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UK officially lifts ban on French EU ID cards

The UK Home Office has officially confirmed that it will lift the EU ID card ban for French residents, meaning French school groups will have less roadblocks entering the country.

The move includes EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are studying in France. Photo: Pixabay

The move was rumoured some time ago but was not given an official start date

The move was rumoured in November, but sector stakeholders decried the lack of clarity on the situation at the time and lobbied for a clear start date. 

The implementation of the rule was of “paramount importance”, and the goodwill it would create would be “incalculable”, English UK chief Jodie Gray said at the time. 

“We are making changes to allow children aged 18 and under, studying at a school in France, to visit the UK on an organised educational trip without the usual passport or visit visa requirements,” the Home Office wrote in December. 

“EU, other EEA and Swiss national children will be able to travel on their national identity card. Visa national children will still be required to travel on their passport but will not have to obtain a visit visa,” the announcement detailed. 

James Herbertson, director of Bayswater Education, said the move “certainly gives more confidence”. 

“We are delighted that the UK Home Office has listened to the industry,” said a representative from UKInbound, which represents inbound tourism business into the UK. 

“We look forward to further markets being added in due course,” they urged. 

The House of Lords’ European Affairs Committee officially welcomed the stance, with chair Lord Ricketts saying it has “long campaigned” for such an outcome. 

“[We have campaigned] for progress in reducing the post-brexit barriers to mobility for young people and particularly for students across different educational levels.

“As much as it’s a positive step in the right direction, France is just one market”

“It is therefore welcome news that the Home Office is finally amending the rules. The Committee welcomes this promising start, but we now urge the Government to get this extended to children studying in all EU states for the benefit of both sides,’ he urged. 

Herberston echoed the need for more to be done. 

“As much as it’s a positive step in the right direction, France is just one market. 

“We need this to be across Europe as the same issues of some students in school groups not having a passport and / or children originally of other nationalities outside of the EU not being able to come – as they need a visa – still exist,” he added.

The move will come into effect in January 2024.

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