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

— 8 May 2024 09:50:04 by Kate Moore

Students on ferry

This information is for schools enquiring about visa requirements for children who are 'third-country' nationals - non-UK/non-EU citizens - studying in Britain. 

Though we are not qualified to give advice on French visa requirements, the guidance below from the French Consulate 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:

According to the France Visa website, non-EU children 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)

Border paperwork for third-country nationals travelling to France on a school trip

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. Also print off and take this guidance letter from the French Consulate.

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

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.

Visa rules are subject to change. So please visit the School Trips section of the France Visa website for the most up-to-date guidance for non-EU school children, as well as contact details for the French visa department.


Be prepared for upcoming changes at the border for ALL travellers

New rules are being introduced for all travellers to the EU, regardless of nationality, starting with additional border checks from October 2024 and the introduction of the ETIAS visa waiver in 2025. Read more about the upcoming EES and ETIAS and how to navigate the current passport and EHIC rules for a French school trip.  

Please note

Though we can share the experiences of other school groups who have visited our residential centres in France, we are not able to give official advice on French visas. The final decision to allow people to enter France is made by the Border Police on the day of travel.

Ultimately, it is the party leader's responsibility to obtain the necessary paperwork needed for the group to visit. Please contact the French Government visa department for the latest information.