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Travel in France

Covid-19 - Travel to and from France

Thursday 03 June 2021

Travel between France and the UK is now permitted from 9th June for those who have been vaccinated. Updated 9th June 2021.

Although since 17th May, under strict conditions, the UK government has granted permission for international travel to take place, France is on the 'amber' list of countries, so travel to the country is not recommended.

That means that although the UK government does not ban you from travelling to France, it is likely that your travel insurance will not be valid, although your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) remains valid.

More information from the UK government can be found at International Travel Advice.

On the French side of the Channel, on 26th May the French government announced that from 31st May visitors from the UK could only enter France for specific, compelling reasons. The new restrictions were the result of the spread of the Indian variant of Covid.

Travel for tourism or to visit a second home is not permitted.

EU nationals and those who are already resident in France are not included, although they are subject to testing and quarantine rules.

However, on 4th June the French government announced that from 9th June vaccinated visitors from “orange” countries — including Britain and USA — will no longer need to quarantine on arrival and will no longer have to justify the reasons for their trip to France. They will, however, still be asked for a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours or a negative antigenic test of no more than 48 hours.

European visitors and those from seven countries classed as “green” — Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand and Singapore — will no longer need to undergo testing if they’re vaccinated.

For visitors from England, the vaccination certificate is available on the NHS App. Alternatively, you can download it from the NHS website. Different arrangements apply for NI, Wales and Scotland.

The list of 'compelling' reasons still in force for those who are not vaccinated are:

1. French citizens, their spouses (married, civil union and cohabiting) and their children.

2. Citizens of the European Union or equivalent, their spouse (married, civil union or cohabiting partner) and their children, whose main residence is in France or who are in transit through France on the return trip to their main residence in a European Union country or equivalent or to a country whose nationality they hold;

3. Citizens of other countries with a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa, whose main residence is in France or who are in transit through France on the return trip to their main residence in a European Union country or similar country.

4. British citizens and their family members who are eligible under the agreement for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.

5. Citizens of other countries holding a long-stay visa issued for the purpose of family reunion or reunification of refugee families, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and stateless persons.

6. Foreign health or research professionals engaged in the fight against COVID-19, their spouse (married, civil partner, cohabiting partner upon presentation of proof of community of life) and their children.

6bis. Foreign health or research professional engaged as an associate trainee.

7. Citizens of other countries with a “Passeport Talent” (talent passport) long-stay visa (LSV), their spouse (married, civil union or cohabiting partner upon presentation of proof of cohabitation) and their children.

8. Students enrolled in French as a foreign language (FLE) courses prior to enrolment in a higher education institution, or who have passed the oral examinations in French higher education institutions or enrolled to start the 2021-2022 academic year. Researchers settling in France on invitation by a research laboratory, for research activities requiring physical presence, their spouse (married, civil union, cohabiting partner on presentation of proof of community of life) and their children.

9. Workers in the land, sea and air transport sector or transport service providers, including drivers of any vehicle carrying goods for use in the territory, as well as those merely transiting or travelling as passengers in order to establish themselves or train at their home base.

10. Foreign citizens working for a diplomatic or consular mission, or an international organisation with its headquarters or an office in France, as well as their spouse and their children or a foreign citizen of a third country staying in France for a compelling professional reason under a mission order issued by their country of origin;

11. Traveller in transit in the international zone for less than 24 hours. So you can travel through France to another country, provided you remain less than 24 hours in France.

12. British officials discharging their duties, border police officers and customs officers.

13. Channel Tunnel staff (engaged inter alia in operations, maintenance, security) or cross-Channel facilities staff.

Full details and the documentation required is given at Certificate of International Travel.

If you have a compelling reason, you are required to provide a sworn statement:

  • Certifying you are showing no symptoms and absence of any contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19;
  • To agree undergo further testing on arrival if asked to do so;
  • To agree to voluntarily self-isolate for seven days and to undergo a PCR Covid test at the end of the isolation period (if demanded).

You can find the documentation at: Certificate of International Travel.

For those aged 11 years and above, you need to produce a PCR Covid test carried out less than 48 hours before boarding, showing negative.

You can read more in English about travel in France from the French government website at: Advice for Foreign Nationals in France.

Those coming from the UK should also read the guidance from the French Embassy in London at: COVID-19: Rules for Travel to France and the UK.

Covid 19 Travel Within France

On 31st March President Macron announced a national lockdown of the country, effective from 3rd April to 3rd May. On 29th April, the President announced a relaxation of the lockdown. Travel restrictions within France ended on 3rd May. An 'attestation' is no longer required.

President Macron also announced a phased ending to the nationwide 7pm-6am curfew. The curfew hour was increased to 2100 on 19th May, to 2300 on 9th June and to end on 30th June. Travel outside of these times will be permitted for compelling reasons (work, training, health, mission of general interest, moving) and with an exemption certificate.

Restaurants opened on 19th May, but only for outside areas. Internal areas opened on 9th June, although they will continue to be subject to the curfew restrictions outlined above as well as other Covid restrictions.

Other commercial services and cultural places are have also been opened under Covid restrictions.

From 6th June, a health pass (pass sanitaire) will be used in France for international travel and large events of 1,000+ in France etc. The pass is available on the 'TousAntiCovid' mobile app and will become an essential tool for travellers for the foreseeable future. The app shows your vaccination, proof of negative PCR and whether you have had Covid. If you cannot use the QR code on the app, you can obtain a paper version Portail SI-DEP if you have not already been provided with them. The international arrangements for all of this are still being worked through.

Separately, from the pass sanitaire, if you wish to go to go to a restaurant or bar etc and sit inside, using the TousAntiCovid app you will be required to scan a QR that will enable you to be contacted. The process can also be undertaken non-digitally. The registration process is called le cahier de rappel numérique/papier.

Covid 19 Travel to UK

If you are able to travel to France from the UK, you need to complete the process below for your return to the UK.

If you live in France and you are a UK national and you wish to visit the UK, you are free to do so. The French government state: 'no foreign citizen wishing to return to their country of residence or origin will be prevented from leaving France (without no guarantee, however, of being able to return without a compelling reason).'

You will need a Certificate of international travel.

For the UK border control authorities you will also need:

  • A negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of the return to the UK, which must be in English.
  • Completion of a Contact Locator form.
  • Quarantine for 10 days when you return from France during which you will need to take two Covid tests on day 2 and 8 of the quarantine.

If not a UK national, you will need a compelling reason and completion of the standard form above.

Travel to France from Europe

If you are travelling to France from Europe (including Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland), you are permitted to do so, subject to the PCR test and sworn declaration above. You are not required to self-isolate.

Travel to France from Other Countries

The rules vary but you can find details at Advice for Foreign Nationals in France.

Covid 19 France Travel Updates

You can sign up for UK government updates on travel to France at: Foreign Travel Sign-Up.

You can find regular French government updates in English of travel restrictions in France at: Covid-19 News.

9th June 2021

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