This information is for those students who are already in the UK on a Residents Permit (Student Visa) – this section is not intended to provide information on how to apply for a Student Visa (Student Entry Clearance or Tier 4 visa) or extend an existing visa to remain in the UK.
During your time at Queen’s you may have opportunities to travel which will widen your experiences of other cultures and enhance your time in the UK. Applying for a visa can seem confusing or difficult, so it is important when applying for a visa that you plan and prepare in advance. This section is designed to assist you with the visa application process and give you some key points you need to consider when applying. In the menu to the left of this page is a list of the ‘most popular’ countries students choose to visit during their stay in the UK. Please click on the country to which you will apply for a Schengen visa for more information about what to do.
The information in this section is given in good faith and has been carefully checked. Queen's University Belfast accepts no legal responsibility for its accuracy.
Before you apply...
Due to the fact that an Embassy can change the information on its website at any time, you are strongly advised to check the Embassy web page prior to submitting your application. We cannot therefore take responsibility for any changes which occur on Embassy websites.
What is a visa?
A visa is a document issued by a country giving you permission to enter the country for a given period of time. Most countries will require you to have a valid visa as a condition of entry. Visas are obtained by prior application at the country's Embassy or Consulate. You will be charged a non-refundable fee for issuing a visa. Visas are typically stamped or attached into your passport.
Visas can be single-entry, which means the visa is cancelled as soon as you leave the country, or multiple-entry, permitting multiple entries into the country with the same visa.
Once issued, a visa will typically have to be used within a certain period of time and the period of validity usually starts only on entry into the country. Overstaying a visa's validity period is considered illegal immigration and you may be fined, deported and even blacklisted from entering the country again.
As of March 26th, 1995, a new type of visa - the Schengen visa - was introduced by the following European countries:
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
A Schengen visa issued by an Embassy or Consulate of the above countries allows the holder to travel freely in all of these countries. However, if you are travelling to more than one country, you may be required to hold a return ticket for some countries or other proof of onward travel – please check the requirements of the country you are applying to before you purchase your return travel ticket.
Please note: the Schengen Agreement applies only to those specific counties who signed to the Agreement within the EU and EEA – the Schengen Agreement is not specific to all European Member countries but only to those listed above.
The rules for applying for a Schengen visa are as follows:
1 If you intend to visit ONLY ONE SCHENGEN COUNTRY, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of that country.
2 If you intend to visit SEVERAL SCHENGEN COUNTRIES WITHOUT HAVING A MAIN DESTINATION, you should apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the first country of entry.
3 If you intend to visit SEVERAL SCHENGEN COUNTRIES, with one country being your MAIN DESTINATION (i.e. you intend to stay in a particular country for more time than the others), then you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country which is your main destination.
Your stay is limited to 90 days within any 6 month period. Holders of Schengen visas are still subject to immigration controls and are not guaranteed entry into any of the Schengen countries.
Please check each country’s requirements before assuming that you only require a Schengen for your European journey. For example Australians currently require a visa to visit Portugal.
If you intend to visit countries which are not listed above you will be required to apply to each individual country you wish to visit.
You should also note that if you are planning a trip which includes one or more countries listed in the Schengen agreement and a country which is not listed you will need to apply to one of the Schengen countries and also to the Embassy of other country/countries you will be visiting. For example, if you were planning to visit France, Germany, Spain, Ireland and Romania you would have to apply for three visas as follows:
(a) A Schengen visa for France, Germany or Spain
(b) A tourist visa for Ireland
(c) A tourist visa for Romania
- When you telephone an Embassy number you will be charged a minimum of 60p per minute – do not use your mobile as it could be very expensive.
- When telephoning for an appointment have your passport with you and a pen and paper.
- When posting your application never post cash.
- Always send a Postal Order for the exact amount required.
- Always buy travel and health insurance whether or not it is required as part of the visa application.
- If you are booking your accommodation and travel with a travel agent take your passport with you to ensure that the names entered in the booking are identical – always check spelling.
- If you wish your passport to be returned to you by post you should submit a special delivery prepaid self-addressed envelope.
- You should normally allow 4-8 weeks for the processing of your application from the date of appointment or receipt of documents, before the proposed journey is undertaken - check the relevant Embassy website.
- If you have any questions about your Schengen visa application or other part of your travel, contact us.
Important Visa information
Providing false information in a Schengen visa application will be taken very seriously by the Embassy and the applicant themselves will be held responsible for the fraudulent claims; even if someone else completed the form, the applicant who signs the form is responsible for all information provided in that form. Please do not be tempted to be involved with this type of deception. If you do then your Schengen visa application will be refused and you are putting yourself at risk of being prosecuted.
You should also remember that, when applying for a Schengen visa, you must apply either to the embassy of the country where you will be visiting first, or the country where you will be spending the most time. You should not apply to a different embassy because you think your application will be dealt with quicker or more favourably there - this is known as ‘visa shopping’ and is disapproved of by embassies. ‘Visa shopping’ may also lead to the refusal of a Schengen visa.
Queen’s University will not assist you if we believe that you are ‘visa shopping’.