On the Schengen visa website, it is mentioned that there is no visa fee for:

Pupils, students, postgraduates and the accompanying teachers who are travelling for the purpose of studying or educational training.

I am going to France for an international doctoral training session. I am unsure whether that could count as educational training or whether it will count as a conference.

At the French Consulate, they told me that this is valid only for students having certain named Fellowships. I could not find such a statement anywhere online.

Is anyone aware of such a clause?

The officer who said this to me seemed hesitant and then abruptly remarked that you need to pay the fee. I just want to clarify this because there will be another Schengen visa I need to apply for in a few months for another conference/training session.


1 Answer 1


I think the consular official got it wrong.

Students on a Trip

Based upon what you wrote, you would be exempt from the fee. The relevant authority is The Visa Code, Article 16, Paragraph 4.

The visa fee shall be waived for applicants belonging to one of the following categories:

(b) school pupils, students, postgraduate students and accompanying teachers who undertake stays for the purpose of study or educational training;

These sorts of things happen. You will be entitled to a refund of the fee you paid today.

In the future, if you are going for an exemption of some sort, print out the controlling reference of what you want to benefit from and include it as an attachment to your application.

Consular Dispute: Education vs Conference

Following the update to your question... The differences between a conference and an educational training/study are not discussed in the regulations and there is no 'official' answer to resolve your dispute with the consular official. He thinks it's a conference and you think it isn't. At stake is the EUR 60 application fee.

He is pratting on about certain 'named fellowships'. I don't see the word 'fellowship' at all. I still think he has the wrong end of the stick...

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What all of this amalgamates to is your question can be reduced to "how to resolve a dispute with a consular official?"

What 'best practices' would say to settle your dispute is to contact the organiser of the event and ask for a letter describing the event as a 'educational training event' and how you will be supervised. If it's an international event, there's a high chance you will not be the only one having a dispute. They may be able to put you in touch with other applicants who were successful in getting the exemption. That kind of evidence would be massively helpful. But the priority is to get a letter from the organiser. If the organiser is describing the event as a conference, then you'll have to bite the bullet.


ShengenVisaInfo.com is a commercial site in California operating some sort of masquerade hence not an 'official' site. As such it shouldn't be used when you are seeking reliable and authoritative information.

The French consular site for Boston is OK (i.e., not a scam), but likely to be out-of-date. Stick with the 'official' sites in the .EU domain and you'll be fine.

  • Thanks. I emailed the consulate about the issue. Let's see what they respond back.
    – cleanplay
    Aug 6, 2015 at 0:20
  • 1
    I had sent an email to the consulate and shared the document as well with them. I got the following reply from the French Consulate:-Hello, Some students are not paying because they both have a scholarship and are going to study in France. In your situation, you’re going to France for a conference and you have to pay for your visa. Regards,
    – cleanplay
    Aug 6, 2015 at 17:51
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    @user56199, Well... yes. Attending a conference attracts a fee. That deeply changes the semantics of your question which was based upon students travelling for study. You can try asking a new question here about conferences, or try to finagle the premise of your visit such that it qualifies under your original question. In all events, stick to 'official' sites and good luck.
    – Gayot Fow
    Aug 6, 2015 at 18:25

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