Eurostar: Juxtaposed Controls, Customs, Regulation from 01/01/2021

XAM2175

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Always wanted to start accumulating stamps in my passport. But not like this :'(
Yeah, it's not much of a consolation, is it?

Well, you're only going to get a stamp at the first Schengen arrival point - so usually Lille/Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam for Eurostar.
I presume the stamping (if it will happen) will be done at departure in London, as that is where border checks are and will be done.
Yes, the immigration controls will be performed at the same places they already are, so for Eurostar journeys to the continent you'll receive a French entry stamp stating "LFT LONDRES" (Liaison fixe transmanche London). On the return trip it will be a departure stamp from France ("LFT PARIS NORD" or "LFT LILLE EUROP" as appropriate) or Belgium ("BRU - ZUID/MIDI"), etc etc.

Once the new Euro-ESTA thing comes into play, will they bother stamping or will they just use the electronic record from that?
I doubt they will stamp UK passports.
They most certainly should be stamping UK passports come 01/01/2021 as you'll all be in the "Other Passports" lines with the rest of us unwashed masses being treated the same way! :p However yes the introduction of ETIAS, which is currently expected "by 2022", will end the routine issuance of Schengen entry and departure stamps for most people.
 
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Nick_C

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Yes, the immigration controls will be performed at the same places they already are, so for Eurostar journeys to the continent you'll receive a French entry stamp stating "LFT LONDRES" (Liaison fixe transmanche London). On the return trip it will be a departure stamp from France ("LFT PARIS NORD" or "LFT LILLE EUROP" as appropriate) or Belgium ("BRU - ZUID/MIDI"), etc etc.
So presumably then, if you're taking a Eurostar to Brussels, your first country of entry into Schengen will be France? Important to get right as I believe you'll have to state that on the ETIAS application...
 

riceuten

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I presume the stamping (if it will happen) will be done at departure in London, as that is where border checks are and will be done.

Customs is totally separate and not juxtaposed so needs to be done on arrival. That’s, I think, the most interesting aspect as currently there are no customs checks at all.

The Daily Mail went through an obsession of wanting people to have their passports checked leaving the country.
 

jamesheet49

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What is so good about having your passport stamped? If you are a regular traveller you might run out of pages, meaning you have to pay for another passport.
 

Bald Rick

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What is so good about having your passport stamped? If you are a regular traveller you might run out of pages, meaning you have to pay for another passport.
Regular travellers still do, for those who make regular trips to the States / Middle East / Far East. Pre Covid one of my neighbours went through an ‘extra thick’ passport about every 5 years.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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What is so good about having your passport stamped? If you are a regular traveller you might run out of pages, meaning you have to pay for another passport.
More travellers will now need a real EU visa - anybody staying for more than 90 days, so affecting many expats unless they have taken local citizenship.
That includes any cross-border workers.
 

Elwyn

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It all rather depends on what administrative arrangements the various countries use post Brexit. The stamping of passports, in many countries has been much reduced in recent years. Modern technology means that it’s not always necessary to have a physical stamp in your passport. For example, visitors from countries like America and Canada no longer routinely have their passports stamped entering the UK. They are scanned and checked against databases but there’s no physical stamp unless they are staying for a non visitor purpose. UK visitors to Canada likewise no longer get stamped (at certain ports of entry with the technology anyway), and can go through a self scan machine rather than an interview with an immigration officer. It saves staff and can speed up your passage through the controls.

With longer term residents it’s possible to have a residence permit either in your passport on a separate document but it isn’t always necessary to stamp the passport as well. For example, someone in the UK as a student or work permit holder doesn’t get their passport stamped each time they re-enter the UK. And so on.

I suspect that in 2021 we may find that UK travellers to the EU may not necessarily always have their passports stamped (and vice versa). Doesn't mean they are not subject to control, just that it isn't seen as essential to stamp their passport.
 
