France introduces strict new travel restrictions on arrivals from the UK

France introduces strict new travel restrictions on arrivals from the UK
Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP
From Monday, France has brought in strict new travel rules for the UK including a ban on all non-essential travel and a compulsory seven-day quarantine.

The tightening of travel restrictions is in reaction to fears over the ‘Indian variant’ of Covid which has seen a big growth in cases in the UK in recent days, and follows in the footsteps of Germany and Austria, which have also restricted travel from the UK.

At present the rules apply to all arrivals, including those who are fully vaccinated.

The new rules, which came into force at 0.01am on Monday, May 31st, are;

  • Travel is only allowed from the UK for vital reasons or motif imperieux, similar to the restrictions in place between December and March. Travel to second homes or to visit family and friends is not accepted as a vital reason. You will also need to fill in a form stating your reason, find it HERE
  • People who are resident in France – including British residents – do not need to prove a vital reason to return to France, nor will French citizens or citizens of another EU country who live in France or the EU
  • Anyone over the age of 11 entering France from the UK needs to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours (not 72 hours as was previously the rule)
  • Arrivals should self-isolate for seven days, although this will not be enforced by police visits

You can read a full breakdown of the rules on travel between France and the UK here

Speaking on France Info on Monday morning, France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune said that the quarantine for UK arrivals will not be enforced by the police, in the way that it is for arrivals from India, but that France “will go further if necessary”.

A statement from the Foreign Ministry said: “Compelling reasons will be required for non-EU foreign nationals not resident in France joining France from the UK.

“A PCR or antigen test less than 48 hours old will be required from anyone travelling to France from the UK;

“On arrival, travellers will be required to observe a 7-day isolation period. For the time being, given the low incidence of Covid in the UK, police checks on quarantine addresses will not be applied to them.”

People who live in France or another EU country can return home, but family visits, visits from second-home owners and holidays are not allowed.

You can find the full list of essential reasons HERE.

The testing and quarantine rules will apply to all arrivals into France from the UK, including French and EU citizens and people who have their permanent residence in France. 

READER QUESTION: Can I transit through France despite the new travel restrictions?

France already has in place strict rules on travel from India, which bans almost all transport and enforces a strict 10-day quarantine, enforced by visits from the police. This quarantine regime will not be enforced on arrivals from the UK. 

However the French government had become increasingly concerned about arrivals from the UK, which has seen a rapidly rising number of cases, particularly in hotspots in the north of England.


Member comments

  1. Would it be possible to do a story on travel within Schengen? I need to be in Venice soon for business, and cannot fathom what documents I need. I am fully vaccinated, but my French or Italian is not good enough to deal with the small print.

  2. This is insane. The UK is averaging 2,000-3,000 cases per day, while France is still averaging 9,000. The UK has vaccinated HALF of its adult population FULLY, and around 75 percent have received the first dose. In France, around 17 percent are fully vaccinated, with 37 percent having received a first dose. Yet France is restricting visitors from the UK? The variants are already in France, anyway. This move seems political, not related to public health.

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