Post-Brexit rules for school trips to Europe 2021

30 Nov 2021, 21:33 by Kate Moore


Brexit passport blog image
Brexit passport blog image

Burgundy EU passports will eventually be replaced by a dark "blue" UK document

Now that school groups are able to travel abroad again, we’ve sifted through the rules to explain how Brexit will impact your school trip to Europe and what actions are required in the short, medium and long term. 

Preparing for a school trip to Europe in 2021 - top tips for organisers 

  • Everyone in the group needs to check their passport’s issue and expiry date and allow plenty of time to apply for a new passport if required 

  • Students and teachers will either need a valid EHIC card, or apply for a new GHIC, before travel 

  • Ensure the school trip has adequate travel insurance with medical cover  

  • Remind students to check their mobile phone provider’s roaming charges for your school trip destination 

  • When crossing the border, the party leader should carry the group’s return tickets and accommodation details with them  

  • From the end of 2022, everyone will need to apply for a digital ETIAS pass to enter the EU  

Will anyone need a new passport? 

Before Brexit, you could travel to EU countries on your passport right up to the point it expired. Now you should have at least 6 months left on your UK passport and it needs to be less than 10 years old, or you may not be able to travel. Allow plenty of time to apply for your new dark blue passport (which will replace the burgundy-coloured EU document).  

The only exception to this six-month rule is for school trips to Ireland which is part of a Common Travel Area with the UK.

Do school groups need a visa to travel to the EU?  

The good news is that while there is considerable impact on people who travel a lot or spend a significant amount of time outside the UK, teachers taking school trips to an EU country (plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland) will see little difference. 

Under the current rules, UK passport holders can enter the EU Schengen Zone for a school trip without needing a visa and visitors can spend up to 90 days in the Schengen zone during any 180-day period. This means that a teacher can take a school ski trip to Italy at Easter, followed by a French trip to Normandy in June, and still take an extended summer break in Spain under the 90-day limit. 

At the end of 2022 UK nationals will also need to apply online for an ETIAS to enter the EU Schengen Zone. ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System and is designed to keep track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the EU, such as the UK. The EU’s ETIAS system is similar to the ESTA permit required to visit the US. 

The ETIAS will be valid for 3 years and costs €7 per adult. Under 18’s in your group are exempt from any application fees but will still need a valid ETIAS to travel. 

The UK currently maintains a Common Travel Area with Ireland which allows unrestricted travel between the two countries.

Are EHICs still valid?   

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives holders access to state-provided emergency healthcare for free or reduced cost in the EU and Switzerland. Though not a substitute for school travel insurance, the EHIC can help reduce out of pocket medical expenses in the event that someone falls ill or has an accident while on a school trip to EU. 

The good news is that your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still valid in the EU until it expires. You’ll be able to replace your EHIC with a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) up to 6 months before it expires. 

Applying for a GHIC is free of charge on the NHS website. Beware of unofficial websites that charge you a fee to apply. 

Do we need school group travel insurance?  

Whether or not you have a GHIC or EHIC, your group will need travel insurance to cover emergency healthcare costs. All Voyager School Travel’s European school trips are fully protected by our specialist School Trip Insurance which includes enhanced COVID-19 medical and cancellation cover. 

What about mobile roaming? 

The guarantee of free roaming throughout the EU ended on 1 January 2021. This means that if your operator has reintroduced roaming charges you may now be charged more for using your mobile device in the EU, Switzerland or Iceland. 

The UK and EU have agreed to cooperate on “fair and transparent” rates for mobile roaming and the government has passed laws to protect customers including: 

  • A £45-a-month cap on using mobile data abroad (then you must opt in to use more) 
  • Requirements for customers to be informed when they've reached 80% and 100% of their data allowance 

Will things be different at the border?

Yes. Firstly, you may have to queue in separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.

Also, when you arrive in an EU country (except Ireland), be prepared to show your return ticket and proof of accommodation for your stay. We will provide these documents in your travel pack. You may also be asked to show that you have enough money for your stay. 

Can I take food into the EU after Brexit?

You are not allowed to bring any dairy or meat products into the EU from the UK and so don’t be tempted to pack chocolate, biscuits, Bovril or any other products that contain prohibited ingredients. The only exception is powdered infant milk and special foods required for medical reasons. Read more on the EU website. 

What about COVID-19 travel restrictions for school trips to Europe? 

These requirements relate to school trips to EU countries following Brexit. For up to date COVID-19 school travel advice, please visit our COVID-19 Travel hub. 

