Further to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, there are new travel considerations to take into account for individuals and groups travelling to Europe.

Please note that the list of considerations below is not exhaustive, therefore if you or any of your students have specific nationality circumstances to consider before travelling, you should continue to check the Gov.UK website.

 

Passports

You should check that everyone has their own passport or apply for a group passport if applicable.

To be eligible to enter the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland from the United Kingdom, your passport will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Valid for at least a further 6 months
  • Less than 10 years old (even if it has less than 6 months validity left)

This rule does not apply to travel to the Republic of Ireland, where you can use your passport for entry as long as it is valid for the duration of your stay.

Group passports

A collective (or group) passport is a way for an organised group of young people to make a trip to certain European countries. A collective passport costs £39 and takes 6 weeks to be processed.

Between 5 and 50 children can travel on a group passport. If there are more than 50 in the group, you can split the group and apply for 2 or more passports.

Everyone on the group passport must be a British national and under the age of 18 by the end of the trip.

A group leader must be named on the passport. The passport is invalid if the group leader cannot travel, but if a deputy leader is named on the application, they can take over.

Visas

As a tourist, if you are travelling to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland for a period of less than 90 days within a 180-day period you will not need to obtain a visa.

Different rules apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, therefore it is recommended to check the individual country’s travel guidance page

List of Travellers visa scheme

Due to the changes to border regulations, the list of travellers’ visa scheme will no longer be available for use from 1 January 2021. Therefore, you are recommended to check with the local consulate in said country to identify if any specific measures for non-UK/EU/EEA travellers attending a visit will need to be met. You should do this at the earliest opportunity prior to travel.

A list of ways in which to explore options for contacting overseas offices by country can be found here.

Travel insurance

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will continue to be valid for those who have one within expiry date, as will the recently launched UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). It is however recommended that you ensure sufficient travel insurance is in place however, as the EHIC does not provide coverage for any repatriation costs to the UK.

Please note that some insurers may not provide coverage if you do not have a valid EHIC or GHIC, therefore please do be aware of this upon purchase.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

  • If you hold a valid EHIC provided before 1 January 2021, you can still use as normal whilst travelling in the European Union.
  • If you’re travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you should get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel and ensure it covers any pre-existing conditions that were previously covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
  • If you meet the following criteria from 1 January 2021, you will be eligible to apply for a new EHIC card:
    UK student studying in the EU
    Some British State Pensioners who live in the EU and their families
    EU nationals in the UK
  • It is still recommended to travel with the necessary travel insurance in addition to the EHIC if applicable. 
  • If you do not have a valid EHIC, you can apply for the GHIC for free via the dedicated NHS website (see here for further information on how to apply and details for eligibility and coverage).

 

Additional advice

  • You should remember that looked-after children will require a letter of authority to let them travel abroad.
  • Any accompanying adult not employed by the school must have a DBS criminal background check completed.
  • A risk log/register should be kept updated throughout the preparations for the visit, identifying potential risks and recommended mitigations.