Since October 2021, European identity cards are no longer accepted to travel to the UK. Instead, citizens from the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have to show a passport when they enter the country. But there is an exception.
The administration of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands and a self-governing British Crown Dependency, decided in April to allow French citizens to enter with an ID only for day-return trips. The scheme was initially adopted for six months and has now been extended until 30 September 2024.
The passport requirement was introduced following the UK withdrawal from the European Union. This caused a significant reduction in the number of school trips from EU countries to the UK and difficulties for city twinning, for instance.
Only about 50% of French nationals have a passport.
Jersey is just 14 miles – 23 km – from Normandy and the territories have strong historical links. The new passport rules caused last year a significant drop in the number of visitors to the island, which picked up again after the ID-only requirement was adopted this year.
Jersey Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Helen Miles, said: “We have seen a significant increase in day trips from France to Jersey since the launch of the scheme in April 2023. Our aim is not only to boost our local economy and ferry operators but also to foster our cultural and historical connections with France.”
The administration of Jersey reminds, however, that while the scheme is in place for French nationals, all other travellers are required to use a valid passport.
Jersey is part of the Common Travel Area, which allows British and Irish citizens to travel passport-free in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.
Citizens from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland who have settled or pre-settled status in the UK, an EU settlement scheme family permit, a frontier worker permit or a service provider visa from Switzerland can continue to enter the UK with identity cards at least until 31 December 2025.
On a day trip to Jersey it is possible to visit historical sites such as Elizabeth castle, or the cobbled streets of Saint Helier, while sampling seafood and the local vodka made with Jersey potatoes.
Update: at the state sitting of 16 October, Helen Miles said she was “optimistic” that the scheme could be expanded for visits of up to three days, subject to talks with the UK Home Office.
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