Tour Guide ID Card
Please note: what follows does not constitute legal advice. It represents ETOA’s understanding of the consequences of the EU-UK agreement, which is still to be ratified. We are aware of guidance offered elsewhere which differs from what follows, and we welcome any well-supported divergent opinion at firstname.lastname@example.org
ETOA’s interest is in minimising barriers to market access, with clients free to select the professional that best suits their needs. This section focuses on the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU as it poses more practical difficulties to UK citizens wishing to provide guiding services in the EU, as opposed to EU citizens wishing to provide services in the UK.
Professionals providing services on tours such as guides, translators and subject experts will, according to the agreement, need to fit within one of five categories of visitor: Short Term Business Visitor; Contractual Service Supplier; Independent Professional; Specialist; Translator and Interpreter. The barriers to market are most significant for independent professionals, and there is wide scope for national variation throughout the EU which may change over time.
- For summary of key restrictions on UK citizens resident in UK providing services in the EU (excepting Ireland), click here.
- For unofficial ETOA abridged version of the EU-UK agreement focusing on content affecting guiding, click here.
ETOA will share any information about detailed requirements for individual EU markets once they become clear.
For tour guides who are neither EU nor UK citizens, the position is unchanged, but the following should be noted. The EU-UK agreement requires that neither party provide more favourable terms to professionals from third countries than they do to each other’s citizens. In practice, services have been delivered by individuals who entered host countries as if they were leisure visitors. While ETOA can only offer guidance based on what appears to be the formal position, the most conspicuous and easily enforced limitation is duration of stay. Within that, the prospects of official scrutiny once in destination will vary enormously.
In countries where guiding is not a regulated profession, we consider it unlikely that the environment will become hostile to UK and other non-EU professionals. It is an open question whether, in countries that both regulate guiding and have reserved the right to impose a range of requirements on related activity and categories of visitor, the situation may change. The new arrangements have a profound impact not just on tourism but also performing arts and other seasonal activity.
UK and Switzerland
UK citizens wishing to provide services in Switzerland may do so for 90 days per calendar year, so a winter season of over 90 days remains practical. For Swiss citizens to UK, the limit is 12 months in any 24 month period. This is expected to be the case at least for 2021 and 2022. For further details the full text of the agreement is available here. For UK to CH, see Annex 1 Articles 2.1 and 5.1; for CH to UK, Annex 2 Articles 11 or 14.
UK citizens legally resident in the EU
UK citizens legally resident in the EU will be able to provide services in their country of residence subject to prevailing domestic requirements: if they reside in a country that regulates guiding, they will need the appropriate certification to be permitted to provide guiding services. Only EU citizens benefit from the principles of mutual recognition and freedom to provide professional services within single market arrangements such as the Professional Qualifications Directive, thus a UK citizen legally resident in the EU wishing to provide services in another EU country will have to comply with whatever requirements are imposed by that country on UK-resident UK citizens. This also includes UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (i.e. resident in the EU prior to 1 January 2021).
Frequently Asked Questions
You can apply if you provide your services for a company who is a member of ETOA. Remember, the card will be sent directly to their office (the address the card will be sent to appears in the field below the Tour Operator name in the application form when the Tour Operator is chosen).
Yes, you can apply if you are providing services for an ETOA member. ETOA’s definition of a Tour Guide is that they may work with the same group over a period of days on a closed-circuit tour or/and on a specialist walking tour. Note that the ETOA Tour Guide ID card is NOT evidence of a qualification, thus it is neither a licence nor a certificate. It does not affect the holder’s rights to provide services. If you are providing services in countries where guiding is regulated, you will need to comply with the local regulation.
We aim to post the card via Royal Mail within 21 days from order date. Depending on the delivery country, the card may be held up in customs or delayed due to local service, which is out of our control. Cards sent to addresses outside the United Kingdom will be sent tracked and signed. Cards are sent directly to the company address. Please contact email@example.com if you need the tracking number.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to send Tour Guide ID cards to your personal address. The address the card will be sent to appears in the field below the Tour Operator name in the application form when the Tour Operator is chosen. If you believe this address is incorrect, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before you apply for the card.
The Tour Guide ID cards are charged in EURO currency. Unfortunately, the invoice cannot be changed to other currencies.
If you have received the card and the information provided in the application form was incorrect, ETOA serves the right to charge an additional €15 +VAT fee for a reprint to cover the administration cost. If the error was made by ETOA, we apologise and will fast-track a new print and send the card with updated information free of charge.
While we do our best to double check all cards before printing, we may not spot errors in the application form. During our busiest period, we print 50-100 cards daily.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all information provided in the application form is correct. If you think you may have made a mistake on the form, please contact email@example.com / +44 (0) 20 33255037 as soon as possible to check if the card has been printed yet and if the information provided is correct.
If you have lost your Tour Guide ID card valid for the current season, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to provide your full name and date of birth and we will reprint the card for a fee of €15+VAT. Please note that we are only able to process the reprint when the invoice has been paid in full.