Romania, one of the top-ranked student-friendly destinations in the world: how can non-EU citizens study in Romania

Deniza Cristian 07/09/2022 | 10:32

A recent study by the famous Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), specialising in the analysis and ranking of higher education institutions around the world, further confirms that Europe is still a top-destination for students in terms of desirability.


While UK – home to some of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions – and specifically London are yet again the most preferred destinations, followed by other cities like Munich, Zurich, Berlin or Paris, what is most discouraging about the top 2023 student cities is the cost of living. When it comes to Romania, the country is listed in the world’s top 140 student-friendly locations with four cities: Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Bucuresti and Iasi.

The latest top world university rankings like the Quacquarelli Symonds  (QS) and the Times Higher Education feature over 15 Romanian higher education institutions in a variety of cities such as Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Timisoara, Sibiu, Oradea, Brasov, Galati, Craiova and Suceava. Some of the leading universities, to name just a few, are Babes-Bolyai University, University of Bucharest, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Polytechnic University of Bucharest. Based on the same data, the highest number of foreign students are currently enrolled in Iasi (over 46% across all institutions), Cluj (over 40% across all institutions) and Suceava (37.1%). The highest ranked academic fields in Romania are engineering, medical specialties, as well as – although not as well represented as the ones previously mentioned – veterinary sciences and IT&C studies.

The perks of studying in Romania

Studying in Europe has always been perceived as a means to achieve one’s full potential through high level education, better career opportunities, higher salaries and improved standards of living. While some European countries are offering an overall better quality of life, one key aspect taken into consideration is the cost of living. When it comes to expenses, Romania has the lowest price level for consumer goods and services among the EU Member States, with 44% below the EU average according to the latest EUROSTAT data. Not only is Romania affordable in terms of living costs, but it also offers accessible tuition in a wide range of both public and private study programmes – plenty also available in English and French – for all higher education levels: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree.

Citizens of non-EU countries can even choose between applying to various types of available scholarships awarded by the Romanian state:

  • scholarships offered annually by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (read about it here, apply here);
  • scholarships based on Romania’s bilateral or multilateral intergovernmental agreements;
  • scholarships offered by the Ministry of Economy, aimed at promoting economic and commercial cooperation actions;
  • scholarships offered by the Ministry of Education, granted for top academic results while studying in Romania;
  • other specific and occasional scholarships.

In addition, most high-profile Romanian universities have ongoing partnerships with universities in the EU and beyond, which further extends the opportunities to access more knowledge and experience for non-EU nationals at the beginning of their professional life.

“One of the main benefits of studying in Romania is that students have the legal right to work and study at the same time. Foreign students are allowed to work part-time during his or her studies and switch to a full-time job once they graduate and obtain a work authorisation. This will grant them an extension of their residence right in Romania as a full-time employee. This is all the more significant as Romania is currently experiencing a massive labour shortage estimated to over one million people while recently registering the second biggest economic increase in the EU. With the right guidance from an immigration consultant, this translates into a wave of growth and opportunity that non-EU students can take advantage of, otherwise the process can prove to be a challenge”, said Amira Nasri, consultant, Soter & Partners.

The main steps to becoming a student in Romania

A student’s journey in Romania can be summarized in the following steps:

  1. Applying for the admission

The candidate must send all required documents until the deadline for submission taking into account each university has a different timeframe for the admission each year. The international students’ relations office will process the file based on the chosen university criteria and send it to the Ministry of Education in Romania.

  1. Applying for the student visa

Once the admission is approved, the ministry will issue the letter of acceptance. The candidate can apply for the student visa at the Romanian consulate in his/her country. The set of documents required for the visa application can vary depending on the country of application.

  1. Registering at the University

Once arrived in Romania based on the student visa, the student has the obligation to present all original documents at the international relations office of the Romanian university to finalize the enrolment.

  1. Applying for the residence permit

The final step is to acquire the resident permit for students. Once the university issues the registration certificate, the student must apply for the residency permit at the immigration office.

The residence permit can be valid for one year (for preparatory year programme and PhD), two years (for master programmes) or three years (for bachelor programmes). Furthermore, an extension can be granted, provided that the student graduates successfully.

Non-EU students who are interested to apply for a Romanian high education institution can get a glimpse of the whole process here or here. While governmental sources try to be as thorough as possible, it is also recommended to seek personalized professional advice in advance.

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Deniza Cristian | 28/06/2024 | 12:25
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