Recent events have shown that every day the world and the way in which we can travel around it changes. In advance of an international family trip, it is important to stay up to date regarding government advice on travelling abroad and staying healthy and safe. It continues to be the traveller’s responsibility to determine whether or not a visa is required to a specific country ahead of their trip.
Being a UK passport holder is an indisputable privilege when it comes to international travel. Ranking as one of the most powerful passports in the world, British citizens can currently roam the majority of the globe without need for a visa. There are many countries that Britons still need to apply for a visa in advance however, including Cuba, China, Iran and Russia. Some countries, such as Egypt, Tanzania, Nepal, Cambodia and Laos require Britons to pay for a visa on arrival, while a few countries provide this document free of charge.
Applying for a visa can be an arduous process with endless paperwork, visits to local consulates and waits of up to two months for the visa to be sent in some cases.
“International travel with children can be a wonderful, exciting experience for the whole family, but not having the right travel documents or knowledge about local customs regulations can turn a dream trip into a nightmare” comments travel expert Peter Lavelle at ByeVisa, a new e-visa service, allowing travellers to obtain visas quickly via the internet. “Bureaucracy, form filling and waiting in queues for a visa can really take the joy out of planning an exciting trip abroad, not to mention the slightly panic-inducing wait for it to be delivered by post”.
To apply for a visa, UK citizens must all have their own passport, including all children. A passport is for an individual only and it is not permitted to include other family members on it. Anyone 15 years of age or under can apply for a child passport and travel visa requirements are the same for everyone, whether a child or adult. An important point to bear in mind if travelling without the other parent of a child, is to have a signed and notarised letter from the missing parent, stating that they agree to you taking the child abroad.
For British citizens visiting the EU from England for a holiday after the Brexit transition period, the burning question is, will I need a visa? From 2022, Brits travelling to the EU will be required to have an ETIAS visa waiver. This visa waiver will be for stays of up to 90 days, for short-term visits for tourism and business purposes. Travellers will be expected to have an approved ETIAS when visiting any of the Schengen member countries. Parents will need to take a few minutes to complete the ETIAS application form for their children’s basic personal information and passport details, specifying that they are the parent of or guardian of said child. In the interim period at the end of 2020 (the end of the Brexit transition period) until the launch of the EITIAS visa waiver, it is currently unclear what documents will be needed when travelling to EU countries.
“The benefits of traveling with kids are well documented” adds Peter Lavelle. “It provides a unique bonding experience and creates long-lasting memories. It opens children’s minds to different cultures, ways of life and experiences. Childhood passes in a flash so it might be worth considering a plan for that trip of a lifetime before it’s too late”.