Travelling with your visa

You may need to apply for a Schengen visa if you are a non-EEA national wishing to visit certain countries within the EEA (and Switzerland).

What is the Schengen visa scheme?

If you are a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national and want to visit mainland Europe, a Schengen visa lets you visit many countries on one visa. It's different to your student visa.

  • The Schengen visa scheme lets you visit 26 countries using only one visa for a trip lasting up to three months.
  • You can visit 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.

If you want to visit a non-Schengen area country you will need to apply for a visitor visa via that country’s embassy.

Do I need to apply for a Schengen visa?

Nationals from countries that are part of the Schengen agreement area and nationals from Cyprus, Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom do not need to apply for a Schengen visa to travel within the Schengen area.

Nationals of other countries will usually require a visa to enter the Schengen area. However, it is important to check with the embassy or consulate of the country that you wish to visit before making travel arrangements. As a rule, people whose nationality does not appear in the following list do require a Schengen visa:


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


Types of Schengen visas

Short stay or travel visa

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 will need to travel within Schengen areas as a tourist, on a field trip, or as conference attendees.

Transit visa

The transit visa enables the traveller to pass though the territory of one or more Schengen member states on their way to another country outside the Schengen area.

Airport transit visa

The airport transit visa allows the traveller to transit through an international transit area of an airport of a Schengen member state, but not exit this area before they fly to their next destination.

Where to apply for a Schengen visa

  • If you are visiting only one country in the Schengen area, apply via the embassy of that country.
  • If visiting more than one country in the Schengen area, apply via the embassy of the country that you intend to stay the longest time in – your main destination.
  • If you intend to visit several countries in the Schengen area without having one main destination, apply via the embassy of the country you will visit first.

How do I apply?

Every Schengen member state has its own application procedures. Information on application procedures including visa fees, eligibility criteria, multi-entry visas and the documentation you will need to provide are available from the embassy websites. Application forms are usually available from visa application centre. Contact an Immigration Adviser for a link to the correct website.

How long will the application take?

Most embassies describe the process as taking around three weeks – longer at peak times. They are not issued on the same day, so don't delay.

What you need to do

  1. Step 1

  2. Step 2

    Some embassies have a limit on the number of applications they will accept each day, or require you to make an appointment for an interview in person. Check the embassy website for terms and conditions.

  3. Step 3

    Embassies close on public and national holidays of their own countries. These can be different to UK public holidays. Check the embassy website to confirm opening times and closures dates.

  4. Step 4

  5. Step 5

    Visa information telephone lines can be very expensive, and only give pre-recorded basic information. It is better to use the embassy websites.

Important information for UK Tier 4 student visa

If you are planning to travel out of the UK after you have completed your final piece of academic work and intend to return to the UK before your existing Tier 4 visa expires, please come to a visa information session so we can advise you. It is important to do this before you make travel arrangements.

Schengen visa letter

Students who are applying for a Schengen visa normally need to provide a letter from the University confirming their status.

Please complete the online form to request a Schengen visa letter.

Please note: The turnaround time for producing letters is five working days. Therefore, it is important that you allow enough time before your visa appointment before requesting a letter. We may not be able to produce letters at short notice.

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