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Advice and Counselling Service


Information on the immigration arrangements for international students traveling in Europe.

PLEASE NOTE: Things may be different or restricted due to the current situation. You can stay up to date by reading our dedicated webpage on immigration covid-19 / coronavirus:

On this page:

Travel in Europe - the Schengen Visa

If you are not a citizen of a country in the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you may need immigration permission to travel to other European countries

The Schengen Area

The Schengen area consists of the following countries who have agreed to have the same immigration rules:

Passport free Schengen area







Czech Republic




















Visa free nationals

Check on the website of the Embassy of the country where you intend to apply for your visa whether you are required to apply for a Schengen visa to travel to the Schengen states or whether you are a visa free national.

I am not a visa free national, do I need to apply for a visa?

If you are not a visa free national, then you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa in order to travel to countries in the Schengen area. You can apply for a single Schengen visa to cover all of your travels within the Schengen area.

Is my UK immigration permission long enough?

Please note that some embassies require you to have between two and six months of your UK immigration permission remaining and you must have immigration permission that allows you to re-enter the UK at the end of your visit.

What are the different types of Schengen Visa?

  • Short stay visa. You need this to visit the Schengen countries
  • Transit visa. You may need this if you are travelling through a Schengen country to another country outside. (For example if you were travelling by train to Turkey)
  • Airport transit visa. You may need this if you have to change flights in a Schengen country

What if I want to travel to Europe more than once?

If you would like to travel to Europe several times over a few months, you can apply for a multiple Schengen visa. You will need to show travel and accommodation arrangements for all trips that you have planned.

Where should I go to apply for my Schengen Visa?

This depends on the number of countries you are visiting and how long you are going to stay:

If you plan to visit only one country, apply at the embassy for that country.

If you plan to visit several countries, apply at your 'main destination' - this is the country where you plan to spend the most time. If you are going to spend the same amount of time in several countries, apply at the embassy of the country where you are travelling to first.

  • Example 1. 2 days in Amsterdam, 2 days in Paris and 3 days in Barcelona. Apply to the Spanish Embassy.
  • Example 2. 3 days in Paris and 3 days in Rome. Apply to the French Embassy.

What are the procedures for applying for a Schengen Visa?

It is best to check embassy websites before you apply as different countries have different procedures. You will probably need to make an appointment for an interview.

The GOV.UK website has details of all Foreign embassies in the UK.

What documents do I need to provide?

Check the embassy or Visa Application Centre in which you are applying. Ensure that you read the official Embassy/Visa Application Centre web pages. You do not need a letter of no objection. 

You will probably need:

  • A completed application form;
  • The administrative fee (currently €80);
  • Your passport and a photograph;
  • Documents related to the purpose of your trip e.g. an invitation from the person you will visit and your flight and hotel reservation details;
  • Evidence that you can afford the cost of your travel and accommodation;
  • Documents related to accommodation;
  • Evidence that you will return to the UK after your short trip. Evidence of your continued studies would be a Student Status Letter
  • Travel insurance covering a minimum of €30,000, including the costs that have to be paid if you would need to return to your home country in case of illness or death. This insurance must be valid for the entire Schengen area and for the duration of your stay. See the next section for more information about health insurance.

Should I apply through an agency?

There are some agencies in London that charge to help you with your application. It is not necessary to use agencies and most students apply by themselves.

Where can I get more information?

The UK Council for International Student Affairs has guidance about the Schengen visa application process.

The European Union has a website with lots of practical information about travel in Europe.

Travel insurance

If you need a visa, you will probably have to show that you have travel insurance that has comprehensive medical cover.

Even if you don't need to apply for a visa, you should take out travel insurance for your trip.

It can be difficult to buy travel insurance in the UK if you have been resident in the UK for less than six months. If you will not have been in the UK for six months before your trip, you may be able to buy travel insurance in your home country.

Providers of travel insurance in the UK

The website has lots of information about purchasing good value travel insurance. Note: check the conditions of the insurance policy carefully before you buy. Remember: many UK insurance companies do not cover people who have been living in the UK for less than six months. If you do not meet the conditions, your insurance policy may not be valid and the insurance company may not pay you if you need to make a claim. If you are not sure, you can usually call the insurance company for more information.

Personal Safety

Petty crime such as pick pocketing of tourists is unfortunately common in many European cities. It is therefore very important to pay attention to your personal safety. There are some tips for safe travel on the Lonely Planet website. Please also make sure that you have travel insurance cover.

If your passport and / or BRP are either lost or stolen, please see our web page on Lost or stolen passports and contact the Advice and Counselling Service for advice if you need to.

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