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Visits abroad

9.3.1.1 A Visit Abroad (VA) is defined as: Any visit outside the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man on a recognised and approved scouting activity or travelling in the name of the Scouts. This applies to youth and adult members, and non-members.

Youth and adult members, and non-members located within the British Scouting Overseas area and Northern Ireland are expected to follow the Visits Abroad Process when leaving the country where their group is registered. However, exceptionally, specific alternative arrangements may be approved and documented by a relevant Commissioner.

9.3.1.2 For Northern Ireland Scouts travelling to the Republic of Ireland it is not a requirement to take out additional travel insurance, providing the trip is for no longer than 48 hours. If it is felt that cover is required for emergency medical expenses, personal possession or cancellation then it is strongly advised that travel insurance is purchased.

9.3.1.3 All members should carry a valid UK EHIC or GHIC card for travelling within many European Countries including the Republic of Ireland. UK EHIC or GHIC cards are obtainable from the NHS website.

9.3.1.4 A camp or residential experience abroad which includes Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, or Explorers, must be led by an adult holding a relevant Nights Away Permit. For Scout Network visits abroad see Rule 9.2.5.

9.3.1.5 All visits abroad must follow the Visits Abroad (VA) Process and must be approved at planning stage by the relevant Commissioner to the designation of the trip:

  1. England and Northern Ireland:
    District or County Commissioner and Assistant County Commissioner for International.
  2. Scotland:
    District or Regional Commissioner and Regional International Adviser.
  3. Wales:
    District or Area Commissioner and Assistant Area Commissioner for International.
  4. BSO:
    District Commissioner and Assistant Area Commissioner for International.
  5. Countries, UK Headquarters:
    UK International Commissioner, Scottish HQ Commissioner (International), Deputy Commissioner Wales – Programme (International).

9.3.1.6 The trip must then gain final approval and sign off by the relevant Commissioner before the visit leaves the UK. A VA Form must be submitted to the Assistant County Commissioner (International) or International Adviser who supports such events on behalf of United Kingdom headquarters. As part of this process, the Assistant County Commissioner for International (or equivalent) must complete the online VA notification form, notifying UK Headquarters of the trip.

More details are available regarding VA Form and guidance on the process or through notifying your Assistant County Commissioner (International) of your planned visit.

9.3.1.7 The UK Leader in Charge of a visit abroad must ensure that adequate travel insurance has been arranged for all members of the party, and that suitable InTouch arrangements are in place (Rule 9.1.1)

9.3.1.8 The UK Leader in Charge of any adventurous activities abroad must apply the appropriate rules and hold the appropriate adventurous activity permits, classifying the hills/mountains or waters as defined in Rules 9.12.4, 9.12.7, 9.13.4, although the altitude criteria for hills/mountains may not apply in some areas. In case of doubt, the Assistant County Commissioner (Activities) or Adviser should be consulted.

9.3.1.9 When overseas, UK members may take part in activities being run by members of the host Scout organisation following the host organisation’s guidance and rules. In this context, Kandersteg International Scout Centre is deemed an independent Scout organisation. There must be a Leader from the UK present who is able to stop the activity if they have safety concerns at any point. Activities forbidden by The Scout Association remain forbidden even when overseas. If using external providers overseas see POR Rule 9.6 for further guidance.

9.3.1.10 UK members, including members of the British Scouting Overseas under the age of 18, may only take part in group based hosted hospitality experiences i.e., using group accommodation. They must not participate in home-based hospitality experiences, such as in private homes.