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Visa and insurance

Happy woman holding a passport and visa application

Before starting your studies in Europe, you will have to make sure that your paperwork is in order. You should always have valid identification and if applicable a visa corresponding to your resident status.

Do you need a visa to study in Europe?

Almost everyone that holds a non- EU/EEA nationality needs a visa when he or she wants to stay in Europe for a longer period of time. Students are often required to apply for a student visa (or temporary resident visa for students). With this visa you can stay in your host country for a fixed period of time. Check the EU Immigration portal for more information, as visa rules can differ per country.

Can I work when I am holding a student visa?

Most countries allow students on a visa to work part-time, but some countries place restrictions on the amount of hours that visa-holders can work. You may also need an additional work permit. Check the immigration website for each country to find out more – see the Country profiles section for links to national immigration websites.

What kind of insurance do I need?

Make sure that you are properly insured before you start your studies in Europe. Basic travel insurance policies often only cover 30 – 90 days that you are staying in a foreign country. You should check your coverage before you go, make the necessary changes or perhaps change your insurance altogether.

For some countries, health insurance is obligatory for degree students. This means that if you stay for a full degree, you have to insure yourself locally. Check the information from the national information portals (on the country profiles) to see if this applies in the country of your choice. In most cases the international office of your host university will also be a good source of advice on this and other practical questions.

Liability and household insurances are other things to look into. Liability insurance is important because accidents may happen and it may end up being costly if you are not properly insured. Household insurance is to cover costs of potential break-in or damages to your household items. This type of insurance often has strict prerequisites, so you should always check the details carefully.

Get the views and advice of a local

Looking for more general advice on how to prepare? All European countries, most of the big student cities, and many individual universities have a branch of the Erasmus Student Network. This grouping of volunteers offer on-line advice before you leave, and buddying once you've arrived.