Are you considering enrolling your child in one of the best summer camps in Europe? This decision will be one of the best you could make towards their future. Europe is rich with culture, history, diverse languages, and opportunities. In recent years, the borders have become more open, with many inclusive states providing excellent services for young people and families.
How to get a visa for your child’s summer camp in Europe?
Getting visas to your country of choice is an important step in your summer camp plans. Here is a checklist of things to remember and expect when applying for summer programs.
1. Short-term visa applications
Summer camps only last a few weeks, so you only need a short-term visa for your child. It’s best to apply as early as possible, as the application process could take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months to complete. Your application can usually be submitted online. Make sure you have all the right documents in order before filling out the online forms.
2. Check your child’s citizenship status and qualifications
Depending on your child’s nationality, you may or may not need a visa before entering Europe. US citizens, for example, can get their passports stamped with a 90-day visa upon arrival in Europe. However, starting in 2021, U.S. visitors will be required an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) approval before entering countries in the Schengen zone.
3. Parental Letter of Authorization
Depending on the country, your (minor) child will be required to carry his or her ID (usually a passport), plus a declaration of parental consent This is a signed letter from you or your spouse allowing them to travel. This letter should state the dates of travel, plus the institution responsible for your child.
4. Travel in European and the Schengen Countries
Nationals from the UK will not have a problem applying for the student visa, or getting a stamp of approval upon arrival–at least until Brexit is in full effect. But in some cases, your cases may have a different nationality, or require a visa to Europe for the summer camp.
If your child is a citizen of a country not allowed visa-free travel in Europe, you will need to apply for a Student Schengen Visa. Once approved, they will also be allowed to visit the following countries within the Schengen Zone,: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden.
Complete checklist of the documents you should prepare when applying for this visa:
- Completed application forms
- Two identical photos that pass the Schengen visa photo requirements and taken within the last 3 months.
- Valid passport and copy.
- Current residence permit or proof of residence
- Copy of your travel itinerary—proving return flights is usually required.
- Travel Insurance
- Accommodation proof and complete address, including contacts of your child’s host family
- Letter of Invitation by a resident of the European country. (This could be your child’s host family, or the summer camp administration.)
- Letter of acceptance from the summer camp administration.
- Proof of paid visa fee.
- Birth certificate
- An identity document signed by both parents.
- A declaration of consent from both parents.
- If relevant: a declaration from the minor’s current school consenting to his/her absence for the allotted travel period.
How and Where to Submit a Student Visa Application?
In your country of residence, locate the nearest embassy of your destination. They should have a website and customer service hotline numbers. Find out the requirements for in-person appointments and download the application documents from their website. You can also check the times available for an in-person application, in case you have further questions about your child’s situation.
Next, find out when the best time is to submit the application. Make sure you have filled out the short-term Application papers. Embassy websites are often chock full with an array of documents that vary according to the nationality or residence status of the person applying.
Compile all of the necessary documents for your visa application, and make photocopies of everything. As a back-up plan, scan each document and have them somewhere you can access online, such as cloud storage or on your smartphone. (You can password these files for security.)
Make an appointment at the embassy, and don’t be a single minute late. Have the student visa fee prepared when you attend the interview.
The Waiting Time
After you have attended the interview, submitted your documents, and have done everything you can, it’s simply a waiting game.
How long it takes for your visa approval to arrive will depend on the embassy, number of applicants, and other protocol. Be prepared that some embassies might require other documents or proof of your financial income. It is best to have a good state of mind and not question why they would require such things. Sometimes, it is just a matter of protocol.
While waiting, help your child get excited about the upcoming summer camp. Perhaps you can study about the destination in Europe you will be heading to. Help your child learn essential phrases in the language of the destination, watch documentaries about that European country, its history, or its food.
No doubt your child is already anxious about making new friends or having new experiences over the summer. Do all you can to encourage this stage of learning and growth.
A visit to Europe will be a milestone in your child’s life! It will be life-changing, unforgettable, and set them on an incredible learning journey. They’ll develop their English language skills, gain independence and raise their confidence levels. Want to learn more about preparing for summer camps in Europe? Read our blog, essential tips, and contact us with any other questions you may have.