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 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:
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.
For more information, please click here or start the visa application by filling the form online here!
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.
Find out 12 Common Reasons Why Visa Applications Get Rejected!
Becoming a British Resident
There are two popular ways of becoming a non-permanent UK resident:
It appears that you may have it cross-wired.
People use photos, like wedding photos and family photos, when they are applying for a spouse visa or fiance visa. They think that photos will help prove that the marriage is genuine and not a sham marriage. These are 'settlement visas' meaning that the spouse is coming to live in the UK permanently so they don't need to show round-trip tickets and the decision-makers do not care about ties to their native country and all the other things a visitor has to show. The place to ask more questions about those visas is Expats.
You are, on the other hand, contemplating a visit visa which is an altogether different topology. Photos for visit visas rarely make it out of the mailroom. For the most part, they are irrelevant because you need to prove different things.
Do I need to add any family/wedding photographs after adding marriage certificate and kids birth certificate.
Why? If you want to prove you are married you can include a certified copy of your marriage certificate (or the original if you are confident they will return it). Along the same lines, children's birth certificates are redundant to their passports. If they want a full-on DNA test to prove out the distaff or spear side lineage, they will call you in.
As a general rule, if you send in lots of irrelevant stuff they will conclude (and rightly so) that you have not studied the guidance and the supporting documents list. This weakens your application because how can you be trusted to follow the rules if you don't know what they are?
So study the guidance.
Do I need a cover letter and what details should I show on the cover letter.
A cover letter does not appear anywhere in the rules; it is not required. On the other hand a well-crafted, word-smithed cover letter can carry the application and sometimes the results border on miraculous. It means a mediocre application becomes a strong one. Sadly, a sloppy, poorly-crafted letter hurts the application so you need to think it over carefully. UK solicitors with a specialty in visit visas are the best at cover letters if you decide you want to go that route.
As to what points a cover letter should address, we have an open question about that here. So it's technically a duplicate. The sole answer (at the moment) takes up a different case than yours. If another answer doesn't appear in the next few days, you can simply use the "ask question" button and ask a highly focused question about what to write. You would need to give a few details about your circumstances (i.e., your current question does not contain enough details/information to get a meaningful answer and users have been attempting to extract the details in comments -- it's a less focused thing and people lose interest going back and forth in comments to get the relevant information so try to make your question complete with respect to details and your personal circumstances).