How will Brexit affect school trips to Europe?
The great news is that Brexit should have very little effect on your school trip to Europe.
There are a few more things to check ahead of travelling, such as passport validity and the new ETIAS visa waiver system which is expected to be fully operational in 2024.
When you book your trip, we will remind you of the important things you need to check and do before you travel, to ensure your trip runs as smoothly as it did before Brexit. But here are some of the key things to remember ahead of your school trip to Europe.
British passport holders travelling to an EU country, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway or Liechtenstein now need to ensure they’re less than 10 years old and have 6 months validity left on the day you travel on your school trip to Europe.
We would strongly advise that you ask all members of your group to check their passports as soon as they know they are going on your school trip to Europe, so that they have time to apply for a new one if required.
For further information on passports and entry requirements, please visit the FCDO website.
The EU has confirmed that UK nationals do not require a visa for short visits to Europe, such as school trips. However, from 2024 (date TBC) they will need to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver. For further information, please visit the ETIAS website.
You will need to check whether any members of your group may need a visa as soon as you know who is travelling on your school trip to Europe.
Visa applications can take a long time, so we would advise that any travellers who will need a visa apply to the appropriate embassies as promptly as possible.
The British Council operates a List of Travellers Scheme for school visits to the European Union and this can avoid the need for individual visas for non-EU passport holders. For further information, please visit the British Council’s website.
EHIC or GHIC?
If you currently have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), the good news is that it will continue to be valid in the EU until it expires.
If you do not currently have a valid EHIC, you can apply for the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This is available for free through the NHS website.
We strongly recommend that you ensure you take everyone’s EHIC or GHIC with you on your school trip to Europe.
And remember, if you’re travelling to Iceland, Switzerland, Norway or Liechtenstein, you will need to arrange appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover.
Other precautions and inoculations
With regards to other precautions and inoculations, you will need to check this with the relevant authorities in advance of your school trip to Europe, as this information can vary depending on when and where you travel. You can find further information on the FCDO and World Health Organisation websites.