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EU visa exemption doesn't apply to students in Schengen area: gov't

By Joseph Yeh--The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday reminded Taiwanese students who wish to study in European countries to apply for student visas before flying to their destinations even though Taiwanese passport holders have already been granted visa-free entry to European Union nations.

The EU visa exemption does not apply to those who wish to study in Europe's Schengen area, Hsu Mien-sheng (εΎε‹‰η”Ÿ), director-general of MOFA's Department of European Affairs, said at a regular news briefing yesterday.

Hsu said the Foreign Ministry issued the reminder after some Taiwanese students that were going to study in Schengen area countries were detained by customs authorities because they did not apply for student visas in advance.

The Taiwanese students thought that they could just visit their destinations in the Schengen area to study with only their passports. But they were stopped and questioned by customs officials while making stopovers in some EU countries before arriving at their final destinations, Hsu said.

They were detained until Taiwanese officials in the countries in question stepped in to offer assistance, he added.

Hsu said the EU visa-waiver provision only allows Taiwanese travelers to enter European countries for business and pleasure for up to 90 days within a six-month period of time without a visa.

But Taiwanese wishing to stay in the Schengen area for more than three months, or to study there for longer than three months, will still need to obtain a student visa from their intended destination country before entry.

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