When you travel outside of the UK, you must always carry your original biometric residence permit (“BRP”) with you to allow you to re-enter the UK. Your BRP is proof of your immigration status in the UK; however, your UK visa status on its own does not entitle you to enter the Schengen zone.
Should you wish to visit France, for example, and you are a national of a country outside of the European Union, you may need to obtain a relevant permission to do so. The Schengen visa will permit you to travel anywhere within the Schengen area for short-term visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day rolling period. The Schengen visa is a requirement for all foreign nationals who are non- EU/ EEA citizens, should they wish to visit the Schengen area for business or tourism. Although British nationals do not need to obtain a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen zone, the 90 days in any 180 days rule applies to them as well.
The requirements to obtain a Schengen visa are quite stringent and require that your current BRP card remains valid for at least 3 months beyond the date on which you plan to leave the Schengen Area. Furthermore, your passport must have been issued within the last 10 years and also remain valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the Schengen area.
Applications for Schengen visas are made by booking appointments at the relevant Embassy, Consulate or Visa centres in the UK. If you plan to visit only one country within the Schengen area, then your appointment must be with the representative of that country. However, if you plan to visit multiple countries across the Schengen zone, you must book your appointment with the appropriate representative of the country which is the main purpose of your visit or where you intend to stay the longest.
Schengen visas do not offer priority processing service, and so you should factor in at least 3 to 4 weeks before you plan to travel to obtain the visa. It is worth noting however, that the visa application must be submitted no earlier than 6 months before your intended date of travel.
Recently, we have seen a shortfall in the number of appointments available in the UK, and, at present, applicants are having to book appointments 6 to 8 weeks in advance. Due to the high demand and lack of availability, we are also seeing long delays in the decision-making processes, and sometimes it takes up to 3 months from the date of the appointment to receive a visa. In light of this, if you are an employer sending employees who require Schengen visas to the Schengen area for a permitted business activity, or if you are a tourist hoping to travel to the Schengen area, we recommend that you factor in at least 3 to 4 months to obtain a visa in order to travel.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on X, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.