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Britons resident in EU countries can now transit through France

The French Interior Ministry is allowing a period of 'tolerance' for Britons resident in other EU countries who are in the UK for the Christmas holidays 

The French Interior Ministry is allowing a period of 'tolerance' for Britons living in other EU countries who returned to the UK for Christmas Pic: Milan Sommer / Shutterstock

The Interior Ministry has stated that it is allowing a 'tolerance' permitting Britons who are in the UK for the Christmas holidays to transit back through France to other EU countries in which they live.

It states in a Facebook post that it never intended to allow Britons living in other EU countries to transit freely through France (other than via airports) under its current Covid restrictions, but will now do so as many such Britons went to the UK "in good faith" for the holidays.

As a result of the difficulties they have been facing the border police have now been asked to apply flexibility in these cases, the ministry says.

The announcement comes after there were reports of some Britons travelling by car being turned away from Eurotunnel because they wanted to transit through France to other EU countries.

The French 'essential reasons' list for travel to France explicitly says EU (and EEA or Swiss) citizens can go to France if they live there or may also transit through France to other EU countries where they live. It also says 'third country' (non-EU/EEA/Swiss) citizens with residency cards or long-stay visas can enter France if they live in France. 

However the list also refers to Britons (and their close family members) who are beneficiaries of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (WA) as being able to enter France (note: Many WA Britons now also have WA residency cards, but this is only a legal obligation, for adults, from January 1). According to the ministry's Facebook post today this rule was only originally intended to refer to Britons who also live in France, and those with permits for other countries were intended to be subject to the same rules as other non-EU citizens.

The French essential reasons list also includes anyone who is 'in transit of less than 24 hours in airports' international zones'.

Eurotunnel confirms that the French government has updated its rules which it says have been in force since December 28, 2021, to now allow passengers travelling from the UK, with residency permits for other EU countries under the Withdrawal Agreement, to transit through France to return to their homes.

This is subject to their journey to the UK having been completed before December 28, 2021, Eurotunnel says.

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