When will I be able to travel to France again and will I be quarantined?

France is set to loosen some of its border restrictions, but not for all travellers.

When will I be able to travel to France again and will I be quarantined?
Travel into France has been heavily restricted. Photo: AFP

For many international residents in France, the question of when they will see loved ones in other countries again is at the forefront of their minds.

So as France prepares to reopen its borders, here is the latest on travel.

READ ALSO Ferries, flights and trains – what transport services are running to France

During the coronavirus pandemic, travel to France was heavily restricted in two ways.

France joined the rest of the EU in mid March in restricting all non-essential travel from outside the EU and Schengen Zone, although the UK is exempt from this.

Then on April 6th France also drastically increased restrictions on travel from within Europe.

Although, unlike many other countries, France never closed its borders, anyone travelling into the country needed une attestation de déplacement internationale (international travel certificate).

Full details on the certificate be can found here.

French citizens can return to the country, but anyone coming from within Europe (including the UK) will need to meet one of the following criteria to be allowed into the country:

  • People who have their primary residence in France. This does NOT include second home owners. Third country nationals will need to present a visa or residency card while EU nationals (which for this purpose still includes British people) do not need any proof of residency status.
  • People who have their permanent residency in another European country and are travelling through France to get home
  • Healthcare workers engaged in coronavirus-related care
  • Commercial good carriers such as lorry drivers and flight or cargo crews
  • Diplomatic staff
  • Cross-border workers.


When will that change?

For travel from within Europe, the UK and the Schengen Zone, restrictions are lifted from midnight on Monday, June 15th.

For countries that are imposing a quarantine – which is the UK and Spain – France has brought in reciprocal measures, although in both cases the quarantine is a voluntary one and no subject to enforcement (see more below)

What about travel from outside Europe?

But travel from outside the EU and Schengen area will be restricted for longer.

The EU has recommended beginning to lift restrictions from July 1st, something that France says it “welcomes” but has not entirely committed to.

The reopening of the EU's external borders is set to be a gradual one and decided on a country-by-country basis, so not all travellers will be allowed from July 1st.

Will there be a quarantine in place?

Yes, but not for everyone and all measures announced so far are voluntary.

Spain has announced a compulsory quarantine for all arrivals by air from Europe and France reciprocated with its own quarantine for arrivals from Spain, albeit a voluntary one with quite a few exceptions, from May 25th to June 21st – full details here

The UK has also announced its own quarantine and France has reciprocated for all arrivals from the UK, although again this is on a voluntary basis, from June 8th – full details here.

France has a voluntary 14-day quarantine in place for all arrivals from outside Europe.

Member comments

  1. Does anyone know if it is possible, as an eu citizen to permanently relocate to France? We had planned to move this summer.

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EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example.