<p>A train cuts through the Czech countryside</p>

A train cuts through the Czech countryside

British 18- to 20-year-olds have one week to apply for this free EU rail pass

UK youngsters are given one more year to apply to compensate for missing out during the pandemic

Monday 18 October 2021 09:33
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Some British 18-20 year olds are still eligible to apply for a free EU rail travel pass - but only for one more week.

This is the last time that young British adults will be able to apply for the Discover EU pass, which is usually only available to 18-year-olds from EU member states.

This application round is open to all young Europeans that were born between July 1, 2001, and December 31, 2003.

Both the age range and inclusion of the UK have been extended due to young people missing out on the scheme during the pandemic travel shutdown.

“Under the terms of the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal Agreement from the European Union, UK citizens are eligible to participate in the 2021 round, as they were eligible for the cancelled rounds in 2020 whose budget has been transferred to 2021,” explains the European Youth Portal website.

The pass allows young Europeans to travel for free on European trains for up to 30 days - for this batch of successful applicants, it will be valid for journeys taken between March 2022 and February 2023.

Given the ongoing pandemic and local travel restrictions across Europe, pass holders will be able to make flexible bookings through a new mobile travel app, which allows them to change the departure date until the moment they leave.

Created shortly before the pandemic, in 2018, the Discover EU scheme is funded by European Parliament, with two rounds of applications per year for 60,000 passes in total.

Each EU member state is granted a certain quota of passes - usually to 18-year-olds only, but the 2021 round has been extended to 19 and 20 year olds who may have missed out on the last two years of the scheme.

The only criteria are: being aged 18 to 20 years old, being a member of an EU state or the UK, and having a valid passport.

To apply, young people must fill in an online application and take a short quiz about the EU member states.

They can also apply as a group of up to four people.

It’s a competitive process, however - in the 2018-19 round, nearly 350,000 young people applied, with the biggest numbers across Italy, France and Spain.

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