This article was updated by the Great British Mag editorial team on 21 April 2022.
Do you dream of a long summer spent eating creamy gelato while propping up the Leaning Tower of Pisa and munching croissants in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower? Then make the most of the cheap flights to Europe from the UK while you’re here at university. Before booking those tickets, though, you might want to look into The Schengen visa, which you may need for your travels.
If you are on a UK Student Visa and intend to visit more than one European country, you can apply for a Schengen visa which is cheaper and quicker than applying for a visa for several individual countries.
What is a Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa will grant you a short-stay visa to a whole range of European countries. You won’t need a separate visa for each country as the Schengen visa allows you to roam freely throughout the countries included. It allows a visit up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Not everyone needs a Schengen visa to travel to these countries, however. Use this Schengen visa eligibility checker to find out if you need one to travel from the UK to the Schengen area.
What countries can I visit?
There are 26 countries that allow free movement between the Schengen zones. These include Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Portugal Spain and Switzerland. The full list of countries can be found on the Schengen Visa website.
How do I apply for a Schengen visa?
It is important to first determine where you will be travelling. If you are travelling to only one country then you will need to apply to that country’s embassy. If you are travelling to several countries then apply to the country’s embassy where you’ll spend the most time. However, if you are planning to visit several countries each for the same amount of time, then you will need to apply to the country you will be visiting first. Here is more information about which embassy to apply to.
Your application cannot be submitted more than six months before you intend to travel, but it must be done 15 working days before at the very least. As you will not be able to file your visa application at a Schengen embassy in the United Kingdom on a UK visa, you must apply to an embassy in your home country.
Then, download and fill out the application form and get the relevant documents together.
What will I need to apply for a Schengen visa?
- A passport that is valid for at least three months after the date on which you intend to leave the Schengen region and has at least two empty pages
- A completed and signed visa application form
- Two recently taken passport-style photos
- Valid travel insurance
- Your travel itinerary, showing dates and flights going in and back out of the Schengen region
- Proof of accommodation (hotel booking, rental agreement or a written invitation from a host, for instance)
- A recent bank statement so show you have funds to support yourself during your stay – it is recommended that you budget £40 per day
- Students may also need proof of enrollment to their university in the UK, and a No Objection letter from their university, stating that you have commitments to return to
Do I need a Schengen visa if I am only going to one European country?
No – in this case, you simply apply for a visa through the embassy of the country you want to visit.
How much does it cost?
The cost of a Schengen visa is €80 – you can pay it at the consulate or embassy. This is an admin fee that’s non-refundable, so if your visa is denied you won’t get your money back.
How long does it take to get a decision?
You should usually hear back about your visa application in about 15 days. However, this can go up to around 45 days in some circumstances. So be sure to apply as far in advance of your trip as you can.