Guidance and information about visitor, Schengen and Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visas.
If you have family or friends that wish to visit the UK for a short period they will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa.
- the visa is available for a maximum of 6 months
- they must leave the UK on or before the expiry date and will not be able to extend it or switch into a different category in the UK
- they cannot make an application more than 3 months in advance of the date they intend entering the UK. However make sure they give themselves plenty of time to make their application and receive their visa. You can find out how long it takes to process a visa in your home country on the UKVI website
- when they make their application, they should state when they wish the visa to start from (date you intend to enter the UK) otherwise they will start the visa from the date they issue the visa
- make sure they supply sufficient evidence to support their application.
- Decision making can be subjective so they should not give UKVI a reason to doubt the validity of their application
Making the application
They will need to make their application on-line here: Standard Visitor visa - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
When they apply you will need to do the following:
- register an account with UKVI
- complete the on-line application form
- pay the application fee
- make an appointment to submit biometric details
- submit their documents
Selecting the right visa type
When they complete the on-line application they will need to ensure that they are applying for the correct type of visa. In the “Select Visa Type” section of the application choose the following options from the drop down list.
Type of visa: Visit
Purpose of application: General Visitor
Type of application: (General) Single, double and multiple, valid up to 6 months
The applicant will need to have a biometric appointment to have their fingerprints and photo taken. This is a mandatory part of any visa application to the UK. They will be able to select an appointment date at the end of the on-line application process.
Sending their documents
Once they have completed and paid for their application and booked their biometric appointment they will need to submit their documents to the UKVI. After completing their application they will be sent an acknowledgement e-mail from UKVI which will instruct them where to send their documents.
The type of documents required can vary from country to country, however below is a list of documents they should expect to submit with their application. They should check with UKVI to see if any additional documents are required locally.
- passport and/or travel documents
- proof of finances - bank statements or pay slips covering a 6 month period. You can additionally provide your bank statements etc. as proof as well if required
- accommodation and travel details – details of flight bookings and confirmation of accommodation booking. If your visitor will be staying with you for the duration of their stay in the UK you should provide proof of your address (e.g. a copy of your tenancy agreement)
- a copy of the biometric (main page of your passport) and a copy of your visa
- a student status letter, confirming your studies at Roehampton. You can obtain this from the Welcome Centre
- they may also be asked to provide other socio-economic evidence to show that they have a strong link to your home country and intend to return
For full details of UK visa requirements please refer to the UKVI website.
Nationals of certain countries do not have to apply for this visa in advance and can obtain it on entry to the UK. They should ask for a Standard Visitor visa at the immigration desk. They can check whether this applies to them at: Visit visa: guide to supporting documents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) It is still advisable to have all of the necessary documents needed for a Standard Visitor visa available in case they are requested.
The Start Up visa allows graduated students to remain in the UK to work on their business ideas for a two year period. It is specifically aimed at entrepreneurial activities.
To discuss this visa option please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a discussion on next steps.
Common Travel Area (CTA)
Students who are UK visa holders who want to travel to one of the CTA countries, do not need to apply for a visa before they travel. As the United Kingdom belongs to the Common Travel Area (CTA) your valid UK visa allows you to travel to all the CTA countries (United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands).
If you wish to travel to one of the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen area, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa before you travel.
Although most of the Schengen countries are in the European Union (EU), you should not confuse the Schengen Area with the EU. The countries that make up the Schengen space presently are the following:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area for a period of time of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.
However, if you are planning to study, work, or live in one of the Schengen countries for more than 90 days, then you must apply for a national visa of that European country and not a Schengen Visa.
How to apply
Whether you need to apply for a Schengen visa depends on your nationality. You can use the Schengen Visa Checker to find out if you need one.
If you do, then you have to put together your travel plan, how many days you plan to be in the zone, the countries you are going to visit (if more than one), the country where you are going to enter, and the country where you’re going to exit.
All the Schengen area countries are represented in the UK by consulates and embassies. You will need to contact them directly to make an application for a Schengen visa. If you are visiting more than one Schengen country, you need to apply to the country where you will be staying the longest (or the first country you will be entering if staying the same length of time in each country).
