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.
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.
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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).
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.