Visa rules for school trips to France

12 Jan 2023, 11:41 by Kate Moore

Do non-EU/non-British students need a visa for school trips to France? 

We have been asked about the visa rules for non-EU/non-British students, known as 'third-country' nationals, travelling on a school trip to France.

Though we are not qualified to give advice on French visa requirements, we can share the guidance below from the French Consulate that states that children who are non-EU/non-UK nationals can travel visa-free to France on a school trip. 

School trip guidance from the French Consulate

In accordance with Article 6(2), school pupils who are nationals of a third country listed in Annex I to the Regulation and who reside in a third country listed in Annex II to the Regulation and are travelling in the context of a school excursion as members of a group of school are exempted from an entry visa into France.To travel visa-free to France, the non-EU pupil must

  • Be a pupil at a general education school (up to sixth form) in the UK;
  • Be on an organised school trip with their own school;
  • Be accompanied by a teacher from the school;
  • Have their own valid passport;
  • Be resident in the UK

To ease border crossing, it is advisable that the school provides the accompanying teachers with an official list (on headed paper) with details of the pupils who are concerned.

Important notes:
  • Students of further education colleges or universities / Accompanying teachers / Youth organisations are not eligible;
  • Children must have their own passports and cannot travel on a parent’s passport;
  • Note that this, alike a visa, cannot completely guarantee entry into France.
  • The decision to allow people to travel or not is made by the Border Police on the day of travel.

Click here to download a copy of the French Consulate's guidance letter

What about school trips to other EU countries?

You can find a country-by-country list of visa exemption schemes on the European Commission website (under “2 exemptions Article 6(2)”). 

Do UK students need a visa for a school trip to France from 2023?

The visa rules for British citizens travelling to Europe are due to change in late 2023.

It is expected that school groups will need to apply online for a visa waiver to enter France on a school trip from late 2023. Read more about the plans here.

Please note that it is the party leader's responsibility to obtain the necessary paperwork needed for the group to visit. Though we are happy to share our experience of school groups travelling to France, we are not qualified to give official advice on French visas.   


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