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Applying for a Schengen Visa in the UK

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, your UK residence permit must be valid for at least another three more months beyond the date you plan to leave the Schengen Area. If this condition is not fulfilled, the Consulate where you lodge your Schengen visa application will reject your application immediately.

Nonresidents such as travelers and tourists currently on a visa in the UK, cannot file their visa application at the Schengen embassies in the United Kingdom. Instead, they should apply for a Schengen visa at the appropriate Schengen embassy in their home country.

Use the Schengen visa eligibility checker tool to find out if you qualify to apply for a Schengen visa from the UK.

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. Find out 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/Consulate 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 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 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. The photo must also comply with the other photo requirements and specifications
  • 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.

For UK employees:

  • Reference letter of employment in the United Kingdom confirming that specifies:
    • Salary
    • Hire date
    • Position
    • 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.

For self-employed:

  • 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.

For retirees:

  • 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.

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 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 for UK residents when applying for a:

When should I apply?

The best time to apply for a Schengen visa in the UK 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.
  • IAM (immigration and migration) is a specialist immigration, migration and global mobility focused law firm based in Canary Wharf, London, with a dedicated global presence.

For more information, click here or start the visa application by filling the form online here!

How long does it take to get a Schengen visa in the UK?

Applications should be made final within 15 calendar days from the date you submitted the visa application in the corresponding Embassy/Consulate in the UK.

This period may be extended up to 30 days, especially in cases when further requirements are made to the applicant.

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 PoundFee in Euro
Adult51 £60 €
Child between 6-12 years of age30 £35 €
Child younger than 6 years of ageFreeFree

Note: Keep in mind that these fees may change depending on currency fluctuations and can be paid only in UK Pounds.

Does the spouse of British national with UK permanent residence need a Schengen visa?

Yes, the non-EU spouse of a UK national requires a visa to travel to the Schengen Area. However, if the following conditions are met then they are not required a visa:

  • The spouse holds a UK Residence Permit that states that the holder is a family member of an EU/EEA National.
  • Travelling with or joining the EEA/EU spouse.

Can Indian passport holder apply for a Schengen visa from UK?

Indian citizens and Indian passport holders that have been legally residing in the United Kingdom for more than three months can apply for a Schengen visa in the UK.

Non-residents such as Indian travelers and Indian tourists who plan on staying in the UK for three months or less should be discouraged from applying for a Schengen visa from within the UK. Instead, they should apply for a Schengen visa in India.

Do I need a passport if I am traveling from the UK to Europe?

For now, as a UK national, you don’t need a visa to enter another EU country. However, you are required to have a valid UK passport when traveling to another EU country.

As a non-EU citizen you must have a passport and you might also need a Schengen visa to travel to the Europe from the UK. Passport must not be older than ten years. They must hold a validity period of at least three months since the day you will be leaving the Schengen zone.

Children traveling alone, with a legal guardian, or with only one parent from the UK towards the EU, should additionally have a letter of authorization to travel. It has to be signed by either both parents, legal guardian, or the second parent.

Becoming a British Resident

There are two popular ways of becoming a non-permanent UK resident:

Latest News Related to UK:

EU Ambassadors Agree to Grant UK Nationals With Visa-Free Travel to Schengen Area (02.02.2019)
The Council of the European Union has given the green light to a bill proposing visa-free access for UK nationals to the Schengen Area, upon Brexit. After the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament unanimously voted pro the exemption of UK nationals from the Schengen visa requirement, the EU ambassadors have also backed the proposal.

LIBE Committee Backs Visa-Free Access to EU for UK Citizens – Demands Reciprocity (30.01.2019)
With 53 votes pro, the Committee backed the rules that enable UK passport holders to enter the EU countries visa-free, provided that the UK grants EU nationals traveling to Great Britain and Northern Ireland with the same benefits.

EU Commission Confirms: Britons Will Need to Apply for ETIAS for Traveling to EU after Brexit (14.12.2018)

Britons will fall under the EU’s list of third countries, after Brexit finally takes place. Less than four months away from the date this happens, the European Commission has given its final confirmation that UK nationals will need to pay to enter the EU countries for short-stay visits.

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