In December I traveled to Belgium on a tourist visa and left after 89 days (So within the correct amount of days), I was getting my paperwork done while I was there so I could stay, but the coronavirus, unfortunately, stopped that. I got accepted into Leuven... My fiance is Belgian, and frankly I want to be with her as soon as possible.

My question is this, I can't fly back to the EU until June 11th, But after that time is up, Is it possible once I get my student visa that I fly to the EU, enter Belgium as a tourist (my studies don't start until late September), then around September when I can activate my student visa, fly or travel to London or something so I'm out of the Schengen area, and then re-enter the Schengen area as a student when it's in September and I'm going to start studies soon? I understand that upon arrival I must tell the nearest town hall to confirm I am there, so that means I must do it twice in a short amount of time.

Is this possible? And if not what about something similar to this? I just want to be there, let me know thank you.

  • What is your citizenship? When will you get the student visa?
    – phoog
    Apr 14 '20 at 13:57
  • I am a US Citizen, I most likely will get my student Visa Early/Late July. @phoog
    – Elijah
    Apr 14 '20 at 13:58
  • 3
    The situation in all of Europe, including Belgium, is not such that you can be sure that the travel ban will be lifted. It might be, or it might not, or there might be something in between.
    – Willeke
    Apr 14 '20 at 14:44
  • @Willeke I know, The travel ban is terrible, but I am saying aside from the travel ban if it is lifted early June like they are saying it will be (we most likely won't' see it lifted but you still get my point)
    – Elijah
    Apr 14 '20 at 14:56
  • I try to say that even if the travel ban is lifted, it is not a given you can travel to Belgium to start a life, maybe even less as a student. Best wait a bit longer before you commit on your move.
    – Willeke
    Apr 14 '20 at 15:02

Let's talk hypotheticals and say there was no pandemic, that's how I will approach this question as the pandemic introduces too much uncertainty.

On September 5 2019 I moved to Austria for PhD studies. My passport allows me to enter Schengen Area with no visa for 90 days. To stay and study, I needed a D-Visa and was issued one at the Austrian representation in my country. BUT, it was issued for the start of my studies (Sept. 20. 2019). Which meant that I would arrive in Austria without an as-of-yet valid visa and was entering using my visa-free tourist privileges. The Austrian consulate insisted there was no issue and that the border guards see that all the time.

Fast-forward to Vienna Airport: I land and walk toward border control, palms sweating like crazy, hand my passport over and he sees the visa which will be valid 15 days from then and asks me simple questions and lets me pass. I had no issues AND I did not leave when my visa became valid as there is no need to do so.

Since then, I have received a working permit and have left the Schengen Area once and reentered with absolutely no issues.

Short answer: As long as you do not overstay your 90 visa-free days before your visa comes into effect, there is no problem. If you ever hit 90 days before your visa is valid then you must leave.

This is not legal advice. I am simply sharing my own first-hand experience in a similar situation

  • That is exactly what i was wondering! thank you! how did you approach the university to show you have the visa? did you go during the first 15 days? or when your studies started? And what about when you had to register your arrival at town hall?
    – Elijah
    Apr 21 '20 at 14:34
  • Hi @Elijah The uni just needed the visa number and they had no issues whatsoever as I didn't start studying/working until my visa was valid. Registration was not an issue either, they mentioned nothing of the visa. Now I am living in Austria with my researcher residence permit, for which I applied when I arrived and that went smoothly as well. If you find the answer helpful, be sure to accept it by clicking the checkmark!
    – Ozzy
    Apr 21 '20 at 17:07
  • On the question of having to leave and re-enter, different countries might see it differently. The Schengen codes have nothing to say on the matter. I think it's less of a worry on the way in, but at the end of a residence permit or D visa, some countries do require you to leave regardless of whether you have any 90-day visa-free privilege. (The country whose law I've actually read on this is the Netherlands; I really don't know much about other countries.)
    – phoog
    Apr 23 '20 at 22:16
  • @phoog I exited through Netherlands on my recent trip out of schengen just last month and had no issues. The officer was noticeably thorough and went through every page so he saw my visa and the entry stamp a few days prior visa validity. I obviously don't know about tacking on the 90 days at the end of my stay. That isn't the poster's question though, it is about using 90 days prior visa validity.
    – Ozzy
    Apr 24 '20 at 9:19
  • @Ozzy the Dutch law applies only to people with Dutch residence permits. They are required to leave the country or the Schengen area (I don't remember which) within something like a week or two of the end of the permit (again, I may be somewhat off on the details). It's kind of pointless when applied to Annex II nationals, and I doubt an Annex II national would get in much trouble for failing to comply, but when I looked into it a couple of years ago they were nonetheless taking pains to say that the requirement does in fact apply to Annex II nationals.
    – phoog
    Apr 25 '20 at 4:12

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