Travelling in Europe

The Schengen visa

If you'd like to travel to one of the 27 European countries that make up the Schengen Area you may need to apply for a Schengen visa. You can check on the European Commission website whether you need a visa.

Not all nationalities need to apply for a Schengen visa prior to enter the Schengen area. Please check the European commission website to find out if you need to apply for visa. From 2024 visa exempt nationalities would need to apply for ETIAS travel authorisation in advance. 

The common Schengen visa is a visa for short stays of up to three months for the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

In order to apply for the visa you should check the embassy website of the Schengen member country you wish to visit for an application form and full details of the Schengen visa requirements. If you're planning to travel to more than one Schengen country you should apply to the embassy of the country that will be your main destination.

What documents will I need?

This varies between countries but generally you will require the following:

  • a completed application form, signed by the applicant
  • recent passport photograph(s)
  • the original passport or official travel document of each traveller
  • proof of purpose of the visit – this can be an invitation letter from friends/family or conference organisers, or proof of accommodation/tour booking
  • evidence of sufficient funds to complete your trip
  • evidence of student status – you will need a recent letter from the University confirming that you're a full-time student
  • travel insurance for the entire trip – this must include cover for medical expenses
  • the Schengen visa fee – this varies depending on which of the Schengen countries is issuing the visa

All of the documents you provide must be the originals – photocopies will not be accepted. We advise you to make copies of your passport and all the documents that you submit to the Embassy and ensure that you carry photocopies of all the documents that you submitted in support of your application.

Please check that your current student visa will allow you to return to the UKmost member states request that you have a minimum length of leave remaining on your student visa after you return to the UK but this varies between countries so you will need to check the requirements on the relevant website.

 The Schengen visa process is currenlty paperbased, it is expected to become a fully digitalised process from 2025. 

If you're travelling to countries outside of the Schengen Area, you should contact that country’s embassy in the UK for information about immigration procedures there.

An image of Copenhagen