International students going to Germany this semester to follow only online courses will not be eligible for visas, due to the current Coronavirus situation, Germany’s government has announced.
Besides, non-European Union students will be required to receive a “certificate of presence” from Germany’s universities, in order to apply for a visa.
Germany’s government decision comes two months before the country’s winter semester starts.
Up to 80,000 international students had left Germany by April, due to imposed restrictions in the fight against COVID-19, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“Foreign students who can prove that their studies cannot be carried out entirely from abroad, for example, due to compulsory attendance, can enter the country to begin their studies. But the entry for online or distance learners will not be allowed,” Education Minister Anja Karliczek pointed out in a statement.
A similar decision was sought to be imposed by the United States President Donald Trump.
Trump’s administration planned to bar international students from living in the US while taking fall classes online. Still, he abandoned his idea after the attorneys general of 17 states, together with the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for not permitting international students to take their online classes.
Back then, Germany’s Education Minister Karliczek welcomed Trump’s decision to drop its plan.
“Education and research survive because of exchange, especially international exchanges. That is also true in times of a pandemic,” the minister pointed out.
Michael Flacke from the German Academic Exchange Service stressed that the number of face-to-face courses which have become only-online courses is minimal.
“For the winter semester, German universities are planning a mix of online and physical classes, and for this ‘mix’ foreign students from outside the EU are allowed to come to Germany,” Flacke emphasised.
According to him, the majority of courses are not planning to move entirely online.
“Of course you can already study in a German university or college online from abroad – that works well in Germany – but at the moment for a purely online course in Germany, no visa is normally provided,” he said.
SchengenVisaInfo.com conducted a survey, in this regard, which sought to get the perspective of 2176 international students, who planned to study in European countries. The students were asked about online learning.
Based on the survey, 30 per cent of respondents stressed that they would cancel their studies if universities impose online classes. 22.3 per cent of students noted that they probably would cancel their education, while 17.3 per cent of students said that they would not cancel their studies.