There has been a lot of confusion recently over UK and European visas particularly after the UK decision to leave the European Union which has become commonly known as Brexit.
Although UK is currently part of the European Union, Thai nationals require a separate visa to visit Europe than they do to visit or stay in the UK.
Even if you are granted entry to the UK with a tourist or settlement visa, you will still need to apply for a visa for the specific European country you wish to visit or a Schengen visa to visit multiple countries.
If you are planning to visit multiple countries then you will need to apply for a visa with the embassy of the country which will be your main destination.
A Schengen visa is only applicable for a period of up to 3 months for the purposes of tourism, study or business. If you are planning to stay any longer than three months then you must apply for a more specific type of visa.
Presently, 25 EU countries are part of the European Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, plus Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
If you are planning to study in a European country then the first step is to find a course which you want to study and be accepted onto the course. There are a number of speciality courses which you may with to join, America is famous for the MBA and countries such as Germany are famous for Applied Science and Switzerland is famous for hotel management education.
One of the main benefits of the Schengen visa is the ability to travel from country to country without restrictions as usually travel visas are specific to one country.
The typical requirements for a Schengen visa are as follows:
- A valid national passport
- Evidence showing the purpose of your trip, such as hotel reservations, … as well as documents that prove your family connection, if you are intending to visit family
- Documentary proof that shows you have sufficient financial means of support (*)
- Proof that you have taken out a valid European Schengen travel insurance. At a minimum, this travel insurance is to provide cover for repatriation, hospital admission expenses, medical expenses and assistance in case of death.
If you are planning on travelling to Europe for longer than three months for any of the reasons mentioned earlier then you will need to apply for a specific residence visa.
Using the student example again, typical requirements for a student visa would be:
- A valid travel document/ passport (At least 3 months up to its expiration date)
- Documentation to prove how you intend to support your stay in Europe.
- Proof regarding your accommodation. This is not necessarily required in case the students proves that he/she will have sufficient funds to maintain themselves during their stay in the foreign Schengen country.
- Two current passport-sized photos (Appropriate for the designated embassy/consulate)
- Travel itinerary
- Travel Insurance
- Letter of acceptance from your university
- A bank receipt to prove you have paid the processing fee
Visiting Europe can be a really fun experience for Thai citizens, there are many beautiful countries all within a few hours drive of each other and all with their own unique cultures to be experienced.