Can I travel to other countries?

Whilst studying in the UK many students wish to travel to other countries for recreational or study-related trips.

You should check with the embassy/consulate of the country you wish to visit whether someone of your nationality requires a visa to travel there.

You may experience difficulties obtaining a visa if you apply to travel towards the end of your studies in the UK. Many European embassies/consulates expect students to have between two and six months' leave to remain in the UK beyond the term of their proposed trip. Therefore, it is advisable for you to travel during the holidays (such as Christmas, Easter) before the end of your course. 

The Schengen visa scheme

What is the Schengen visa scheme?

The Schengen visa scheme allows visitors to obtain one visa to visit a number of designated countries within the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA countries which currently participate in the scheme are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia             
  • Finland             
  • France              
  • Germany
  • Greece             
  • Hungary           
  • Iceland             
  • Italy
  • Latvia  
  • Lithuania           
  • Luxembourg     
  • Malta
  • Netherlands      
  • Norway            
  • Poland              
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia           
  • Slovenia           
  • Spain    
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Do I need to apply for a Schengen visa?

If you are a national of any of the above listed countries, the United Kingdom or Ireland, you do not need to apply for a Schengen visa. Non-EEA nationals will usually require a visa to enter the Schengen space and should check with the embassy/consulate of the country they wish to visit before making travel arrangements.

Non-EEA nationals who wish to visit one or more of the countries covered by the scheme should apply for a Schengen visa to either:

  • the embassy/consulate of whichever of the 25 countries they plan to spend most or all of their time in; or
  • the embassy/consulate of the country they will go to first, if they plan to spend about the same amount of time in a number of countries within the scheme.

How do I apply for the Schengen visa?

Each of the Schengen member states have slightly different application procedures, request specific documents and make different charges. Information on application procedures should be available on the Embassy websites. Some embassies may require students of particular nationalities to make their application in person rather than post.

How long will the application take?

You should plan any trips you wish to take in advance. Most embassies will take about three weeks to process an application, but this can vary from embassy to embassy. 

What if I want to visit a country outside of the Schengen scheme?

If you wish to visit a country that is outside of the Schengen scheme you will need to contact that country's embassy in the UK.

Make sure that you read the information about applying and processing times carefully - it is not often possible to obtain your visa in a matter of weeks. Plan any trip well in advance. 


Some embassies will limit the number of applications accepted in one day. If you are making an application in person you should aim to arrive at the embassy as early as possible.

Embassies close on days which are national holidays in their own country. Details of closures will be listed on the embassy web site.

If you are in need of information, try to find it on the web site first. Visa information lines are expensive to call and only give basic information.

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