Travelling outside of the UK

Information for students travelling outside the UK during your time at NTU.

You may wish to travel to other countries during your time at NTU for a variety of purposes. These can include tourism, conferences and course trips.

Before travelling abroad, it is useful to find out:

  • Do you need a visa to enter the country of your destination?
  • What is the application procedure for each country you want to visit?
  • Do you need a visa to enter any of the countries you'll pass through on your journey?
  • What are the visa requirements for each country you wish to visit?

Our International Student Support Service staff can't help you with checking visa applications. We hope the information on this page will help you get the visa you need.

General advice on international travel is available on the UK government website.

Studying abroad

As an international student, we encourage you to study abroad as part of your course at NTU. See our study abroad pages for information on:

  • where you can go
  • what you can do
  • how to get funding and support for your time abroad.

Do I need a visa to study abroad?

As an international (non-EU) student, it's likely you'll need to apply for a visa to study or volunteer abroad.

See the website of the host university or organisation you intend to study at or volunteer with. They will be the best source of information on the type of visa you should apply for.

You should also look at the relevant embassy’s webpage. There you'll find information about the visa application process, including:

  • costs
  • timescales
  • the documentary evidence required.

What happens to my Student visa if I study abroad?

NTU is your Student sponsor. We'll continue to monitor your attendance and engagement with studies. We'll do this even while you're studying abroad, the same as we would if you were here on campus in Nottingham.

NTU will liaise with your host institution. We'll work together to set up the relevant contact points. Your host institution will communicate any attendance issues to NTU.

If you're absent from your host institution for any reason, you must stay in touch with them. Any extended absence may impact your Student visa. If any difficulties arise, you should also inform your Subject Administrator at NTU.

Your period of study abroad could extend the length of your course. It could change it from a three-year course to a four-year course, for instance. If so, you'll need to extend your Student visa before it expires. See our information about making visa applications both inside and outside the UK.

Keep your passport and BRP safe while you're overseas. If either do get lost, please refer to our guidance on the action you need to take.

Schengen visa scheme

The Schengen visa scheme is for non-EEA nationals. It allows them to visit 25 participating countries in the European Economic Area. They only need one visa to do it.

You should find out if you need to apply for a Schengen visa. Visit the relevant embassy's website for information. See the list below.

Schengen visas are issued for short stays of up to 90 days. You can use them for:

  • tourism
  • cultural or sport visits
  • study trips organised as part of your course
  • short periods of study (up to 90 days)
  • conferences
  • visiting family or friends
  • transit
  • business trips.

How to apply for a Schengen Visa

You'll need to allow plenty of time to prepare your application.

Many countries require you to attend an appointment to apply for your visa. At busy times, including at Christmas, New Year and Easter, you may need to wait for an appointment.

You can usually apply up to three months before your planned travel date.

Some embassies also ask you to collect your passport once the visa has been approved.

Where do I apply for a Schengen visa?

  • If you plan to visit only one country in the Schengen area, you should apply to the embassy of that country.
  • If you plan to visit more than one country, apply to the embassy of the country that's your 'main destination'.  This means the country in which you plan to spend the most time during your trip
  • If you plan to visit several countries without having a main destination, apply to the embassy of the country you'll enter first.

What documents will I need?

The visa requirements for each country are all slightly different. For most Schengen visa applications, you'll need some or all the following:

  • A completed application form from the appropriate embassy website.
  • A visa fee of €80 payable in pounds sterling (£). Check the fee with the relevant embassy. It's usually around £70, plus any handling fees charged by the visa application centre.
  • Recent passport-size photograph(s).
  • Your original and valid passport or travel document, plus your UK Biometric Residence Permit (if you have one).
  • Your passport and visa must be valid for at least 90 days after your planned return date.
  • Evidence of your student status within the UK, e.g. an enrolment letter.
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to cover your expenses during your trip.
  • Evidence of accommodation and travel.
  • Evidence of your reason for the visit, e.g. a study trip, short period of study, or conference.
  • Valid travel insurance, including medical cover.

You can usually find more information on the relevant embassy's website. They'll probably have the application forms you need too. However, many countries now use commercial companies to process Schengen visa applications. These include firms like VFS Global and TLScontact.

Leaving and re-entering the UK

Before you leave the UK, you should check the expiry date of both your passport and your UK visa.

Most Schengen countries insist your immigration permission to be in the UK should last for a certain period after you return from your trip. This is usually 90 days, but some countries insist on as long as six months.

If your permission to stay in the UK due to expire before you plan to return:

You should also take advice if:

  • your permission to stay in the UK is for a period of less than six months, or
  • your UK visa has been curtailed.

You should carry the following documents with you in your hand luggage:

  • Your passport or travel documents.
  • Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), if you have one.
  • Your police registration certificate (if applicable).
  • An up-to-date letter from your school administrative office confirming you're enrolled on a full-time course.

US visas

International students need to apply for a visa before travelling to the US unless:

  • you're eligible to travel to the USA visa-free under the Visa Waiver Programme or
  • you're exempt from the visa requirement.

Where can I apply for a US Visa?

For students at NTU, the nearest place to apply for a visa for travel to the USA is the US Embassy in London.

How can I apply for a US Visa?

Visit the US Embassy's website for information on the application process and requirements.

Choose the correct visa

  • Determine which type of visa is appropriate for your travel to the USA. Most students travelling to the USA for tourism or course trips will need to apply for a B-2 visa.
  • A full list of visa categories and descriptions is available on the US Embassy website.

Fill in the application form

  • Fill in the DS-160 visa application form online.
  • See the guidance video.
  • The DS-160 application requires you to scan a passport photo into the application. Scan and save a suitable image onto your computer before you begin the application.
  • See the photograph guidance for US visas. Please note that photos for US visas are different from standard UK passport photos
  • Once you've completed the form, the application form and confirmation page. Bring them along to your interview together with the original passport photo.

Pay the application fees

  • Pay the MRV application fee and schedule a non-immigrant visa interview.
  • Go to the U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant page. Click 'Apply' if you are a first-time user or 'Continue' if you already have an account.
  • The MRV application fee is currently $160.

Print copies of the required documents

  • Print your appointment letter and MRV fee receipt from the Embassy Portal. You must take your appointment letter and MRV fee receipt to your appointment.

Attend your appointment

  • Attend your scheduled appointment at the US Embassy. Watch this detailed guidance video.
  • Remember to take along your:
    • printed DS-160 application form
    • confirmation page with bar code
    • appointment confirmation letter
    • MRV fee receipt
    • other supporting documentation.
  • You'll find out what documents you need when you access your appointment letter. As a guideline, applicants normally need:
    • A passport valid for at least six months beyond your stay in the USA.
    • Your UK visa and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
    • One recent 5 x 5cm photograph.
    • Evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself whilst in USA. This could be a recent bank statement showing enough money for the entire duration of your trip.
    • Evidence of residence in the UK and intention to return to the UK. You'll need:
      • a letter from your School Administrative Office confirming you're an NTU student and the details of your course
      • payments you have made towards the course fees and your accommodation
      • your Nottingham address
      • information about your course trip, if you're going on one.

Visa is issued by the embassy

If your visa application is successful, you'll have to hand in your passport at the end of your interview. The average processing time for successful applicants is three to five business days.

Once the embassy has issued the visa, they'll hand your passport to a courier company for delivery back to you. They'll email you a tracking number. You should allow at least two extra working days for delivery.

  • Last updated: 11/02/2021