Travel to and from France – what services are running?

Travel to and from France - what services are running?
Some services are still running, for those who have the correct paperwork. Photo: AFP
Travel into France is currently highly restricted - but if you do have an essential reason for travel, what are your options?

There aren't many people crossing the border into France at the moment, due to the strict travel rules that mean people are only allowed in for essential travel reasons – and only then if they have an international travel certificate.

Travel restrictions for people arriving from within Europe, including the UK, will be in place until at least June 15th, while for people arriving from outside Europe, the rule is in place “until further notice”.

READ ALSO When can I travel to France again?

But the rules do allow for certain types of travel so a few – a very few – services are still running.

Here's a guide to them.

Who can travel?

Firstly you need to know if you can travel.

The following groups of people are permitted to travel

  • French citizens. So if you went through the process of getting a French passport then you are clear to travel
  • People who have their permanent residence in France. This does not include second home owners, but does include anyone who is based here and who was either caught abroad at the start of the lockdown or who has had to travel since. Likewise people who are now in France but who live full time in another country are allowed to return home.
  • 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. So for example if you live in France but work in Switzerland you can still travel back and forth.

It's not on the form, but French authorities have said that moving house – if it is urgent and cannot be postponed – counts as a reason for essential travel. So if you are moving to France and genuinely cannot postpone the move, then you are permitted to travel.

Everyone travelling needs to fill in an attestation de déplacement internationale – find the form here and non-Europeans who are travelling back to their permanent residency in France need proof of their residency status – a visa or titre de séjour.

European citizens, including British people, do not need proof, but if you are a French resident but not French it would be a good idea to have proof of address such as a utility bill just to be on the safe side.

How can you travel?

There are no specific rules in place covering the type of travel into France, no flights bans for example, so how you travel depends purely on availability.

Flights – there are currently not many of these running. If you're coming from outside the Schengen Zone, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne last week confirmed that there are “virtually no flights” coming into France from outside Europe since the country's repatriation programme of its citizens abroad ended.

If you're flying inside Europe there are a few more choices, with Air France running a skeleton service on both international and domestic flights. Ryanair announced on Tuesday that it plans to have 40 percent of its normal flights back by July. 

In Paris Charles de Gaulle airport is still open, but Orly has been closed since March.

Ferries – On ferries skeleton services are running on P&O Ferries, but Brittany Ferries are running freight services only.

Eurostar – trains are still running but on a skeleton service – one train a day between London and Paris with no departures from Ashford, Ebbsfleet, Calais or Lille. Wearing a mask is compulsory on all services.

Eurotunnel – for people travelling to and from the UK, this is the favoured transport method, since it allows you to stay in your car and not come into contact with other travellers. Because of its substantial freight shipping element, the tunnel has been running regular services throughout the lockdown and now there is a passenger service roughly every hour.

Drive – if you're in a country bordering France you can drive over the border, although some countries – including Switzerland – have reduced the number of crossing points. Check with the authorities in the country you are driving from.

International travel certificates are likely to be inspected when boarding transport services to France, as well as at the French border.

There is currently no requirement for extra paperwork at the UK border.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Member comments

  1. I am a dual French-American citizen living in the US. I need to travel to Paris to care for my ailing mother and would like my American husband to travel with me. Can American citizens married to French nationals enter the country?

  2. I am in France and want to cross the border to Switzerland to access Geneva airport and catch a flight home.
    Can I cross the border with a valid passport and confirmed airline reservation >>
    Rod

  3. Read somewhere that asylum seekers were about to be added to the list. Travelling to seek asylum is considered ‘essential’ by certain elements in the government. It looks like sanity has prevailed.

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