Travelling outside of the UK
Many students wish to visit other European countries during their vacations or at the end of their studies. Most non-EEA students will have to get a visa for the country or countries they wish to visit and will find that they have to apply for a Schengen visa.
Before confirming or paying for travel check the visa requirements for the country you intend to visit and allow plenty of time before travel to arrange a visa, if necessary.
To do this, check with the embassy of the country you wish to visit the following links: Embassies Abroad or Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Some nationalities do not need a Schengen visa. This list varies between Schengen member states so you should check with the embassy of the country that you wish to visit to find out whether you require a Schengen visa or not.
Lost and Stolen Passport and Visa
If you have lost or had your passport and visa stolen, please follow the correct procedures in obtaining replacements.
Schengen Visa Talk:
to be confirmed
Travelling within Europe – Schengen Visa Scheme
Twenty six countries in Europe participate in the Schengen Visa Scheme. This means that a visitor need only obtain one visa to travel to any number of the Schengen countries in one trip.
The Schengen countries* are:
*Please note that the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen Agreement.
Types of Schengen visa
There are three types of visa:
- Short stay or travel visa - allows a visit of up to three months in any six-month period. This is the visa that most students wanting to travel within the Schengen Space as tourists or conference attendees will require.
- Airport transit visa - allows the traveller to transit through the international transit zone/area of an airport of a Schengen member state, but not to exit this zone/area before they fly on to their next destination.
- Transit visa - enables a traveller to pass through the territory of one or more Schengen member states on their way to another country outside the Schengen space.
Visa fees, eligibility criteria and documentation required to make an application may vary according to which type of visa is needed. You should look on the relevant website to check what needs to be submitted. Applications can be submitted for multiple entry visas (ie: you may wish to travel more than once into the Schengen space during a three-month period). However, the application may not be successful if evidence of all travel arrangements and bookings is not available.
Where to apply for a Schengen visa
- For travel to one country in the Schengen space apply to the embassy or consulate of that country.
- For travel to several of the twenty five countries apply to the embassy or consulate for whichever country is your main destination – the country in which you plan to spend the most time.
- If you are visiting several countries in the Schengen space without having a main destination, submit an application to the embassy or consulate of the country of the first country of entry.
How to make an application for a Schengen visa
Most of the countries within the Schengen space have their own websites which include most of the relevant information needed to make an application for a Schengen visa. Application forms can be downloaded from most of the websites. If a website is not available or does not include an application form, information on the application process and where to obtain an application form can be found on detailed recorded information telephone lines. You are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant embassy for further information and clarification of the application procedures.
The following list describes the main requirements of most applications. Please refer to the relevant pages of the country you wish to visit for an exact list.
- Recent photograph(s) of the visa applicant. The exact number required varies between member states.
- A completed application form. No application for a visa will be accepted without with appropriate application form, which you can download from the country’s website.
- Original passport or official travel document. There must be a blank page in the passport/document where the visa sticker can be placed. The required validity period of the passport/document beyond the travel to the Schengen country may vary.
- Proof of purpose of the visit. Invitation letters from friends or conference organisers may have to be verified by the local town hall/city hall. This may take time and you should be encouraged to start making arrangements as early as possible. Bookings and reservations for accommodation or tours need to be shown if applicable.
- Time remaining on the permission (leave) to enter and/or remain in the UK. You should check that your current student visa will allow you to return to the UK. Most Schengen member states ask for a specific period of leave remaining on the UK student visa beyond the trip for which the Schengen visa is sought. The length of this period can vary, but may be as long as six months. Please check this with the embassy you will be applying to.
- Evidence of sufficient funds to complete the trip. The applicant has to show that they can support themselves during their stay in a particular country. Evidence confirming this can be recent bank statements and credit card statements showing the current credit limit. Cash is not always accepted as proof. Not all member states state how much is required although Austria and The Netherlands suggest a minimum for £30.00 per day.
- Visa fee. The visa fee charged by the different embassies and consulates vary and you should check the current fee and which forms of payment are acceptable before you submit your application. The fee can be paid in pounds sterling (or euros in some cases). It is approximately £45. Please note that most of the embassies state that the fee should be paid in cash and they will not accept cheques or conduct credit card transactions. The fee is usually non-refundable, whether the application is successful or not.
- Evidence of occupation/student status. You will have to show documentary evidence from the institution explaining that you are a genuine student. INTO students should go to INTO Reception to request a letter to confirm that they are registered students. For other students, please request a Certificate of Registration from S3P. If you require specific text on your Certificate of Registration as directed by the embassy of the country you wish to visit, there will be a charge of £10* (*price reduction as at 12 January 2015) for each certificate which you can order via the WebStore and as these need to be manually typed they will take longer to produce.
- Please be aware that the Austrian, French, Greek, Italian, Netherlands, Polish, Swedish and Swiss Embassies always require additional text on a Certificate of Registration.
- Medical insurance to cover the period. Some Schengen member states require proof of medical insurance which covers the entire trip. You should ensure that you buy travel insurance before travelling outside of the UK, as you will not be covered by the NHS.
Time needed to make an application
Most embassies describe the process as taking around three weeks. However, the length of time that it takes to obtain a Schengen visa varies considerably. With the passports of certain nationalities being sent to the authorities in the Schengen state itself before a visa is issued. Most embassies do not issue Schengen visas on the same day of application, although they may consider doing so in exceptional circumstances.
Travelling to non-Schengen member states
If you are planning to travel to a country which is not part of the Schengen Agreement, you will need to check with the embassy of that country if you require a visa to visit that country.
*Please ensure that you travel during official university vacation periods. Postgraduate students should check with their schools. You should be aware that any unauthorised absences during term time may affect your visa.
*Make every effort to keep your passport and BRP card safe during your travels. Travel documents and visas can be very difficult to replace outside the UK and may result in lengthy and costly delays in your return to the UK or even result in you having to return directly to your home country. Please use hotel safes and security facilities where possible.
Disclaimer: The decision on a Schengen Visa application lies solely with the embassy where the visa application is lodged. The Visa Team shall not be held liable in the event of any disputes, refusal or advice and information provided by the relevant embassy.