Last weekend, long queues of holidaymakers heading across the Channel to Calais waited sometimes for hours to get through border control.
The Port of Dover initially stated that preparation by the French passport authorities for the summer holiday rush had been “woefully inadequate”.
This view was later picked up by the UK government, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss calling on France to increase its border control capacity.
On the French side, prefect of the Hauts-de-France region, Georges-François Leclerc, admitted that authorities’ plans for Friday had been delayed due to a signalling incident in the Channel Tunnel and a traffic accident on the M20 motorway.
However, France’s Transport Minister Clément Beaune stated: “The French authorities are working to check our borders and facilitate [the passing] of traffic as much as possible.
“I have discussed this with my counterpart Grant Shapps. But France is not responsible for Brexit.”
Guy Verhofstadt, who served as prime minister of Belgium from 1999 to 2008 and who was the European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator and Chair of the Brexit Steering Group, also commented:
“Before the Tory Brexit, cars were waved through, now everyone's passport has to be stamped.
“Truss or Sunak can't even admit it, let alone do anything about it. Blaming France for a hard border is just cynical.
“Taking back control was a big lie!”
Since the UK left the EU, British citizens have been subject to more detailed passport checks when travelling into the bloc, and at Dover this meant that each car must stay at the border control booths for about half a minute longer.
When there are tens of thousands of people passing through the port each day, this can create congestion.
We look at how British passport checks have changed since Brexit.
Before the UK left the EU, British citizens had an automatic right to move freely within the bloc.
The UK was not in the Schengen zone, so there were still border checks, but they were minimal.
Therefore, they would often be waved through passport control at Dover after officers looked quickly at their passports.
Now, French border control staff are responsible for carrying out several different checks on passports.
When they are handed a passport, they should theoretically:
Make sure that the person’s identity corresponds with the passport details
Check that they have not been in the EU for more than 90 days in the past 180
Check that their passport has at least three months’ validity left
Make sure that the passport was issued less than 10 years before the date of entry into the EU
Ask the traveller whether they have a return ticket
Ask for proof of travel insurance
Check that the person has sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay in the EU
Border control officers may not always carry out all of these checks, but the process will nonetheless last longer.