We answer all your questions on how Brexit might affect your school trip.
How much validity do I need on my passport when I travel?
Before you travel, you should check the FCDO website for the most up-to-date information on passport validity requirements to visit the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
We recommend that you ensure that you have at least 6 months validity left on your passport on the day you travel. This allows for:
• Travelling in Europe for up to 3 months
• The requirement of most European countries to have at least 3 months left on your passport on the day you leave
Please also note that your passport must be less than 10 years old on the day you leave your destination and return to the UK.
You can check whether your passport needs to be renewed before travelling to Europe on the government’s website.
However, these rules don’t apply if you’re travelling to Ireland. In this case, you just need to ensure that your passport is valid for the length of your stay.
Can we arrange a group passport?
Group or collective passports can still be arranged, although the number of European countries that accept them is now very limited.
For the most up-to-date information on which countries accept collective passports, please see the government's website.
Please note, if you are travelling through any other countries on the way to your destination, or if you are visiting any other neighbouring countries on excursions, you will need to make sure they also accept the collective passport.
We would advise against arranging a group passport, as in our experience they can cause administrative and operational difficulties at the border. However, if you do decide to arrange a group passport, please inform us as soon as possible.
At the time of writing, collective passports cost £39 and can be arranged for groups of 5-50 children (under 18 years of age) and a group leader.
Everyone on the passport must be a British national, including the group leader who must also be over 21 years of age and a UK resident.
It takes 6 weeks to arrange a collective passport. For further information, please see the government's website.
Please note that it is currently unclear if/how group passports will work once the new ETIAS visa waiver scheme is introduced.
Will we need visas?
If you are a British national visiting the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for the purposes of tourism (such as a school trip), then you should not need a visa, as you can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
If any of your students are not British nationals, we would strongly advise that their parents check visa requirements with the relevant embassy as soon as possible.
Visas can take time to arrange, so it is always best to check these requirements early in the process.
Will my EHIC still be valid?
If you still have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you can continue to use this until the expiry date on the card.
If your EHIC has expired or you do not have one, then you will need to ensure that you arrange a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) before travelling to the EU.
As with the EHIC, this can be done for free via the NHS website. You can apply for your GHIC up to 6 months before your EHIC expires.
For more information on the GHIC, please see the government's website.
Will we be able to use our mobile data?
Guaranteed free mobile phone roaming in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway has now ended, so we would recommend that you check with your phone operator regarding roaming charges.
However, your phone operator is now required by law to notify you when you reach £45 worth of mobile data charges.
You would then need to opt in to spend more to allow you to continue to use your mobile data.
We hope you find this information useful. If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.