Around 15 per cent of Indian student visa applications consist of fake documents, said German Ambassador Philipp Ackerman recently. Taking such activities into consideration, the German Embassy in India announced that starting November 1, 2022, Indian students must include a certificate from the Academic Evaluation Centre (APS) while applying for a study visa to Germany.
The Academic Evaluation Centre (APS), a German Embassy’s Science section division, was established to expedite the visa and student admissions processes. All students aiming to study for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Germany have to get their academic documents verified at APS India to obtain the APS certification. The certificate has no expiration date.
However, the sudden change in the visa application process has left students confused due to the lack of awareness about the new process, the offline exercise of submitting the documents and the added cost to obtain the certificate.
Hitikk Chawla, a resident of Delhi, was admitted to the Goethe University Frankfurt to study MS in Cell Biology and Biophysics in July this year. However, his entire visa application process was delayed due to the newly issued student visa guidelines.
“The embassy’s decision to introduce the APS certificate clause is untimed. I only got aware of it when I was about to go for my visa appointment with few days to spare. As the application window to get the certificate only opened on October 1, I had to wait an entire month to apply for the certificate and another three weeks to receive it,” Hitikk shared.
As per Hitikk, the entire process to submit the documents for verification was offline and students were asked to either visit the embassy in Delhi or its 4 consulates depending on their geographical location. Hittik was one of the first students to receive the APS certificate in India.
“I applied for it on October 1 where I had to fill out the application form and make fee payment online. Thereafter, I received an appointment date for October 4 to submit the documents at the German embassy in Delhi. The entire process took three weeks and I received my certificate on October 28. This process has however changed. Now instead of visiting the embassy, candidates have to send the photocopy of documents through a courier facility,” Hittik explained.
“With only genuine cases coming to the embassy, the process will be more streamlined. Student visas will get approved in shorter durations and more applications will be processed. Although their aim is to tap the 15 per cent fraudulent applicants, the rest will benefit with the reduced time at visa allotment,” Roopali Birman, head of counselling platform iSchoolConnect said.
Courtesy : The Indian Express