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Who can travel to France as the country lifts its lockdown?

Who can travel to France as the country lifts its lockdown?
Photo: Marcel Mochet/AFP
As France enters phase one of its reopening plan, tourism is again possible from some countries, with conditions in place. Here's a quick rundown of who can travel.

Monday, May 3rd marks phase one of France’s gradual reopening plan, which is a four-step process to loosen restrictions on both domestic life and international travel.

IN DETAIL: France’s calendar for lifting lockdown

The rules on travel into France, however, vary depending on where you are coming from.

EU and Schengen zone countries

Travel into France is allowed for any reason including tourism and family visits. This has in fact been the rule for several months, but since April 3rd the 10km rule has been in place in France. This rule banned any non-essential travel unless it was within a 10km radius of home – in effect ruling out any international tourism.

However, this rule is lifted from Monday May 3rd and travel within France is now allowed for any reason, with no need for a permission form. Travel between regions of France is also allowed for any reason.

Testing – however, if you are coming from an EU country you will still need to present a negative Covid test at the border, as well as a declaration that you are symptom-free and have not been in contact with any Covid cases. There is no quarantine requirement. You can find the relevant forms, and the exempt groups, HERE.

France is also on the ‘red list’ for several EU countries, meaning you may need to test and quarantine on your return, so check your home country’s restrictions carefully before travel.

Restrictions – there are still restrictions in place in France, the main one being the 7pm curfew. Travel by car is not an accepted reason for being out after curfew, but if your train or plane arrives after 7pm, you can continue to your destination after curfew time, although you will need an attestation permission form. Find the form HERE.

Bars, cafés, restaurants, museums and tourist sites remain closed until at least May 19th, and after that there is a phased reopening, if the health situation permits. Masks are compulsory in all indoor public spaces across France, and in the street in most of the larger towns and cities. Failure to wear a mask can net you a €135 fine.

From the UK, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore

Travel into France from most non-EU countries is still allowed for essential reasons only, but there are seven countries that are exempt from that rule, including the UK.

This exemption has been in place since mid-March, but the recent partial lockdown and 10km limit on travel within France has effectively ruled out travel for tourism, family visits and second-home owners.

However, this rule is lifted from Monday May 3rd and travel within France is now allowed for any reason, with no need for a permission form. Travel between regions of France is also allowed for any reason.

However, some countries on the list, including the UK and Australia, are not currently allowing their citizens to travel abroad for non-essential reasons (although the UK rules do have an exemption for second-home owners), so check first that your home country also allows travel.

Testing – if you are coming from one of these countries you will still need to present a negative Covid test at the border, as well as a declaration that you are symptom-free and have not been in contact with any Covid cases. Arrivals are asked to quarantine for seven days and then take a second Covid test. The quarantine can be done at a location of your choice, and there are no police checks on this. You can find the relevant forms HERE.

You should also check the rules in your home country for returning from France as many countries require a quarantine and extra testing on all arrivals from France, including their own citizens.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know on travel between France and the UK

Restrictions – there are still restrictions in place in France, the main one being the 7pm curfew. Travel by car is not an accepted reason for being out after curfew, but if your train or plane arrives after 7pm, you can continue to your destination after curfew time, although you will need an attestation permission form. Find the form HERE.

Bars, cafés, restaurants, museums and tourist sites remain closed until at least May 19th, and after that there is a phased reopening, if the health situation permits.

Masks are compulsory in all indoor public spaces across France, and in the street in most of the larger towns and cities. Failure to wear a mask can net you a €135 fine.

Non-EU countries

For those non-EU/Schengen zone countries not on the exemption list, travel is still allowed for essential reasons only.

Reopening of non-essential travel from all non-EU countries is scheduled for June 9th, however this could be delayed if the health situation deteriorates.

Americans should also bear in mind that France is currently on the US State Department’s ‘Level 4’ list, of countries where travel is not advised due to the health situation. This is advisory, and not a ban, but travelling to a Level 4 destination can invalidate your health or travel insurance, so check your policy before travelling.

Health passport – when travel from these countries reopens, President Emmanuel Macron announced, it will be possible only with a pass sanitaire, or health passport. The full details of exactly how these will work have not yet been revealed, but it seems that the pass will involve an option for inputting either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative Covid test. Here’s what we know so far about health passports. 

France is also on the ‘red list’ for several non-EU countries, meaning you may need to test and quarantine on your return, so check your home country’s restrictions carefully before travel.

Restrictions – even after June 9th, there will still be some restrictions in place, the main being an 11pm curfew. Travel by car is not an accepted reason for being out after curfew, but if your train or plane arrives after 11pm, you can continue to your destination after curfew time, although you will need an attestation permission form. Find the form HERE.

Bars, cafés, restaurants, museums and tourist sites are scheduled to have reopened by June 9th, but reopening could be delayed in certain areas if Covid cases remain high. Masks are compulsory in all indoor public spaces across France and in the street in most of the larger towns and cities. Failure to wear a mask can net you a €135 fine.


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