News & Insights

New change for visitors travelling to the UK

The List of Travellers Scheme is no longer available for travel to the UK, meaning many students will now need a visa and a passport to visit.

Changes to travel requirements mean that the previous List of Travellers Scheme which allowed schools to easily travel within the EU with one document for all students is no longer operational. This old system allowed children of non-EU, non-EEA or non-Swiss nationality travelling with their school to be excluded from the need to have a visa or a passport.

However, now this is no longer in use all students will be required to have a passport and visa nationals will need a visa as well. The most suitable visa for these types of visits will be the Standard Visitor Visa which can be used for short visits such as school trips and holidays.

Under the age of 18

Those under the age of 18 travelling in a group, such as with a school, will require suitable travel and accommodation arrangements with proof of consent from a parent/guardian. If they need to apply for a visa, they must identify the adult(s) travelling with them in the application and provide the relationship details if the adult is not a parent.  Up to 2 adults’ details must be provided in the visa application and will appear on the visa issued.  If the minors arrive to the UK without these adult(s) they must also carry a document with consent for travel from a parent or legal guardian. If the student does not require a visa to enter the UK, they must show proof when they reach the UK border.

Where the minor will not be staying with a relative, they must inform the relevant local authority about their visit if:

  • They are under the age or 16 (or under 18 and have a disability)
  • They will be looked after for more than 28 days by a person who is not a close relative

If the length of stay in the UK is over 28 days (on an exchange visit), these rules will apply unless the minor is part of a supervised group travelling and staying together or is accompanied by an adult. For example, as long as a teacher is accompanying the students it will not be necessary to contact the local authority.

The UK has been a prime spot for school trips for years and there is a legitimate concern visa fees and the extra administrative processes will deter these groups from visiting the UK in the future. It is estimated that 10% of students will now require visas to enter the UK.  If students decide not to participate in their trips, it could have a damaging effect on our economy. This in turn may also cause problems with UK schools travelling abroad as some countries may apply reciprocal rules for non-British/non-EU students.

EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens

These citizens can continue to travel to the UK for holidays and short trips without needing a visa so long as they hold a valid passport for the entire length of the trip.

Non-EEA family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen

To travel to the UK, they will need a valid national passport, a UK-issued EEA family permit or a UK-issued biometric residence card.

Non-EEA Country

They will need a passport (and visa, if necessary) which will be checked at border control where they likely be asked for their reasons to visit the UK.