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Foreign travel information

Birkbeck is a global institution and supports foreign travel, which can support the education and the experience of students.

Whether travelling as part of your Birkbeck studies or travelling independently, our information and resources can help make the most of your travel.

Read the latest information about coronavirus.

Travel as part of your Birkbeck programme

General travel advice

  • First check the country-specific guidance and make sure you have the information below on hand before proceeding to the next steps:
    • Check UK Government travel advice.
    • Check whether you need to apply for a visa for the country you are travelling to.
    • Check travel safety advice at Public Health England.
    • Check whether you will need any vaccinations, and visit your GP to discuss.
    • Check your documents: Is your passport valid and does it have enough time left on it for the country you are travelling to? See the government information for latest information for Passport rules for travel to Europe from 1 January 2021.
    • Share your itinerary and contact details while abroad with your family and friends, and make sure that you remain in regular contact with them.
    • You are advised to complete the Travel Risk Assessment to help you plan a successful trip, and to share the document with family/friends.
    • If you are disabled or have an SSP and travelling as part of your Birkbeck course, please discuss your plans with the Disability Office who will help advise on how to plan for a successful visit.

Travel insurance

  • It is vital to make sure that you have travel insurance for your trip.
  • If you are travelling as part of your Birkbeck course, Birkbeck has a travel insurance policy that will insure Birkbeck employees and students who are normally resident in the UK. To be covered by the insurance, you must register your trip.
  • If you are not travelling as part of your course, make sure that you have sufficient travel insurance before you leave.


  • Vaccinations
    • Ensure that you have up-to-date vaccinations to travel to certain countries or regions. Check the NHS’s vaccination advice or discuss with your GP or private travel vaccination clinic, or pharmacy offering travel healthcare services.
  • Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
    • A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU). 
    • If you're planning to study in an EU country, a regular GHIC will not be valid. You need to apply for a GHIC that's time limited to the length of your course. You cannot apply for this online. An application form is available on the GHIC website. Birkbeck will supply a letter confirming that the visit is part of your study. 
    • You can use a GHIC to get 'necessary healthcare' from state services when you're visiting an EU country. 
    • Necessary healthcare means healthcare which becomes medically necessary during your stay, and you cannot reasonably wait until you're back in the UK to get it. 
    • The GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts or being flown back to the UK. 
    • Make sure you have both a GHIC and a travel insurance policy that includes healthcare in place before you travel. 

Disabilities or long-term health conditions

  • If you are travelling abroad as part of your studies with Birkbeck, and you have a disability or long term-health condition, you will need a completed risk assessment. This will ensure that you and the College have considered how your condition is likely to affect you during your time abroad, and that appropriate support is in place for you where required.
  • To conduct a risk assessment, contact your Birkbeck Disability and Dyslexia or Mental Health adviser.

Money and contact

  • Make sure you research the country you’re visiting, and plan how you will travel around, access money, and ensure that you have a means to communicate.
  • Money
    • Consider whether you will take local currency with you or if you plan on accessing funds when you arrive.
    • Inform your bank that you will be travelling, to make sure that your bank cards are not blocked.
  • Mobile phone
    • Depending on the country you’re visiting and the length of stay, consider buying a local SIM card. Data use in the EU currently counts towards your existing UK plan, but can be very expensive in other countries. Buying a local SIM may be cheaper.
  • Travel and safety
    • Research the best way to travel in the area you’re visiting. Keep to official transport options and registered taxi operators to stay safe and so that you are not over-charged. Consider downloading apps for local trains and taxi operators before you arrive. Book your accommodation and plan how to get there before you arrive.

Travel checklist

  • Final checklist for the travel documents you need to take:
    • a copy of your insurance certificate
    • any vaccination certificates as appropriate
    • your passport (with sufficient validity)
    • any visa documentation
    • the details of any additional insurance that you have taken out
    • electronic and/or paper bookings for accommodation, travel and activities
    • your completed Travel Risk Assessment.