submissions for Spain. The problem is that you cannot apply for a student VISA to Spain more than 90 DAYS IN ADVANCE of the day you intend to arrive in Spain, which in my case would be 12/23/13. The time for group submissions will probably be in October sometime.

Option 1: During my time in France, attempt to apply for my Spanish student VISA through the group submission process by having my mother in the U.S. submit all of my required documents and passport to the program coordinator and have my mother mail me my (hopefully stamped) passport. Will this be an issue if the Spanish consulate sees that I have an active VISA for France for the time that I am applying for a Spanish VISA?

Option 2: If option 1 is not viable, would it be possible for me to enter and study in Spain on the U.S. tourist VISA for the approximately four and a half month period by staying in Spain for less than 90 days, leaving the Schengen area and then re-entering a few days later to complete my studies?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to any advice. This is becoming really stressful and my study abroad program has pretty much left it up to me to figure this out. NOTE: I have attempted e-mailing and calling both the Spanish and French Consulates in my jurisdiction and five weeks later, have yet to receive a response.

Jean Aug 12th, 2013 06:26 PM

Option 1. You would have your passport with you in France, so I don't see how your mother could submit it with the Spain Visa app.

Option 2. I suppose this is possible, but wouldn't the university in Spain want to see your valid visa? Wouldn't it be better to do all of this the proper way?

Can't you address this question to the two study-abroad programs you're considering? I doubt this would be the first time this issue has been raised by someone.

gh21 Aug 12th, 2013 06:26 PM

Regarding option 2: as a US tourist you are allowed a total of 90 days out of 180 days in Schengen. Leaving Schengen for a few days does not restart the 90 day clock.

Michael Aug 12th, 2013 06:27 PM

You cannot use option two, because a tourist visa is good for 90 days out of 180. But you are making two assumptions: that the French visa is stamped into the passport rather than being a separate piece of paper, and that the Spanish consular authorities would look askance at someone asking for a visa for one country while having one for another. I doubt that the answer will be found in this forum. I would contact the Spanish consulate and ask them the question, or better yet, have your sponsor (the Studies Abroad program) see if it can get an answer to the question.

jdc222 Aug 12th, 2013 06:31 PM

Thank you Jean!

I had planned on mailing my passport back to the U.S. to my mother so that she could submit it with the group VISA application. I would take copies beforehand to keep with me in France. I also realize that I wouldn't be able to travel out of France during that time. As far as the Spanish University needing to see my VISA, that wouldn't be necessary since U.S. students can study without one as long as the program lasts less than 90 days. I have tried to communicate my problem to the study abroad program, but they have pretty much left it up to me to handle this issue.

jdc222 Aug 12th, 2013 06:35 PM

Thank you gh21 and Michael!

I was a little unclear about how the tourist VISA/ Schengen area worked, so thank you for clarifying. As far as my French VISA, it is stamped inside of my passport. I did assume that the Spanish authorities would look at the time period of my French VISA and maybe think it suspicious.

nytraveler Aug 12th, 2013 07:34 PM

But then you would be in France without your passport - and that isn;t allowed. You have to have it with you the whole time you are there - so no sending it back to your mom - even if you are wiling to risk mailing it back and forth.

I'm afraid you will have to work with both programs to help you figure this out.

janisj Aug 12th, 2013 07:44 PM

>>Will this be an issue if the Spanish consulate sees that I have an active VISA for France for the time that I am applying for a Spanish VISA?<<

No one here can know the answer to that - you need to contact a Spanish consulate and ask them.

But neither of your options are probably possible. The 90 day limit negates #2 . . . And you absolutely must have your passport (and the visa inside) while you are in France.

So I'd head to the nearest Spanish consulate in person and ask what they suggest, if anything. I'm sure you aren't the first student to have courses back to back in two countries.

Michael Aug 12th, 2013 08:51 PM

Ask your nearest Spanish consulate if you can apply for the visa in the Spanish consulate in France.

sofarsogood Aug 12th, 2013 11:58 PM

<< I understand that you not supposed to apply for or receive a VISA from another country when you are outside of your home country (U.S.) >>

Are you sure about this? One purpose of embassies/consulates is to process visa applications for overseas citizens. For example, Chinese citizens living in the US, wishing to visit the UK, would visit the UK embassy/consulates in the US.

