Visiting Europe: Schengen visa

To travel to other European countries while studying at the University as an international student, you'll need a Schengen visa.

Each Embassy will have its own processes and it will be at the discretion of the individual Embassy whether they issue you with a Schengen visa. It is your responsibility to check with the individual Embassy where you will be applying.

If you want to travel outside the UK during your studies while you are on a Student visa as part of your course or as a holiday, you should find out if you need a separate visa for the country you wish to visit.

Travelling to Europe

A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely across the 26 European countries known as the Schengen space, or Schengen area, without having to apply for a different visa for each country.

There are three different types of Schengen visa.

Short stay Schengen visa

If you are travelling to Europe for the purposes of tourism or to visit family or friends, this is likely to be the visa you require.

This will allow you up to 90 days of travel around the Schengen area. If you wish to travel to the Schengen area more than once during these 90 days you should apply for a multiple entry short-stay Schengen visa. However, if you wish to travel to the Schengen area only once within this time then you should apply for a single entry short-stay Schengen visa.

Long stay Schengen visa

This will allow you up to 180 days to travel around the Schengen area. If you wish to travel to the Schengen area more than once during these 180 days then you should apply for a multiple entry long stay Schengen visa.

Transit Schengen visa

This will allow you up to five days of travel within the Schengen area in order to get to a country not in the Schengen area.

Find out more about the different types of Schengen visas.

Countries in the Schengen area

A Schengen visa allows you to travel to any of the following countries:

Who does not needs to apply

If you are a national from one of the following countries you do not need to apply for a Schengen visa:

  • Albania
  • El Salvador
  • Nicaragua
  • Andorra
  • Guatemala
  • Panama
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Honduras
  • Paraguay
  • Argentina
  • Hong Kong
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • San Marino
  • Bahamas
  • Japan
  • Serbia
  • Barbados
  • Macau
  • Seychelles
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Macedonia
  • Singapore
  • Brazil
  • Malaysia
  • South Korea
  • Brunei
  • Mauritius
  • Taiwan
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • United States
  • Chile
  • Monaco
  • Uruguay
  • Costa Rica
  • Montenegro
  • Vatican City
  • Croatia
  • New Zealand
  • Venezuela.

Requirements for a Schengen visa

Each Embassy may have slightly different requirements to meet before they will issue you with a Schengen visa. Please check with the Embassy that you will be applying to what their exact requirements are.

In general, the requirements are that:

  • You have at least three months left on your UK visa at the end of your trip
  • You have enough funds available to you to cover the cost of your trip (at least £50 to £100 per day)
  • You have enough money for your return or onward flight at the end of your trip (you should check with the Embassy if you require proof of your return flights and all other transport tickets)
  • You have a blank page in your passport for it to be stamped with a Schengen visa stamp
  • You have a valid medical insurance policy covering medical expenses over the whole Schengen area to at least 30,000 Euros
  • You do not already have a Schengen visa. If you do then you must contact the Embassy where this was issued and ask them to cancel this before applying
  • You intend to leave the Schengen area at the end of your trip.

How to apply

If you are only visiting one country in the Schengen area then you must apply to the Embassy of that particular country.

If you are visiting more than one country in the Schengen area and you have a country where you will spend most of your time known as your main destination, then you must apply to the Embassy of that country.

If you are visiting more than one country in the Schengen area but you do not have a main destination then you must apply to the Embassy of the first country that you will be visiting.

Each Embassy will use a different method for accepting your Schengen visa. Please check with the Embassy for details.

We recommend you apply at least four to six weeks before you intend to travel. Please consider that it is likely to take longer during busy periods, for example around Easter and Christmas, and that the Embassy will be closed on their own national holidays.

To apply for a Schengen visa you will need to complete a Schengen visa application form. This will either be available from the Embassy’s website or will be an online application.

Once you have completed the application form you will need to contact the Embassy to book an appointment. You must have an appointment in person with the Embassy, Consulate or an application centre before you can be issued with a Schengen visa.

An appointment is booked by either telephone or online. Many of the Embassies will use an agency to handle the application and appointment process. If you are unsure whether the agency is genuine, please contact us for further advice.

What to take to your appointment

Each Embassy website will list the specific documents they need to see before issuing you with a Schengen visa, so it is important that you check the rules for the particular Embassy on their website very carefully.

The following are documents that are usually recommended:

  • Your completed application form
  • Your original passport containing your visa or original passport and your Biometric Residence Permit (if you have one)
  • Two x passport size photographs of yourself taken within the last month
  • Three months’ worth of bank statements showing at least £30 per day for each day of your trip or travellers cheques to the value of at least £30 per day for each day of your trip
  • A Schengen letter confirming that you are enrolled and attending a programme of study with us. You can request your Schengen letter online
  • Confirmation of all of your flight/rail bookings including between Schengen countries
  • Confirmation of all of your accommodation bookings or signed invitation letter if staying with a friend or family member or a conference/training course booking if going as part of your degree course
  • An outline of your travel plans
  • Medical insurance policy confirming that you have taken out medical insurance to cover medical expenses of at least 30,000 Euros
  • The fee for the application. Check with the Embassy in advance whether you can pay by credit or debit card or whether you will need to take cash with you
  • Any other evidence that confirms your intended reason for travelling such as an invitation letter to a conference for example
  • A photocopy of your application form and all of your supporting documents.

What happens after your appointment

When submitting your application at the appointment, you may have your biometric information taken such as photograph and fingerprints and may be asked further questions in order for the Embassy to decide your application.

  • If you attend a Consulate your application may be reviewed and sent on to the Embassy where it will be processed and a decision made
  • If the Embassy accepts your application, you will be informed of this and your application will be processed
  • If approved, your Schengen visa will be issued inside your passport and returned to you by post. If you would like this returned by Royal Mail Special Delivery please let the Embassy know when you submit your application (you will be required to pay an additional fee for this service).

Further help and advice

If you have any further questions then please contact us via email

Advice can also be found on the Schengen visa information website.

We advise you to keep copies of your passport, visa and other important documents online with a free cloud storage account such as Dropbox or Google Photos. You can use a computer or smartphone to access them anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Speak to a International Advice and Guidance advisor

If you are unable to find an answer to your query on our web pages email or book an online confidential one-one appointment.