Auswahl an Souvenirs aus dem Vereinigten Königreich Auswahl an Souvenirs aus dem Vereinigten Königreich

Rules for youth exchanges with the UK


The withdrawal agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom came into force on 1 January 2021, impacting directly on exchange activities between the two. IJAB has examined a number of sources of information and summarises that information here.

12.03.2021 / Susanne Klinzing

Rules for exchanges with the UK


According to the agreement, short stays in the European Union or the UK of up to 90 days within a 180-day period are permitted without a visa. However, longer stays require a visa. Until 30 September 2021, EU citizens can use either their personal ID or passport to enter the UK. From 1 October 2021 onwards, with only few exceptions, EU citizens will need a passport to enter the UK. (Source: Federal Foreign Office)

Use the Brexit checker to check travel rules

UK government website on visa and immigration rules

Since 1 January 2021, individuals have had to meet certain requirements to work or study in the UK. The UK government’s website has details on the new points-based immigration system.

Permitted activities for visitors

Au pairs 

EU citizens who started work as an au pair before 1 January 2021 must submit an application under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 in order to complete their time as an au pair legally. (Source: Federal Foreign Office)

The UK’s points-based immigration system stipulates no specific route for au pairs; neither does the new system that was introduced on 1 January 2021. Au pair stays do not fall under the permitted activities for short-stay visitorsAu pairs are considered Skilled Workers (see 6122 "Childminders and related occupations") and are subject to the points-based requirements relating to the going rates. The Domestic Workers route applies to individuals who have already worked for a year for an employer elsewhere before accompanying them to the UK for up to six months. (Source: British Embassy in Berlin)

Internships / study stays

Only in very limited cases are EU citizens permitted to complete internships in the UK. According to the Federal Foreign Office, since 1 January 2021 it appears it is no longer possible for EU citizens to complete a mandatory internship in the UK as part of a degree course at a German university. Doing so may be permitted provided the intern has a Temporary Worker visa “for work experience or to do research or training”. (Source: Federal Foreign Office)

The UK government offers more guidance for EU students at; the British Council’s website with information for this target group is at

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research also offers information on the new rules for international higher education and school exchanges with the UK (in German).

Group travel (short stays)

Children and adolescents from EU and EFTA states and Switzerland do not require a visa to enter the UK (e.g., for school trips or exchanges) for up to six months. A visa is required for stays of more than six months. (Sources: BMBF (in German), GOV.UK)

Up until 30 September 2021, children and adolescents who are not citizens of an EEA country or Swiss nationals but are ordinarily resident in these countries can continue to enter the UK if they are on what is known as the List of Travellers form. From 1 October 2021, to enter the UK as part of a school or other group they will need a valid passport as well as a visa. (Sources: GOV.UKUK German Connection)

[Information for UK groups entering the EU: Since 1 January 2021 EU Member States no longer recognise List of Travellers forms of UK school groups as a valid travel document. When travelling to the EU as part of a school trip, each individual child will need a personal travel document and, where necessary, a visa. (Source: BMBF; in German)]

Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps / Volunteering schemes

All projects with UK partners that were approved by the end of 2020 under the EU’s Erasmus+ Youth in Action and European Solidarity Corps programmes can go ahead as planned. This also applies if they begin in 2021 or later. Individuals planning to travel to the UK to complete a volunteer placement will need to apply for a visa at least three months ahead of the start date of the placement. Besides the visa fee, applicants must also pay what is known as an immigration health surcharge. Volunteering schemes come under the visa category for Temporary Worker – Charity Workers. Individuals who wish to stay in the UK for up to six months following an Erasmus+ stay do not require a visa if they did not already require one beforehand. The purpose of their stay is limited to their participation in the scheme; they may not take up paid employment. (Sources: GOV.UK, JUGEND für Europa (in German), Momentum World CICWWOOF UK)

Volunteer placements of up to 30 days’ duration with a charity that is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator fall under the Permitted Activities for visitors category. However, the main reason for entering the UK must continue to be tourism. (Sources: GOV.UK, WWOOF UK)