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XAM2175

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I suspect that in 2021 we may find that UK travellers to the EU may not necessarily always have their passports stamped (and vice versa). Doesn't mean they are not subject to control, just that it isn't seen as essential to stamp their passport.
With respect, I already addressed this in an earlier post: on 01/01/2021 the UK will be treated as a third-party nation in the eyes of the EU/EEA, and as such (and in the absence of a specifically-negotiated alternative arrangement) persons entering the Schengen Area on British passports will be subject to the same physical immigration processes as other third-party nationals have been since the Schengen Area was established - which means, for the moment, passports are stamped both on entry and departure. This will change when the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) comes into use in 2022, as it aims to end passport stamping for persons making visa-free journeys.

You are correct in noting that it is not at all dissimilar to the changes made by the UK government in May 2019, whereby citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, NZ, Singapore, South Korea, and US became able to use the electronic gates alongside EU/EEA citizens when entering the UK. At the same time the routine issuance of passport stamps for most entrants was also ended.

(apologies also for the thread drift)
 
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Chester1

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That wasn’t my experience flying from Belgrade to Luton last year. For me, it was just like flying from an EU country. I’m guessing there could still be some random custom checks from countries like that.

Going back to the 20 min connection at Midi, this arrival was also the one which stopped at Ashford International, which who knows if it will reopen. On top of it possibly becoming impossible to do the 20 min connection, the quick journey times from Kent to Germany will then be gone. I’m glad I made the most of Eurostar before the joys of Brexit.

Getting to Germany will now involve travelling up to London, then waiting for a long time at Brussels, making flying more attractive for many. But anyway, “taking back control” and so on....
I think this may be the one and only ‘benefit’ of Brexit - getting a collection of stamps in a passport! Although in this ever digital world, it seems quite a backwards step to be doing that (but of course backward steps are a UK trend at the moment).
Ashford International temporary closure is due to Covid not brexit! The market is insufficient to justify a Eurostar service to Germany. If the market is sufficient then Eurostar could retime services to retain a decent connection. It sounds like a very first world problem! Customs checks shouldn't add more than a few minutes, if that.

Once the new Euro-ESTA thing comes into play, will they bother stamping or will they just use the electronic record from that?
It will stop the need for any need for stamps for people who don't require entry visas (which is most nationalities but a low proportion of travellers). All ESTA, ETIAS etc are about is checking people aren't terrorists, criminals, haven't recently overstayed etc. They allow extra checks to be done while also speeding up the process at the border.

More travellers will now need a real EU visa - anybody staying for more than 90 days, so affecting many expats unless they have taken local citizenship.
That includes any cross-border workers.
Current residents in the EU will have their rights protected. There are very few British cross border workers and the EU is legislating measures to protect them and the rights of people to move within the EU (any Brit with permanent residency i.e. after 5 years in an EU country will be able to move to another EU country).

With respect, I already addressed this in an earlier post: on 01/01/2021 the UK will be treated as a third-party nation in the eyes of the EU/EEA, and as such (and in the absence of a specifically-negotiated alternative arrangement) persons entering the Schengen Area on British passports will be subject to the same physical immigration processes as other third-party nationals have been since the Schengen Area was established - which means, for the moment, passports are stamped both on entry and departure. This will change when the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) comes into use in 2022, as it aims to end passport stamping for persons making visa-free journeys.

You are correct in noting that it is not at all dissimilar to the changes made by the UK government in May 2019, whereby citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, NZ, Singapore, South Korea, and US became able to use the electronic gates alongside EU/EEA citizens when entering the UK. At the same time the routine issuance of passport stamps for most entrants was also ended.

(apologies also for the thread drift)
Yes its no change at the UK border for EU citizens next year (apart from needing passports from October 2021 when national ID cards are no longer accepted). Brits will have all of one year of getting their passport stamped before ETIAS starts.

Well, I'm booked to go out to Amsterdam at the end of December and come back at the start of January. I'm hoping things will go relatively smoothly, otherwise I'll be somewhat screwed.
I think its reasonable to assume passenger numbers will be low, which should make most problems easy to deal with.
 

alex397

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Ashford International temporary closure is due to Covid not brexit! The market is insufficient to justify a Eurostar service to Germany. If the market is sufficient then Eurostar could retime services to retain a decent connection. It sounds like a very first world problem! Customs checks shouldn't add more than a few minutes, if that.
While Eurostar did say officially that the reason for the closure was Covid and the resultant low passenger numbers, I think it is reasonable to presume that they will be looking at the impacts of Brexit with very close interest. Although we may never know for sure how much impact (if any) Brexit has had on the decision, the 2022 re-opening date enables them to see the impact of both Covid and Brexit before deciding to reopen.

