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International Permits FAQs

We get a lot of frequently asked questions (FAQs) from clubs here at Swim England, so we thought we’d put our popular International Permits FAQs together with answers for you.

If you need help with competing overseas for your swimmers then see if you can find the answer in our International Permits FAQs below. If not call the Membership Services Department on 01509 640727 or email [email protected].

Where can I download International Permits from?

Each member, group of members or affiliated club wishing to compete, officiate or train overseas needs to apply for permission by completing their respective home nation’s International Permit.

Links to a PDF version of each Swim England type of International Permit can be found below. If you would like a Microsoft Word version of a certain type of Swim England International Permit, please email this request to [email protected] or call 01509 640727, and we will happily send it to you.

Alternatively, PDF versions of International Permits can be found on the British Swimming website.

All completed permits should then be either emailed to [email protected], or posted to Swim England Membership Services, SportPark, Pavilion 3, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough University, LE11 3QF.

What do I require as the only member of my club wishing to compete abroad?

An International Individual Permit for competing overseas should only be completed by current ‘Swim England Club Compete’ members who have been given explicit permission from their Swim England affiliated club to go and compete overseas.

It is essential, regardless of whether a member of the club’s personnel will be accompanying the member or not, that the member and club’s officer(s) have compiled and signed a risk assessment to show their mutual agreement with the content.

This risk assessment establishes that the club has done everything reasonably to prevent an incident occurring. In the event a claim is made against the club’s public liability insurance, the broker may call upon this risk assessment.

Please be aware that travel insurance is not included, thus individuals seeking an ‘International Individual Permit for competing overseas’ are responsible for acquiring their own insurance arrangements for the trip. You can read further information on this below.

To clarify, the ‘Valid from/ to’ dates are based on when the competition is taking place opposed to when the member is travelling.

Please remember to apply for an ‘International Individual Permit for competing overseas’ at least 28 days before leaving the country. Swim England Membership Services will email the permit back once it has been approved.

An ‘International Individual Permit’ that has been authorised by Swim England, enables the times the swimmer achieved at the permitted competition to be entered into the British Rankings. You can read further information on the Rankings procedure below.

If a member has made their own decision to go and compete overseas, an ‘International Individual Permit’ would not need completing because their Swim England affiliated club has not been involved; consequently, their club’s insurance wouldn’t protect them, and their times will not be included on the British Rankings Database.

Does an individual need a permit to compete in Ireland?

Provided the member is currently affiliated to a Swim England club with a ‘Club Compete’ grade, they wouldn’t require an ‘International Individual Permit’ if they were representing their Swim England associated club at a competition held within Scotland or Wales.

However, please be aware that the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland don’t form part of a British home nation. Therefore any Irish events where a Swim England member is representing their Swim England club, they would need to complete an International Individual Permit for Competing Overseas at least 28 days before departing for Ireland.

What do I require if I’m representing my overseas competitive club at an overseas meet instead of my Swim England club?

If a current ‘Club Compete’ member of Swim England plans to represent their overseas competitive club when competing at an overseas meet, they need to complete an Individual Permit for Residents Overseas. Please remember to apply for an ‘International Individual Permit for residents overseas’ at least 28 days before leaving the country.

This is the only type of permit where the ‘Valid from/ to’ dates cover a year long period (for example 01/01/2023 – 31/12/2023); the member wouldn’t need to apply for permission for every competition. Please know that the individual is responsible for renewing the permit if it’s still relevant after the expiry date.

We advise members who do not live or train in the country related to their overseas competitive club, to put their UK address in the ‘Contact Details Overseas Address’.

Swim England Membership Services will email the permit back once it has been approved.

An Individual Permit for Residents Overseas that has been authorised by Swim England, means that each overseas time the swimmer achieves whilst representing their overseas competitive club abroad during the period specified on the permit, could be submitted into the British Rankings. You can read further information on the Rankings procedure below.

By the Swim England member choosing to represent their overseas competitive club when competing abroad, be aware that their Swim England club’s insurance wouldn’t protect them as their Swim England affiliated club were not involved in the risk assessment process.

As I’m over 18 years old, do I need to complete the Master’s permit?

Before applying for an International Permit, please establish whether the event you intend to compete in is a recognised competition for masters’ athletes.

If the overseas event is specially considered for masters’ athletes only, an International Individual Permit Form for masters swimming should be completed.

If the criteria for taking part in the overseas event is not evidently for masters’ athletes, an Individual Permit for Competing Overseas should be completed.

Moreover, please read the answer to the question entitled ‘What do I require as the only member of my club wishing to compete abroad?’

Do I need a permit if I’m representing my national team in an overseas meet?

Following an invitation, if you have agreed to represent your national team at an overseas event, you would not need to complete an International Permit.

