— 11 Apr 2022 09:09:00 by Kate Moore
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 France and what actions are required.
Before Brexit, you could travel to EU countries on your passport right up to the point it expired. Now, school groups will need to check the passport issue date and expiry date rules of the country they are visiting. The rules for British passport holders visiting France state that:
Anyone who doesn't meet this criteria should allow plenty of time to apply for their new dark blue passport which replaces the burgundy-coloured EU document.
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 will see little difference.
Under the current rules, UK passport holders can travel to France 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 need to apply online for an ETIAS to France. ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System and is similar to the ESTA permit required to visit the US. The EU system is designed to keep track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the EU, such as the UK.
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 European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives holders access to state-provided emergency healthcare for free or reduced cost in the EU. 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.
Whether or not you have a GHIC or EHIC, your group will need travel insurance to cover emergency healthcare costs. We offer specialist School Trip Insurance which includes enhanced COVID-19 medical and cancellation cover.
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 France.
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:
Yes. Firstly, you may have to queue in separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. Also, when you arrive in France, 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.
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.
These requirements relate to school trips to France following Brexit.
For up to date COVID-19 school travel advice, please visit our COVID-19 Travel hub.