- The LoT scheme allows a third country national (TCN) pupil legally resident in an EU Member State to visit or transit another EU Member State without a passport and/or visa-free as part of an organised school group.
- Pupils from third countries who are resident in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will continue to be able to travel to the UK under the ‘List of Travellers’ scheme until 1 October 2021.
- This provides notice to enable those affected to obtain a passport and, if needed, a visa for travel to the UK.
- The EU has a scheme based on a 1994 Council Decision that allows a visa national pupil legally resident in a Member State and attending a general education school to visit or transit another Member State visa-free as part of an organised school group, as long as their details are logged on a List of Travellers (LoT) form which sets out the purpose and circumstances of the intended stay or transit and the group is accompanied by a teacher from the school.
- Visa national and non-visa national third country pupils can also use the form as a travel document instead of their own, as long as it has been authenticated by the responsible authority in the appropriate Member State to confirm the pupils’ residence status and their right to re-entry and has a recent photograph attached.
- LoTs should not be confused with collective passports, which are not limited to school groups and can be used by others such as cadets, guides/scouts, sports clubs, choirs and charitable groups.
Who is impacted by this change?
- Third country national (TCN) pupils legally resident in the EEA or Switzerland will require a passport – and a visa if needed – to visit the UK as part of an organised school group from 1 October 2021.
What about third country national (TCN) pupils legally resident in the UK?
- As part of its ‘communication on readiness at the end of the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom’, the European Commission announced in July 2020 they will no longer be accepting the List of Travellers as a visa waiver for TCN pupils based in the UK with effect from 1 January 2021.
- This means TCN pupils based in the UK will no longer be able to rely on the List of Travellers scheme to visit the EU, and will need to make appropriate visa arrangements.
Why are you making this change?
- The List of Travellers is an EU scheme and it does not make sense to continue with it indefinitely as we have now left the EU.
- We do not allow schools from outside the EEA and Switzerland to use the scheme for their school trips to the UK and, now that we have left the EU, this change aligns EEA and Swiss schools with the general position.
- Whilst the LoT scheme is convenient for schools and their third country national pupils, they can take extra time to process at the border.
- We have always expected third country national (TCN) pupils legally resident in the UK to travel on their national passport, even if they were benefiting from the LoT scheme as a visa waiver for visiting an EU Member State. Effective from 1 October 2021, we will require TCN pupils legally resident in the EEA or Switzerland to travel on their national passport, – with a visa if needed – to visit the UK as part of an organised school group.
- In order to take account of differing educational needs, there is no age limit to the scheme.
When is this happening?
- TCN pupils legally resident in the EEA or Switzerland will not be able to travel to the UK using the LoT scheme in place of their national passport – or visa if needed – from 01 October 2021.
- Between now and then, school groups using the LoT scheme to travel to the UK may be reminded that they will no longer be able to use it in future.
- We provided almost a year’s notice to allow schools to plan ahead and ensure pupils obtain a passport – and visa – if they need to before they travel.
Won’t this discourage school pupils from visiting the UK?
- This change affects TCN pupils legally resident in the EEA or Switzerland who do not have their own national passport as well as those who may additionally require a visa.
- We have always expected third country national (TCN) pupils legally resident in the UK to travel on their national passport, and we will now expect those visiting from EEA countries to do the same.
- We expect school pupils who visit the UK from outside the EEA to hold a passport – and visa where required – and we will now expect those visiting from EEA countries to do the same.
- We have provided almost a year’s notice for this change to allow schools to plan ahead and ensure pupils obtain a passport – and visa – if they need to, before they travel.
Are there any exceptions?
- No, third country national (TCN) pupils legally resident in the EEA or Switzerland will require a passport – and a visa if needed – to visit the UK as part of an organised school group from 1 October 2021, just as those visiting from outside the EEA do.
- From 1 October 2021, we will also expect EEA and Swiss pupils who were not residing in the UK prior to the end of the transition period and who are not covered by the terms of the withdrawal agreements to travel to the UK on a passport.
Will third country national pupils be allowed to use e-Gates?
- Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the US who are aged 12 and over already have access to e-Gates.
- A biometric passport is required.
- 12 to 17 year olds must be accompanied by an adult.
Why does a LoT form take longer to process at the border?
- They are not machine-readable, requiring the Border Force officer to manually input the details into our systems to do our checks.
Is the scheme reciprocal?
- As part of its ‘communication on readiness at the end of the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom’, the European Commission announced in July they will no longer be accepting the List of Travellers as a visa waiver for TCN pupils based in the UK with effect from 1 January 2021.
What will happen if school groups use the LoT scheme to travel to the UK after 1 October?
- TCN pupils without a passport (and visa where necessary) may be prevented by carriers from boarding their flight, ship or train to the UK.
- They may be refused entry and expected to depart the UK.
How can school pupils get themselves a passport?
- They should make an application to the authorities of their country of nationality in the usual way.
How can school pupils get themselves a visa if needed?
- They can make an application to UKVI either under the visitor route or as a student.
What about Collective Passports?
- The UK is a signatory to the 1961 Council of Europe treaty which provides for collective passports for young people. Continued acceptance of these passports from those who have ratified the treaty is current practice. The UK has not left the Council of Europe.
- A collective passport may only include nationals of the issuing Council of Europe member state, or refugee and stateless people entitled to re-enter that state.
- Information on collective passports can be found here: Collective (group) passports
- Whilst it remains current policy to continue to accept collective passports issued by signatories to the treaty, as part of our Points Based Immigration System, it is our intention to move to a position where everyone obtains an individual permission from the Home Office in advance of travel and so in the future we are likely to require individual documents.
- Which European countries have ratified use of the collective passport? 19 European countries have ratified its use however only two actively issue them (Malta and Slovenia), as does the UK
- The guidelines for collective passports say that they would be subject to entry clearance fees – is this only for those countries that require visas to visit the UK or for all visitors coming to the UK using a collective passport? Yes, entry clearance fees are only applicable to those that require visas. The standard visitor visa fee would apply (£95)
- Is the entry clearance fee for those requiring visas per person on a collective passport, or per collective passport (ie. a max of 50 participants) Per person (visa national) who require visas (entry clearance) to travel to the UK
- Are third country nationals (TCNs) allowed to use collective passports in all circumstances (e.g. if travelling with a school group)? Any restrictions by nationality etc? TCN’s (unless refugees / stateless people) are not able to be included on a collective passport
- Do TCNs still need to apply for a visa in advance (and pay for it) or will the fee be applied at the border as implied? TCNs or non-nationals are to have both their own passport and apply for a visa in advance (if required).
Correct as of 16 September 2021