Schengen visas

If you want to travel to continental Europe during your studies, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa.

Always check with the embassy or consulate of the country or countries you plan to visit to check if you will need a visa to travel there.

European Commission – List of Schengen member states information

A ‘short stay’ Schengen visa allows a visit of up to 90 days in any 180 day period. If you are travelling to any of the Schengen member states as a tourist or to attend a conference, this is the visa you will need.

You can only apply for a Schengen visa if you are in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. Students on a short-term study visa cannot usually apply for a Schengen visa.

How to apply

The application process varies between countries, so check with the embassy or consulate of each country you wish to travel to.

If you are travelling to one country only Apply to that country's embassy/consulate
If you are travelling to several countries Apply to the embassy/consultate of your main destination - the country in which you will spend most time
If you are travelling to more than one country but do not have a main destination Apply to the embassy of the country you plan to visit first

When to apply

You should apply as soon as possible but no more than 3 months before your intended travel date. You will need to think about possible delays to the application process when considering your travel plans. Most embassies recommend that you apply at least 4 weeks before travelling.

You will need to have at least 3 months left on your passport as well as 90 days left on your UK visa (some Schengen countries require 180 days) on the day you plan to travel back to the UK. The embassy of the country you wish to travel to can provide you with further information on this requirement.

The cost

The cost varies depending on the country you plan to travel to but it is generally around £50.

Documents you need

You will need the following documents (they all need to be originals):

  • An application form
    • You can obtain this from the relevant embassy
    • You should ensure that your application is well-prepared and that your handwriting is legible
  • Your original passport and UK visa
  • Recent passport-sized photos (usually two, but this can vary between countries)
  • Evidence of the purpose of your visit, for example, a flight/hotel reservation details or an invitation letter
  • Evidence of your return flight to the UK
  • Evidence of funds to support you during your trip
    • Not all countries require this, but it is wise to have bank statements available
    • As a general guide, you should allocate around £30 for each day of your trip
  • A student status letter
    • You can obtain it from the Student Information Point at Old College
    • If you have completed your programme, the University will not be able to provide this letter
  • Proof of medical insurance to cover your trip
    • This should cover all the countries that you are visiting

It is advisable to bring these documents when travelling as they might be requested at the port of entry.

Travel to non-Schengen countries

If you plan to travel to a country outside the Schengen area, you should contact the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit for information on the visa you will need.

Advice for travelling abroad

Remember to keep your travel documents safe when you are travelling abroad. Look out for opportunist thieves, who often target students for their passports and visas.

It is best to leave your documents locked in a hotel safe if possible. If you must carry them with you when you are out and about, guard them carefully, especially on public transport or when you are in busy areas. 

It is a good idea to carry a copy of your visa and passport with you as it will be easier to apply for replacements if you need them.

Lost or stolen passport and visa

List of embassies and consulates in Scotland

List of embassies and consulates in the UK