Also, I’m not talking about Eurostar having a service to Germany, I’m talking about the 20-min connection at Brussels, which is used by many, and I have read that DB trains are occasionally held for a few minutes to enable people to change. It is a useful facility, and saves people a lot of time. I have made it before, but it took 10 minutes, meaning just 10 mins to spare. A customs check will make this take longer, resulting in people easily missing that connection.
First world problem? Well all problems with international travel could be considered a first world problem. Also, it’s not just tourists who use Eurostar, it’s also business people, who may be travelling between London and Frankfurt for example.
 

Starmill

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There are very few British cross border workers
Erm? Only tourists making 'short stays' are eligible for the visa exemption. People travelling on business or going away to study, even for short periods of time, may not be. A significant proportion of Eurostar's business came from these people in 2019!
 

ainsworth74

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Also, I’m not talking about Eurostar having a service to Germany, I’m talking about the 20-min connection at Brussels, which is used by many, and I have read that DB trains are occasionally held for a few minutes to enable people to change. It is a useful facility, and saves people a lot of time. I have made it before, but it took 10 minutes, meaning just 10 mins to spare. A customs check will make this take longer, resulting in people easily missing that connection.
First world problem? Well all problems with international travel could be considered a first world problem. Also, it’s not just tourists who use Eurostar, it’s also business people, who may be travelling between London and Frankfurt for example.
Agreed. The first time I used it it was actually a bit nerve racking even though the Eurostar was pulling in on time having to walk the long distance down the platforms (we didn't spot the connections tunnel if it was open) then navigate Brussels Midi all in twenty minutes felt quite tight. We made it, with time to spare, but it would only need a slight delay and poof that excellent connection is toast. It is now, of course, perhaps moot unless you're willing to have an argument* as without through tickets there's every chance of being left high and dry in the event of a missed connection.

*I say that as whilst HOTNAT exists and E* and DB are members as always with the Continent split tickets make things wooly.
 

paul1609

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I reckon any new arrangements will have plenty of time to bed in. On Monday I saw 9117 the early morning train from Brussels arrive at St Pancras with 4 passengers onboard. I doubt that is going to change this winter. If you have any concerns I would say that it should be as to whether the Brussels service is going to continue at all.
 

Chester1

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While Eurostar did say officially that the reason for the closure was Covid and the resultant low passenger numbers, I think it is reasonable to presume that they will be looking at the impacts of Brexit with very close interest. Although we may never know for sure how much impact (if any) Brexit has had on the decision, the 2022 re-opening date enables them to see the impact of both Covid and Brexit before deciding to reopen.

Also, I’m not talking about Eurostar having a service to Germany, I’m talking about the 20-min connection at Brussels, which is used by many, and I have read that DB trains are occasionally held for a few minutes to enable people to change. It is a useful facility, and saves people a lot of time. I have made it before, but it took 10 minutes, meaning just 10 mins to spare. A customs check will make this take longer, resulting in people easily missing that connection.
First world problem? Well all problems with international travel could be considered a first world problem. Also, it’s not just tourists who use Eurostar, it’s also business people, who may be travelling between London and Frankfurt for example.
If the train market for London to Germany is sufficiently large then the service will be re-timed to allow a quick connection. If its not then it won't be inconveniencing sufficient people. Personally I have avoided the 20 minute connection on the handful of times I have traveled to Germany by train. As a leisure traveler brunch or lunch in Brussels is more appealing than rushing for a connection.

Its really quite a stretch to blame brexit for temporary end of Ashford Eurostar services. There was no indication that they would stop before the pandemic and all other non core services have been abandoned until 2022. The decision to push ahead with border controls at Amsterdam and Rotterdam to enable bi-directional direct journeys is a good indication that Eurostar doesn't think brexit will make much of a difference to demand.

