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Reader question: Can I transit through France despite the new travel restrictions?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 1 Jun, 2021 Updated Tue 1 Jun 2021 09:43 CEST
image alt text
Spanish police check out travellers' negative PCR coronavirus tests prior to allowing vehicles to continue to Spain at the Behobia border in the Spanish Basque town of Irun, on March 31, 2021. - Anyone crossing the land border from France into Spain have to present a negative PCR taken in the last 72 hours. The measure, which took effect yesterday and affects anyone aged 7 and over, comes as Spain ramps up restrictions in the hope it can avoid a surge in cases over Holy Week. It is the first time such a requirement has been imposed by Spain on those crossing the land border; until now, it has only been required of arrivals by air. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP)

France is bringing in tough new restrictions on arrivals from the UK over fears of the so-called Indian variant of Covid - 19, but what about people who just want to pass through France on their way to another country?


Question: I am planning to drive to Spain from the UK and obviously that involves going through France - do the new French travel rules apply to me if I am only passing through?

From Monday, May 31st, France is tightening up entry requirements for arrivals from the UK, following in the footsteps of Germany and Austria as European countries become increasingly concerned about circulation of the 'Indian variant' of Covid in the UK.

The new travel rules have three parts;

Travellers need a vital reason to enter France. You can find the full list of vital reasons HERE but the criteria are strict and require documentary proof. Travel to second homes and to visit family and friends is not accepted as a vital reason. This rule does not apply to French citizens, or citizens of another EU country who have their permanent residence in France or the EU, or non-EU citizens who have their permanent residence in France or another EU country.

Travellers over the age of 11 must show a negative Covid test at the border taken within the previous 48 hours (a change from the 72 hour requirement). This can be either a PCR or an antigen test. This applies to everyone, including French and EU citizens and permanent residents of France.

Travellers must self-isolate for seven days on arrival, although there will be no police checks to enforce this. This applies to everyone including French and EU citizens and residents.

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


So what's the situation if you are just passing through?

If you are returning to your permanent residence in another EU or Schengen zone country then you can travel, as one of the listed 'vital reasons' is returning home. You will, however, need to show some proof of your residency, ideally a residency card.

If you are travelling for another reason you can travel through France, provided you spend less than 24 hours in the country.

The testing requirement applies to all arrivals, even if you are only passing through France, but if you spend less than 24 hours in the country you are not required to quarantine.

You will also need to check the rules in your destination country on arrivals from France. If you are entering France from an EU or Schengen zone country you will need to show a negative Covid test taken within the previous 72 hours and this must be a PCR test. You can enter France for any reason from an EU/Schengen country.

And yes, these rules all apply even to the fully vaccinated.

For the latest on the travel rules, head to our Travelling to France section.




The Local 2021/06/01 09:43

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stb.nutrition 2021/06/05 22:25
Great news Andrew, thanks for the update. Gives me confidence to push on with my plans. Good luck on your travels. Kind regards Steve
andrew.kluge 2021/06/05 21:56
Hi Steve, We arrived in France earlier and had no issues through the tunnel. You just need the 2 French forms filled in plus the Eurotunnel one plus of course negative PCR results and it’s fine. They didn’t even confiscate our ham sandwiches 😀😀. Good luck.
stb.nutrition 2021/06/02 13:32
Thanks Andrew. Hope it all goes well. Where are you heading to? Keep in touch , would appreciate your comments once your en route. Regards Steve Brown, Shrewsbury
andrew.kluge 2021/06/02 13:28
Hi, The latest info on here says that if you are transiting France for less than 24 hours, you are OK. I am booked through the tunnel on Saturday and we are going ahead. I have a mountain of forms filled in so hopefully we will be OK. Cheers
stb.nutrition 2021/06/01 19:30
Hi Andrew Are you any better informed yet, re transiting through France? I’d be interested to hear from you. I’m booked on the tunnel next week but am only touring with my van in Spain & Portugal.....looks like I’ll have to postpone. Steve
andrew.kluge 2021/05/31 20:52
Hi, Have the transit rules been announced yet? We have planned to travel through France next weekend and just waiting for confirmation. Help!!! Thanks Andrew

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