France tightens travel rules: no more transit for the British?

Status: December 30, 2021 5:09 p.m.

Out of concern for Omikron, France has tightened its entry rules. Brits residing in an EU country outside France, for example, are no longer allowed to travel through the Eurotunnel. Britain is asking for clarification.

Due to stricter corona entry rules for third country nationals, many Brits can no longer drive through France to their places of residence in other EU countries. As the company Eurotunnel announced, Brits residing in an EU country outside France are no longer allowed to enter France with the auto train of the same name under the English Channel. According to the new regulations, the British would be considered third-country nationals, even if they lived permanently in the EU.

The ferry company P&O Ferries also announced that only Britons residing in France are allowed to cross the English Channel and enter France.

Stricter entry rules because of Omikron

Both companies refer to France’s stricter entry rules. Since December 18, the country has only allowed entry from Great Britain in urgent cases. But there are exceptions, for example for trucks. The step is intended to prevent the spread of the highly contagious Corona variant Omikron. According to the AFP news agency, the Interior Ministry in Paris said it was only “logical” to treat the British like all other third-country nationals and “not allow them to pass through to another EU country”.

Hundreds of Brits who wanted to return to their homes in the EU after the Christmas holidays are affected by the tightening. “I’m completely confused,” said Professor Fiona Navin-Jones, who has lived in Belgium for 14 years, to the agency. “I no longer have the right to go home.” Her impression is that the corona pandemic is being used as a pretext for something “that is actually a Brexit problem”. The British-French relationship is currently already heavily strained. For example, London and Paris are arguing over fishing licenses in the English Channel.

London calls for clarification

The government in London asked France to clarify whether Brits can travel through France on their way to other EU countries. “The French government has stated that British nationals arriving from the UK who do not reside in France are not allowed to travel through France to return to their country of residence unless they are traveling by air,” the said Foreign Office in London.

The French government is urgently asked for further clarification. In the meantime, travelers should check with their transport company.

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