France relaxes ban on British travelers trying to return to EU homes

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Dec. 30 (UPI) — The French government on Thursday lifted its block on British citizens seeking to transit through France to return to their homes in the European Union.

France implemented the restriction earlier this month as COVID-19 cases ballooned to record numbers in the country. On Dec. 18, British citizens without French residency were no longer allowed to travel to or through France with few exceptions.

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Such British citizens were considered “third-country nationals” and were thus unable to travel through France by road or train, including through the Channel Tunnel.

BBC News reported that Britons were surprised to learn there were no exemptions in place to allow citizens to cross France to reach their homes in EU countries. This was particularly problematic for Britons attempting to return to their EU homes after visiting Britain over the holidays.

The Eurotunnel, the train that carries passengers and their vehicles through the Channel Tunnel, turned away many British nationals due to the new rules this week, Politico reported.

The French Interior Ministry announced Thursday that the rules would be relaxed since many Britons traveled to Britain for the holidays “in good faith” and are now finding themselves unable to return home in the EU.

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“Faced with this situation, instructions of tolerance have been sent to police officers at the borders with the United Kingdom, in order to allow these nationals to transit through France to reach their residence in a country of the European Union,after this Christmas and New Year period” the ministry said Thursday.

The new rules will allow Britons living in the EU to travel through France if they originally made their trip to Britain before Tuesday.