Following Brexit, sailors arriving in France from the UK were only allowed to enter through a Port of Entry. Now entry will be allowed through any French port
Skippers arriving in France from the UK or the Channel Islands will now be able to enter the country through any port, following work by the Cruising Association (CA).
Since the end of the Brexit transition period on the 31 December 2020, sailors have been required to sail to one of a small number of Ports of Entry, mainly the ferry ports, and search out the relevant authorities – usually the Police aux Frontières – to register the arrival of their boat and crew.
This same process of going through a Port of Entry has also been necessary before departing France for the UK, Channel Islands or any non-Schengen country.
Two of the Cruising Association’s Honorary Local Representatives (HLRs) have been aware of this extra challenge to cruising for some time and have been working with the local marinas, the marina associations and local officials to try and simplify it.
Now, as a direct result of their efforts, the French government has announced a process to allow entry at any French port.
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The process is still in its early stages, but the CA understands that a new form will be available from the websites of each Port of Entry. This can be downloaded, completed and submitted by email to the local administrative Port of Entry prior to arrival.
Providing all is acceptable, boats may then enter another port.
The CA understands that the same form can be used by sailors to notify the authorities of their departure.
The form should be kept in case of later query by officials.
This new process is already underway for Le Havre and other ports are expected to follow shortly.
The form for Le Havre can be found here.
A spokesman for the CA said: ‘This is a significant improvement and removes a major hurdle for boats visiting France; something CA members and other boat owners will value.’