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Study abroad : Visa Guides

What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa application guide for Nigerian students


Hard work during term time in Europe is likely to earn you a European break. Paris, Rome and Barcelona are among the popular destinations for international students. The earlier you book your tickets the better price you get, but most importantly, leave sufficient time for your Schengen visa application. As Nigerian students travelling within the Schengen area require a visa, we offer a comprehensive guide on the application to make sure you get to see the Eiffel tower as planned!


Schengen visa


The Schengen area is comprised of 26 countries which allow free movement of their citizens within this area as a single country. These countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. However, there are countries that are not part of the EU like Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein yet do belong in the Schengen area free movement policy.


Types of schengen visa


Depending on the purpose of travel and its duration, there are different Schengen visa types available: tourist, business, student, working, transit. Generally the visa issued allows you to visit any of the Schengen States during the same trip as long as visa is valid. A Schengen visa is not appropriate, if you wish to remain in the Schengen area for longer than 90 days, take up employment or establish a business, trade or profession.


Schengen visa application requirements


Application for a Schengen visa is usually made at the designated embassy of the country you wish to visit. If you are hoping to visit more than one Schengen State, apply for a visa at the consulate of your primary country destination (the longest stay) and if trips to Schengen countries will be of equal length, you must apply at the Consulate of the country whose external borders you will cross first when entering the Schengen area. The key requirements are similar and you can check the detailed list of documents needed in the Schengen Visa Application Requirements section.

Tip: It is recommended to arrange the appointment at least 15 days prior to your departure to allow time for the visa to be issued.


Supporting documents


  • The application form must be fully completed and signed
  • One passport format photo recently taken, full-face capture, and a light background
  • The passport as well as all the copies of your previous visas (for example, the student visa for the UK) must be valid for at least 3 months prior to your departure and the passport must have at least two blank pages
  • The reservation of the return ticket
  • The travel medical insurance policy has to cover expenses up to 30,000 Euros, the sum depending on the residing days, and it has to be valid in all Schengen countries. The health insurance policy must be purchased before picking up the visa

For the airport transit and transit visa additional documents include:

  • A valid visa (if needed) for the final country one is travelling to
  • The ticket for the final country you are travelling to

For the tourist visa prepare the following:

  • The current bank statement (preferably for the last 6 months)
  • The detailed itinerary of the traveling days in the Schengen Zone, hotel reservations or a formal invitation letter by a resident of a Schengen country

For visiting relatives or friends in a Schengen State:

  • If the applicant will be covering all the travel expenses, proof of one’s financial status is requested otherwise if the relative or friend is to cover the applicant's expenses, a formal document issued by the competent authorities to a resident of a Schengen country (the friend or relative) is to be submitted
  • The formal invitation by the relative or friend residing in a Schengen country
  • If the applicant will be covering the expenses on his/her own, the relatives/friends name, address and the copy of their passport will suffice. In case that the friend/relative is not a citizen of this Schengen country, the copy of the residency permit will also be required.


How long does it take to issue a schengen visa?


Once a Schengen visa application is submitted to the Consulate, a decision is made within 15 calendar days on average. This period may be extended up to 30 days or even 60 days in some cases. Remember, applications can be lodged no more than three months before the start of the intended trip.

Tip: Take into account the national holidays of the Schengen State of destination and the country where you apply for the visa, as this may delay the processing of your documents.


Costs and dates


The general visa fee of EUR 60 must be paid when you submit the visa application through the embassy of the country. Airport transit visas are of the same price. Long stay visas for more than 90 days costs 99 Euros. In case you are travelling for a good academic cause - pupils, students, postgraduates, researchers and the accompanying teachers who are travelling for the purpose of studying or educational training do not incur visa fees. The most common type of visa issued can reach the maximum of 90 days in every six month period starting from the date of entry, and it is paramount to keep your travels within the allowed timeframe. Now master your camera skills and send us some postcards from Venice!

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About Author

Elena Sikorsky is an entrepreneur in e-commerce and digital marketing. She has degrees in Entrepreneurial Management and PR and Broadcast Journalism. Elena is a contributing writer on culture, art, education, fashion, business and travel in British and international media.