Erm? Only tourists making 'short stays' are eligible for the visa exemption. People travelling on business or going away to study, even for short periods of time, may not be. A significant proportion of Eurostar's business came from these people in 2019!
Thats under the withdrawal agreement. The EU is looking at unilateral laws for cross border workers who are British citizens (across the internal EU borders) and rights to move within the EU once Brits have gained permanent resident status in one member state. The rights to cross border for work between UK and EU are still up in the air. I don't buy the current political theatre and think a deal on trade, policing and some other areas will be agreed. In the worst outcome, visit visas are not difficult for citizens of developed countries to obtain. The UK does visit visas (which include the right to have business meetings, training etc) for 6 months, 2 years, 5 years and 10 years. They don't allow people to work in the strict legal sense but they cover a wide range of business activity. The UK has apparently offered concessions on this issue to India (it is particularly relevant to Indian service sector trade and is scuppering an EU-India trade deal). The rumoured deal is that companies that have a sponsorship licence for skilled workers would be allowed to sponsor short(ish) business trips of Indians through pre travel authorisation i.e. the British ESTA / ETIAS rather than requiring visit visas. If that is acceptable for a deal with a much less developed country it should be fine for EU citizens.
 

Starmill

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If the train market for London to Germany is sufficiently large then the service will be re-timed to allow a quick connection.
That seems like an astonishing assumption to me. Also, how would anyone even know how many people are making the connection?

The EU is looking at unilateral laws for cross border workers who are British citizens (across the internal EU borders) and rights to move within the EU once Brits have gained permanent resident status in one member state.
As well as may be but you're still just assuming.
 

StephenHunter

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Erm? Only tourists making 'short stays' are eligible for the visa exemption. People travelling on business or going away to study, even for short periods of time, may not be. A significant proportion of Eurostar's business came from these people in 2019!
You'll mostly get long distance commuters who work in London or Paris during the week and return home at the weekend.
 

miami

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What is so good about having your passport stamped? If you are a regular traveller you might run out of pages, meaning you have to pay for another passport.
A record of travel, memories to have decades later.

You'd have to travel a lot to fill up even a small passport with just stamps -- even with entry and exit should be able to do 4 trips per page, so 100+ journeys, which is going to cost over £10k in transport alone even just across the channel, the passport costs is pretty insignificant in comparison.

Now getting a single entry visa taking up a whole page, and a couple of stamps too, rapidly fills up. I burnt through a 32 page passport in 3 years due to that.

But generally stamps are on the way out for short visits - I missed out on a HK stamp by 3 days when they took them away a few years ago. Israel was stacking up a lot in one passport, but they changed to a paper slip. Austrailia didn't stamp last time I went too - I think it was an electronic entrance. Missed out on one for Canada too last time.
 

route101

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A record of travel, memories to have decades later.

You'd have to travel a lot to fill up even a small passport with just stamps -- even with entry and exit should be able to do 4 trips per page, so 100+ journeys, which is going to cost over £10k in transport alone even just across the channel, the passport costs is pretty insignificant in comparison.

Now getting a single entry visa taking up a whole page, and a couple of stamps too, rapidly fills up. I burnt through a 32 page passport in 3 years due to that.

But generally stamps are on the way out for short visits - I missed out on a HK stamp by 3 days when they took them away a few years ago. Israel was stacking up a lot in one passport, but they changed to a paper slip. Austrailia didn't stamp last time I went too - I think it was an electronic entrance. Missed out on one for Canada too last time.
I got a tiny piece of paper stapled when I went to Hong Kong in 2013. Last time i went to Australia i got stamped in but not out. Canada, i got one on the train coming from New York. That was 2008
 

Chester1

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A record of travel, memories to have decades later.

You'd have to travel a lot to fill up even a small passport with just stamps -- even with entry and exit should be able to do 4 trips per page, so 100+ journeys, which is going to cost over £10k in transport alone even just across the channel, the passport costs is pretty insignificant in comparison.

Now getting a single entry visa taking up a whole page, and a couple of stamps too, rapidly fills up. I burnt through a 32 page passport in 3 years due to that.