More school trip planning advice from Voyager School Travel:

 

 

Recent posts

How to book widget

COVID-19 travel hub

Everything you need to safely restart school trips - Peace of Mind Promise, COVID insurance, latest travel advice & planning resources for schools

Learn more
James sidebar image

Get a no-obligation quote

We’re ready when you are! See our range of ABTA-backed school tours and centre-based residentials for 2022

Get a quote
  • Voyager School Travel (2022-01-17 16:08:39)

    School trips to France are officially back on after France once again relaxed their travel rules for UK travellers… https://t.co/0AFcyAR91c

  • Voyager School Travel (2022-01-05 17:52:45)

    RT @grantshapps: 🧪After arrival in England, all fully vaxxed people & under 18s will now only need to take a LATERAL FLOW test (instead of…

  • Voyager School Travel (2022-01-05 17:51:06)

    RT @grantshapps: 🧪Testing rules will be relaxed: ✅ Fully vaxxed passengers & under 18s will NO LONGER need to take a pre-departure test be…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-12-14 16:54:09)

    COVID vaccination letter makes school trips abroad possible for 12-15 year olds.🧳Updated school travel advice for t… https://t.co/DB0S5u2UWL

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-12-06 16:40:26)

    RT @STF_Forum: U16s can't record vaccination status on the NHS Covid Pass. This means they can't demonstrate their COVID-19 status when tra…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-12-01 15:47:16)

    This week's announcement that children aged from 12 years will be offered a COVID-19 second jab opens up more possi… https://t.co/tXnPoWK1Ny

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-29 17:59:08)

    Bonjour from Chafyn Grove School at Lille Christmas Market this weekend! We are delighted to have organised their 3… https://t.co/OR7UZt04WQ

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-26 21:27:00)

    Do you have some questions that need answering about your next school trip? We can guide you through the main quest… https://t.co/zihX3aYFNs

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-26 10:56:53)

    Bon Voyage to Year 7 & 8 @ChafynGrove as they set off on their Christmas market trip to France this morning! 🇫🇷☃️🎄

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-22 12:27:00)

    The Peace of Mind Promise gives extra backup in case your trip is impacted by COVID-19. Enjoy this extra protection… https://t.co/pCDFScPC5P

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-17 12:00:25)

    Think it's too late to book for next summer? Think again. Choose a Fast Track package and receive the support you n… https://t.co/9a88hazEf3

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-15 16:08:39)

    Planning a school trip? James is just back from a parents' evening & these are the 3 things parents most wanted to… https://t.co/Z6X0i4rEu9

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-08 14:10:54)

    The US opened its gates to UK travellers today for the first time since March 2020.✈ We've explained the requiremen… https://t.co/3AfsTmLvqC

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-04 15:55:01)

    Read our latest blog about the benefits of using #voyagerschooltravel to organise your next UK trip… https://t.co/jJtYPjRA4n

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-02 10:41:06)

    What's at the forefront of parents' minds when it comes to school trips? 💭 Our school trip specialist spills the se… https://t.co/OhNsqt4xrV

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-11-01 09:01:59)

    RT @baudonniere: We were on French TV!!! Check out this amazing TV report made by France 3 Normandie about our new English Manor programme!…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-26 16:47:18)

    What's the difference and what does that mean for school trips? https://t.co/wmU2yNBuiX #voyagerschooltravel… https://t.co/kYVN5Y45iR

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-19 17:15:01)

    Read our blog about insuring for your next school trip or residential https://t.co/TqK7GuF7vv #schooltrips… https://t.co/61CCyHJqy1

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-15 11:56:18)

    🚨👍Travel rules have been further relaxed today. A lateral flow test will replace the PCR test which travellers are… https://t.co/Bvo3XBVC8q

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-13 13:53:53)

    Do you have adequate insurance for your school trip or residential? Make sure you check out our five top tips in ou… https://t.co/l3wfdvZ9Hm

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-11 16:29:48)

    Confused by the travel rules for France? 🇫🇷 Here's a handy chart to make things as simple as possible. The good new… https://t.co/GqPnq3C5KX

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-05 12:02:41)

    RT @UNESCO: Happy #WorldTeachersDay! 🙂 Today we celebrate all teachers across the world 🌍 for their inspiring dedication to future generat…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-05 12:02:11)

    RT @UN: On Tuesday's #WorldTeachersDay we pay tribute to the invaluable contribution of teachers to students, communities and societies.…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-04 15:06:48)

    Read our latest blog about the new rules https://t.co/gNWspBIyZi #voyagerschooltravel #bookyournextschooltrip https://t.co/Q1dJuA9j06

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-09-29 17:06:33)

    Did you know that all our school trips include travel insurance with COVID-19 cover before AND during the trip? Rea… https://t.co/0qZOYwXVc9