UK nationals will be allowed to travel through France if they are going to their home in an EU country during the festive period.

France suspended its Covid restriction after UK travellers faced difficulties reaching their country of residence. Eurotunnel, which had earlier issued warnings to customers, said that it was delighted by the move.


People from the UK are still largely banned from going to France unless they have a compelling reason. Earlier this month, French ministers tightened travel rules for the UK, citing concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant.

Since 18 December, British citizens have needed an essential reason to travel to France, with some exemptions in place. It had been thought that exemptions covered those crossing France in order to get to their home in another EU country.

However on Wednesday, both P&O and Eurotunnel said the French government had issued new rules meaning British people could no longer transit France by road to reach their country of residence in the EU unless they hold French residency. The British government said it was urgently seeking clarification about any new restrictions that would affect UK nationals.

In response, the French government insisted that UK nationals who reside in another EU country are deemed to be third country nationals and are therefore not allowed to cross France to get home under the current Covid rules. However, it noted that a large number of British nationals residing in an EU country have travelled in good faith to the UK for the festive season and are experiencing difficulties in reaching their country of residence.

"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". The French Ministry of the Interior added that, unlike UK citizens, EU nationals coming from the UK to their residence in the EU were not impacted by the transit ban and were free to travel through France.

Eurotunnel, the company which runs vehicle-carrying trains between Dover and Calais, said it was delighted that the French government has responded positively to its requests for flexibility in travel rules. On Twitter, the company said the flexibility for passengers would be subject to their initial journey to the UK being completed before 28 Dec 2021.

The confusion over travel rules comes as France is experiencing record numbers of infections, with over 200,000 positive cases reported on Wednesday. On the same day, the UK also saw cases jump to a record high of 183,000 people testing positive.