Confusion Over Rules for UK EU Residents Travelling Home Via Channel Tunnel

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Eurotunnel warns British citizens living in the EU that they cannot travel by car via France to return home from the United Kingdom, the news site Politico reports.

 

The news comes after a British man living in Belgium was refused entry to the Channel Tunnel on Tuesday evening, which appears to contradict official guidelines posted by France online.

The news is causing great confusion for Britons living in a European country other than France who wanted to visit friends and family in their country of origin for the end of the year celebrations. The Eurotunnel connects France and the United Kingdom and is the main gateway to the European mainland for the British.

Roland Moore, who works in Brussels as a PR director, stated that he was escorted from the Channel Tunnel on social media. “I was told that the fact that I am a Belgian resident … is no longer a compelling reason to travel home via [France],” the man wrote. Moore does, however, have an “M card”, a Belgian residence document that is issued to British citizens who qualify as “beneficiaries” of the Brexit agreement.

In an “urgent” update on Twitter, Eurotunnel appears to confirm on Wednesday that the French government has changed its rules. “Following a decision by the French government, British citizens will henceforth be considered third-country nationals unless they reside in France, and will no longer be able to cross France overland to reach their residence elsewhere in the EU,” it reads. A statement. However, the rules France recently posted online following new travel restrictions to and from the United Kingdom – the result of the fierce advance of the omikron variant there – don’t seem to suggest the same.

After the tightening of the rules, the French government said that as of December 18, travel from the UK will only be possible for “compelling reasons” and in some instances. According to the new directives, this includes all “European Union nationals”, as well as their partners and children, “who have their main residence in France or who, via France, go to their main residence in another country of the European Union”.

However, a document that can be found on the website of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom also states that the same exception applies to “British nationals and members of their families covered by the terms of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the United Kingdom. European Union”.

However, according to Moore, the French authorities provided him with a document explaining that British nationals who, as beneficiaries of the (Brexit) Withdrawal Agreement, reside in a European Member State other than France and wish to transit through France to their place of residence, no longer fall under the category of “compelling reasons”. According to the same document, the apparently new restrictions, which the French have not officially announced, do not apply to Britons living in France or to British nationals who also have an EU passport.

Politico contacted a spokesman for the French Ministry of the Interior, but he could not confirm or deny the information on Wednesday and referred to the online guidelines. The French ambassador to Great Britain, Catherine Colonna, also advises the British on social media to consult the same guidelines. GetLink, the Channel Tunnel operator, has not yet responded to several requests for comment.

A spokesman for the high-speed train service Eurostar said in an email that the company believes there are no new rules for train connections between London and Brussels. This has everything to do with the fact that the rules for train passengers depend on the destination, which means that the British and Belgian rules apply in this case.

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