Whether you’re itching to get back to volunteering with migrants in Greece or feel heartbroken at the humanitarian crisis in Syria, you’ll want to clue yourself up on how Brexit might affect your travels.
So what should you be aware of if you’re looking to volunteer in Europe post-Brexit?
UK citizens are no longer able to use the EU’s fast track passport controls and customs lanes which may impact the time management of volunteer programmes. Charities are also seeing changes in their operations as a result of some of the key rulings.
As the UK is no longer a member of the EU, British citizens are classed as third-country nationals, so non-EU traveller rules apply. But what does this mean for you?
If you’ve accepted to a project to volunteer in Europe, make sure your passport was not issued more than 10 years before your arrival in an EU country, and make sure the expiry date is more than 3 months after your intended day of arrival back in the UK.
Your healthcare entitlement under the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) differs in selected European countries so you should take out sufficient health insurance before travelling.
As part of the Brexit agreement, UK residents are able to use their EHIC card to access emergency medical support in the EU. If your EHIC card has expired, you can apply for a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
As a skilled volunteer, your professional qualifications may not be recognised by EU member states. This will depend on whether they match up with the host-country’s rules surrounding professional requirements. So be sure to double-check this with your charity before you travel.
Erasmus is an EU exchange programme which
As a result of Brexit, EU nationals will no longer be able to enter the UK under free movement arrangements. UK immigration rules for volunteering consist of the following:
“A visitor may undertake volunteering provided it lasts no more than 30 days in total. It should be for a charity that is registered with either the Charity Commission for England and Wales; the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.”
You’ll need a passport to travel to the UK. In addition to this, you’ll need to provide proof of funds to cover the duration of your visit and a return flight. If you’re doing unpaid volunteering for a charity, you will need to apply for a Tier 5 Charity Visa through a registered volunteering provider to work in the UK.
Our main advice is to stay in regular contact with the charity you’re volunteering in Europe with. Keep asking questions if there are any areas that you’re unclear about. While some regulations have changed, there are still plenty of opportunities available. So don’t let Brexit stop you from volunteering in Europe for a cause you feel passionate about!
Still looking for the perfect volunteering opportunity? Take a look at what’s currently on offer here.
This post was originally published by the author in 2021 but has been fully updated by CharityJob to ensure relevance and to reflect the current job seeker experience.
Keith Tully is a partner at Real Business Rescue, a reputable service provider of business turnaround services with an extensive network of offices across the UK. Keith advises distressed company directors on restructuring measures to renew company health.