I have faced a question regarding application for visa for traveling to Europe in order to study there. I would be grateful to receive guidance on this.

I have been admitted to a European master program. Right now I am in Iran and I should travel to the Netherlands on August to participate in an introduction program and then move to France to take part in the first semester of the program. The second semester is going to be held in Hungary starting in February. My coordinator at the French university has asked me to start the application procedure for a visa for France while I am supposed to first enter the Schengen area in the Netherlands. Is it going to be ok? I've already asked about this from the Netherlands embassy in Iran and have been told that I should apply for a visa for my main destination (France) but they didn't say whether it would ok to enter the Netherlands by flying directly from Iran and without traveling to France first (while I am issued a visa for France).

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    To the close voters: The question is very different and the generic Schengen visa thing will not address it. For starters, the OP won't get a Schengen visa so those rules do not apply. – Relaxed Jun 12 '15 at 15:56

It's OK to enter the Netherlands with a French visa (see Should my first trip be to the country which issued my Schengen Visa? for the rules on short-stay visas and Can I visit Schengen countries on a long term French Visa? about long-stay visas). That's possible even if you enter the Netherlands directly from a non-Schengen country (i.e. not going through France first), see German national visa (Type D), but entry through another Schengen country? for details on this particular issue.

Furthermore, you will need a French visa to stay six months in France (a Dutch Schengen visa is not enough). These visas sometimes have additional requirements and you need to apply for it from Iran in advance so you need to start with this application ASAP in any case.

Where things get a little complicated is that the rule quoted by the Dutch consulate is the rule for Schengen visas but that's not what you will get from France. Instead you will need a long-stay visa and I am not sure whether you would get one valid from August 2 if you only have documentation pertaining to a 6-month program starting on August 24 (especially considering the fact that going over the 6-month threshold would change the type of visa).

So if you get a French visa that does not cover your intended period of stay in the Netherlands, it might be necessary to apply for an additional short-stay visa as well.

  • Thank you very much for your reply.. I have already submitted my documents to French embassy website and been told that I'll be informed whether my file is complete or not and then will be scheduled an appointment for the interview at the embassy .. In my admission letter which is among the submitted documents it's stated that; I need a student visa for France with multiplies entries in the Schengen area from beginning of August until mid-Feb at the latest. – Zahra Jun 12 '15 at 17:01
  • So I guess they will find out that my visa needs to cover the period of time I'm in the Netherlands as well.. What confuses me is the vague answer I received from Netherlands' embassy after waiting for a long time to receive their reply.. I still am not sure whether I can FIRST travel from Iran to the Netherlands or do I need to go to France first and then fly to the Netherlands to participate in the introduction program. – Zahra Jun 12 '15 at 17:01
  • @Zahra I edited my answer to address this specifically. Still, it might be difficult for the French consulate to issue the visa you need. Generally speaking, embassies/consulates are loath of providing advice or committing themselves when the actual decision rests with the border guards and depends on all the information that will available at the moment you cross the border. If you have a letter describing the schedule/requirements of your program, including the introduction in the Netherlands, definitely have it with you when flying to Europe. – Relaxed Jun 12 '15 at 17:11
  • @Zahra Also, if you need to go from France to the Netherlands, don't forget that the distances are short and there are many other ways than flying: train (very comfortable but sometimes pricy), bus (typically cheaper) or ridesharing are all good options. – Relaxed Jun 12 '15 at 17:13
  • thanks, so you're saying although it is legally ok to first travel to the state that hasn't issued me the visa, everything finally relies on the border guards decision, am I right? Because a rep at French embassy also told me that they wouldn't guarantee that I can enter the Netherlands with a French visa without any difficulty. Right now I plan to book my flight from Iran to the Netherlands and I guess all I can do is to have all the documents with me. Also do you think having their copy is acceptable because I only have one certified copy, which is needed for the embassy's interview – Zahra Jun 12 '15 at 17:38

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