Do you need to travel to the Schengen Area from the UK?
There has been widespread confusion about the Schengen Visa from the UK after Brexit, when new rules governing the relationship between the EU and UK became effective on January 1st, 2021.
The UK is no longer in the EU, so you might ask yourself whether or not you need a Schengen Visa from the UK to travel to Europe.
The short answer is, it depends.
The laws governing the movements of UK citizens and some third-country nationals residing in the UK have changed after Brexit, but this doesn’t mean everyone from the UK needs to apply for a Schengen Visa to enter Europe.
If you’re confused about the Schengen Visa application process, read on.
You’ll find out if you qualify to apply for a Schengen Visa from the UK and the exact steps you need to take to submit your application.
Table of contents:
1. Do You Need to Apply for a Schengen Visa from the UK?
If you are a British citizen, you do not need a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe if you plan on staying for a maximum of 90 days over a 180-day period, despite the UK leaving the European Union.
However, you may be asked to justify your travel purpose and present documents related to your trip to the Immigration Officer, such as proof of accommodation or means of subsistence.
Also, do note that British citizens will be eligible to apply for an ETIAS visa in 2023 when the system will be fully operational.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System and it is an electronic travel authorisation or visa waiver you can get by completing an online form.
From June 2014, even British Overseas Territories citizens (BOTCs), British Overseas citizens (BOCs), British Protected Persons (BPPs), and British Subjects (BS) are permitted to enter the Schengen Area visa-free for up to 90 days.
But what about third-country nationals residing in the UK? Do they need a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe?
Not every third-country national residing in the UK is required to obtain a Schengen Visa.
That depends on your country of citizenship.
Check out this post to find out if you need to apply for a Schengen Visa based on your nationality.
If you find out that you need to apply for a Schengen Visa from the UK, do note that you must hold a UK residence permit valid for at least three months beyond the date you plan to leave Europe.
If you’re not legally residing in the UK (e.g., you’re a tourist on a UK Visa) you must apply for a Schengen Visa in your country of residence.
That said, let’s have a look at the key steps you have to follow to apply for a Schengen Visa from the UK.
2. How to Apply for a Schengen Visa from the UK
There are 5 key steps that can help you to successfully apply for a Schengen Visa from the UK:
- Find out what Schengen Visa type you need to apply for
It is essential to figure out which Schengen Visa type you need to ensure you collect the right documents according to your travel purpose.
- Find out where you need to submit your application
If you plan on visiting one Schengen country, you must submit your application to the Embassy or Consulate of that country located in the UK.
If you plan on visiting more than two Schengen countries, you must submit your application:
- To the Embassy of the country where you will spend most days (if you plan on spending an unequal amount of days in each)
- To the Embassy of the country you will enter first (if you plan on spending an equal amount of days in each).
Please note that some Schengen Embassies and Consulates in the UK have outsourced the Visa submission to third-party providers that are committed to supporting applicants through the entire application process.
Or, the Embassy of Italy in the UK has outsourced the Visa submission to VFS Global.
- Find out when you need to submit your application
The Schengen Visa policy enables you to submit your application 15 working days before your departure date (latest date) and six months before your departure date (earliest date).
We always encourage our clients to submit their application at least three weeks before their departure date in case additional processing time is required (as a general rule, you should wait 15 days for your Visa to be processed).
- Book your appointment
If all the available slots are booked in advance by other applicants, it may take weeks to get an appointment – especially if you apply for a Visa to a country that has a large influx of applicants, such as France, Germany, Italy, or Spain.
So make sure you book your Schengen Visa appointment well in advance to avoid any hassles.
- Collect the required documents
The documents you present to the Embassy officers can make or break your application.
Make sure you carefully check our full list of required documents and identify the exact documents you need to submit based on your personal situation.
Alternatively, you can request your personalised Schengen Embassy Requirements Report (SERR) to skip your research and instantly get a complete list of required documents based on your situation and travel purpose.
Once you have collected your documents and ensured they’re all up-to-date and flawless, all you need to do is submit your application.
If your application gets approved, you will have to return to the Embassy to get your Visa sticker affixed to your passport.
If your application gets denied, make sure you carefully read the reason why your Visa got rejected. If you have reasons to believe that the decision was incorrect, you have the right to appeal the Schengen Visa rejection.
If you’re struggling to get to grips with the Schengen Visa application process, the best next step to take is to get a free, no-obligation Schengen Visa Consultation.
There’s equivocally no sales pitch – our services sell themselves – we’ll just ask some questions via chat to understand your situation better and share what you should do next.
So get in touch and let us help you clear up any doubts you may have regarding your Schengen Visa application to ensure you have the best chance of travelling to Europe!