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France-UK travel: potential warning for "settled" EU citizens

France-UK travel: potential warning for "settled" EU citizens

Old Dec 19, 21, 5:28 pm
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France-UK travel: potential warning for "settled" EU citizens

I was just behind an incident this evening at Paris Gare du Nord while boarding Eurostar to London. I'm piecing it together from what I was told afterwards so may have things a bit wrong but I thought worth relaying in case it makes anyone's Christmas trip easier...

Couple with son clearly having trouble getting past French border police checks under the "Motifs Imperieux" / "Compelling reasons" for departure (not arrival). AIUI, the problem was that the parents have worked in UK for ~20 years and so have post-Brexit settled status to live and work in UK, but there isn't anything in their passport to show that. Hence it's hard for police to distinguish between French traveller who wants to visit family in UK (not allowed to exit) someone with right of abode in UK (allowed to exit).

I don't know if they found a UK Home Office email during their increasingly frantic scrolling on phones, a different officer took a more lenient approach, the fact their son had a UK passport allowed them to fall into the "resident and family" tickbox, etc but may be worth thinking about if it's a journey you're making while current restrictions apply.
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Last edited by EsherFlyer; Dec 19, 21 at 5:49 pm
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Old Dec 19, 21, 9:13 pm
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Not being allowed to *leave* a country is absolute insanity.
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Old Dec 19, 21, 9:20 pm
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Originally Posted by CyBeR View Post
Not being allowed to *leave* a country is absolute insanity.
I guess in the last 2 years a lot of things we would qualify as 'absolute insanity' is 'the new normal'. Welcome to the new brave world.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 1:20 am
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Originally Posted by CyBeR View Post
Not being allowed to *leave* a country is absolute insanity.
it was the norm in France during the first lockdown, was the law in the uk for months, and has been imposed strictly by various countries (Australia, NZ, Israel etc) for extended periods of time.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 3:18 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
it was the norm in France during the first lockdown, was the law in the uk for months, and has been imposed strictly by various countries (Australia, NZ, Israel etc) for extended periods of time.
You're not wrong, but that doesn't make it any less insane. Being able to leave a country (including one's own) is literally a universal human right (article 13) that is being violated here.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 3:27 am
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Originally Posted by CyBeR View Post
You're not wrong, but that doesn't make it any less insane. Being able to leave a country (including one's own) is literally a universal human right (article 13) that is being violated here.
I considered not posting the thread as I expected it could go a bit OMNI, but don't forget Article 29.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 5:26 am
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Thank you for posting it. I was always a bit iffy as a settled citizen to not have any paper documentation proving it, and the fear now seems to be justified.

You can get a code to prove you are settled on the gov website, which I would advise you print and bring along with you. Probably won't mean much but at least it's better than nothing.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 5:29 am
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The link is here if it helps:

https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status
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Old Dec 20, 21, 5:42 am
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Originally Posted by Maestro Ramen View Post
Thank you for posting it. I was always a bit iffy as a settled citizen to not have any paper documentation proving it, and the fear now seems to be justified.

You can get a code to prove you are settled on the gov website, which I would advise you print and bring along with you. Probably won't mean much but at least it's better than nothing.
Other things that might work are copies of utility bills, bank statements, etc showing a level of "residence". I generally take the view that as long as you show enough for them to justify to their superior the decision to let you pass you'll be OK. If you use fraudulent papers to achieve that and are discovered then that'll rebound on you more than the relevant officials.

Last edited by EsherFlyer; Dec 20, 21 at 5:50 am
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Old Dec 20, 21, 6:03 am
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I remember the old days of a stamp in your passport stating permanent right of abode. I guess nowadays, the automatic entry machine at the UK border will recognise the passport number so it's not necessary to do any more, but I wonder what happens when the passport machines or the Home Office databases go down (after all, their tech is not renowned for reliability) and no check can be made.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 8:00 am
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This has been a long-standing problem for me as a foreigner with settled status. Especially in France, where the idea of having a piece of paper is next to mandatory. I remember once having a conversation with the Gendarmes; when I told them that in the UK a utility bill was enough to prove my residence they thought I was mocking them.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by 13901 View Post
This has been a long-standing problem for me as a foreigner with settled status. Especially in France, where the idea of having a piece of paper is next to mandatory. I remember once having a conversation with the Gendarmes; when I told them that in the UK a utility bill was enough to prove my residence they thought I was mocking them.
It does seem quite ridiculous that the UK Border Force can't put a relevant stamp in the first time you bring a new EU, etc passport through.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by CyBeR View Post
You're not wrong, but that doesn't make it any less insane. Being able to leave a country (including one's own) is literally a universal human right (article 13) that is being violated here.
On the face of it, it is neither more nor less of a curb to a fundamental right than preventing people from leaving their home 23 hours a day when they have committed no crime, forcibly closing some categories shops, preventing people from meeting with those outside of their household or obliging them to be injected.

The violation of basic human rights argument has thus logically been mentioned many times and in many countries, and courts all over the world have been asked to rules on such complaints. But as the op rightly mentions, there are specific provisions in national, European (ECHR) and international law that specify when curbs to those basic freedoms can be imposed, and whilst not all court cases against Covid restrictions have necessarily been unsuccessful, the immense majority has on those very grounds, including, to my knowledge, all those started on measures restricting international outbound travel. As mentioned, whether this is right or wrong belongs more to OMNI, but at any rate, the legal landscape does not give much hope to those whod like vindication on the grounds of human rights here.
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Old Dec 20, 21, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by 13901 View Post
This has been a long-standing problem for me as a foreigner with settled status. Especially in France, where the idea of having a piece of paper is next to mandatory. I remember once having a conversation with the Gendarmes; when I told them that in the UK a utility bill was enough to prove my residence they thought I was mocking them.

indeed, the difficulty to prove settled status has been a long standing issue with frequently dramatic consequences for individuals in their everyday life (including in the uk itself in fact).
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Old Dec 20, 21, 10:00 am
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Can someone advise me on my situation? I am currently in France on an EU (not French) passport. Flying to London next week for a few weeks, before flying back to Australia mid-January.

Is the implication that I could be denied boarding?
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