France suspends transit ban for Britons living in EU

File photo. Cars wait to depart the Port of Dover in Dover. [EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL]

France said Thursday (30 December) that it will suspend a new rule that prevents Britons from transiting through the country to reach homes elsewhere in the EU, a move that caught thousands of travellers off guard.

“During the year-end holidays” border police will show “tolerance” for Britons returning to the European Union after trips, France’s Interior Ministry said.

Many Britons take the Channel Tunnel from England to France, using Eurotunnel’s Shuttle service, to drive from the UK to their homes in other EU countries.

For the holidays many returned to Britain to visit family and friends without knowing that France was planning the tougher rules on non-residents.

Under stricter Covid-19 travel rules being applied since 28 December, only Britons whose official primary residence is in France were to be allowed in.

France blocking Britons from transiting to EU homes

Britons who live in the European Union can no longer drive through France to their homes elsewhere in the bloc under new regulations that have created confusion for many holiday travellers.

“Unless they hold French residency, British citizens are now considered third country citizens and can no longer transit France by road to reach their country of residence in the EU,” Eurotunnel said in a tweet late Wednesday.

The change caused dismay among Britons who embarked on holiday trips “in good faith,” the French Interior Ministry said, acknowledging the “difficulties in returning to their country of residence.”

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