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Schengen visas: 

Schengen visas Help students make the most of their time in Europe Fay Sherrington (University of Salford) and Joanne Bainbridge (University of Liverpool) UKCOSA Conference 2007 Monday 2nd July 2007

Aims and objectives of presentation: 

Aims and objectives of presentation What is a Schengen visa? Why do we need to know about them? Who needs a Schengen visa? The Schengen application Feedback from advisers, students and embassies How can we improve provision of advice?

Research for this presentation: 

Research for this presentation Information on websites Visit to a consulate Contacted: Embassies Students Advisers UKCOSA

What is a Schengen visa? : 

What is a Schengen visa? Allows the holder to travel freely in 15 European countries known as the Schengen space The name "Schengen" originates from a small town in Luxembourg where in March 1995, seven European Union countries signed a treaty (Schengen agreement) to end internal border checkpoints and controls Issued by an Embassy or Consulate

Group discussion: 

Group discussion Why should we advise students about Schengen visas? What are the advantages of encourage/making it easy for students to travel outside UK?

Why should we advise students about Schengen visas?: 

Why should we advise students about Schengen visas? Take advantage of being so close to Europe Rise in cheap flights May have to travel as part of course To attend a conference Trips organised by international office/academic dept. To keep students occupied during vacation time Provide wider cultural experience To improve their overall student experience

Schengen space: 

Schengen space Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Iceland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Portugal Spain Sweden Not UK and Ireland

Who does not need a Schengen visa?: 

Who does not need a Schengen visa? All European Union nationals List of certain nationalities (see UKCOSA Advisers’ Note) are exempt including: Canada Malaysia Hong Kong Mexico Israel Singapore Japan USA South Korea Check with embassy before travel May still need to have travel/medical insurance

Different types of Schengen visa: 

Different types of Schengen visa Airport transit Transit Short stay – single/multiple entry

Overview of the Schengen application: 

Overview of the Schengen application Where to apply When to apply How to apply Application form Requirements Cost Documents required

Where to apply: 

Where to apply If visiting only 1 country, apply to embassy/consulate of that country If visiting several countries within the Schengen space: MUST apply to main destination i.e. the country in which they plan to spend the most time Apply to country of first port of entry ONLY if there is no main destination i.e. equal time in countries If non-EU national is married to EU-national they must apply to their spouse’s national embassy in the UK (even if not travelling to spouse’s country)

When to apply: 

When to apply Processing times vary between embassies depending on nationality On average 4/6 weeks before travel date Don’t apply too late! Within 3 months before travel date Consider busy periods e.g. Easter National holidays (embassy closure)

How to apply: 

How to apply Apply at embassy/consulate In person/by post? Make appointment (by phone/website?) Application form Documents Appointment (if applying in person)

The Schengen application form: 

The Schengen application form 2 sided – complete both sides Home address means UK address Complete form in full before appointment If student is staying at more than one hotel then write details of first hotel and then “(various)”


Requirements Time remaining on UK visa – may need to extend student visa early (premium?) Need minimum of 3-6 months left on both passport and UK visa UK residence permit must actually be in passport rather than on separate document Need blank page in passport Cannot apply using a travel document unless have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK Must not already have a valid Schengen visa

Cost of application: 

Cost of application Differs according to country applying to Approximately £40 Payment by cash/postal order Non-refundable Free to non-EU spouses and dependants of EU nationals (including UK nationals) Some countries have agreement with EU and therefore pay lower application fee (approx. £23) Applications for educational trips are free

Documents required: 

Documents required Proof of funds Travel/medical insurance Photographs Passport Purpose of trip e.g. invitation letter, conference Accommodation details Airline reservation/flight details Evidence will return to UK/home country Proof of university registration

Useful information: 

Useful information Token based systems (limited number of applications per day) – arrive early Expensive appointment booking line Group applications Emergency applications Agencies Supporting documents are not returned Visas often issued at embassies only (not consulates) If travel date passes, need to provide new travel plans


Feedback From students, advisers and embassies See fact file

Consulate visit: 

Consulate visit Even if UK visa is less than 3 months may still consider application but could be problem if going to other countries afterwards £30 minimum per day required Bank statements should not be older than 30 days If need visa returned in emergency can collect from London Embassy between 3-4pm Do not do group applications Do not usually do emergency applications but may make exceptions for funerals etc. If want to withdraw application must put it in writing Require all applicants to sign an ‘at own risk’ declaration If consulate requests additional documents, these can be dropped-off/faxed later Do not request to see flight tickets initially but may request later If want to study in Holland need to do ‘MVV’ application not Schengen Common mistakes Student registration letter and other documents not recent enough Travel insurance sometimes does not state exact dates of travel. Must show it is current.

Example of a Schengen visa: 

Example of a Schengen visa

Following the application: 

Following the application Carry photocopies of all supporting documents when you travel Refusals Schengen Information System (SIS) Appeals

Conditions of use of visa: 

Conditions of use of visa Schengen visa not appropriate if you wish to remain in a Schengen state for longer than 3 months (e.g. Erasmus) Cannot take up employment or establish a business or trade or profession Misuse - stick to plans stated in application

Group discussion: 

Group discussion Discuss new ideas and best practice to advise students on Schengen visas How can you ensure your students have successful applications? How can you improve the overall provision of Schengen advice at your institution?

How can we improve provision of advice?: 

How can we improve provision of advice? Give information on Schengen visas early Presentation at orientation In pre-departure guide/international student handbook Produce advice leaflet for students Email reminders leading up to vacation times Presentation/workshops leading up to vacation times Up-to-date web information Continued…

…continued: How can we improve provision of advice?: 

…continued: How can we improve provision of advice? Ask students applying for Schengen visas for feedback – feedback form Give information to academic departments Visit embassies/consulates – gather information and build relationships Give students list of consulates in region Share information on local consulates at regional meetings e.g. AISA

Further sources of information: 

Further sources of information UKCOSA Advisers’ Note Individual embassies’ websites Foreign and Commonwealth Office website www.fco.gov.uk for list of ‘foreign embassies in the UK’ (select from drop-down list) Admin UKCOSA Your own students!


Conclusion Reassurance not as complicated as you think Can’t know all the answers advice differs from country to country Be proactive in gathering information Be proactive in giving advice

End of presentation: 

End of presentation Thanks for participating in this session. Good luck with all your Schengen advice! Fay and Jo

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