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Travelling Outside the UK – Schengen Visas

Travelling to Europe – Schengen Visa Scheme

The Schengen Visa Scheme enables people to visit certain countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) by travelling on one visa.

At present, there are 26 countries within the EEA which are signed up to the Schengen Agreement and make up the Schengen space.  These countries are:

Austria | Belgium | Czech Republic | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | Italy | Latvia | Lichtenstein |  Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malta | Netherlands | Norway | Poland | Portugal | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland

Please note that the UK and Ireland are NOT part of the Schengen space.

Important Information to Consider Before Applying for a Schengen Visa

  • You must have a valid passport or travel document.
  • You will need to have at least one or two blank pages in your passport when making an application.
  • Your passport must be valid between three months to six months after the expiry date of your Schengen visa.
  • You must have a valid visa for the UK which must be valid for at least three months. (If you are short-term study visa or a visiting visa you will not be able to apply for a Schengen visa via the UK but your country of residence).
  • You can apply for Schengen visa up to 90 days before the date of travel. ( it is recommended you allow at least 14 days for your application to be processed. In some countries it could take four weeks).
  • Take a copy of the application form and any additional documents that you send for your own records.

Types of Schengen Visas

There are three types of Schengen visas:

  • Short stay visa: single or multiple entries
  • Airport transit visa
  • Transit visa

The short stay visa allows a visit of up to three months in any six-month period. This is the visa that most students who wish to travel within the Schengen space as tourists or to attend conferences/field trips will require.

The two transit visas are to be used if entering a Schengen country briefly in order to pass through to another country outside of the Schengen space.

Where to Apply for a Schengen Visa

If you intend to travel to only one Schengen country you will need to apply for a visa at the embassy of that particular country.  

If you intend to visit a number of Schengen countries, you MUST apply for a visa at the embassy of the main destination country.

If you are applying for a Schengen visa to travel to a number of countries and do not have a main destination, you will need to apply to the embassy of the country that is your first entry point.

Making an Application

Each embassy has its own application process. Some embassies will require you to make an application in person while others will require you to submit a postal application. The embassy website will instruct you on the application process. For further information please click on the relevant country link above.

Documents to Provide

Each country has its own application procedure and the type of documents you are required to submit can vary.

The following list includes some of the main documents you are likely to need to provide:

  • Passport/travel document
  • Passport photographs
  • Evidence of purpose of visit
  • Visa fee
  • Evidence of funds
  • Tickets for your return journey
  • Travel insurance for your trip

Travelling to Countries Outside the Schengen Space

If you wish to travel to a country that is not within the Schengen space you will need to visit the country's embassy website to find out what type of visa you will need and how to make an application.

Ireland is not a Schengen country so you will need to check if you need to apply for an Irish visa.

Visas for Ireland:

Visa for the USA:

Re-entering the UK After your Trip

You should check that your student visa permits you to re-enter the UK after your travels and avoid making trips abroad when your student visa is near to its expiry. Always seek advice before travelling.

Advice for Travelling Abroad

Remember to keep your documents safe when you are travelling abroad. Look out for opportunist thieves, who often target students for their passport and visas.

It is best to leave your documents locked in a hotel safe if possible. If you must carry them when you are in the cities/towns, guard them carefully, especially on public transport or when in busy areas.

We recommend you take a copy of your passport and visa with you as it will be easier to apply for replacements. 

If you require any further advice please contact Student Support.