French school children to be allowed to enter UK without passports

French school trip
By Linsey McNeill
12/12/2023
Home » French school children to be allowed to enter UK without passports

The Government has partially reversed a post-Brexit policy that banned Europeans from travelling to the UK without passports.

From the end of this month, French children travelling on school trips will be allowed to enter with only ID cards.

The move is expected to boost travel from school groups as French children will no longer have to apply for individual passports.

It is a reversal of the policy introduced by former Home Secretary Priti Patel banning the use of ID cards for UK entry in October 2021.

Some 200 European nationals, including roughly half of French citizens, don’t own a passport, regularly using ID cards instead for crossing borders.

Over the past two years, European school group bookings to the UK have fallen 40% due to the requirement for children to travel on passports, according to the Tourism Alliance. Children living in Europe who are non-EU citizens have also been obliged to obtain a visa to travel to the UK.

However, a meeting between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron last March has led to the rule change.

Current Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “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.”

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