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

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?

Reader question: Can I transit through France despite the new travel restrictions?
Photo: Ander Gillena/AFP

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.

Member comments

  1. 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

  2. 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

    1. 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

      1. 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

        1. 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.

  3. Great news Andrew, thanks for the update. Gives me confidence to push on with my plans. Good luck on your travels.
    Kind regards
    Steve

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HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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