Coming to the UK

Visas

Visiting from within the EU: EU citizens can travel to the UK for short trips without the need for a visa. However, it is no longer possible to use EU and EEA ID cards at the border so all participants will need a passport valid for the whole time you are in the UK to travel to Common Ground. Be extra clear with your group members: do they hold a full, valid passport or a Refugee Travel Document. Refugee travel document is not classed as a full passport and MAY mean applying for a Standard Visitor Visa. More information here.

Visiting from outside the EU: Most participants visiting from outside the EU will require a visa to attend Common Ground 2022. We recommend early passport applications. This is especially important if you have complex circumstances (ie a mixture of nationalities in the group, participants with name changes). The earliest time you can apply for the Standard Visitor Visa is 3 months before arrival in the UK.

Please find our Visa guidance documents below. You may also want to visit the IFM-SEI visa platform, especially if you pass through an EU country en-route to the UK.

Airports

If you are in Western Europe, please consider travelling overland. Please find information below on the nearest airports to Kelmarsh and travel times to the campsite. When choosing the travel for your group, please do not look at the cheapest flights alone – do consider total journey time, the environmental impact, and the practicalities like luggage.

Travelling with under 18’s

Anyone aged under 18 is classed as a child by UK law. Under-18s may need extra evidence if travelling without a parent or a guardian. This is also needed, even if the group is travelling visa-free. It is best to prepare the evidence for each child, just in case your group is checked at the UK border. The evidence could include:

  • Consent from the parent(s) or guardian(s) to travel to the UK and details of the adult(s) accompanying the child. The letter also needs to detail the care and accommodation arranged in the UK (= the details of Common Ground).
  • A photocopy of the Birth Certificate or legal document (such as adoption papers) showing the relationship between the child and the parent or guardian.
  • A copy of the parent’s or legal guardian’s passport photo page, with their signature and passport number. Or if the parent(s) do not have a passport, use another official document which has their signature.
  • See full UK government guidance regarding under-18’s here

CHECK CAREFULLY: are all the children in your group EU citizens? Or is someone in possession of a refugee travel document or a non-EU passport? If yes, see Visa guidance above.

Medical care and insurance

EU nationals:

EU nationals, both adults and children, at Common Ground 2022 should carry a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Read the full guidance from the UK government on medical care here. This guidance, updated November 2021, states on medically necessary treatment: “If you are visiting the UK from an EU country and you fall ill or have a medical emergency during your temporary stay in England, you can use a valid EHIC issued by your home country to access healthcare. Your EHIC also covers you for the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions.”

Please note: EHIC is not the same as a travel insurance. For example, EHIC would not cover the cost of bringing you back to home country if you are injured. This is called a repatriation. Consider carefully what other insurance you would like, beyond most urgent medical care. Also consider your access to healthcare along the journey to/from the UK – where are you transferring flights? How would you access healthcare in the countries you pass along the way?

Already hold an EHIC? Then please remember to check expiry and renew if needed!

Non-EU nationals:

You can get urgent medical care in the UK but this can incur very high fees. We recommend buying a comprehensive medical insurance before you travel. Also consider your access to healthcare along the journey to and from the UK – where are you transferring flights? How would you access healthcare in the countries you pass along the way? 

Please make sure everyone in your group has declared to the insurance company any existing medical conditions, pregnancy and any treatments they are waiting to receive in home country. You are more likely to have the correct insurance cover if you have shared all the information.

Speak to your doctor before you travel and make plans for how to care for your health conditions while you are away from home country. Do carry some health condition identification, or a letter saying what medication you are taking.

IFM-SEI project participants:

Some international participants may have different insurance cover in place, especially if they are attending on a funded place from outside Europe, as part of an IFM-SEI project. Those individuals may have an especially arranged travel health and personal belongings insurance, organised and paid for by IFM-SEI.

Phones and Wifi

Please note that there is no Wifi provided on site. We will use a range of communication methods, not reliant on internet access. Before you travel, please contact your mobile phone provider. You need to be clear on charges if you use your mobile in the UK. Since Brexit, the EU Free Roaming is no longer available in the UK.