You may be right of course, though I don't see why you have to be in the US at the time of your application should matter to the Spanish. The important criteria is that you're not in Spain. So I would double check that point. Therefore, you would submit your visa application to the Spanish Embassy/Consulate in France when you're studying in France.

jdc222 Aug 13th, 2013 08:04 AM


I didn't think of this an an option, but I will definitely research it as it would make my life, so much easier!

Christina Aug 13th, 2013 09:41 AM

Well, while you are supposed to have your passport and visa while in France, the fact is that it is certainly possible you could be there that time and never once having to produce it. I was in France for studying several times for a month and never once was asked to produce my passport, why would I be.

I wouldn't risk it myself (mailing it to and from), but you aren't asked to produce your passport routinely for no reason in France. What if it got lost, you'd be in big trouble.

sueciv Aug 13th, 2013 09:54 AM

Doesn't the European Union have ANY outs for students?
A student absolutely COULD NOT do 1 year engineering in German say? What difference two countries?

But yes, I'd get to the consulate pronto

nytraveler Aug 13th, 2013 10:27 AM

If the OP is in France without the passport/visa

1) She has no proof of identity or citizenship
2) She has no visa allowing her to study in France

What if:

1) She's in an accident or has something stolen and needs to deal with medical authorities or police?
2) Something happens that requires her to return home?
3) She want to visit a non-Schengen country for the weekend?
4) Or a host of other things

Jean Aug 13th, 2013 11:01 AM

It's never a good idea to be outside of your home country without your passport. Period.

spsuni Aug 20th, 2013 09:05 AM

Ha, I am in the exact same situation - Are we doing the same program? (ESCP) I'm starting in 2014 (deferred) Paris Sem. 1, Madrid Sem. 2. I'm moving to Paris in a few weeks and so I started to think about this (because the French visa process is such a nightmare!).

Anyway, I went to the Spanish consulate's website in Paris and I think it may be possible to apply for a visa there as a foreigner as long as you have your French residency down, as the website talks about different requirements for EU/non-EU students, and the visa application (downloaded from the Paris location's website) has a spot for this:
"18. Residence in a country other than the country of current nationality

□ No
□ Yes residence permit or equivalent document ......................... ............ No. Valid until ........................"

Can you update us (me) on whether this works? Otherwise I will, I'll stop by the consulate when I'm in France and let y'all know.

alanRow Aug 20th, 2013 09:28 AM

"A student absolutely COULD NOT do 1 year engineering in German say? What difference two countries"

It is called a visa, students get them for the length of their courses and are country specific, it gives no rights outside that country

Just like every other country that offers student visas

jdc222 May 8th, 2014 10:11 AM

Hello once again, I understand this post is a little late but I wanted to give an update on how eveything worked out just in case someone else has the same issue. During my semester in France, I got in contact with the Spanish Consulate nearest to me and was able to obtain a Spanish Visa without having to return to the US. Although there was an attached fee for this convenience, it was not as expensive as a plane ticket would have been. I simply needed to bring the documents requested by the Consulate, pay the associated fee (112 € + 160 € US Citizen fee) and return within two.weeks to pick up the Visa. I will note that having studied in both countries, not once have I been asked for my passport, with the exception of air travel. Thanks and if anyone has any further questions I'd be happy to answer them.

Christina May 8th, 2014 10:40 AM

thanks for the feedback, it may help others

wiz395 Oct 2nd, 2014 01:23 PM

jdc222 Please PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!! I need help. I am in the same predicament right now and I am stressing big time. I am currently living in Spain on the tourist 90- day visa and I want to acquire a visa because I have lost out on multiple opportunities to work for good companies because I do not have a Visa. I saw that you had some success with going to a Spanish consulate and obtaining a visa. Please can you contact me at my email ([email protected])?? Please Please Please. I would greatly appreciate it. I want information on how you went about achieving this process. THANK YOU!

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