Visas & Residence permits


This information has more relevance for non-EU students, since European citizens need neither visas nor residence permits when moving within the EU.

Visas for third countries nationals

Most of Erasmus Mundus students coming from non-European countries need to have a visa to start their studies in Europe. Despite the enlargement of the EU, the Schengen zone and general harmonization of regulations regarding movement within the EU, it is important to understand that most visa issues are under competence of national states, and therefore there are no single regulations and requirements for all European countries.

In other words... To apply for visa you need, as a rule :

  • valid passport

  • letter of admission from the university

  • scholarship confirmation letter from the European Commission (or another document proving how you will finance your studies)

  • medical insurance

  • filled in application form (with indication of your future address or address of the university and contact person there).

N.B. It may be better if your passport is valid for at least 2-3 years before you start Erasmus Mundus Master programme to avoid problems with receiving passport while you study and wit lack of pages in your passport if you already had a lot of visas in. Some countries require it to be valid for at least one year to issue a visa.

Once a student is admitted to an Erasmus Mundus Master Course, he/she should start the procedures to obtain the necessary visa in his/her home countries in the embassy/consulate of the respective European country (first semester country). The international office of the first semester university will advise students on how to obtain their visas. Documents confirming admission to the Erasmus Mundus Master Course and confirmation of scholarship will be provided by the Course coordinator.

Students will also need a second visa when they move to their second host country in Europe (or third, if applicable). Again, Erasmus Mundus Master Courses coordinators can help students on how to obtain this visa and facilitate the procedure.

There are several types of visas issued by embassies of European countries: type C, type D and type C+D regulating duration of stay and possible number of entries and permission to travel to other EU countries. Before you apply for a visa, clarify with your coordinator or university international office desk, which visa type would be the best for you.

N.B. Based on the previous experience of Erasmus Mundus students, visa issues demand much time and attention. Sometimes it might take up to 6 months.

For a more effective result, please start with the visa paperwork as soon as possible; be very concentrated when you prepare the documents for visas and residence permits applications.

Pay attention to small details, such as photos format or amount of passport pages to be copied; double-check all your forms and the data you fill in. Always have copies of originals (good idea to have them in a digital form, too) for your own administration, as well as when submitting applications, since sometimes consulates do not return any documents (make sure you make several copies of the Erasmus Mundus Master Course admission proof, of the official scholarship confirmation letter from the European Commission; of the insurance policy statement and the insurance card, etc).

You should keep your Erasmus Mundus coordinator informed if you face visa problems. If you would like to have your spouse or a child accompany you during your studies, be sure to inform your coordinator if it is the case as usually extra documents are needed in that case. In general universities cannot provide invitations for family members of students, but you will certainly get assistance and referred to relevant sources of information.

In other words... Apply for visa AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! You will be given all assistance and supporting documents, but you should make an effort to get it organized in time. Rules at embassies might change often, so be sure you get the most updated information on the required documents.

Residence permit for third countries nationals

In most European countries staying longer than three months requires a residence permit, hence besides obtaining a visa, non-EU students enrolled in the Erasmus Mundus Program also have to apply separately for a residence permit in every country they study in, unless their nationality exempt them to do so. Residence permit can be a plastic card, a paper document, or a sticker in passport. Note, that some countries combine the functions of long-term visas and residence permits, and this residence permit is granted by embassies, while in some it is possible to obtain residence permit only upon arrival.

Third-country nationals who are holders of a residence permit of a Schengen state may freely enter into and stay in any other Schengen state for a period of up to three months. Note, that for a longer stay, they require a residence permit of the target member state (keep it mind when you look for an internship and agree on its duration).

N.B. Before you can apply for a visa (whether for your next study destination or for vacation) for country 1 in country 2, you must have the residence permit of country 1.