Towards the end of 2022, Americans who want to enroll in short-term programmes will need to apply online for an ETIAS travel authorization. ETIAS grants entry to 26 European nations, for stays of 90 days or less.

Why study in Europe?

Studying in Europe provides an unbeatable opportunity to experience a new culture whilst learning. In addition, studying abroad is a way to practice a foreign language both inside and outside the classroom.

Many American students choose European countries thanks to the high-quality educational offering. Whether attending university or looking for a short course to learn a new skill, students will find a suitable programme for them.

By studying in Europe, overseas learners can make the most of their free time by exploring the city and country they are staying in. Furthermore, border-free travel in the Schengen Area means students can easily visit other countries in Europe too.

Spain, Italy, and Sweden are some of the most popular destinations, each with a unique cultural and educational offering.

What do US citizens need to study in Schengen countries?

As non-EU citizens, Americans need a visa or other travel authorisation to study in a Schengen country. The type of document required to study in Europe depends on the duration and type of course to be attended.

Those taking part in a short course can take advantage of the EU’s visa liberalisation policy and enter the chosen Schengen Area visa-free. Such students will require an ETIAS visa waiver once the system is launched in 2022.

For longer programmes, such as to attend university, a visa for European study is required.

Student visa for Europe

Non-EU citizens need a visa to study in Europe for extended periods, such as to attend university or specialized institutions. The visa is requested at the embassy or consulate of the host country.

The visa is valid for as long as the educational course the individual has enrolled on, it may be extended on a yearly basis if the original conditions continue to be met.

To be granted a student visa for Europe, applicants must present proof of:

  • Admission to a recognised public or private educational institution
  • Proof of academic qualifications
  • Proof of organised accommodation, for instance, dormitory contract or rent agreement
  • Health insurance
  • Financial means to cover all living expenses, studies and return to the country of origin

Additional requirements include:

  • Two signed and fully completed application forms
  • A copy of passport’s biometric data
  • Previous passports

The above documents along with a valid passport and 2 recent, passport-style photographs should be provided during the visa interview at the embassy or consulate.

Most Student Schengen visas are processed within 15 calendar days. Some applications might be processed faster, while others might take longer. Therefore, it is advisable to schedule the interview for at least 4 weeks in advance.

Minors applying for a European student visa

Minors require parental consent in order to be granted the visa. Parents or guardians must present additional documents to obtain the European student visa:

  • An extract of the minor’s birth certificate
  • An identity document bearing the parents’ or guardian signature
  • Both parents must sign a declaration of consent, stating that the minor is allowed to travel

Parents or guardians should also provide proof of occupation.

Required certificates to study in Europe

In addition to the documents listed above, students often need to present a selection of additional certificates before being issued with a Europe study visa. The university or institution will specify which documents are required in each case.

Copies of previous diplomas

Students applying for a Master’s degree will be asked to include copies of their previous graduation diplomas, translated into English.

This document proves as evidence that an undergraduate programme has been completed and also provides information about final grades and the university attended, all of which may be taken into account during the admission process.

Academic transcripts of university studies

Official transcripts provide the European university with all the information they need about the course and modules completed at the university where the candidate graduated.

This information helps universities to decide whether an applicant has the necessary skills and knowledge to complete the course, especially a postgraduate degree.

Evidence of language proficiency

To attend a European university, American students need to be able to understand the language of the destination country at an academic level.

Language proficiency certificates issued by official organisations will be requested. The university will stipulate the score or level which must be achieved in order to be accepted.

Short-term study in Europe with ETIAS

Some foreigners taking short courses in Europe do not need to apply for a student visa. Provided a course lasts no longer than 3 months, Americans can apply for an ETIAS visa waiver. The visa waiver cannot be used to enroll at university or for longer-term studies.

Summer language programmes often fit this criterion. With so many different languages spoken across the continent, Europe is a popular choice for American language learners.

Spanish, French, and German are 3 of the languages most commonly studied by US nationals. Completing a course in a native speaking country is an excellent way to boost speaking and listening skills by attending classes and meeting other students.

Language courses aren’t the only type of short course available. Keen chefs can select from a wide range of cookery classes to improve and learn new kitchen skills, countries such as Italy and France are particularly popular in this case.

Photography, dance, and music schools are just some of the other opportunities available.

The advantages of short-term study in Europe with ETIAS

The advantage of ETIAS for study purposes is that the permit can be used to travel throughout the Schengen Area: visitors can make the most of their free time by visiting neighbouring European countries.

In addition, as ETIAS is not a visa, the application process is more straightforward. There are fewer requirements and there is no need to attend an embassy or consulate in person, the process is fully online.

An ETIAS visa waiver is valid for 3 years and is multiple-entry, the passport holder can use the same permit to attend subsequent courses with no need to reapply, provided the total stay does not exceed 90 days in a 180-day period.