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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

What you need to know about UK quarantine if you are travelling from Europe

From June 8th, the UK has introduced a compulsory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals to its shores - here's what you need to know about the rules if you are travelling from Europe.

What you need to know about UK quarantine if you are travelling from Europe
Photo: AFP

Unlike most European countries, the UK has had no border restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, but from Monday, June 8th, it has introduced a quarantine for all international arrivals.

There are still no restrictions on who can enter the country and no requirement to prove that your trip is essential, but if you are going to the UK – the country with the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe – from a European country from June 8th you may be subject to quarantine.

Here's what the rules say:

Online form

If you are travelling into the UK you will need to fill out an online form before your arrival, giving your travel details, contact details and the address where you intend to self isolate. Failure to have a filled-out form on arrival in an airport, port or Channel Tunnel terminal could net you a £100 (€112) fine.

The rules apply to everyone entering the UK, both British citizens and foreigners.

Self-isolation

The quarantine obliges people to self-isolate at the address provided for 14 days. You are allowed to take public transport to get to your final destination, although people are asked to use private transport where possible. Masks are not currently compulsory on public transport in the UK, although they will be from June 15th.

While self-isolating you are allowed to leave the address to shop for food. You are not allowed to receive visitors, but if you are self-isolating with friends or family members, they do not need to self-isolate.

Exemptions

There are quite a few groups of people exempt from the restrictions and they include

  • Lorry drivers and other delivery staff
  • Medical professionals engaged in the battle against Covid-19
  • Foreign officials travelling for work, such as the French police officers who work in British ports
  • Anyone travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
  • Seasonal agricultural workers

British Home Secretary Priti Patel. Photo: AFP

Fines

You can be fined £100 (€112) for not filling in the form or up to £1,000 (€1,120) for breaching self-isolation conditions, while foreign nationals who breach conditions could be deported.

However there is a fair amount of confusion on how this will actually be enforced. The British home secretary Priti Patel, when announcing the measures, said that local health officials would be in charge of enforcing it and could make spot checks, but there has been little detail revealed on how this would work in practice.

The fines will only be enforced in England, as leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to say whether and how they will enforce the rules in their jurisdictions.

How long will it go on for?

When announcing the quarantine, Patel said that it would be reviewed every three weeks, which takes us up to June 29th. The policy has been pretty unpopular domestically and is also subject to a legal challenge from airlines Easyjet, Ryanair and BA owner IAG.

Does it affect travel out of the UK?

France has announced that it will take “reciprocal measures” against any country imposing a quarantine, which means that from June 8th, all arrivals in the France from the UK will also be subject to a 14-day quarantine. However in France the measures are voluntary and will not be subject to checks or enforcement.

If you are travelling from the UK to Europe, be sure to check the border restrictions on the country you are travelling to – many European countries are still limiting travel to essential journeys only until at least June 15th.

 

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

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. 

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