But generally stamps are on the way out for short visits - I missed out on a HK stamp by 3 days when they took them away a few years ago. Israel was stacking up a lot in one passport, but they changed to a paper slip. Austrailia didn't stamp last time I went too - I think it was an electronic entrance. Missed out on one for Canada too last time.
I presume Israel switched to paper slips because of the number of Arab countries that won't let people in with Israeli stamps in their passports. I liked that my last passport had plenty of stamps in it because it showed my non European travel. Id doubt id feel the same about half a dozen Spanish stamps for lazy beach holidays. Electronic pre clearance and e gates are much better from a security perspective, cheaper for governments and are faster for travelers. One year of European stamps might be interesting but not something id want every time I enter the EU.
 

ainsworth74

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If Thalys and Eurostar merge as proposed, such through tickets might become reality...
Ah if only we could go back to the heady of days of, er, late last year when such tickets were already reality until Eurostar changed their booking system and made it impossible for DB to retail through tickets anymore. Never let it be said that the railway industry whether it be EU or UK based never misses a chance to shoot itself in the foot by making things worse for passengers.

Doubtless if the merger goes ahead and through tickets do once again become available this will be hailed a massive innovation and enhancement for passengers. Rather than, I suspect, a pale shadow of what was available before. For instance, I doubt that the merged operation will allow me to buy a London to Berlin ticket which I've used on a couple of previous occasions.
 

AlbertBeale

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Ah if only we could go back to the heady of days of, er, late last year when such tickets were already reality until Eurostar changed their booking system and made it impossible for DB to retail through tickets anymore. Never let it be said that the railway industry whether it be EU or UK based never misses a chance to shoot itself in the foot by making things worse for passengers.

Doubtless if the merger goes ahead and through tickets do once again become available this will be hailed a massive innovation and enhancement for passengers. Rather than, I suspect, a pale shadow of what was available before. For instance, I doubt that the merged operation will allow me to buy a London to Berlin ticket which I've used on a couple of previous occasions.
Yes, I'm sure, if that happens, it will be hailed as a massive step forward, when it's just undoing problems that needn't exist in the first place.

A generation ago there were through tickets available all over Europe. I remember popping into Kings Cross and buying return tickets to the Balkans - accepted by all the railways en route, whichever way you went, valid without any restrictions on which company's train etc because there weren't rival private companies. Virtually all the continent's trains were run by publicly-owned administrations, who all co-operated with one another as a matter of course and had integrated international ticketing (even when computers were - compared to now - in their infancy).

Reservations likewise - I once called into an Italian station late in the evening, in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, to reserve space on an international train a few days later on the other other side of the continent (I already had a valid ticket). The transaction took barely a couple of minutes, and cost me the nominal reservation fee; and that was that. Isn't progress wonderful?
 

RT4038

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Yes, I'm sure, if that happens, it will be hailed as a massive step forward, when it's just undoing problems that needn't exist in the first place.

A generation ago there were through tickets available all over Europe. I remember popping into Kings Cross and buying return tickets to the Balkans - accepted by all the railways en route, whichever way you went, valid without any restrictions on which company's train etc because there weren't rival private companies. Virtually all the continent's trains were run by publicly-owned administrations, who all co-operated with one another as a matter of course and had integrated international ticketing (even when computers were - compared to now - in their infancy).

Reservations likewise - I once called into an Italian station late in the evening, in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, to reserve space on an international train a few days later on the other other side of the continent (I already had a valid ticket). The transaction took barely a couple of minutes, and cost me the nominal reservation fee; and that was that. Isn't progress wonderful?
I don't think this is quite right - the tickets you bought at King's Cross to the Balkans would have been valid only by a specific route, not 'whichever way you went'. Details of the routeing and border crossings were shown on the ticket. Virtually all the continent's trains are still run by publicly owned administrations, so there is little change there. There are only a few 'rival private companies', and not many of them truly privately owned.

So there are other commercial reasons for the previous style of ticketing no longer being available, plus, of course, demand being so low that it is not worthwhile spending money, time and effort on it.
 

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