You may decide during the holiday periods to visit other countries within Europe, or there may be a conference or course field trip that you must attend. This page will provide general information on this subject. Please note that each country will have its own specific requirements, so you will need to check the details on the embassy website for the country you are travelling to. A list of foreign embassies in the UK can be found on Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). These websites will also tell you if you require a visa to visit their country, such as a Schengen visa.
What is a Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa is a single visa that allows travel to 26 countries. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Please note that the EU countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania are not part of the Schengen zone. Each of these countries will have their own visa requirements as listed on their embassy website. For information, the UK is also not part of the Schengen zone. Any other country in Europe (or elsewhere in the world) you will also have to consult their embassy’s website.
What type of Schengen visa do I need?
There are three types of visa that you could apply for, depending on your circumstances.
- Short Stay visa – This is the most common type of visa and what you are most likely to use. This is for you if you are travelling within the Schengen area as a tourist or attending a conference. This visa is valid for up to three months in any six month period.
- Airport Transit visa - If you are going through the international transit area of an airport of a Schengen member state, but are not going to leave this area before you fly on to your next destination.
- Transit visa - If you are passing through one or more Schengen member states on your way to another country outside the Schengen zone.
How do I apply?
You will need to download the application form from the embassy of the country you are travelling to. If you are travelling to multiple countries, then the country where you will spend the majority of your time, otherwise the country that you will travel to first.
Each country is different, so you may be required to post the application or apply in person at one of their offices in London or a consulate in another city.
What documents will I need?
This will also vary between countries, but in general you will need the following:
- A completed application form.
- Your passport or travel document.
- Purpose of the visit (this will be a letter from your course leader if the visit is related to your course, an invitation letter if visiting family or evidence of bookings or reservations if tourism).
- Evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your trip. In most cases this will be bank statements covering the last three months.
- Medical and travel insurance covering around €30,000.
- A letter from the university confirming your student status.
How long will it take to process the application?
Usually around four weeks. You must ensure that you give yourself enough time to apply so as not to miss your trip. You can apply up to three months before you are due to travel.
Can I travel after I have completed my studies?
Most countries will require you to have at least six months left on your visa, so you could face difficulties if you decide to travel after you have completed your course. You will need to check with the relevant embassy.