Students who are on a UK visa may also need to apply for a visa to travel for tourism or business in the European Union. The Schengen area comprises 26 EU countries and it may be necessary to apply for a Schengen visa. This visa allows travel of a maximum of 90 days within a 6 month period.

The first time you apply for a Schengen visa, you will only be granted a “single entry” visa. If you are able to obey the rules of this Schengen visa, in subsequent Schengen visa applications you may be able to apply for a “multiple entry” visa. However, you would still need to demonstrate a clear and genuine need for this multiple entry visa in your application (e.g. you have a detailed plan of different trips or conferences within the Schengen area that are booked over a longer period).

Please note: the Republic of Ireland is not part of the Schengen area. There is a separate visa application process to visit ROI, further information is available on the Irish Embassy website.

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Countries in the Schengen area

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 and Switzerland

The following nationalities do NOT need a Schengen visa

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

General requirements for a Schengen visa

You will need to have 3 months validity remaining on your Student visa (or other UK visa) after the date you plan to leave the Schengen area and return to the UK. Where you will not be returning to the UK you will need to show an onward flight booked to your home country.

There must be 2 blank pages in your passport.

You must not have a Schengen visa which is already valid. If you do, you must contact the Embassy that issued the Schengen visa and ask them to cancel it.

Where to apply

Visiting one country in the Schengen area

Apply to the Embassy of that country in London

Visiting several countries in the Schengen area

You MUST apply to the Embassy of the country that is your main destination (i.e. the country you plan to spend the most time in)
If there is no main destination then apply to the Embassy of the country of first entry
If you are visiting someone in a Schengen country and you are travelling to several countries some Embassies require you to apply to the country of the person you are visiting – check with the Embassy!!! 

When to apply

Processing times

Processing times vary from Embassy to Embassy and also on the applicant's nationality.

Nationals whose applications may take longer are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Congo (DR), Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan (diplomatic passports only), Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine (travel document), Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Vietnam

We advise that you apply at least 6 weeks before your intended travel date (even though most Embassies say you should apply 15 working days before your intended travel). The earliest you can apply is from 3 months before your travel date.

Please keep in mind busy periods that may affect the processing time of your application eg Christmas, Easter, public holidays of the country that you are applying to.

How to apply

Step 1

Find the Embassy of the country you wish to apply to and apply directly to that Embassy/Consulate or their agency (eg TLS, VFS). We have compiled a list of the relevant contact details for all of the Embassies in London: Schengen Embassy List [pdf]

Step 2

Book your appointment by phone or online and attend an in-person appointment with the Embassy

Step 3

Take the following documents to your appointment: confirmation of appointment, completed application form and all relevant supporting documents (see 'Supporting documents' below).

Application and payment

Please note that the application is made either online or on a paper form depending on the individual Embassy. The cost is € 60 (£48-53). Some Embassies accept cash only; others will accept payments made by debit card, credit card or postal order.

Supporting documents

Evidence of available funds
  • You will need to show evidence that you have available funds to support yourself during your trip. Currently the amount required is € 90 (roughly £ 75) for each day of stay in the Schengen area. 
  • Funds can be demonstrated by providing bank statements showing the previous 3 months account activity.
  • If you have been living in the UK less than 3 months please ask your bank to provide a letter confirming when your account was opened.
  • The bank statements must be no older than 1 week before your appointment at the Embassy.
  • Travellers cheques may also be used to show available funds.
Travel insurance
  • Travel insurance must include medical cover with a minimum amount of € 30 000, must be valid in all 26 countries in the Schengen Zone, and must be valid for the entire duration of time you are in the Schengen Zone.
  • You must provide a copy of the insurance policy that shows what is covered by the policy.
  • An internet search for 'schengen travel insurance' will help you to find a suitable provider. 
Purpose of trip
  • Itinerary: you should provide a rough itinerary for the places of interest you plan to visit whilst on your trip, this helps to demonstrate that your application is geuine
  • If you plan to travel to attend a conference then you will need to provide a letter from the organisation inviting you confirming the details of the conference
  • Where you have been invited to stay with a friend, who is a national of the country you plan to visit, then you will need to include a letter of invitation written by your friend.
  • The letter of invitation must include the following information: your friend’s address in their home country; the dates you will be staying with your friend; a copy of the friend’s passport page or ID card and the friend must declare that they are aware that their guest (you) cannot stay beyond the date issued on your visa
Additional documents
  • Statement of Registration confirming that you are enrolled as a student at the College which you can download from your MyImperial account or request from the Student Hub 
  • 2 passport-size photos
  • Passport and your UK BRP
  • Evidence of accommodation booked
  • Evidence of travel booked (flight ticket, train ticket)
  • Evidence applicant will return to the UK/home country (eg return/onward flight / statement of attendance / offer letter for further study)

Travel safety tips

Although you may think that it could never happen to you, we do often hear from students who have been victims of crime while travelling abroad. We have provided the information below to help you keep yourself and your belongings safe on your travels.

Travel safety accordion

Travel insurance

Buy travel insurance before your trip (read the terms and conditions carefully as sometimes you have to have been living in the UK for a certain amount of time before you will be insured). This should cover you for replacement valuables and money, as well as for health care if you become ill while you are away.

Split money and cards

Don’t carry large amounts of money or display expensive items like your camera/phone/iPod or other valuables in public places. Before you travel, think about whether or not you need to bring valuables with you or if they could be left at home.

It is a good idea to split your money and cards, and keep them in different places. This way, if something is stolen, you won’t have lost everything. Bear in mind that you may still need money for:

  • Food and drink
  • Replacement passport/visa
  • Unexpected travel costs
  • Extra clothes
  • Extra nights’ stay in hotel or hostel (if you are low on funds, you may be able to stay at a Red Cross or religious centre)
  • Credit for mobile phone

Embassy details

Check with your Embassy in the UK whether you can inform them of where you will be travelling to before you leave the UK. Write down the address, opening times and contact details for the Embassy of your home country and the UK Embassy in the country that you will be travelling to.  You may be able to ask your parents to transfer money for you to the Embassy. Don’t forget that Embassies are usually closed during weekends, public holidays, and may have early closing times or irregular opening hours. Keep a copy of this information with you during your travels and email it to yourself as well – you never know when you might need it!

Inform family and friends

Keep your friends and family informed of where you are travelling to, where you will be staying, your itinerary and flight information.

Make copies of your passport and visa

Make copies of your passport and visa. Keep photocopies on your person when you travel as you may need to show this as evidence of identification to police. Additionally email scans to yourself and a trusted friend or family member so that you can easily access this information.

Be aware of your surroundings

Try not to look like a tourist! Be aware of your surroundings and think about the best time to bring out a map or guide book. Don’t leave your bags and belongings unattended, and do not store important documents or valuables in a backpack or pocket if you can avoid doing so. Make sure you keep your suitcases and bags locked.

Use your hotel safe

Use your hotel safe to store important documents such as passports and visas. Carry the photocopies with you – if you are asked by police to provide ID, you should be able to show the photocopies and the official will then give you 24 hours to report to a police station with the original document. If there is no hotel safe, keep documents on your person in a special travel pouch which can be worn around the body. Don’t leave important documents in your suitcase.

If your passport/visa is lost or stolen

If your passport/visa is lost or stolen:

  • Go to the local police station as soon as possible to obtain a police report. You will need to this to apply for replacements.
  • Contact your own embassy to replace your passport
  • Contact the UK Embassy to get a new visa (if your visa was a sticker in your passport) or

a single entry visa (if your visa was a BRP). Visit to find the closest British Embassy where you are staying.

Consult our webpages for information about what you need to do to replace your visa.