Schengen Visa Requirements and Application Guidelines for the UK Residents
Although the United Kingdom is not a member of the Schengen Area, British citizens can travel across Europe visa-free for a maximum of 90 days. Also, from 9 June 2014, all British Overseas Territories citizens (BOTCs), British Overseas citizens (BOCs), British Protected Persons (BPPs), and British Subjects (BS) are allowed to travel visa free to the EU Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days.
"Considering the outcome of the 2016 referendum, it has been reported by various news agencies that this could all change right after Brexit. This means that, in the future, Britons may have to apply for a visa just like non-EU citizens and non-residents."
Who can apply for a Schengen visa in the UK?
To apply for a Schengen visa from the UK you must be a UK resident for at least three months. If this condition is not fulfilled, the Consulate of your country of preference will hardly take the application into consideration.
If you have a 3 month UK visa you can extend it for three more months in order to be eligible to apply for a Schengen visa from within the UK. You must apply for an extension before your visa expires and while you’re still in the UK.
Non-residents such as travelers and tourists who plan on staying in the UK for 3 months or less should be discouraged from applying for a Schengen visa from within the UK. Instead, they should apply in their home country so that the application is processed, chances of getting a positive answer become greater.
Here you can find more on how to extend your UK visa.
Please, note that if you are not a resident in the United Kingdom you should apply at the Embassy in your country of residence.
Visa application documents and requirements for the UK residents
All Schengen states are represented in the UK by Consulates and Embassies and they all have specific requirements for applicants. However, here are some general requirements common of each visa application center:
- 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 will be valid for at least three (3) months after the date you exit the Schengen Area.
- A valid UK residence permit or other form of Identity Card. The UK residency permit must be endorsed in the actual passport (or on a new biometric ID card)
- One application form filled out completely and signed by the applicant. You can also apply via 3rd party websites like this one here. You have to pay an extra fee for their services, but they will also help you with Appointment booking, Documents checking, Visa application as well as with Visa and Passport collection. For more information, please click here!
- One photo, which must be glued on 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 several Schengen States will be visited or if the trip covers 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).
- Hotel reservations or proof of participation in group travel.
- A recent statement of UK current account or travelers checks showing funds of a minimum of £55 per person per day spent in the Schengen area. Photocopies of the original documents 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.
- 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) that specifies:
- Professional activity
- Starting date
- Business registration
- Revenues from their solicitor or Accountant or Bank Manager or Local Chamber of Commerce
- VAT certificate
For foreign students in UK:
- An official recent (less than 3 months old) letter from their school, college or university within the UK, that state:
- 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 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.
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 for a Schengen visa?
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 apply.
- 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.
Requirements and guidelines when applying for a:
- France Visa from the UK
- Germany Visa from the UK
- Spain Visa from the UK
- Italy Visa from the UK
- Switzerland Visa from the UK
- Netherlands Visa from the UK
- Greece Visa from the UK
- Portugal Visa from the UK
- Belgium Visa from the UK
- Sweden Visa from the UK
- Norway Visa from the UK
- The Czech Visa from the UK
When should I apply?
The best time to apply is at least 15 days before the intended visit to Europe. If you can apply even earlier than that, it is even better – although not earlier than 3 months before the intended visit!
Holders of multiple-entry visas may apply six months before the expiry date of the valid visa.
How to apply for a Schengen visa from the UK?
To apply for a Schengen visa from the UK you must book an appointment with the relevant Consulate or Embassy in London. This can be done in two ways:
- By going at the Consulate/Embassy office in person
- By using an online application form from third party companies such as the IAM
Reasons why you should apply through the IAM website
- IAM’s visa advisors will contact you as soon as possible to confirm the suitable date and time for you to attend the visa processing center in the UK.
- They will fill in an Application Form for Schengen visas online to secure your appointment and send it to you together with a complete list of requested documents and the confirmation of your appointment.
- The IAM’s team will assist you in collecting the required documents and checking your prepared application to make sure your application has the highest possible prospect of success.
- If you cannot collect your passport yourself, IAM’s representatives can arrange for collection. Alternatively, you may choose to have your application sent back by registered mail when you make your visa application.
Visa application and processing time
You can only apply for a visa within three months of your planned trip to Schengen countries. Since visa applications that are admitted usually take about 15 days to process, you should consider applying at least 15 days before your intended visit to Europe. You should be aware that there are cases where additional documentation is required, processing can take up to a maximum of 60 days.
Consulates advise visa applicants to apply well in advance of their planned trip in order to avoid any unwanted complications.
Note: Holders of multiple-entry visas may apply six months before the expiry date of the valid visa.
There are however some specific individual cases where applicants can obtain visas faster through accelerated procedures:
- Applicants who a have a EEA or EU citizen family member
- Cases of extreme medical emergency
*Caution: When applying for a Schengen visa in the United Kingdom during the summer or winter seasons, be cautious and/or plan your visit earlier, as these are the months when the highest numbers of applications arrive in Embassies – consequently, taking longer to complete the visa processing!
Schengen visa fees for the UK residents
The fees of a Schengen visa application in the United Kingdom may vary from 30 £ for children aged between 6 and 12 to 51 £ for adults (depending on currency fluctuations).
|Schengen Visa Category (by age)||Fee in UK Pound||Fee in Euro|
|Adult||51 £||60 €|
|Child between 6-12 years of age||30 £||35 €|
|Child younger than 6 years of age||Free||Free|
Note: Keep in mind that these fees may change depending on currency fluctuations and can be paid only in UK Pounds.
What should I do if my Visa gets refused?
If you have been refused a visa, you have the right to appeal! All appeals must be conducted against the final decision Member State in accordance with the national law of the specified Member State.
Every Member State, upon refusal, indicates the references to their exact national laws and the specific procedure that is related to the right of appeal, as well as the authorities with which you should appeal and the time limit for delivering the appeal.
Becoming a British Resident
There are two popular ways of becoming a non-permanent UK resident:
- By obtaining a work visa. Find more: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas
- By obtaining a residence card. Find more: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-a-uk-residence-card/eligibility
Schengen Visa Information