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Reader question: Do Brits have to quarantine on arrival in France?

Reader question: Do Brits have to quarantine on arrival in France?
Arrivals from the UK need to follow rules on testing and quarantine. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP
As Covid restrictions ease across Europe Brits are returning to France to visit friends, families or second homes, or just enjoy a holiday, but one question that keeps being asked is whether travellers to France from the UK are required to quarantine on arrival.

NOTE – The situation on quarantine is changing – check out our live coverage here.

 

 

The answer, in a word, is yes. But – as always – it’s slightly more complicated than that.

Travel rules are based on where you are coming from, not what passport you hold, so the below applies to anyone arriving into France from the UK. 

For the moment, the rules are the same whether you are vaccinated or not.

The current situation

France has ended the rule that required anyone travelling between France and the UK to have a ‘compelling reason’ for their journey and since it also lifted it’s ‘partial lockdown’ on May 3rd there are now no restrictions on travel within France.

The Interior Ministry confirmed to The Local that: “In effect, following the modification of the decree on March 12th, it is no longer necessary to justify an essential reason to travel from the UK to France.”

The rules in France

As it stands, anyone entering France from the UK needs a negative Covid test taken within the previous 72 hours. 

This must be a PCR test and not the rapid-result antigen test or a self-administered home-test. 

Covid tests in the UK are only free to certain groups – health workers, people with symptoms, contact cases etc – so chances are you will need to pay to be tested in the UK, and it can be expensive.

You also need to fill in a declaration that you are free from Covid symptoms – find that HERE.

Once in France, most arrivals from outside the EU, which now includes the UK, are requested to self-isolate for seven days before taking a second Covid test.

The declaration which you fill in and sign also includes an undertaking that you will isolate for seven days ‘in a place designated by authorities’ – which in this case can include your own home, a second home, hotel or similar or the home of family or friends – and then take a second test.

Because the UK is not on France’s current mandatory quarantine list, there is no police enforcement of the self-isolation period as there is for arrivals from ‘red list’ countries.

There are also no checks or enforcement of the second test rule.

What the declaration says – and what it means

Basically, the form says that you declare ‘on your honour’ that you do not have any Covid-19 symptoms; that you have not knowingly been in contact with anyone who has Covid-19 in the past 48 hours; and that you pledge to isolate for seven days and then take a test at the end of the seven-day period.

While a déclaration sur l’honneur literally translates into English as a ‘declaration on one’s honour’, conjuring images of dawn duels involving men in curly wigs, it is perhaps better translated as a ‘sworn statement’. 

These have a legal standing in France, and anyone who knowingly makes a false declaration can face legal sanctions. The maximum penalty for using or drawing up a false declaration is one year in prison and a fine of €15,000. We explain more HERE

UK amber listed?

France is expected to adopt an EU-wide traffic light system for travellers from other countries when it is launched on June 9th. 

France is reported to be considering placing the UK on its amber list because of the spread of the Indian variant, which suggests the rules are unlikely to be eased any time soon – and may become more strict.

Heading back to the UK

Because of current Covid levels in France, it is rated on the UK’s traffic-light system as ‘amber’ – a situation that is unlikely to change quickly. 

That means non-essential travel from the UK to France is still not recommended – which may invalidate your travel insurance – and requires a 10-day quarantine and two further tests on your return to the UK, which cost on average an eye-watering £200.

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


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