Planning a trip for your students can feel like a complex task, with so many details to take care of, from transportation to accommodations. Making sure your students have the correct travel documents before they leave can make your trip smoother.

Two documents that will be crucial for school trips to Europe from 2024 are ETIAS and GHIC, or the European Travel Information and Authorization System and the Global Health Insurance Card. But what exactly are they, and how do they apply to school trips? In this blog, we’ll help explain what ETIAS and GHIC are, preparations you’ll need to take care of on behalf of your students, and our recommendations for your future trips to Europe.


What is ETIAS?

ETIAS is an electronic system due to be introduced by the European Union (EU) to enhance border control and security by screening travellers from certain countries before they enter the EU. It’s not a visa, but rather an authorization that must be obtained by travellers from specific countries who are exempt from obtaining a visa.

What is GHIC?

GHIC, on the other hand, is a health insurance card for EU citizens and provides access to necessary health treatment during short stays in EU countries. It replaces the previous EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) for UK citizens.


Our recommendations

In order to ensure a smooth and stress-free trip, we recommend you do the following:

  1. Research the specific requirements for the EU country you’ll be visiting and book any ETIAS and/or visas your group needs way ahead of time.
  2. Make sure all of your students have valid passports, with at least six months of validity remaining.
  3. Consider purchasing travel insurance (remember – our travel insurance is included as standard in all Equity trips) and obtain a GHIC card for your students to cover any unexpected health situations.
  4. Have a copy of your itinerary and emergency contact information readily available.

By doing your research and planning ahead, you’ll be able to ensure that your students have a safe and enjoyable trip to the EU.

Key considerations

Regardless of the type of trip, it’s important to double-check the specific requirements for the country you’re visiting, as each EU member state has its own set of rules and regulations for travellers. For example, some countries may require additional documents such as proof of travel insurance or health declarations.

Please consider the above regulations around ETIAS and GHIC may differ for pupils who are not British citizens, or do not hold a British passport. Please visit the key websites listed below to find out more about what citizens from outside the UK may need, as there are other visas in place (e.g. the Schengen visa) for some countries internationally.

Don’t leave for Europe without the right documentation

In conclusion, ETIAS and GHIC are valuable tools for enhancing security, control, and health coverage in the EU. ETIAS will be a requirement for certain travellers while GHIC is optional but highly recommended for health coverage. By double-checking the specific requirements for the country you’ll be visiting and having all necessary documents in order, you’ll be able to make your school trip a success. So go ahead and start planning that unforgettable educational experience for your students!

To discuss more about ETIAS and GHIC, or enquire about your next school trip to Europe, please get in touch and our school trip experts will get back to you as soon as we can.