Brexit, Passports and Visas
Here is the latest Government advice on travel to Europe following the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
New rules apply for travel to Europe as of 1 January 2021.
- You’ll need to have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
- If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
- You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport. However all designs of British passports that meet the new rules will be equally acceptable for travel.
A European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is planned to be introduced for all Visa exempt non-EU citizens by the end of 2022 please see the Visa section below for more details.
For full details and latest advice, please visit the government website.
Regarding collective passports, no specific advice has been issued, so please continue to check the government’s website.
For further travel advice please see details from ABTA.
All guests travelling to our centres in France require a valid passport (and visa if applicable). We recommend that you organise your group’s passport(s) well in advance as it can take several months for passports to be issued, especially at peak holiday times.
Party Leaders should make sure of the status of members of the group – your local passport office can advise. Advice regarding travel documentation for stateless children can be found here.
All information you require is available on the Passport Office website.
There are two types of travel document:
- Full UK Passport - Applications can now be completed online.
It is also possible to obtain an application form from the Post Office, although this is a more expensive option.
- Collective Passport - Valid for children under 18 years of age and of UK nationality travelling abroad with a Party Leader who is over 21 years of age and who holds a full UK passport. In most cases a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 50 passengers can be entered on a collective passport. If copies of the collective passport have been endorsed or issued with a visa by foreign consulates, they must be submitted to the consulate for amendment.
Please see GOV.UK for details of how to apply.
Please remember that you may be travelling through neighbouring countries to carry out excursions or as part of your route to France; these should be named on your collective passport. All groups using North Sea Ferry routes should include the Netherlands and Belgium. The authorities of the countries you travel through may also require extra copies of the collective passport; these will be supplied by the Passport Office, but you are advised to ask for sufficient copies.
It is the Party Leader’s responsibility to ensure that all party members are covered by a valid passport and carry this with them and that they have the correct documentation for every member of the group.
Exit checks for coach passengers - Exit checks (to collect passport information) now take place for coach passengers leaving UK ports. While organised groups of schoolchildren aged 16 or under will generally be exempt from these checks, we recommend that coach groups complete our ‘Passenger List’ template and take a copy to port, to avoid delays. Further information about exit checks is included in the form.
Groups returning by ferry from Calais – Please note that on the return journey, all party members will be required to disembark the coach for immigration checks at Calais. We advise that you hand out all individual passports before you reach Calais, to avoid delays, as each party member will need to present their own passport to immigration officials.
For current visa information, please check with the embassy/consulate of the countries involved.
If members of your party require visas to enter other countries, please ensure that they have a visa for re-entry into the UK. Many non-EU passport holders require a visa to gain entry into France. Use this link to check whether a visa is required. Further information is available here
Following Brexit, the British Council List of Travellers visa waiver scheme is no longer available.
A European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is planned to be introduced in 2022, for travel to EU member states. It is anticipated that an ETIAS will be valid for 3 years and will cost 7 Euros, for under 18's it will be free. The ETIAS will need to be applied for before departure (online application) and is expected to become obligatory for all travellers by the end of 2022. Further information about the ETIAS system can be found here.
In addition to requiring parental consent for medical and health matters, you may also be required to provide evidence of consent to take the child out of the country. The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) offers the following advice on parental consent for crossing borders:
"Border officials in the UK and other countries monitor departing children because of concerns about child sexual exploitation and abduction, and occasionally ask for evidence of parental consent from all those with parental responsibility. Establishments should therefore consider carrying evidence of parental consent from all those with parental responsibility, for all children in the group, when travelling overseas."
For further guidance on overseas visits please visit the OEAP website.