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How will Brexit affect me as a UK volunteer?

How will Brexit affect me as a UK volunteer?

From 1st January 2021 UK citizens are now considered 'third-country nationals' (TCN) as far as the EU is concerned. This will affect how long you are able to stay in an EU country.

Here are some frequently asked questions to consider if you are a UK citizen wanting to volunteer. We recommend everyone to go onto the GOV.UK website for more information -> Brexit Transition.

I have a UK passport and I would like to volunteer in Europe. For how long can I volunteer?

The rules for ‘third-country nationals’ means UK citizens will be the same as any non-EU visitor. You can travel to Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This is a rolling 180-day period and there will be fines for overstaying. For Example: If you spend 14 days in Spain before going to volunteer in Greece, you have already used up 14 days of your allowed 90 days. You can use this site to calculate how many days you have left in the EU.

I want to stay for longer than three months; how do I go about this?

For UK citizens wanting to move to the EU or stay longer than 90 days in any 180-day period, you must meet the entry requirements set out by the country you are travelling to. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit. You could also look into applying for residency in the country you are volunteering in. However, please be aware that this may affect your current residency status and may affect your citizen rights at home. Each country will have different requirements, so check each country’s travel advice page for information on how to get a visa or work permit. More information can be found on the government website here.

Read this page for Greece specifically and read the Greek Embassy in London’s guidance on visas.

I am providing a specific qualified skill when volunteering - will this affect me?

For skilled volunteers, you will need to check if your professional qualifications will be recognised in the EU. Check this page for more information.

How does Brexit affect my insurance abroad?

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU. For further information on the EHIC, please refer to the website. Check you’ve got an EHIC card or appropriate travel insurance with health cover before travelling to the EU. If you're a resident in the UK and not insured by another EU country, you're likely to be considered to be insured by the UK under EU law and will be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC. You may not have access to free emergency medical treatment and could be charged for your healthcare if you do not have an EHIC card when visiting an EU country. For more information and how to apply read here.

You must have the correct insurance to travel and volunteer in any country. It is strongly recommended that your insurance provider covers volunteering abroad and not just travel abroad so that you are fully covered.

I will be driving whilst volunteering, does this change anything for me?

You need to carry your UK driving licence with you. You do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to visit and drive in the EU, however, you might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have a paper driving licence or a licence that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. Check if you need an IDP here.

Other tips before you travel:

  • Check your passport’s issue and expiry dates for travel to Europe - You should have at least 6 months left on your UK passport and it needs to be less than 10 years old, or you may not be able to travel. For more information: Check a passport for travel to Europe.

  • Check for roaming charges! You don’t want to end up with a huge bill so double-check with your phone provider and their policies following Brexit.

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