Breaking: France suspends transit ban for UK nationals for Christmas only

Transit ban

UK nationals now will be able to travel through France if they are going to their home in an EU country during the festive period. After much confusion and instances of people being stranded at Dover, France has suspended its Covid restriction transit ban but under the caveat of the initial journey to the UK having been completed before the 28th of December.

After its earlier warning to customers was shared thousands of times, Eurotunnel said it was “delighted” by the move. While people from the UK are still largely banned from France unless they have a compelling reason, this short reprieve will allow people who travelled for the festive period to return to their EU residences, including Spain.

Since 18 December, British citizens have needed an essential reason to travel to France, with some exemptions in place. It was originally thought that exemptions covered those crossing France in order to get to their home in another EU country.


However, on Wednesday 29 December, both P&O and Eurotunnel said the French government had issued new rules meaning British people could “no longer transit France by road to reach their country of residence in the EU” unless they hold French residency, due to their now 3rd country status post-Brexit. As the British Embassy “urgently” looked for clarification, many were then stranded at Dover when their attempts to board ferries and the Eurotunnel were blocked.

In response, the French government insisted that UK nationals who reside in another EU country are deemed to be “third country nationals” and are therefore not allowed to cross France to get home under the current transit ban.

However, it noted that “a large number of British nationals residing in an EU country have travelled in good faith to the UK for the festive season and are experiencing difficulties in reaching their country of residence”.

“Faced with this situation, instructions of tolerance have been sent to police officers at the borders with the United Kingdom, in order to allow these nationals to transit through France to reach their residence in a country of the European Union”.

Eurotunnel, the company which runs vehicle-carrying trains between Dover and Calais, said it was “delighted that the French government has responded positively to its requests for flexibility in travel rules”.

On Twitter, the company said the flexibility for passengers would be “subject to their [initial] journey to the UK being completed before 28 Dec 2021“.

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