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The visa policy of the Schengen Area is set by the European Union and applies to the Schengen Area and to other EU member states without the opt-outs enjoyed by Ireland and the UK. If someone other than a European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen wishes to enter the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania they must have a visa or be a national of a visa-exempt country. The Schengen Area consists of 22 European Union member states and four non-members who are members of EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not yet part of the Schengen Area but, nonetheless, have a visa policy that is based on the Schengen acquis. .

The Schengen Area Member States:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania

European Union citizens and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) nationals are not only visa-exempt but are legally entitled to enter and reside in each other's countries. Their right to freedom of movement in each other's countries can, however, be limited in a reserved number of situations, as prescribed by the European Union Treaties.

Why chose Europe as study destination?

Did you know that over 1.4 million students from around the world came to Europe in 2012 for their higher education... and the numbers are growing every year with 1000s of universities, research centres and higher education institutions offering world-class study programmes, Europe is the place to be. Here are 8 good reasons to choose Europe for your higher education: .

1. Careers: Shape your future Want to get ahead in your career? In the QS 2011 Global Employer Survey, over 60% of employers worldwide said they actively seek or value an international study experience when recruiting. By studying here, you will gain the skills, knowledge and experience that employer’s value. With strong international business, creative and research sectors, Europe is a great place to build your career.

2. World-class education: Reach your full potential World-leading universities, top facilities, inspirational teaching... in Europe, you’re at the centre of an international community with a passion for learning. What makes European universities so strong is the emphasis on creativity, innovation and support - helping you to reach your true potential.

3.Pioneering research: Be the best are you an ambitious researcher looking to boost your career? Europe offers you great opportunities. There were 1.58 million full time equivalent researchers in the EU-27 in 2009. Over the next decade, the European Union is actively looking to attract an additional 1 million researchers.

4. Support and friendship: Feel at home Europe is a welcoming, friendly place for students from all around the world. Europe’s universities and colleges offer support and social activities to help you feel at home and happy. Europe is also a great place to live.

5. Cultural experience: Have a unique adventureal studying in Europe is not just about lectures and libraries, it is also an once-in-a-lifetime chance to discover new countries… and to discover yourself too! From the snowy north to the sun-soaked south, across Europe you will find breath-taking beautiful landscapes, buzzing cities and vibrant cultures waiting for you.

6. Scholarships and costs: Get value for money European countries invest in their higher education systems to help make education affordable for students, whilst maintaining high quality standards. Across Europe, tuition fees and living costs compare very well to other study destinations… in fact, in some European countries, study programmes are free of charge.

7. Diversity: Study the way you want The beauty of Europe is that it offers so much choice. With world-class universities, higher education institutions and research institutes, offering 100,000s of Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and PhD/Doctoral programmes, plus short-term exchange programmes, you can choose the experience that suits you.

8. Languages: Learn in English or another leading global business language There are 24 official languages in the European Union… but did you know that most countries across Europe offer study programmes in English too? You’ll also find programmes taught in other leading global business languages such as Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic and more.

Studying abroad with the Erasmus program

Students studying any subject, both undergraduate and postgraduate, can apply to participate in the Erasmus program for studying abroad – as long as the European university they’re studying at supports the program. A huge number of universities, in 36 different European countries, are signed up as members in the scheme. Study abroad placements last between three and 12 months, and can take place at any point in your degree after the first year – the exact timing may depend on your course structure. Successful applicants receive a small scholarship, which does not cover all the expenses involved, but does help! Most of this (80%) is received at the time of departure, and the rest once the exchange has been completed. After being accepted onto the Erasmus program, students work with their course supervisor to develop a plan of study which they agree to follow during the exchange – to make sure the experience is productive and relevant to their overall degree program. For Erasmus program students travelling to a country that has one of the less widely spoken and studied European languages, intensive language support is available before the exchange – known as Erasmus Intensive Language Courses. English, German, French and Spanish are excluded, as these are fairly widely taught and studied across Europe.

Gaining work experience abroad

For students who want to gain some practical work experience related to their studies, the Erasmus program also offers opportunities to complete internships abroad. In this case, students are hosted by a company that signs an agreement with the European university – a contract of training which is approved by both parties. This allows students to better understand the industry they’re interested in, while, also improving their language skills in a working environment.