Planning to tour Europe from the UK? Or visit a couple of countries for work, business or a short course or just to see family? Then you need a Schengen visa and this article is a guide on how to apply for a Schengen visa from the UK. It also provides answers to a couple of frequently asked questions related to how to apply for this type of visa.
In case you are wondering…
What Schengen visa means
It is a type of visa that permits the holder to travel freely within the 27 countries in the Schengen area without needing multiple visas and without going through passport/ identity checks at each country’s internal border.
Now you know what Schengen visa means, let’s talk about how you can get it.
Step-by-step guide on how to apply for Schengen visa from the UK
Before I proceed, let me mention that the process on how to get a Schengen visa might vary slightly between countries. So please check the website of the embassy/ consulate of the country you are applying to for specific instructions. Let’s proceed.
Step 1: Gather all the documents you need for your application. (I have made a list of the documents required to apply for a Schengen visa. You’ll find it when you scroll down.)
Step 2: Visit the website of the consulate of the Schengen country you plan to visit to get the application form.
As much as your visa will grant you entry into multiple countries, you are required to apply through the embassy of the country you are going to specifically. If you’ll be going to more than one country, apply to the country you will spend the most time in. But if you are not sure of the country you will spend the most time in, then apply to the country you will visit first.
You’ll find the list of the different countries, the link to their respective websites and contact information here.
Step 3: Complete and sign the application form, then attach your passport to it in the space provided.
Step 4: Schedule an appointment with the embassy/ consulate of the Schengen country you are applying to for your biometrics, document submission and interview. The interview questions are mainly to confirm the authenticity of your trip and the documents you submitted. I will shortly discuss how you can schedule an appointment.
Step 5: Attend your appointment, then wait for your application to be processed and approved.
Step 6: Collect your visa from the embassy.
How to apply for Schengen visa from UK for students
The process for applying for a Schengen visa as a student in the UK is the same as shared above. The only difference is that, as a student, you will be required to provide your visa (for international students) and a recently signed official letter from your school showing your name, study type, and course duration.
Read also: How to save money as a student in the UK.
What documents do I need for a Schengen visa?
Your passport must have been issued within the last 10 years, have at least two blank pages on it and would still be valid for at least 3 months after you have left the Schengen Area for it to be accepted.
- UK residence permit
- Filled and signed Schengen visa application form
Anyone mentioned in your travel document will have to fill and sign their form. Applicants under 18 years will need the signature of a parent or guardian.
- Passport photograph that meets the specifications outlined here. Your passport should be glued, not stapled, to your application form when submitting it.
- A cover letter that explains the purpose of your trip
- Proof of travel arrangements. Ex:
– Accommodation reservation
– Flight/ travel reservations
You can reserve your accommodation and flights for free on Booking.com.
- Travel medical insurance for the entire Schengen area that covers emergencies, hospitalization, and repatriation. A minimum of 30 EUR coverage is required.
- Visa application fees
- UK account statement or traveller’s cheque
- Letter of employment showing your salary, date of employment, position, and vacation dates (for UK employees)
- If you are self-employed, you’ll be required to provide a less than 3-month-old document that states:
– Details about your professional activity
– Start date of your business
– Proof of business registration
– Income information from a solicitor, accountant, bank manager or local Chamber of Commerce
– VAT certificate
- Pension statement from the last 6 months (for retirees)
How much does it cost to get a Schengen visa from the UK?
How much you’ll pay for your Schengen visa application depends on your age and, in some cases, nationality. Please see the table below for the application fee.
|Category||Fee (€)||GBP (£) *|
|Children between 6 – 12 years||40||34.4|
|Children below 6||Free|
|Armenian, Azerbaijan and Russian passport holders||35||30.1|
|Gambian passport holders||120||103.2|
* Kindly note that you will pay in GBP and the fee will depend on what the current exchange rate is.
Questions people also ask:
How long will it take to get a Schengen visa from the UK?
15 calendar days from when your application was submitted to the embassy/ consulate. However, this could be extended to 30 days if additional information is required to process your application. I’d therefore advise that you submit your application at least one month before you need the visa.
Do I need a Schengen visa if I have indefinite leave to remain in the UK?
If you have a UK ILR, you most likely do not need a Schengen visa if you plan to stay for 90 days or less within a 180-day period and you’re visiting as a tourist or for a short course, medical treatment, business travel (for your UK employer), or media activities like journalism.
How do I book a Schengen visa appointment?
To book your appointment, you can either contact the appropriate consulate/ embassy in the UK to schedule an appointment or use an accredited visa application centre such as VFS global. You might need to pay a service fee if you use an application centre.
To book an appointment directly with the embassy, visit their official website to schedule an appointment through their online system. If they don’t have an online system, look for their contact details to arrange an appointment via call or email.
How much do I need in my bank statement for a Schengen visa?
The amount you need depends on the country you are applying to, the duration of your stay and the purpose of your trip. In most cases, the applicant is required to have a minimum of £55 for every day s/he will be in the Schengen Area. This means that if you’ll be spending one week in the Schengen Area, your account statement should have a minimum balance of £385 (55 x 7). However, I recommend you have more than the exact amount required. It will convince the visa officer that you can afford the trip.
Can I get a Schengen visa online?
You cannot get a Schengen visa online, because you will have to submit your application and do your biometrics in-person. However, the application process starts online.
Is it possible to apply for a Schengen visa from the UK?
Yes, it is. You can submit your application at the Embassy/ consulate of the Schengen country you plan to apply to.
Can I apply for a Schengen visa if my BRP is about to expire?
Just like your passport, your BRP must remain valid for at least 3 months beyond your planned departure date from the Schengen area for it to be accepted by the embassy.
Is there any interview for a Schengen visa?
Yes, there is. As discussed earlier, you’ll be asked a couple of questions when you go to submit your visa application form and documents.
Can I apply for a Schengen visa from the UK on a student visa?
Yes, you can.
Which Schengen country gives the longest visa?
Do you have any questions related to how to apply for a Schengen visa from the UK that this article does not answer? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.