EU-based Brits can’t travel home via Eurotunnel, company warns

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Eurotunnel is warning British residents dwelling within the EU that they can't travel via France by automotive to get residence from the U.Okay.

The notification comes as British nationals based mostly within the EU have been left nervous about their journey plans after a British man dwelling in Belgium stated he was barred Tuesday night time from traveling by way of the Eurotunnel, which connects the U.Okay. and France and serves as a most important conduit to mainland Europe.

Roland Moore, who works as a public affairs director in Brussels, wrote in a social media publish that he was escorted from the Eurotunnel.

“I was advised being a Belgian resident … was not a compelling purpose for transiting [France] to go residence,” he wrote, despite holding an “M” card, a Belgian residence document issued to British citizens who qualify as “beneficiaries” of the Brexit agreement.&

In an “urgent” update on its website, Eurotunnel appeared to verify on Wednesday that the French government had changed its rules.

“Following a French Authorities determination, on 28/12/2021, until they hold French residency, British citizens at the moment are thought-about third country residents and may not transit France by street to succeed in their nation of residence within the EU,” the assertion stated.

The French authorities tightened restrictions on journey from the U.Okay. on December 18 after the Omicron coronavirus variant surged in Britain. The country now solely allows journey from the U.Okay. for what it calls “compelling reasons.”

In line with French travel guidance, “nationals of the European Union or equivalent,” in addition to their partners and youngsters, “who have their primary residence in France or who be a part of, in transit by means of France, their primary residence in a country of the European Union” are thought-about to have a compelling purpose for traveling from the U.Okay. by way of France.

But Moore stated that he was handed a document by French authorities explaining the choice to ask him to go away the Eurotunnel.

“Any further, border guards should not think about as a compelling cause the very fact, for a British national beneficiary of the [Brexit] withdrawal settlement residing in a Member State aside from France, to transit by way of France to regain his domicile,” it stated.

Although the French government hasn’t made an official announcement concerning the rule change, the doc and Eurotunnel statement says the ban doesn't apply to British individuals dwelling in France, or individuals from the U.Okay. that also maintain an EU passport by means of dual nationality. However it does apply to British residents dwelling outdoors France in the EU.

Confusion reigns

Moore wrote: “Imagine how I felt. Stranded and deserted last night time and escorted off @LeShuttle property like a legal.”

The Eurotunnel hyperlinks Folkestone in England and Coquelles, near Calais, in France. Prior to Eurotunnel’s announcement, Moore’s case had led to some confusion amongst British individuals based mostly within the EU concerning the rules.

The French government’s web site still seems to recommend that British nationals can travel by way of France in the event that they reside in the EU. On the “Brits in Brussels” Facebook page, several individuals stated that that they had been capable of travel by means of the Eurotunnel on Wednesday.

A press officer for the French Inside Ministry contacted by POLITICO on Wednesday couldn’t affirm or deny the knowledge and pointed to steerage on-line.

France’s ambassador to the U.Okay., Catherine Colonna, also suggested on social media that British individuals verify the identical steerage, responding to queries about Moore’s case. GetLink, which operates the Channel Tunnel, didn't respond to several requests for comment.

A spokesperson for rail operator Eurostar stated in an e-mail the company doesn’t consider any new rules would apply to its practice hyperlinks between London and Brussels. That’s as a result of journey entry guidelines depend upon destination stations, which means British and Belgian guidelines apply.