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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘Lille loophole’ allows entry to UK by rail

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The Immigration Minister has admitted the Government is powerless to prevent people from entering the UK via the so-called ‘Lille loophole‘ without negotiations with other European countries.

The ‘Lille loophole’ means that passengers travelling from Brussels to Lille on the Eurostar can stay on board through to St Pancras without any border checks.

An agreement means that passengers are free to travel between France and Belgium without any passport checks.

However, no checks are carried out on arrival in London as checks are carried out by the UK Boarder Agency in the country of departure.

In theory, this means someone travelling to Lille can stay on the train without being challenged, BBC Radio 4’s The Report found.

Immigration Minister Damien Green told The Report:

“It’s one of those things the British government can’t solve on its own.

“There are strict British immigration controls in place in France and Belgium and we have UK Border Agency officers based at St Pancras to target those we believe are intent on entering Britain illegally.

“We are working closely with our Belgian counterparts and Eurostar to resolve this as quickly as possible.”



  1. Surely people have their tickets checked on arrival? If they get to London with a ticket only valid as far as Lille then they should be stopped, pulled over and questioned. Is that not what typically happens on most rail services??

  2. Are tickets sold from Brussels to Lille? Isn’t it like trying to get on a Eurostar from London to Ebbsfleet? – i.e. you can’t. And therefore everybody has to pass through Border Control?


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