British motorists wishing to return to their European residences outside France by crossing France are prohibited from entering the Channel tunnel on the British side, under new French restrictions linked to the Covid, which causes confusion and diplomatic friction.
The blocking concerns Britons officially resident in a European Union country other than France and who to get there usually cross France by car, as is the case during this period of return from the holidays.
Those residing in France are not affected, nor are passengers on Eurostar trains.
Read also French in London: in which district (s) to buy and at what price?
The British Foreign Office indicated on its site to ask "
urgently for clarifications from the French government
", and advised its nationals to check with carriers before traveling.
In fact, after several hours of floating on Wednesday, operators and in particular Eurotunnel, beset with questions on Twitter, confirmed the ban.
Read also Eurotunnel: "For travelers, Brexit will not change anything"
Unless they hold a French residence, British citizens are now considered third country citizens and can no longer transit through France by road to reach their country of residence in the EU,
" tweeted on Wednesday evening Eurotunnel, the subsidiary of the Getlink group which manages the tunnel, evoking a decision of the French government of December 28.
Ditto for ferries: "
Only those who have a residence in France will be allowed to enter France
", wrote in a tweet the company P&O Ferries.
The French Interior Ministry replied to AFP that it was about the application of border instructions, updated on December 18 and which now impose a "
" to enter the territory.
The ministry explained that the British were "
third country nationals
", a category of travelers for which transit to another EU country is not allowed.
French controls are done on the English side
The application of these rules surprised British passengers never informed of these restrictions.
Several who wanted to transit through France for, for example, Belgium, testified on Twitter of their incomprehension, or even that access to the tunnel had been refused to them just before boarding.
French controls are carried out on the English side, before crossing the Channel.
I'm completely lost, that doesn't make sense!"
", Told AFP Fiona Navin-Jones, a Briton who has lived in Belgium for 14 years, and who was Thursday morning with her family in England, where she had driven by car.
A few hours later, the family nevertheless presented themselves at the Eurotunnel terminal, having read that the spouses of people of European Union nationality were authorized to transit through France.
We finally managed to go by road thanks to the residence card and the composition of the household (a Belgian document, editor's note) because my husband is Irish
", testified Fiona Navin-Jones.
I was told that the passage would depend on the border officer in the cabin, so I guess I was lucky
The French rules are still fearful
", she was annoyed, believing that it is a "
question of Brexit disguised with the Covid