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Has anyone used Eurotunnel in recent weeks?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Has anyone used Eurotunnel in recent weeks?

If so, what sort of questions / checks are in place to prove your journey / exit is permitted?

Does anyone actually ask you where and why you’re leaving the UK?
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@sasha320, haven't heard of any problems with regards to people traveling and adhering to the current regulations.
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@sasha320, interesting question. Is your reason for travel not permitted?
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
@sasha320, haven't heard of any problems with regards to people traveling and adhering to the current regulations.


I'm sure you haven't heard of any problems with regards to people travelling adhering to the current regulations! I pretty much assumed that.

My question was orientated more towards understanding whether people who were travelling and not adhering to the current regulations would encounter any problems.
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ster wrote:
@sasha320, interesting question. Is your reason for travel not permitted?


I'm not travelling anywhere - why do you ask?
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@sasha320, so why are you asking, for a friend?
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@ster to help you avoid throwing your back out from further virtue signalling; the reason for the original question is that I am aware of a number of people in my local community who have travelled overseas with their families in the last month - via Eurotunnel.

Some are British citizens and some are not, they all live in the UK and I suspect not all are travelling for business reasons (there may be other permitted reasons).

So I am intrigued to understand whether anybody had any real world experiences of the authorities qualifying journeys whilst travelling via Eurotunnel and therefore understand whether the authorities were actually doing anything proactively to manage compliance with rules.

Now that you have pointlessly qualified the intentions behind my enquiry, I’m hoping someone who has actually made this journey may choose to share their experiences.

If not, once some these families have emerged from their quarantine and schools restart I will ask them myself at the school gate.
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@sasha320, There are a good number of reasons that people can leave their home and they are the same reasons for travel to the EU
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Quote:

Now that you have pointlessly qualified the intentions behind my enquiry

Now that you have confessed to being a curtain twitching vigilante maybe people won't bother with your enquiry....
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A couple of my colleagues have left the country (one by air, one tunnel) for what I'd describe are reasons of convenience (or at best child safeguarding) so that they can shack up with parents to make home schooling family life easier, so I'm not sure there's much enforcement. As far as I can tell 'essential' still hasn't been defined by the Foreign Office other than Pritty dressing us down last month, so what's actually being enforced?

Bear in mind there might be three points of enforcement: The carrier, UK border control, and then Foreign border control. The French govt may have different definitions to the UK.

Has the Govt stipulated that the carrier enforces 'essential' or UK border force?
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

Now that you have pointlessly qualified the intentions behind my enquiry

Now that you have confessed to being a curtain twitching vigilante maybe people won't bother with your enquiry....


You ok hun?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
garyyb wrote:
A couple of my colleagues have left the country (one by air, one tunnel) for what I'd describe are reasons of convenience (or at best child safeguarding) so that they can shack up with parents to make home schooling family life easier, so I'm not sure there's much enforcement. As far as I can tell 'essential' still hasn't been defined by the Foreign Office other than Pritty dressing us down last month, so what's actually being enforced?

Bear in mind there might be three points of enforcement: The carrier, UK border control, and then Foreign border control. The French govt may have different definitions to the UK.

Has the Govt stipulated that the carrier enforces 'essential' or UK border force?


Thank you, first sane answer to the original question. Thanks
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garyyb wrote:


Has the Govt stipulated that the carrier enforces 'essential' or UK border force?


[/quote]

I think the carrier has been asked to check the validity of travel in the same way they check visas etc.

I know that carriers are fined and / or have to return anybody who doesn’t have a valid visa and is denied entry at their destination.

