New Immigration Rules Cast Doubt Over French Traveller Scheme

The future of French nationals being able to enter Jersey on their ID cards is in doubt as the UK prepares to implement new immigration rules.

By the end of 2024, anyone who isn't a British or Irish citizen will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to enter the UK or Crown Dependencies.

From February 2024 it will apply to travellers from a small number of Middle Eastern countries, but is set to be rolled out to all countries by the end of the same year.

It has raised questions on how the current pilot scheme which allows French travellers to visit the island for a day trip on their national ID card can be extended.

That's because the ETA is linked to the passenger's passport, meaning they must travel on the document.

Prior to Brexit, EU nationals could travel to the islands using just their ID card, but a passport was required after the UK left the bloc, leading to a sharp decline in French visitors to the Channel Islands.

Channel 103 has asked Jersey Customs and Immigration Service what impact the scheme will have on the island.

In a statement, JCIS said:

"Officers are working closely with colleagues from the Home Office, who are leading the project, to minimise disruption to existing immigration controls at the ports."

We also asked Jersey's government if it was given a choice by the UK to enforce this and what conversations have happened between ministers here and in Westminster. We are still waiting for a response.

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