Directive 2004/114/EC came into force on 30 April 2004 and was required to be transposed into the domestic law of the Member States by 30 April 2006. The Directive applies to all Member States, except Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Denmark. The Directive determines the conditions and rules for admission of third-country nationals to the territory of the Member States for more than three months for the purposes of studies, pupil exchange, vocational training, or voluntary service.
The Member States are required to apply the Directive’s provisions to third-country nationals who apply to be admitted to the territory of a Member State for the purpose of studies. Member States have discretion to apply the Directive to the remaining categories of pupil exchange, unremunerated training, and voluntary service.
The Directive does not apply to asylum seekers; those whose expulsion has been suspended; family members of union citizens who have exercised their right to free movement; those with long-term resident status; and employed or self-employed third-country nationals. Member States may apply more favourable standards than those set out by the Directive. An applicant under the Directive is required to meet certain conditions:
(a) present a valid travel document,
(b) present parental authorisation, if he or she is a minor,
(c) have sickness insurance,
(d) not be regarded as a threat to public policy, security or health, and
(e) provide proof, if requested, that any processing fee is paid.
Students are required to fulfil certain further conditions:
(a) have been accepted by an establishment of education for a course of study,
(b) provide evidence requested by a Member State to show sufficient resources to cover subsistence and travel costs,
(c) provide evidence, if requested, of sufficient knowledge of the language of the course, and
(d) provide evidence if required that the course fees are paid.
The Directive contains provisions to allow students already admitted by a Member State to be granted a right to mobility in the other Member States. The Directive also contains conditions for school pupils, trainees, and volunteers. Students’ residence permits are to be valid for at least one year, and are to be renewable. They can be withdrawn where the holder does not respect conditions, or where the holder does not make acceptable progress in his or studies. School pupils’ permits can last for no more than one year. Trainees’ permits can be for one year, extendable once only “for as much time as is needed to acquire a vocational qualification”. Volunteers’ permits can be for one year, extendable in exceptional cases to correspond to the period of the relevant programme. Where an application is rejected or withdrawn, the applicant has a right to mount a legal challenge. Students are entitled to be employed and may be self-employed up to ten hours per week “outside their study time” and subject to the rules of the Member State. The Member State may take into account the situation of the labour market, and may restrict access to economic activities for the first year of residence.