A Visit Abroad 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 Scouting. This applies to youth and adult Members, Associate Members and non-Members’.
‘Youth and adult members, Associate 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’.
NOTE: For NI Scouts travelling to the Republic of Ireland it is no longer a requirement to take out additional travel insurance, providing the trip is for no longer than 48 hours. If you feel that you require cover for emergency medical expenses, personal possession or cancellation then it is strongly advised that you should buy travel insurance. All members should carry a valid EHIC card for travelling within many European Countries including the Republic of Ireland. EHIC cards are obtainable from the NHS website.
- A camp or residential experience abroad which includes Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts, or Explorer Scouts, must be led by an adult holding a relevant Nights Away Permit. For Scout Network visits abroad see Rule 9.61h.
- All visits abroad must follow the VA Process and be approved at planning stage by the relevant Commissioner to the designation of the trip:
- England and Northern Ireland: District or County Commissioner and Assistant County Commissioner for International.
- Scotland: District or Regional Commissioner and Regional International Adviser.
- Wales: District or Area Commissioner and Assistant Area Commissioner for International.
- BSO: District Commissioner and Assistant Area Commissioner for International.
- Countries/UK/HQ: UK International Commissioner, Scottish HQ Commissioner (International), Deputy Commissioner Wales – Programme (International).
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.
The VA Form and guidance on the process can be found on www.scouts.org.uk/internationalor through notifying your Assistant County Commissioner (International) or County International Adviser (or equivalent) of your planned visit.
- 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 9.3)
- 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 9.28, 9.29, 9.30 and 9.44, 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.
- 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 halt the activity if they have safety concerns at any point. Activities forbidden by UK Scouting remain forbidden even when overseas. If using external providers overseas please see POR Rule 9.9b for further guidance.
- 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 not private homes), they must not participate in home based hospitality experiences.
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