For Covid restrictions I suspect the carriers are voluntarily checking but not sure how they’d deal with a customer who couldn’t convince them their reason for travel was compliant - without some legal / contractual backup. Dunno
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From Simon Calder on Twitter:

"Going abroad (for those who are allowed essential travel) will get even tougher from 8 March, when the government brings in the Declaration to Travel – with airlines, ferry firms and train operators fined if they fail to check that the passenger is exempt."
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If one has a family member in EU country, one can travel to see Him/Her. Then from aforementioned EU country, One can go skiing to Switzerland.
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That's not how its working in airports. Anyone without a valid reason to travel was being turned away. Going to visit a family member would not be a valid reason - unless you were caring for them in some way. The airline would be responsible for the costs of returning the person if they were denied entry - so they are being cautious about who gets on flights.
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I think it's a valid question to ask if anyone who has actually travelled on Eurotunnel can provide feedback on how they are operating any checks. A lot of us have Eurotunnel bookings that we keep re-scheduling forwards. So it's of interest to us ticket holders as to what is happening currently.

Re. flights, as I've said elsewhere, the odds are that come May, the IATA TravelPass App will replace current paper documentation as the main certification method for anyone checking in. But it isn't at all clear how things will work for those of us going by Tunnel or Ferry, although the Government has been quietly researching this for some time now, and the IoW Track+Trace App apparently did include test/vaccination certification.

So there are a lot of questions. When we travelled via Eurotunnel back from Switzerland last September, the Q-Code Immigration Declaration had just been released. We weren't asked to produce it at Coquelles, even 'though there were virtually no queues when we arrived. We were just asked where we'd been and if we'd completed the Declaration. We were never asked to show any of our eight different French travel forms, at any border, outbound or return.

It would be interesting to know what happens at the moment - At Ashford, do they check any documentation at the check-in gate, or wait until you get to French Immigration & Customs and check along with your passport, or just not bother? What happens at Coquelles on the return leg? What documents are now mandatory - presumably the established «Attestation» and «Déclaration», but isn't there now another «Déclaration» if you want to travel after 18:00? And what about test certificates? Etc.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Thu 25-02-21 11:42; edited 2 times in total
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I too think it's a very valid and interesting question to ask and would also be interested. My experience of travelling in September from UK to Belgium, Lux, Germany, Austria Italy and France and back to UK was that there were no requests for any paperwork anywhere except passport at the tunnel.

@LaForet, I am also in the position of having a number of unused frequent traveller crossings that were purchased in Sept. 2019, at the moment valid until Sept. 2021 but it's unlikely I will have the opportunity to use them all before then.

First world problems I appreciate........
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@ropetow, There is not really a cost with the tunnel as the "border" is effectively this end of the tunnel for france bound traffic. Just a U turn at the french hut......
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However lax it's been 'til now, it WILL change on the 8th.

You WILL be checked, because if you are not, it's the travel provider that will be fined.
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@NickYoung Is there an official web page for this? There are some obvious questions. Although it's probably a good way to handle the PR, this mechanism of trickle-feeding information to lobby journalists gets tedious. What does 'being checked' constitute? Will this be an electronic Q-code like the current Immigration Declaration for returnees? Will it use an app? Will the check apply only to UK citizens coming back from France? Will French rules be applied more rigorously than now at Ashford as well? Will it involve something more reliable than a PDF or paper print-out? How will I certify that I've had a vaccination or test? And so on.

What IATA are saying is that their TravelPAss will mean you just have to put your flight booking in and it'll work out the rest, including the complexities of having to change planes and hang around transit hubs (possibly in a third country) and then tell you (a) what the rules apply to your specific trip and (b) places where you can get tested if you need to. Wouldn't it be good if, say, I could log into a Ferry/Eurotunnel website and then just tick the countries I'm visiting and the cross-channel route and booking, and then it generates the documentation I need for each country, the rules that apply for any tests and quarantining, and if I need testing before returning, the labs/doctors where I can get a recognised test and when it needs to be scheduled? I'll be impressed if the Ferry/Eurotunnel companies can come up with a TravelPass equivalent .......


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Thu 25-02-21 12:08; edited 1 time in total
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https://www.travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk/news/compulsory-declaration-to-travel-form/

"From March 8 any passenger travelling to a destination outside of the UK, whether by train, plane, or boat, will be legally required to complete a ‘Declaration to Travel Form’ stating their reason for travel.

Transport operators will then be required to check whether the passenger’s reason for travel is valid and direct people home if their reasoning is not deemed essential.

