Whilst studying in the UK, if you are not a European Economic Area (EEA) national and want to travel to Europe, you may be required to apply for a Schengen visa before you travel. This visa allows you to travel for a period of no more than 90 days within a six month period.
The Schengen Visa Scheme allows visitors to obtain avisa to visit a one of the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Please note: the UK is not a Schengen state so that you cannot re-enter the UK on a Schengen visa. You must make sure you have a valid visa for re-entry into the UK. Please also make sure you have a minimum of two to six months remaining on your visa at the end of your travel time.
What type of Schengen visa do I need?
There are three types of Schengen visas:
- The 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 to attend conferences will require.
- The airport transit visa allows the traveller to transit through the international transit /zone area of an airport of a Schengen member state, but they cannot exit this zone /area before they fly onto the next destination.
- The transit visa enables a traveller to pass through the territory of one or more Schengen countries on their way to another country outside the Schengen space and be issued for a maximum of five days.
How do I apply for a Schengen visa
Each embassy produces its own application form and the charges that go with it. You will normally need to attend an appointment in person as part of the process. This may take place at the Embassy or visa application centre.
If you are visiting one country then you must apply to the Embassy of that country.
If you are visiting more than one country then you must apply to the Embassy of the country where you will be staying of your visit
If you are visiting several Schengen countries without having a main destination then you should apply to the country where you will first enter the Schengen space.
How long does the Schengen application process take?
The length of the process can vary from country to country so you should check with the Embassy that you are applying to for the most accurate information.
What if I want to travel to a country that outside the Schengen area
If you want to travel to a country that is outside the Schengen area, you should check the visa requirements for that country. Each country has its own visa requirements and these requirements can change therefore you should keep checking every time you feel the need to travel to that country.
Useful tips for applying for a Schengen visa
- You will need to have at least one or two blank pages in your passport.
- You will usually require to have a specific amount of time left on your passport and UK visa – check with the relevant Embassy/Consulate.
- If you have to telephone for an appointment, have your passport with you and a pen and paper handy.
- Application processing times will vary, so make sure you make your application two to three months before you plan to travel.
- When posting your application, never post cash.
- If you have to post any documents to the Embassy/Consulate, you should send them by Special Delivery – ask at the Post Office at the time of posting. This is the safest and quickest way.
- Always buy travel and health insurance whether or not it is a requirement of your visa application.
- If you are booking accommodation and travel with a travel agent, take your passport with you to ensure that the names entered in the booking are identical – always check spelling.
- Take copies of your passport and other documents before submitting to the Embassy/Consulate.
- If a Schengen visa is in a passport that is lost or stolen, there is no process for that visa to be extended abroad - please take care of your belongings when travelling.
Supporting documents required when applying for a Schengen visa
In order to have a successful Schengen visa application you will require the following documents:
- Completed application form
- Application fee
- Passport sized photos
- Proof of hotel bookings
- Purpose of your visit
- Evidence of sufficient funds (this is in the form of bank statements)
- Evidence of student status (you can get this letter from the Registry department)
- Travel and medical insurance for the entire duration of your trip. This is very important and your visa may be refused if you do not have this as part of the supporting documentation.
- Evidence that your student visa will allow you to return back to the UK.
Travel and medical insurance is completely different to the IHS payment that is made at the very beginning of your visa application process.