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If, say, you acquired a 90-day tourist Schengen visa, would it be legal to use it for the purpose of visiting a language course or a university class? Or do you have to apply for a special education visa if you have such intents?

Answers linking to official EU pages on that matter would be highly appreciated :)

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@LiamWilliam They would know because you have to tell them (when you apply, you explain the purpose of the travel, submit an itinerary, etc.). – Relaxed Mar 29 '14 at 7:01
@Annoyed True although I have never heard of the government monitoring such. Deleted comment. – William Apr 1 '14 at 9:14
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Official documents can be found on the EU website. In fact, there is no such thing as a “tourist” Schengen visa, the main distinction is between a short-stay (no more than 90 days in a 180-day period) visa and long-stay (national) visas. But you must always specify the purpose of your journey on the application form.

The standard application form (annex 1 of the visa code) includes a “Study” checkbox and both the visa code and the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the modification of issued visas also discuss at length the type of supporting documentation that must be provided in this case. In particular:

  1. for journeys undertaken for the purposes of study or other types of training:

(a) a certificate of enrolment at an educational establishment for the purposes of attending vocational or theor­etical courses within the framework of basic and further training;

(b) student cards or certificates of the courses to be attended;

All that should be enough to establish that studying or taking classes on a short-stay Schengen visa is officially allowed and completely above board. Now, if you pretend to be a tourist and submit a complete itinerary while the real goal of your trip in fact is to attend a course, it could be grounds to refuse the visa (if caught, obviously).

Of course, the short duration of stay (even compared to the UK's six-month general visitor visa) severely limits the type of classes you could possibly attend.

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TL;DR Yes _______________ – Eugene Xa Apr 18 '14 at 22:45

No special visa for the purpose of studying required. Of course, you're not able to get a job and work officially. The purpose of a visa is necessary in the case of a long-term (over 90 days) visa.

From my experience, I had a 90-day EU visa and was able to visit a 6-week intensive language course. After that I was travelling to EU several times without the hassle.

Let's imagine if you wanted to visit a conference and attend several classes you're interested in, would you have to get a visa? Answer is no.

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While it makes sense logically to me as well, it would be nice to find an official answer. – JonathanReez Mar 29 '14 at 14:51
For example the UK does not allow such an arrangement:… – JonathanReez Mar 29 '14 at 18:41

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