Airline, train, and ferry companies will be faced with hefty fines if they are found to have let passengers leave the country without proof of a legitimate reason for travel. And passengers who arrive without the necessary evidence may face financial consequences too.

Anyone who must travel for a legally permitted reason should ensure they have adequate travel insurance in place before travelling."
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https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/international-declaration-travel-passengers-uk-b1806289.html

"Transport operators will be told to check whether or not the traveller has a valid reason to travel. Airlines, train companies and ferry firms face fines if they allow a passenger to leave the country without proof of their entitlement.

The Independent has asked the government for more details of what the Declaration to Travel will involve, but has been told it is a “work in progress”."
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sasha320 wrote:
@ster to help you avoid throwing your back out from further virtue signalling;.....

If not, once some these families have emerged from their quarantine and schools restart I will ask them myself at the school gate.


Had to check I was still on Snowheads, though I'd accidentally strayed onto Mumsnet for a minute Laughing NehNeh
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Umm, well, reading the articles, my reaction is that six months after prohibiting UK citizens from travelling abroad, the Home Office decides that it needs people to complete a paper-equivalent form that explains why they are exempt from this restriction before they travel outbound. A logical extension of the returning UK Immigration Covid Declaration that's been in place since September 2020 (and which relies on the individual simply to be honest about what countries they've visited).

The ferry/tunnel companies can't possibly do a really thorough check - as has been shown with the returning UK Immigration Covid Declaration, all they can do is check you have the document itself. There's now a strong trade in forged test certificates and clear evidence that the airlines are simply OK'ing your journey if you have one that looks convincing enough. It's almost counter-productive, as it causes immense trouble for people who are honest, but have simply misunderstood the requirements, yet is no barrier to anyone trying to avoid paying for a test by using a forged certificate.

But perhaps it's all part of a more careful roll-out plan, whereby bits of a fuller Travel Passport regime are introduced incrementally, to minimise objections. And it does force the Ferry and Tunnel companies to actually demand to see everyone's travel declaration as well, as opposed to UK Border Force staff having to do it, so that's an advance, I suppose. And perhaps I'm being unfair: the French documentation is in effect just a paper form which you can't even complete online, and just download as a PDF, so perhaps I shouldn't be too critical.

However, I can't help feeling it's just a way of giving the impression the UK is imposing a form of visa-like exit control, but without actually doing anything meaningful - The gov.uk definition of what constitutes essential travel is:

'Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision. You may have urgent family or business commitments which you need to attend to. Only you can make an informed decision based on your own individual circumstances and the risks.'

So, basically this is a circular definition that seems to me to be pretty useless as any sort of 'rule' for a rep at Eurotunnel or a Ferry checki-in gate to be able to apply rigorously in a short conversation. As now, all they'll be doing is checking you have completed the Declaration, not whether your claim for being an exception is in any way valid. And I assume most owners on here could claim that they have a holiday rental business abroad and they're travelling as an essential part of running it. If I wanted to do it properly, I'd just register «Laforêt Alpine Rentals» here in the UK with a webpage and I'd have 'urgent business commitments' galore to justify travel.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Thu 25-02-21 15:37; edited 11 times in total
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I too agree that the OP question is interesting and valid. I too would like to know if the check are tough or not.

The only first hand info I have is that an equestrian I know (who is Swedish) went out via the tunnel 2 weeks ago to visit home. He was stopped on the way back at border control and was found to have not signed one of his forms correctly. He had to rectify that, which took 12 hours, by which time his negative test was out of date, so he had to take another and wait for the results. he is on the way back now.

So to me it looks like the UK border force are checking. However, on the way into France I dont the tunnel staff asked him anything.
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@sasha320, out of curiosity, if you can't communicate with these families and have to wait until schools go back to find out if they were subject to any checks, how do you know where and how they traveled in the first place?
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, Laughing
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adithorp wrote:
@sasha320, out of curiosity, if you can't communicate with these families and have to wait until schools go back to find out if they were subject to any checks, how do you know where and how they traveled in the first place?