A list of foreign embassies in the UK can be found at:
Each country might have specific requirements for applicants. However, the common requirements for each country are:
- Original passport (valid at least for 3 months after the date you exit the Schengen area)
- Completed application form (each country has its own application form)
- One recent passport photo (some countries might require more than one)
- Proof of purpose of the visit (i.e. invitation letter from friends/family or conference organisers or proof of tour bookings/accommodation reservations)
- Evidence of sufficient funds to complete your trip (i.e. bank statements)
- Schengen visa fees (charges are different according to country)
- Evidence of student status (i.e. status letter from our Welcome Centre)
- Travel insurance that covers medical expenses (most Schengen countries require one)
Schengen Visa Types according to purpose of travel
When an applicant fills the Schengen Visa application form, he or she will also have to select a purpose why he or she is applying to enter the Schengen territory. Following find these purposes, and an explanation on what each of them stands for:
Airport Transit – this purpose of entry is for people who need to travel through the international zone of a Schengen Country Airport without entering the Schengen Country. The Schengen states have made a very narrow list of countries the nationals of which need to be possession of this visa. On the other hand, some of the member states have added extra other countries in their list. Therefore, despite of the fact that to transit through some countries you may not need a visa, depending on your nationality you might need it in others.
Transit – which is very similar to the previously explained purpose of travel. Mostly foreign seafarers, who only need to stop for very short periods by the seaport of one of the member states, check this purpose of travel in their application form.
Tourism – one of the most famous purposes for traveling to the Schengen Zone. People who are planning to visit any of the countries in this territory for sightseeing and experiencing their culture, architecture, foods and much more, should select this purpose of traveling in their application form.
Visiting Family or Friends – people who have family members or friends legally residing in the Schengen area, can apply for this visa, if they wish to visit them. There are some special requirements for this visa that the applicant must fulfill in order for the application to be successful, as i.e. a letter of invitation.
Business – a lot of people travel often to and from the Schengen countries for business purposes. The perks of applying for such a visa are many, as i.e. being able to get a quicker appointment during the peak season of visa applications when there is a high number of people applying.
Official Visit – you will have to tick “Official Visit” in your application form, if you are traveling to the Schengen Area on an official duty. You will have to check this visa purpose even if you are traveling together with a large delegation with identical travel dates and official purpose.
Medical reasons – If you are traveling to any of the member states of the Schengen territory to seek medical treatment, you should select ‘medical reasons’ in your application form. This visa enables patients to get the medical care they need at any medical clinic or hospital for a period of three months within 180 days.
Study Purposes – pupils and students that wish to attend any type of educational institutions, as university courses, language courses and other, for a period shorter than three months, can apply for a Schengen study visa. Those that need to take an entrance exam for school or university in the Schengen Area, should also tick this visa purpose.
Cultural, Sports and Film Crews – a visa established for people living outside of the Schengen area, wishing to travel to Europe for the purpose of attending a Cultural / Sports / Religious Event and Film Crews. The applicant should be part of the event, as i.e. a performer at a concert, or a writer presenting their book at a book fair, and not only audience.
Other – If your purpose of entry to the Schengen Area does not match any of the purposes given above, you will have to tick the “Other” option in the application form. However, you will still need to specify what the reason behind your application is. You will have the chance to do so in a short simple sentence, at most. I.e. if wish to enter any of the member states to attend a religious event or something similar, you can write "Religious Visit" or "Religious Purposes"
How long will it take?
Applications should be processed in 15 days. However, applications can take longer to process so you are advised to allow more time. Please note that you cannot apply more than three months before you intend to travel.
How much does it cost?
The cost of a Schengen visa fee is €60 per adults. Still, depending on the age of the applicant, nationality and some other factors, there are categories that will have to pay a lower fee or no fee at all.
Check the list of Schengen Visa fees, which precisely indicates the categories that benefit from the reduced visa costs or that are exempt from paying the fee.
For more information about the Schengen visa, please visit: