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.
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 nationalites 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 Tier 4 (General) 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
Visiting several countries in the Schengen area
When to apply
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
Application and payment
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 that includes medical cover with a minimum amount of € 30 000.
- You must provide a copy of the insurance policy that shows what is covered by the policy.
Purpose of trip
- 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
- 2 passport-size photos
- 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)