WHAT IS THE SCHENGEN AREA AND A SCHENGEN VISA?
If you are a non European and you plan to travel to Europe, you may need to apply for a Schengen Visa. The Schengen Visa Scheme is a scheme that allows those wishing to visit certain countries within the European Economic Area.
A list of the Schengen countries is shown below.
DO I NEED A SCHENGEN VISA?
Holders of any European Economic Area Passport (EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein) or Switzerland passport do not need a visa for the Schengen area, and are generally allowed to stay for as long as they want.
Or if you are from any of the countries shown below then you DO NOT need a Schengen visa.
SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGIONS OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
HONG KONG& S.A.R. (NOTE 1) - THE VISA EXEMPTION APPLIES ONLY TO HOLDERS OF A "HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION" PASSPORT.
MACAO S.A.R. (NOTE 2) THE VISA EXEMPTION APPLIES ONLY TO HOLDERS OF A "REGIÃO ADMINISTRATIVA ESPECIAL DE MACAU" PASSPORT.
TURKEY (NOTE 3) GREEN PASSPORT HOLDERS ONLY ENJOY VISA FREE TRAVEL
(*) nationals of Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel.
(**) Serbian nationals with passport issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (residents of Kosovo with Serbian passport) do need a visa
(***) Taiwan nationals need their ID number to be shown in their passport to enjoy visa-free travel
Individuals in the following category can enter Schengen Area: BULGARIA, CROATIA, CYPRUS, ROMANIA
Individuals in the following category of European Economic Area can enter Schengen Area: ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN, NORWAY, SWITZERLAND
CAN I APPLY FOR A SCHENGEN VISA?
FOR APPLYING FOR ANY EURO TOUR EXCEPT TO FRANCE
Check your passport and the UK Visa. You will need about 5 months remaining valid on that visa to be able to have enough time to apply. This will allow you to book the appointment, have the visa processed and passport returned for your travel and the required 3 months remaining valid on the UK visa after the tour returns.
FOR APPLYING FOR A TOUR TO FRANCE.
Check your passport and UK Visa. You need minimum 7 months total UK visa to apply with about 5 months remaining valid on it. This will allow you to book the appointment, have the visa processed and passport returned for your travel and the required 3 months remaining valid on the UK visa after the tour returns.
I CAN APPLY FOR A SCHENGEN VISA – WHAT DO I DO NOW?
1. BOOK THE APPOINTMENT.
For going to France book the appointment with TLScontact or for any other euro tour book the appointment with the Joint Visa Application Centre. See the contact details in boxes below.
Apply for the main destination country you are travelling to (the country with the accommodation). If you are travelling more than once to the Schengen area then apply at the embassy of the country you stay for the most amount of time, or if equal time in each main destination then its the first country you stay in.
You can apply for a single entry visa, double entry visa (twice) or multiple entry visa (3 or more times entry to Schengen area).
2. BOOK THE TOUR TICKET & GET VISA LETTER WITH UKSTUDY.
Your tour should be departing at least 2 or 3 weeks after your appointment date to ensure visa process is completed. Contact UKstudy to get your visa letter showing hotel accommodation and travel plans arranged by us.
3. GO TO THE APPOINTMENT INTERVIEW.
Take your visa letter and ticket with all your required items to the embassy appointment (see below for the list of items you generally need)
4. If you are not successful in your application for the Schengen visa then contact UKstudy Tours immediately to receive your money back for the tour (other costs involved unfortunately cannot be refunded).
LIST OF ITEMS GENERALLY NEEDED FOR EMBASSIES
- Completed application form
- Your passport or travel document which must be valid and in date. This must contain your student visa (which must be valid for at least 3 months longer than the validity of the Schengen visa applied for) Your passport must have a blank page to affix the Schengen visa sticker.
- 1 x passport photo
- Health insurance to the value of at least 30,000 EU. Insurance is available from the Post Office, large supermarkets or various providers online The insurance company will provide you with a letter or certificate to include with your application
- Proof of travel plans this will be the tour ticket and UKstudy visa letter available on request.
- Proof of accommodation this will be on the visa letter we can send on request.
- Proof of financial means. You should have approx. £60 per day available to you for the duration of your visit. You should provide bank statements covering the last 3 months.
- Schengen visa fee. This varies from country to country and will be about £50 to £80 normally.
- Self-addressed special delivery envelope. This is so that the Embassy can post your passport and / or documents back to you when a decision has been made and is available from all post offices.
- Copies of all documents provided. Generally, you will be expected to take both originals and copies of all your documents to your appointment with you.
- Letter from Parents giving permission to travel on a tour abroad (under 18s only)
HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT OR CONTACT THE EMBASSY?
See below for an application centre which can process visa application for some countries and also the embassy contact details for countries we travel to.
The whole process may take up to 6 weeks to get and appointment and receive your visa so please keep this in mind for your travel. It is worth noting that arranging a Schengen visa can be much cheaper and quicker if arranged in country of origin before you arrive in the UK.
Joint Visa Application Centre
Embassy of France
Visa applications are processed by appointment only at TLScontact centre:
Exhibition house, Suite 18,
Appointment: To book an appointment, go to the TLScontact website or call 0845 7300 118, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30.
VISA FOR IRELAND
You can get information and apply for a visa for Ireland by clicking here: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Visit%20Tourist
Online Application form: https://www.visas.inis.gov.ie/avats/OnlineHome.aspx
Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa to enter Ireland. (List of Countries)
(see below for more nationals who do not need a visa below on short stay visa waiver programme).
INFORMATION NOTE - Short stay visa waiver programme allows extra nationalities to Ireland without Irish visa
The Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme was announced by the Government as part of its Jobs Initiative with a view to promoting tourism from emerging markets. It commenced on 1 July 2011. The programme will run up to end October 2016 but may be amended or expanded at any point.
The below link to a document contains current information relating to the Irish Short Stay visa waiver programme.
Information Note - Short Stay Visa Waiver programme March 2012 (Size 77KB)