This is written by an Indian who applied for Belgium visa to study MS in electrical engineering at KU Leuven. When I got admit from the university little did I know that Belgium visa is such a long and convoluted process.
I searched online first to find out the visa process which stunned me and I exclaimed “Is this humanly possible?”. I was in denial first and then reality sunk in and I tried to find out past experience of other people. I could only find one edulix link from 3 years ago and nothing else. Though it helped a lot I still had many more doubts. I badly wanted more such posts by people who have got type-D visas. I understand that not many apply for Belgium visa and probably that is reason why there is so little help available online. But there are people going through this process every year and they all need help. So I decided that when I get my visa I will write a blog on this highly complex process to help others. Here it goes..
First thing you will hear when you hear Belgium visa is something called Apostillation. This crazy sounding word will actually drive you crazy. An apostille is simply a sticker stuck behind original documents stating that it is original !! OK the fun just begins here. Any document that needs to be apostilled needs to be attested at the back by the issuing authority. Then it needs to be attested by state government. Finally it needs to be apostilled by “Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India”. Yes you read it right. Any aam aadmi in India knows what it takes to get a signature from anyone in government and here we are talking about state and central governments.
All right here are the documents that needs to be apostilled:
- Degree certificate
- Police clearance certificate(PCC)
I will come to PCC in a while but first how to get degree certificate apostilled. You can go by the process I just mentioned which is basically get your original degree certificate attested from your university then by ministry of human resource development of state government and then by MEA Govt. of India. OR you can go to VFS-global office and pay around Rs 6000 and they will do this near humanly impossible work for you! Trust me Rs 6000 is worth it. They will give you bills as well for the money you pay. I went by VFS and got it in a week. Good lord above knows how long it takes if you go by yourself.
Now to get PCC there are two ways. I got it from passport seva kendra. You take your passport and admission letter to PSK after scheduling an appointment. If they feel like giving you PCC they will give you immediately else they will put a police enquiry and then they will give you. I got it immediately. Now take this to VFS and they will give get it apostilled. Since PSK gives it in the name of MEA it can be directly apostilled(some mercy here) so you need not spend Rs. 6000. It costs a few hundreds. And you get it within a week. I don’t know the process to get PCC from Commissioner of Police office so I won’t comment.
Now you need Medical certificate(MC). Here is the list which gives you list of certified doctors who can give it. I got it done in Bangalore at St. Johns Hospital. They take blood, urine and stool samples on first day. On second day after reports come back they do a general health check up and give you a certificate. You need your passport xerox and 2 passport size photos. And costs around Rs.3000. OK similar to Apostille you need a legalization from Belgium embassy for this MC. You can take MC to VFS belgium and they will get it done for you for a small fee.
Coming to the financial part. There are 3 ways(if I remember right) to prove you have enough money to stay and study in Belgium. I used blocked account transfer process(don’t know about other processes) to prove your finances. Basically you contact university(one who sent you admission letter) and get details of how much money and bank account to transfer money. You need to transfer that money by going to your branch and giving them admission letter and passport photocopy. Of course money needs to be in your account! Then once money is transferred you give this receipt to university and they give you a certificate stating that you will receive the (amount you transferred)/12 every month for 12 months. This proves you have enough money to spend for 1 year during your study.
Don’t forget to ask university to send your admission letter and financial proof certificate to the embassy/consulate where you are applying for visa. I applied from VFS Bangalore and they send documents to Mumbai consulate.
Now there is something called additional contribution fee that you need to pay. I paid EUR160. For this again go to bank and transfer it. They will ask you for passport copy and this website printout. You need to submit this receipt with your application.
After all this you are ready to file application. Fill up two applications and submit
- degree certificate
- additional contribution fee receipt
- admission letter
- finance proof
with 2 sets of photocopies at vfs centers. You have to pay around Rs.13000 for visa application fee. Ufff. You think you are done?! wait.. one small twist. You may be called for an interview. I have no clue who gets called but in case you are called you will have to go to Mumbai or Delhi. Thankfully I got visa without interview so don’t know what they will ask.
Indian bureaucracy is excruciatingly slow(some say almost non functional) and when this clashes with complex requirements from Belgium there are bound to be fireworks!! But we as Indians know how to get work done from Indian authorities. I have removed lot of details about “back and forth roaming around” that I had to do at every stage I mentioned but we Indians know it without mentioning. One thing though I didn’t have to bribe anyone even if I had to go to various places multiple times with multiple documents to get the work done and I think it is sign of Indian progress.
Hope this helps future students going to Belgium from India. Please keep blogging your experience as well so that future students continue to get latest information.