Travellers from America banned from France without negative Covid-19 test

France has tightened further its entry rules for travellers from the USA, requiring that all American travellers take a Covid-19 test before they board the plane.

Travellers from America banned from France without negative Covid-19 test
Passengers travelling from four countries including the USA will a negative test before boarding a plane. Photo: AFP

The French prime minister announced in July that all passengers from 16 named 'high risk' countries would need to take a Covid-19 test before being allowed into France.

That restriction was tightened further from the end of July for travellers from the USA, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Panama.

Travellers from those countries must present a negative result from a Covid-19 test, taken within the previous 72 hours, or they will not be permitted to board a plane.

The ruling applies to anyone travelling from the USA, including French residents and French citizens.

Travellers from the other 12 high risk countries – South Africa, Algeria, Brazil, India, Israel, Kuwait, Madagascar, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Serbia and Turkey – are advised to take the test before travelling, but can take the test at their French airport of arrival if they are unable to obtain one before they travel.

France's Foreign Ministry states: “Travellers aged 11 years or over departing from the United States to France must present, for all arrivals in France from Saturday, August 1st onwards, the result of a virological screening test carried out less than 72 hours before the flight that concludes that they are not contaminated by Covid-19.

“If they are unable to present this test, boarding will be denied.”

READ ALSO What to expect when flying from the USA to France

However the French embassy in the US later added an exemption clause for people who cannot get a test before travelling.

Testing facilities in the USA are still quite uneven and many people had reported difficulty in getting both the test and the result within the required 72 hours.

The French embassy in Washington DC added: “In certain exceptional and documented cases where it is not possible to get a test within the required time frame and there is a compelling reason to travel on the scheduled date, you can request a certificate of exemption from your nearest consulate.

“This exemption is a temporary measure and the consulate underscores the obligation to actively look for a PCR test before departure in order to avoid having to be tested at the airport on arrival and the resulting wait times. If you are not able to provide evidence of this test or a certificate of exemption, boarding will be denied.”

You can find more details on this exemption here.


Travel from these countries remains heavily restricted, so in practice the new rules will not affect many people, but certain groups are permitted to travel.

At present anyone travelling from within the EU, the UK, the Schengen zone or 10 'safe' countries can come to France for any reason. 

The 'safe' countries are Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China is also provisionally on the list, if reciprocity requirements are met.

READ ALSO When will Americans be able to travel to France again?

For anyone travelling from other countries, including the USA, only essential travel is allowed.

The EU has released a list of types of travel which are counted as essential for people arriving into the bloc

People who can travel into the European bloc include:

  • Citizens of an EU country
  • Non EU citizens who are permanent residents of an EU country and need to come home
  • Healthcare workers engaged in crucial work on the coronavirus crisis
  • Frontier workers and in some circumstances seasonal workers
  • Delivery drivers
  • Diplomats, humanitarian or aid workers
  • Passengers in transit
  • Passengers travelling for imperative family reasons
  • Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons
  • Third country nationals travelling for the purpose of study
  • Highly qualified third-country workers IF their employment is essential from an economic perspective and cannot be postponed or performed abroad

Find more details on the exemptions here.

International students are permitted to travel and the French government says that it wants people who were due to start a course in France to still come.

Masks are obligatory for all over-11s on flights and in all French public spaces including airports.

Member comments

  1. Do you have any further details on this exemption:

    **Highly qualified third-country workers IF their employment is essential from an economic perspective and cannot be postponed or performed abroad**

    Do you need prior approval and/or a visa – or do you need to make the case and support upon arrival in France? Thank you.

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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.