Ultimate Guide On Schengen Visa For UK Passport Holders

Laura Amber, Tourism Guide

A Schengen visa for UK passport holders is not needed to travel to and reside in Schengen area countries in Europe. The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union and therefore British citizens can travel across Europe without a visa. This is despite the fact that the UK is not a member of the Schengen visa bloc. All you need to travel across Europe as a British citizen is your valid British passport.

You can also use your government-issued identification document.  However, depending on the implementation of the 2016 referendum results, it has been argued that this may change after Brexit. This means that Britons may in the future need to apply for a Schengen visa like other non-Schengen and non-EU citizens.

As of June 2014, other categories of persons can travel to Europe freely and without a visa. These categories of persons include the following;

  • British Protected Persons (BPPs)
  • British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTCs)
  • British Subjects (BS)
  • British Overseas Citizens (BOCs)

For traveling visa-free across the world, UK passport holders are in the same league as their Finland and Sweden counterparts. As a British passport holder, you can travel to more than 173 countries visa-free worldwide. If you are a resident of the UK but without a UK passport, you need a Schengen visa. This is if you want to travel to any of the Schengen zone countries. This means if you do not have UK citizenship, you are expected to apply for a Schengen visa in the UK.

What is a Schengen Visa?

The Schengen visa was borne out of an agreement made in 1985 in a town called Schengen in Luxembourg. This agreement abolished travel and border controls among citizens of 26 Schengen countries. The majority of these are also members of the European Union. This means that citizens of these countries are not restricted to cross borders and entering any country visa-free. Additionally, citizens of non-Schengen countries are required to apply and get issued only one visa. This will permit them to enter all 26 countries (with a few restrictions). A short-stay Schengen visa allows one to stay for 90 days within a period of six months.

However, this is not the only agreement that allows member states to traverse Europe visa-free. Being a member of the EU gives similar benefits. As a result, UK citizens do not require any visa to travel across Europe (as a member of the EU) despite being a non-Schengen country.

Who Can Apply for Schengen Visa in the UK?

Schengen visa for UK passport holders is not required to travel to any Schengen state. However, you can apply for a Schengen visa in the UK as a UK resident.  This means UK legal residents need to apply for a Schengen visa in the country before traveling to the Schengen zone. However, you need to satisfy the following Schengen visa requirements;

  • Be a UK resident for more than three months. If this is not met, the embassy of the country that you intend to visit will not consider your application.
  • Holders of a UK visa for three months must extend it for three more months to qualify. The extension application must be done while in the UK and before the current visa expires.

Non-residents in the UK especially should not apply for a Schengen visa in the UK. This is especially the tourists and visitors intending to stay in the UK for less than three months. For this category of individuals, applying for a Schengen visa from their countries of origin is advised. This increases the chances of their applications being successful.

Types Of Visa For UK Residents

There are different types of visas can apply for when you are a legal UK resident. The following table explains the different types of visas you can apply for in the UK;

Visa CategoryTravel Purposes
Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)Meant for UK residents intending to travel to any of the Schengen countries. This visa gives 90 days from the date of entry, for the 180 days-period allowed. This can be single or multiple entry visas.
Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)This meant for UK residents intending to travel to only one Schengen state (or specific ones listed on the visa) for the 90-day maximum period. These limits travel to only a few countries in the Schengen zone.
National VisasThis meant for applicants intending to travel, reside, study or work in one of the Schengen countries. The visa is issued for a particular period for travel reasons after which you must get back to your country of origin. This is issued by the embassy of the specific country of your destination.

Schengen Visa Frequencies for UK Residents

UK residents have traditionally enjoyed favorable Schengen issuance rates. This may be explained by a few facts. If the UK can allow you residency, there are clear indications that you can be allowed entry into the EU too. The following table provides statistics for Schengen visa issuance rates in the UK;

Schengen Visa Application Guidelines in the UK

All Schengen visa bloc countries have embassies and consulates in the UK. You can access any of the embassies to apply for a Schengen visa for UK residents. However, you need to follow these general Schengen visa application guidelines in the UK. This is when deciding where to go for your visa application submission.

  • If visiting only one Schengen member state, go to that country’s embassy or consulate in the UK.
  • If visiting two or more Schengen countries, go to the embassy of the country where you intend to have your mainstay.
  • If traveling to more than one but cannot decide where you will have your main stay for any reason, go to the embassy or consulate of the country that you intend to enter first.

Documents Required for Schengen Visa Application in the UK

When applying for a Schengen visa in the UK, you will be required to submit the required documents. The following documents are required in the UK;

  1. A valid passport or travel document. This document should meet the following characteristics;
  • Issued within the last ten years
  • Have at least two blank pages (one for the visa and one as a spare)
  • Remain valid for at least three months after the date of your departure from the Schengen zone.
  1. Valid resident permit (UK) that must be endorsed on the passport or on a new biometric identity card.
  2. One common Schengen visa application form is duly filled, signed, and dated by the applicant.
  3. One passport photo that must be glued (if stapled will be rejected) on the visa application form. The photo should be taken on a clear background.
  4. Personal cover letter showing your reasons for travel to the Schengen country (or countries).
  5. Proof of flight itinerary for a visa or any other document showing proof of intended travel. In case you are traveling to more than one Schengen country or the trip will involve several Schengen and non-Schengen countries, you should provide a complete travel itinerary too. Fill out this flight itinerary form to get it.
  6. Proof of travel insurance for visa with a minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros (or 26,862 Pounds).
  7. Proof of accommodation for a visa or your participation in a group travel
  8. Proof of financial capability. This should be in the form of traveler’s checks or UK current account statements. To be considered, the funds should show a minimum of 55 Pounds spent per person per day in a Schengen country. Copies of these documents should be submitted too. The documents should not be older than a month.

Other Documents Required for Schengen Visa for UK Residents.

The following table shows other documents that UK residents should submit depending on their particular circumstances;

SituationDocuments to Supply
Formally employedUK employment reference letter that shows the date of hire, salary, position held, and vacation dates.

A letter (less than three months) that shows professional activity and starting date.

Business registration in the UK

Proof of revenue generated (from a solicitor, Chamber of Commerce, Bank Manager, or Accountant)

Students in the UKA letter (less than three months) from a UK institution that shows the type of study, course details, and class attendance record.
For pensionersPension statements for the last six months
If married to a UK citizen and unemployed

A recent letter (less than three months) from the spouse’s employer showing starting date and position held.

Valid passport of the spouse

Marriage certificate. If issued outside the EU, it should be stamped by the foreign office of the issuing country or the country’s embassy or consulate in the UK. The certificate should be translated into English.

Schengen Visa Fees for UK Residents

In order for the Schengen visa to be processed, UK applicants must pay the fees accordingly. The following table shows the fees applicable for a Schengen visa in the UK;

Visa Category by AgeFee (in Euro)Fee (In UK Pound)
Minor (younger than six years)Free
Minor (six to 12 years)3531

Getting a Schengen visa in the UK is a fairly easy process if you have the correct information. You will need to be a resident of the country for you to be eligible to make the application. For more information and assistance to make the process of applying for a Schengen visa smoother, you should consult and get your visa documentation like flight itinerary, hotel bookings, and travel insurance from Schengen Flight Reservation Visa.

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