France banned UK arrivals due to the rapid rise in Omicron variant infections throughout November and December. The decision threw trips across the Channel – throughout one of the busiest holiday seasons of the year – into chaos, as Brits were left with mere days to rearrange or cancel travel plans over Christmas and New Year.
France and Germany have been the only EU countries to ban UK travellers as the Omicron variant spread swiftly through Britain this month.
France barred Brits just before Christmas, meaning those wanting to spend the festive season across the channel had their plans scuppered at the last minute.
But Germany has reversed its initial decision to close its frontiers to UK based travellers, announcing that ‘normal’ visits will be able to resume from next week.
From January 3, vaccinated travellers will be able to enter Germany with no need to quarantine – but their neighbours France seem more resistant to changing the rules.
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Getlink, the operator of the Channel rail link, issued an urgent warning on its website and Twitter page on Wednesday evening that appeared to confirm that the French government had changed its travel rules.
The statement read: “Following a French Government decision, on 28/12/2021, unless they hold French residency, British citizens are now considered 3rd country citizens and can no longer transit France by road to reach their country of residence in the EU.”
According to the French travel guidance, “nationals of the European Union or equivalent”, as well as their partners and children, “who have their main residence in France or who join, in transit through France, their main residence in a country of the European Union” are able to travel through France.
The Eurotunnel statement said the ban did not apply to British people living in France, or people from the UK that also hold an EU passport through dual nationality.
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What are the current restrictions in France?
A slew of new restrictions have been brought in across France as new cases of COVID-19 soar to more than 100,000 per day.
France’s prime minister, Jean Castex, announced that from January 3 there will be new restrictions on hospitality and a new working from home order.
In France it will be compulsory to work from home at least three days per week, cafés and bars must provide table service only and nightclubs will remain closed.