However, if you’re wishing to have your times from the event entered into the British Rankings, please read the information on the Rankings procedure below.

What would a Swim England affiliated club need if they’re wishing for their member’s to compete or train overseas?

A completed Team Permit should be either emailed to [email protected] or posted to Swim England Membership Services, SportPark, Pavilion 3, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough University, LE11 3QF at least 28 days before leaving the country.

The lead up to school holidays can be very busy, so clubs are kindly encouraged to send in their Team Permit as soon as is possible. Consequently, this gives both the club and Swim England chance to correct an issue.

It’s necessary for the club to check that all the athletes planning to go on the training camp, or to the competition, are current ‘Swim England Club Train’ or ‘Swim England Club Compete’ members of the club as is applicable. You can contact Swim England Membership Services on 01509 640727 or [email protected] if you require any help with viewing the club’s current members, or adding a new member to the club.

Please be aware that travel insurance is not included, thus club’s seeking an ‘International Team Permit’ are responsible for acquiring their own insurance arrangements for the trip.

Furthermore, the club’s Covid-19 Lead should oversee the arrangements for the trip to ensure they are safe and appropriate, and all persons travelling (or their parents for under 18s) should be aware that they do so at their own risk. International Permits are awarded on the condition that all home and destination country law, guidance and regulations in relation to COVID-19 are complied with.

Swim England Membership Services will email the permit back once it has been approved.

What do team staff require before taking club members away?

It’s necessary for the club to check that all the team staff planning to go on the training camp, or to the competition, are current members of the club. You can contact Swim England Membership Services on 01509 640727 or [email protected] if you require any help with viewing the club’s current members, or adding a new member to the club.

Ultimately by a member being approved on an International Permit, if a member were involved in an accident whilst participating in an aquatic sport (recognised and or authorised by Swim England) overseas, they could make a claim against the club’s public liability insurance if they felt their club hadn’t done everything reasonable to prevent that incident occurring. Subsequently, Swim England would very much recommend at least 1 member of the team’s support staff (but ideally one of each gender) having completed the Team Manager Level 2 Training course, so they’re able to conduct risk assessments on behalf of the group. In the event a claim is made against the club’s insurance, the broker may call upon these risk assessments.

The Team Manager Level 2 courses further enhance the knowledge gained when completing the Team Manager 1 course, and are appropriate for all team staff who may need to attend official briefings, lodge appeals and conduct risk assessments both domestically and abroad.

Clubs can contact their regional Swim England office to register their interest in upcoming Level 1 and 2 courses.

There is also the requirement for all team staff to have valid DBS, where the date printed on the disclosure certificate is less than 3 years before the club are due to return from overseas, and that’s an applicable level for the position they’re attending the training camp or competition as.

All team staff are also required to have undertaken a ‘Safeguarding and Protecting Children’ Swim England approved training course within the 3 years prior to the club returning from overseas.

To help clubs with child welfare, Swim England produce their Wavepower publication which includes our current child safeguarding policies and procedures. Download Swim England’s 2020 – 2023 version of this document here.

Is there any guidance information on taking club members away?

Yes, the NSPCC's Safe Sport Events, Activities and Competitions document provides guidance on planning safely for trips away. This document can be downloaded from Child Protection In Sport Unit website.

Is there a checklist we can use view when planning an international trip?

Swim England has created the Overseas Travel and Security policy. The policy provides guidance and advice to members and employees planning overseas trips, including staff travelling on business, National teams competing in overseas competitions as well as club training trips.

  • Click here to download the Swim England Overseas Travel and Security policy.

Why do club members need their own travel insurance when they have protection through the club?

Although the member is protected by personal injury arising from recognised and or authorised Swim England activities in which they are participating (see the benefits described at the bottom of page 2 within the club’s Summary of Insurance Cover for 2022-23), they wouldn’t be able to claim back any financial loss incurred as a result of medical / hospital treatment without having their own personal travel insurance; for example if they were to require hospital treatment after catching COVID-19.

Also, loss of personal items wouldn’t be covered under the club’s insurance, so the member would require travel insurance to cover this.

How do I get my overseas times entered into the British Rankings?

Clubs, squads and individuals who have obtained permission to compete abroad may have their results included in the British Rankings provided the meet they achieved those times in is equivalent in status to meets licensed in England, Scotland or Wales.

A completed Overseas Meet spreadsheet should be emailed to [email protected] within 28 days of the competition finishing, along with a link on the web where the Rankings team can check the submitted details.

Please be aware that you cannot submit times into the British Rankings where the swimmer has competed in a pool that is measured in yards.

If you have any further questions about entering overseas times into the British Rankings, please contact the Rankings team via [email protected] or by calling 01509 640766.

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