Visas for non-EU/non-British students on your French trip

Kate Moore

8 May 2024, 11:41
by Kate Moore

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

We are often asked about the visa situation for students who don't hold a British or EU passport taking a school trip to France. 

Though we are not qualified to give advice on French visa requirements, we can share the guidance from the French Consulate (below).

School trip visa guidance from the French Consulate

According to the France Visa website, non-EU schoolchildren living in the UK can travel visa free to France as long as:

  • They are a pupil at a general education school (up to sixth form) in the UK;
  • They are on an organised school trip with their own school;
  • They have their own valid passport, recognised by France; 
  • They are resident in the UK (valid residence permit)

To ease border crossing, schools must provide the accompanying teachers with an official list on headed paper with details of the pupils concerned. This must include the full name, date and place of birth, nationality of the non-EU school children and must be signed and dated by the head of the school.

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

Rules are subject to change, therefore, you should check the School Trips section of the France Visas website for the latest measures relating to non-UK/EU travellers in your group. Please do this well in advance of your trip.

Though we are happy to share the experience of past groups, we are not qualified to give advice on visa requirements. It is the party leader's responsibility to obtain the necessary paperwork needed for the group to visit. 

What about school trips to other EU countries?

You can find information about travel documents required for non-EU nationals on the European Commission website, including a list of the countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirements for stays of 90 days or less. 

Stay informed about changes for ALL school groups travelling from UK to EU

Prepare for new EU border changes that will impact all your travellers:

  • A new EU border system comes into force in October 2024 which means that you will need to allow extra time to pass through the EES passport gates, especially at the Channel crossing ports of Folkestone and Dover.
  • It is expected that all travellers from the UK will need to apply online for an ETIAS visa waiver to visit the EU from 2025  

Read our essential checklist for EU school groups for all the latest EU travel advice/  

More school trip planning advice from Voyager School Travel:

Hellenthal Eifel student love cropped

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