Travelling Outside the UK
During your studies, it may be necessary for you to travel in and out of the UK. It's important to be aware of any impact your trip may have on your studies and your visa. For more information contact student support.
Travelling Outside the UK during Term-Time
If you plan to travel outside the UK during the college teaching dates this could impact your studies as well as your visa.
All students requesting any period of absence from the College, that is over two days, must complete an Authorised Absence Form. Absences need to be requested in advance and will be approved by the relevant Head of Programme, and then authorised by the Registry office. If students are travelling during term time they should keep the completed form with them.
If you do not attend all of your classes (or other expected contact points and meetings) without approval, this may lead to withdrawal from your programme of study and your visa being curtailed.
If you have concerns about your ability to attend your programme of study, please contact your Head of Programme, programme administrator or Student Support so that they can help and advise you.
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 that 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.
Not all nationalities need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen area. To find out whether you need a Schengen visa please check the EU immigration website.
Important Information to Consider Before Applying for a Schengen Visa
- Completed application form: download this from the relevant embassy website.
- Passport / official travel document: you need to have at least two blank pages in your passport. You also need to have at least three months left on your passport, as well as 90 days left on your UK visa (some Schengen countries require six months) on the day you plan to travel back to the UK. Please check with the embassy of the relevant country.
- Passport-sized photographs
- Certificate of student status: you can obtain a Schengen visa letter from the College online confirming that you are enrolled and attending a programme of study. (Please note a letter can take between 5 to 10 working days allow plenty of time to get a letter from registry).
- Evidence of sufficient funds to cover visit: recent bank statements and credit card statements showing the current credit limit.
- Evidence of purpose of visit: e.g. official letter of invitation, confirmed return airline ticket or a confirmed hotel booking.
- Evidence of travel insurance to cover medical costs: for the entire trip, most countries state a minimum of 30,000 Euros.
Types of Schengen Visas
There are three types of Schengen visas:
- Short stay visa: for 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 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.
Please allow plenty of time to apply for a Schengen visa. We recommend you apply at least three to four weeks before your date of travel.
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: www.inis.gov.ie
Visa for the USA: uk.usembassy.gov
Re-entering the UK After your Trip
When returning to the UK, we recommend that you carry the following documents in your hand luggage, in addition to your passport and visa:
- Recently dated student status letter confirming your registration.
- A copy of your Authorised Absence Form (if you are travelling during term time)
- Documentation to support new Tier 4 visa application (if your current leave is close to expiry)
The above are recommended documents (apart from the passport and visa which are mandatory). If you don't have them it does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to enter the UK. If you are outside of the UK and are concerned about re-entering, contact Student Support for advice and assistance.
Some students will be able to use e-gates to enter the UK.
You should remember that each time you re-enter the UK, border officials may ask you questions regarding your reasons for entry to the UK. Please be aware that they have the legal right to keep you waiting whilst they check your reason to enter the UK including contacting the college to check if your travel is authorised. If the college is unable to confirm this the border officer can deny entry if they are not satisfied with your reason to return, or think that there is some other reason why they should not allow you to enter the UK. We recommend that you follow the advice above and seek advice if you have doubts.
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.