Guiding in the EU

Guidance for UK-Based Battlefield Guides

PLEASE NOTE: this guidance is for UK-based Guides only.

Following a recent ETOA meeting, the Guild has created guidance for its UK-based members to explain how battlefield guiding in the EU/EFTA has been affected, post-Brexit. Our work is affected by the wording of the new Trade Agreement, which refers to all tour guides as ‘visitors’.

The Guild’s guidance is just that – guidance – but our relationship with ETOA is a strong one. We’ll keep this page updated with details as we have them; if you have any questions, please send them to in the first instance. 

To understand how your work as a Guide is affected by Brexit, you’ll need to look at these two documents:

This flow chart helps you to understand how you’ll be categorised as a visitor (Guide) in the EU.

This document holds the list of conditions that will apply to you, when you’re guiding on the battlefields in the EU/EFTA.

The Visitor Categories flow chart will help you to decide if you are a Short-Term Business Visitor [STBV], a Contractual Service Supplier [CSS], or an Independent Professional [IP]. This categorisation depends on how you would provide your services.

You might be working under contract to a third party [a tour operator], in which case you’ll either be a Short-Term Business Visitor or a Contractual Service Supplier, or you may be working on your own, independently, selling your services directly to the end customer. When you know which category applies, you can explore the conditions under which you’ll be able to work in the EU.

In short:

  • If you are an STBV, then the most amount of time you can work in the EU/EFTA as a Guide is 90 days in any six-month period (e.g. 10 x 9-nine day tours within a rolling 180-day period).
  • If you are guiding on a pro bono basis (voluntarily and without payment), then your work won’t fall within the scope of the Trade Agreement; this includes members guiding on Guild events and recces. Pro bono work classed as leisure travel and your time in-country will be viewed as part of the normal 90 days you’re allowed, within a rolling 180 day period.

Many guides work with more than one service provider, so this is important: keeping track of your 90 days within a rolling 180-day period and being in a position to evidence your standard of guiding will be YOUR responsibility as an individual, and not the service provider for whom you’re working – so your Guild logbooks will be important.

If the authorities want to query your eligibility to work as a battlefield Guide, they will be looking for authoritative confirmation that you are accredited and that you have evidence of providing professional services.

It is also worth noting that, at the moment, the definition of an STBV isn’t watertight – but we’ll stay in touch with ETOA to monitor this situation. Currently, ETOA is assuming it implies employment rather than a freelance contract, and more detail is needed. If ETOA’s assumptions are correct though, then an independent battlefield guide with less than 6-years’ experience will not be covered by the scope of the Trade Agreement.

The Guild’s guidance is just that – guidance – but our relationship with ETOA is a strong one. We’ll keep you updated with more details (and try to answer your questions), as soon as we have more information. Remember, any leisure travel within the EU/EFTA will also form part of your 90 days allowance.

This short video was published by ETOA, to provide a brief round-up of the main issues that Brexit presents to the travel industry overall: Planning difficulties, recruitment of immigrant staff and queues at borders. Again, if you have any questions, please send them to in the first instance.