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EXPLAINED: What are the ‘vital reasons’ that allow travel from the UK to France?

From Monday, May 31st, France brought in strict rules on travel from the UK over fears of the so-called Indian variant of Covid that is circulating in Britain. But what are the accepted reasons for travel?

EXPLAINED: What are the 'vital reasons' that allow travel from the UK to France?
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

All arrivals from the UK into France are now required to present three things;

  • An essential reason for their journey, and form declaring this reason
  • For over 11s, a negative Covid test taken within the previous 48 hours (either a PCR test or antigen test is allowed)
  • An undertaking to quarantine for seven days once in France.

The vital reasons for the journey – motif imperiuex – have now been clarified by the French government. 

In order to enter France you will need to fill out an attestation de déplacement (travel certificate) and tick one of the following reasons. You may also need to provide documentary proof of your reason for travel such as a visa or residency card. You can find the form HERE.

The following groups are allowed to enter France;

  • French citizens and their spouse or partner and children
  • EU citizens who have their permanent residence in France, or in another EU country and are transiting through France in order to return to their home. Spouses, partners and children of EU nationals living in France or another EU country are also covered by this
  • Non-EU nationals who have their permanent residence in France or in another EU country and are transiting through France in order to return to their home. Proof of residency such as a residency card or visa will be required.
  • British nationals who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (ie who were permanent residents in France or another EU country before December 31st, 2020)
  • Non-EU nationals who benefit from a family reunification visa or are covered by refugee status
  • Health professionals engaged in the battle against Covid, or travelling to do research or internships connected to the pandemic. Spouses, partners and children are also covered by this
  • Non-EU nationals who have a passeport talent visa, plus their spouse, partner and children
  • Students enrolled at a higher education establishment in France
  • Employees in the road, sea, or air transport industries travelling to France or through France for work-related purposes, including hauliers
  • Non-EU nationals involved in diplomatic or consular work
  • Traveller spending less than 24 hours in France in transit to another country
  • Employees of the Channel Tunnel or police or customs staff engaged on work at the border

Unlike under previous travel restrictions there are no exemptions for travel for compassionate reasons such as visiting seriously ill family members.

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

Unlike the UK’s previous travel rules, there is no property exemption for visits from second-home owners and travel for tourism or family visits is also banned.

Member comments

  1. Can I just ask how many people have had the enjoyment of owning a home in France and are now, thanks to brexit and the narrow mindedness of those who are supposed to be negotiating on behalf of each partner have had to have the additional payments of health certificates for their pets, are not allowed to bring food for these animals or for the humans, are paying habitation taxes etc and are now considering selling their properties with high costs. If the “high ups”in the negotiating process could possibly have some consideration and regard for the owners of these properties and the excess costs involved in visiting them they might, just might, have an ounce (sorry gram) of compassion unless they wish to have a mass exodus of UK home owners. Please, all we want us to be able to return to France during our holidays as per previous brexit.

    1. Everything isn’t about Brexit to us in Europe and the things that are were avoidable if you were awake and weren’t so self-entitled you did nothing about it. This situation has been written in big neon letters since the British voted to leave in 2016.

      And there’s this little cold-like thing on earth called COVID. It seems it’s quite bad. But apparently the UK has it beaten, so all the British now want to leave Britain on holiday.

  2. My son is due to start a work placement in Paris in July for 12 months as part of his university degree. I don’t see any of the above criteria allowing him to enter France. Is anyone else facing a similar situation or can comment?

    1. When I first read the new restrictions & then checked the French site last weekend it did allow for international students. Get your son to look on the French gov site. Good luck

      1. PS Sorry. If it’s only if enrolled in an ed. establishment then I may be misleading you, but he could ring the consulate to clarify.

  3. Must admit to being a bit fromaged off with paying to have my bin emptied etc and no interest in allowing visits . The main problem seems to come from the pseudo French who still are happy to travel to the uk , but are keen to keep us second home owners out ‘because of covid’

  4. THE TRUTH OF OUR CURRENT SITUATION RESTS WITH ALL THE MISLEADING STATEMENTS BY OUR POLITICAL LEADERS. HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL ALL THE SO-CALLED BENEFITS SHOW THEMSELVES ?
    I KNOW THAT BREXIT WAS BY A DEMOCRATIC VOTE, JUST, BUT THE POWERS THAT BE ,TOLD SO MANY EXAGGERATED CLAIMS THAT ARE UNREALISTIC ?
    I HOPE THAT THE COUNTRY I LOVE WILL NOT RUE THE DAY THAT WE ARE STRANDED OUTSIDE A EUROPE, WITH A POTENTIAL MARKET OF HALF A MILLION , WE HAVE SHOT OURSELVES IN THE FOOT. I DOUBT IF I WILL EVER BENEFIT FROM THE SO CALLED ADVANTAGES .
    THOSE WHO RELY ON EXPORTS TO EUROPE ARE HAVING PROBLEMS NOT OF THEIR MAKING.

  5. The govt website is still listing compassionate reasons for travel and not showing permission for familial reunification of EU family members resident in France.

  6. What are the rules on UK nationals travelling into France from countries other than the UK, for instance other EU member states?

    1. It’s clearly dependent on the country you are coming from, not what passport you are carrying! Look at their ‘traffic light’ catagory.

  7. Hi Solid. (‘tho this site shows that I’m replying to a “fionasteph6”!),

    At least I’ve seen a few comments in UK internet musings, asking since when was going on holiday a (God given) right. The media are partly responsible for this, as is the so-called leader, & are almost surprised when people say they plan to stay in the UK. Lots of people there can’t afford any holiday at all. They get forgotten until it’s time for a piece on food banks or welfare payments.

    Yes, 2016 was a horror show.

    A lot of people don’t want to just visit their holiday homes vchayman, that’s a luxury the majority can’t afford, they want to feel international cooperation is most important.

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COVID-19

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body outlined how Covid-19 rules changed starting on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules relaxed in France as the country brought an end to compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes took effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 would return to normal starting February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 now also have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that began at the start of February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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