Jersey is hoping to gain approval for French tourists to visit the island for up to three days without a passport, and a successful day-trip scheme in the islands launched this summer could be extended through to next September in both Guernsey and Jersey.
Both islands drew up a scheme to allow French nationals entry through the borders using just their national identification cards rather than the post-Brexit requirement for a passport, providing the trip was only for one day.
The UK government is understood to be considering allowing these French visitors to stay up to three days, with the issue due to be discussed in January.
Since then, Deputy Rob Prow, President of Home Affairs, said it is Guernsey is keen to extend its its pilot scheme.
"We have been in discussion with colleagues in Jersey at a political and officer level and the UK Home Office, regarding the extension of our French day-tripper scheme. The pilot scheme this summer was deemed a success and we are keen to extend it for another year.
"I can confirm that it is our intention to introduce a similar extension. We have some further discussion to do with the UK on this and will seek to provide an update as soon as possible.’
The pilot ran from April to September this year and required discussion between London, Common Travel Area teams, and local customs and immigration departments.
Pictured: French tourists arriving at Jersey harbour on the first day of the pilot scheme this year. Credit: David Ferguson.
Deputy Prow labelled the initial pilot, which was launched in Jersey and Guernsey in April, as being “very successful”.
The scheme coincided with the start and end of the Manche Iles Express sailing schedule.
In July the ferry company told the Jersey Evening Post that bookings had reached 85% of its summer target for the year and called for the arrangement to continue, including overnight stays.
It came months after a senior French politician in the region warned that dwindling passenger numbers, which dropped by tens of thousands after Brexit travel arrangements were activated, meant the route was under threat.
Manche anticipates that more international tourists will visit the region next year to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.
External relations ministers from Jersey and Guernsey told a UK parliament select committee in May of the desire to extend the successful scheme throughout the year and for additional days.
Guernsey’s Deputy Jonathon Le Tocq told the panel: “I would like to think that once the risks have been assessed from the pilot scheme that we could extend that to a bit longer… I do believe the risks are quite minimal, particularly as Ireland is part of the common travel area and still part of the EU and people from France can travel there on their ID cards."
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