I think this thread has moved on from questioning me now; there seems to be a wider interest in the original question / topic.

But to answer your question, my children’s continental school friends discuss their travels openly on online school.

Contrary to popular belief my interest has not been to check up on those families. Chatting informally at the school gate would be a friendly way of getting the border controls information I wanted - which this thread is now delivering (once we got past the vigilantism I was accused of!)
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sasha320 wrote:
[
But to answer your question, my children’s continental school friends discuss their travels openly on online school.


Ah kids gossiping. Thats my curiosity sorted.

Not sure where your getting the rest of that in my question Puzzled
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
sasha320 wrote:
@ster to help you avoid throwing your back out from further virtue signalling;.....

If not, once some these families have emerged from their quarantine and schools restart I will ask them myself at the school gate.


Had to check I was still on Snowheads, though I'd accidentally strayed onto Mumsnet for a minute Laughing NehNeh


+1 The "You ok hun?" made me check Laughing snowHead
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LaForet wrote:


So, basically this is a circular definition that seems to me to be pretty useless as any sort of 'rule' for a rep at Eurotunnel or a Ferry checki-in gate to be able to apply rigorously in a short conversation. As now, all they'll be doing is checking you have completed the Declaration, not whether your claim for being an exception is in any way valid. And I assume most owners on here could claim that they have a holiday rental business abroad and they're travelling as an essential part of running it. If I wanted to do it properly, I'd just register «Laforêt Alpine Rentals» here in the UK with a webpage and I'd have 'urgent business commitments' galore to justify travel.


I assume as it is legal to travel for the purposes of a house move travel to prepare a property to put on the market would be legit. Of course in that preparation you might conclude that you didn't want to sell it after all or that all the work necessary couldn't be achieved in one trip....
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@Dave of the Marmottes, something we are contemplating given the travel restrictions, lack of income and Brexit. We'll be stung for extra taxes now, but may as well have the money under the mattress. It will break my heart to sell, but we can't see any way of enjoying it either as much as we used to, or that anything will change in the near future. Given the now added costs of taking the mutts along, and it's starting to look even more likely.
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@Hells Bells, I hope not. It's a lot to give up and holidaymakers will bounce back pretty quickly due to pent up demand as soon as Europe frees up.
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Well, i am very glad sasha320 started this thread. His question is just what i had been wondering for some time (and i suspect many others as too).
I too wish to travel to France to sort out apartment. The issue didn't seem to fall within the stated restrictions, but maybe with a bit of fudging . . .
I don't want to start a journey that will be stopped at the tunnel. I don't want to get fined. I'm not irresponsible: will have had both doses of vaccine, and will drive straight to apartment so will essentially quarantine.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, I hope not too, but I'm not feeling particularly optimistic right now.
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My son works in the maritime industry. On Tuesday evening something happened that meant they had to get something to one of their ships in Rotterdam on Wednesday. I know that is vague but I didn’t interrogate him on details. The only way they could be certain to get it to the ship in time was to take it themselves. So he got up at 4 on Wednesday and drove there with a colleague.

They had printed off and filled in all the forms (correctly- the French border guards never queried that). But the French border guards did give them a very thorough questioning and asked for other evidence beyond the standard papers they had filled in. However they did get through.

There was no problem coming back - other than that there was only one Eurotunnel every two hours and they just missed one.
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@Jonpim, I have some English friends who have chosen to stay in La Plagne. They get stopped by the Gendarmerie on average twice a week usually driving their GB plated car but twice whilst on foot! They have an official exemption which satisfies le flick, one of our eccentric neighbours had a go telling them to go home and take their English Plague with them!
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@boredsurfin, interesting as we are in Brides Les Bains atm and have been driving round in our GB plated car and not been stopped at all. In fact the gendarmes that we have seen (and that is more than i have ever seen in resorts before .....Courchevel/Meribel etc.) have been nothing but welcoming. Also true of the locals who are also lovely are always more than happy to stop and have a chat (masked of course) on our daily trip to the the boulangerie.
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