When you reside in the UK on one of the UK immigration permits, you may want to visit countries in Europe for some short trips. If those countries that you intend to visit are part of the Schengen zone, depending on your nationality and purpose of your trip, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa.
A Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area when:
- an intended stay in the territory of the Schengen States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180 days period (“short stay visa”), OR
- for a transit through the international transit areas of airports of the Schengen States (“airport transit visa”).
The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, the 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.
To apply for a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe, you first need to figure out whether you need to apply for one, which will depend on the purpose of your travel and your nationality. If you do require a Schengen visa, then you have to put together your travel plan, how many days you intend to spend in the Schengen zone, the Schengen countries you are going to visit (if more than one), the country where you are going to enter, and the country where you’re going to exit.
Once you have that figured out, then you need to review all the Europe visa application requirements you need to fulfil and start the process of setting up a visa appointment at one of the Schengen consulates in your country.
How and where to apply for Schengen visa
You must lodge the application for a Schengen visa at the Consulate of the country that you intend to visit, or – if you intend to visit more than one Schengen State, the Consulate of the country where you will spend the longest period.
If you intend to visit several Schengen States and the stays will be of equal length, you must apply at the Consulate of the country whose external borders you will cross first when entering the Schengen area.
As a general rule, you must apply for a visa at the Consulate with territorial competence for the country in which you legally reside. links_to_ms_websites_en.pdf (europa.eu)
You may also wish to visit the EU Commission website for more information.
What is the cost of Schengen visa application
The cost of a Schengen visa fee is €80 per adult. Still, depending on the age of the applicant, nationality and some other factors, there are categories that will have to pay a lower fee or no fee at all.
Check the list of Schengen Visa fees, which precisely indicates the categories that benefit from the reduced visa costs or that are exempt from paying the fee.
What is flight itinerary for Schengen visa application
A flight itinerary is a confirmed document, which can be verified online about the schedule of a given flight.
Learn more about How to get a flight itinerary for a visa application!
What travel insurance to get for Schengen visa application
Your Travel Medical Insurance should be valid for your whole stay in the Schengen Area, with a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR for medical emergencies.
Learn more about How to get Schengen Visa Insurance!
What proof of accommodation is required for Schengen visa
What is a Proof of Accommodation for a Visa application?
You are required to submit a confirmed document that shows where you will be accommodated for your whole trip in the Schengen Area.
Learn more about How to get Proof of Accommodation for a Visa Application!
Family members of EU/EEA nationals – Schengen visa
You may be entitled to an accelerated Schengen visa procedure free of charge if as you meet the following criteria:
- you are a family member of an European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen; and
- that EU/EEA citizen is travelling to or is residing in a member state other than that of which he/she is a citizen; and
- you are accompanying the EU/EEA citizen or planning to join him/her in the Schengen State of destination.
If you think you are entitled to an accelerated visa procedure you will need to show proof that you meet these criteria when you submit your visa application.
What supporting documents are required for Schengen Visa
All Schengen states are represented in the UK by Consulates and Embassies and they might have specific requirements for applicants. However, there are common requirements for each country and visa type.
The following list of documents are required in order to obtain a Schengen visa in the UK:
- A valid passport or Travel document. Please make sure:
- Your passport has been issued within the previous 10 years,
- Your passport has 2 full blank pages, one for the visa stamp and an additional spare page,
- Your passport should be valid for at least three (3) months after the date you exit the Schengen Area.
- A valid UK residence permit or other forms of Identity Card. The UK residency permit must be endorsed in the actual passport (or on a new biometric ID card)
- One application form is filled out completely and signed by the applicant.
- One passport format photo that has a light background, is brightly coloured and shows full facial features. The photo must be less than six months old and be glued to the application form. Applications with stapled photographs will be rejected.
- A cover letter explaining the purpose of the visit to the Schengen area
- Proof of travel arrangements: Round trip flight/travel reservations or other proof of intended transport and complete itinerary (if the several Schengen States will be visited or if the trip covers the several Schengen States and non-Schengen countries).
- Travel Insurance stating that you are covered in case of a medical emergency and repatriation in the Schengen Area (minimum coverage of € 30.000). The Insurance policy can easily be purchased online from AXA Schengen or Europ Assistance.
- Hotel reservations or proof of participation in group travel.
- A recent statement of UK current account or traveller’s checks shows funds of a minimum of £55 per person per day spent in the Schengen area. Photocopies of the original documents are also to be submitted. Documents should not be more than one month old. Find more information about proofing financial sufficiency when applying for a Schengen visa.
For UK employees:
- Reference letter of employment in the United Kingdom confirming that specifies:
- Hire date
- Dates of vacation
If the applicant is employed for less than 3 months, then a letter from their employer should clearly state when they started work.
- A recent letter (less than 3 months old) specifies:
- Professional activity
- Starting date
- Business registration
- Revenues from their solicitor or Accountant Bank Manager or Local Chamber of Commerce
- VAT certificate
For foreign students in the UK:
- An official recent (less than 3 months old) letter from their school, college or university within the UK, that states:
- The type of studies
- Details of the course
- Attendance record.
- Pension statement of the latest 6 months
If unemployed and married to a UK citizen:
- A recent (less than 3 months old) Confirmation of Employment letter from their spouse’s employer that states:
- Position held within the company
- Starting date
- Spouse’s valid passport
- An officially translated marriage certificate. The translation can be in English or the official language of the Embassy of the country where the marriage took place or by the Legalization Bureau of the Foreign Office in the UK
- If the Marriage Certificate was issued outside the European Union, it must be stamped by the Foreign Office of the issuing country or its Embassy in the United Kingdom.
At which Schengen country’s embassy in the UK should I apply?
Depending on your purpose and/or length of visit – there are specifications that further clarify at which Embassy or Consulate within the UK you should submit your Schengen visa application. The rules that govern the place of application are as follows:
- If visiting one Schengen country – you must apply at the Embassy or Consulate representing the particular country of your destination.
- If visiting more than one Schengen country – you must apply at the Embassy or Consulate representing the country of your main destination (the country of longest stay).
- If visiting more than one Schengen country with equal stay duration – you must apply at the Embassy or Consulate representing the Schengen country you will enter first.
- If you intend to stay in the Schengen area for over 90 days you must apply for a residence permit (Long-stay visa), not a Schengen visa. Instructions are on the respective embassy/consulate’s homepage.
When should I apply?
You should apply in good time before your planned trip. If you decide to apply last minute you carry the risk that your Schengen visa may not be processed in time for your trip. You must not apply earlier than 6 months before the intended visit!
Links to websites of Schengen Member States’ authorities
Links to websites of Schengen Member States’ authorities
http://www.mzv.cz/inp/en/information for aliens/index.html
http://www.mzv.cz/inp/cz/informace pro cizince/index.html
http://www.nvidanmark.dk/en-us/coming to dk/visa/visa.htm
http://www.auswaertigesamt.de/EN/EinreiseUndAufenthalt/03 Visabestimmungen/Visabestimmungen node.html
http://www.msz.gov.pl/en/travel to poland/entering poland/
http://www.msz.gov.pl/pl/p/msz pl/informacie konsularne/przyjazd do polski/
http://www.mzz.gov.si/en/entry and residence/visa regimes and visas/