The restrictive measures that have been introduced all across the world by every country attempting to halt the spread of the Coronavirus in their territory have brought unpredictable difficulties to the lives of many.
Students, among other categories, have been widely affected by these bans, which have even jeopardised their dreams to study in a foreign country.
Introduced in mid-March this year, the EU-wide entry ban on third-country citizens has also put at risk the chances of many to study in an EU Member State, after the latter closed their embassies abroad and stopped all visa services, alongside with the entry ban.
With the improvement of the epidemiological situation in the EU for the better and the introduction of effective measures on halting the spread of the virus from international arrivals, the majority of the EU Members have exempted students from the entry ban, given that they comply with the hygiene and distance measures.
Yet, as some of the embassies remain closed, getting a visa is still not possible, even for those who have completed their student visa interview.
For many, the most problematic country when it comes to student visa issuance seems to Germany.
Iranian Students Protest “the Performance” of German Embassy in Tehran
Dissatisfied with the way the German Embassy is handling student visa issuance amid the Coronavirus pandemic, are in particular Iranians who were planning to soon start their studies in Germany.
Under the hashtag #EducationIsNotTourism, these students have united with other world students asking the governments of all world countries to undertake the necessary steps and enable students to travel to the countries where their studies are set to start soon.
A group of Iranian students have also joined this hashtag trend on social media, expressing their discontent with the “performance” of the German Embassy in Tehran.
Elaborating their problem to SchengneVisaInfo.com, these students want the German Embassy to start the process of interviewing new students as soon as possible, so they will not miss the opportunity to continue their studies in Germany.
“Some of us have PhD admissions and are worried about their contracts expiring. Some of us have admission in MA programs and in the winter semester of 2020, their universities did not offer online program, and they will not be able to differ their upcoming semester,” a student representing the group said.
The same also noted that since the German Embassy has started to grant visas to spouses of former students who are still in Germany, to join their partners, it should also reinstate the necessary procedures to grant the required visas to students.
“We are worried, and our lives have been greatly affected. We have studied and tried for years. We are an educated and diligent force, and we want to start the visa process like other embassies such as France, Italy and the United Kingdom,” the students noted.
In an exchange of emails regarding the restoring of student visa services abroad, a German Federal Foreign Office spokesperson told SchengenVisaInfo.com, that the Federal Foreign Office and its missions abroad are working diligently to issue visas to persons exempt from current restrictions on entry to Germany as quickly as possible, including to foreign students whose course of study is not fully possible from abroad.
“However, due to the COVID-19 situation and ongoing restrictions in public life in many countries, a number of our visa sections remains closed until further notice while others can only provide a limited number of appointments. With a view to protecting both applicants and staff, our missions have set in place strict security measures (e.g. shift work, minimum distance regulations for application counters and waiting areas) that can also affect processing capacities,” the spokesperson said.
The problem of visa issuance for Iranian students has been going on for a long time now, but the pandemic has only worsened the tempo with which these visas are granted.
A year ago, the Embassy had introduced a selective process, in a bid to prioritise particularly qualified students for faster appointments. However, the process has not been very effective for long as the Embassy had immediately closed at the very beginning of the pandemic this year.
Students from Bangladesh: Our Studies in Germany Are Jeopardised by Visa Procedures
The German Embassy in Dhaka is among those embassies that still have not resumed student visa application processing, while hundreds of students wait for a visa response, an interview, or even an appointment.
The Embassy claims that it is carefully monitoring the situation surrounding the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus and that visas will be granted only to essential purposes for travelling to Germany,
Despite that the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists entering Germany for study purposes as an essential purpose of entry, the Embassy in Dhaka has still not resumed student visa issuance.
“We have proactively implemented measures and developed plans to prioritise the health and well-being of our team and our customers and will therefore discontinue non-essential visa and consular services until further notice. Appointments for national visas already arranged during this period will be re-scheduled by the Embassy,” the Embassy notes, disabling hundreds of Bangladeshi students to get their visas on time to attend in their studies.
Study Visas – A Long Term Problem for Moroccan Students
For Moroccans planning to study in Germany, the problem of visas is not a new one. In fact, the German study visa bureaucracy has pushed many to give up on their dreams to study in Germany.
SchengenVisaInfo.com has previously reported on the struggle of these students to get a study visa to Germany, who among other need to wait for at least ten months for their visa appointment alone.
Since November 1, 2018, the Embassy has been separating study visa applicants in Morocco in two groups: “the A list” & “the B list”. The difference lays, of course, in the achievements of these students. Those in the first list may get an appointment for ten months at least, now amid the pandemic, while those in the second may have to wait endlessly.