Unvaccinated travellers to France from UK must show 24-hour test from Sunday

Tighter restrictions on unvaccinated travellers coming from the UK to France came into force at midnight on Sunday as France seeks to control a Delta-variant-driven fourth wave of Covid.

Unvaccinated travellers to France from UK must show 24-hour test from Sunday
Passengers wearing a face mask arrive in the arrival hall of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport, north of Paris, as a sign for a free COVID-19 test is displayed. Thomas SAMSON / AFP

If you haven’t had a jab you’ll now have to show a negative PCR or antigen test that is less than 24 hours old to be able to enter France, rather than the 48 hours allowed previously.

Minors over the age of 12 will also have to present a negative test.

However, if you’ve had both doses (France recognises Pfizer,/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, including AstraZeneca Covidshield), you’ll now be exempt from providing a test to enter French territory.

The period of time you need to wait after vaccination has also been reduced: if you’ve had both jabs or a previous infection and one dose, you now only need to wait a week (instead of two) after your jab before you can travel. 

If you’ve had just one dose, you need to wait 28 days.

READ ALSO: France to require 24-hour test for UK and some EU countries over delta variant fears

But for those travelling in the other direction, it’s a trickier situation.

On Friday, the UK government maintained the 10-day quarantine requirement for English residents returning to England from France — including those who are fully vaccinated — citing the “persistent presence” of the beta coronavirus variant in France.

British government scientists fear that this variant may be more resistant to vaccines.

READ ALSO: UK says English residents returning from France must still quarantine

The end of the compulsory quarantine for vaccinated English residents returning from countries on London’s “amber” list“ on Monday, July 19th will not apply to France, the Department of Health said in a statement.

The quarantine rule change applied initially only to England, but the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales later confirmed they would follow suit. Northern Ireland has not yet announced its plans.

However, travellers will still be able to cut their quarantine period through the Test to Release scheme, which releases you from self-isolation early if you pay for a private test and test negative on day five.

The Beta variant is reported to be responsible for between 5 and 10 percent of France’s average 5,000 daily Covid-19 cases. According to the French government’s app, the percentage of Beta cases has even been reducing in recent weeks.

Reunion island, in the Indian Ocean, is the only part of France where the Beta variant is dominant and is responsible for most of the country’s cases.

The Delta variant, which was first discovered in India, has rapidly become dominant in most parts of France as it did in the UK. It is reported to be responsible for around 70 percent of cases.

Member comments

  1. Really disappointed that the UK Govt has decided to use figures for Reunion and apply them to mainland France. Makes no sense whatsoever but perhaps they are lacking someone with geography knowledge in the cabinet. Bonkers to say the least. Even more ridiculous as we can travel to EU countries from where family doesn’t have to quarantine and all holiday together there. If we needed evidence they’ve lost the plot, this latest decision is it! UK Govt website also not updated on new French rules. Words fail me!!

  2. Can you believe it? Brits returning from the French island of Reunion (the only place where there is a high concentration of the Beta variant) will not be required to quarantine! See this extract from a report in tonight’s Telegraph. “However, changes to public health regulations published on Sunday have revealed that the added restrictions, dubbed “Amber Plus”, will only cover mainland France, meaning the traffic light ratings of its overseas territories will remain unchanged. The regulations refer only to “metropolitan France”, with officials confirming that Réunion, the Indian Ocean island near Madagascar, will remain on the amber list.
    It means that double jabbed Britons who travel to Réunion will not have to quarantine at home on their return, despite figures suggesting that the overall prevalence of covid-19, as well as the beta variant, are very much higher on the island.”

  3. What do people recommend as the best way to get the 24hr antigen test in the UK, before flying back to France?
    Any advice welcome. Thanks

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France and Ireland to create new combined train and ferry tickets

The French and Irish leaders have announced the creation of a new combined ticket, that can be used on ferries and trains in both countries.

France and Ireland to create new combined train and ferry tickets

Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin is currently in Paris visiting French president Emmanuel Macron, and the pair have jointly announced the creation of the new ticket, “in order to encourage green mobility between France and Ireland”.

The joint statement added that the ticket will be in effect by summer 2023, saying: “The objective will be to allow, in particular our young people, to travel between our two countries thanks to a green, simple and reasonably priced deal.”

Full details are yet to be confirmed, but the idea sounds similar to the ‘Franco-German ticket’ announced earlier this month, which will give special deals on train tickets between France and Germany to young people.

Full details of that scheme are set to be announced in January. 

Martin was in Paris for the signing of the Celtic Interconnector agreement between France and Ireland, an electricity agreement that links France and Ireland via a 500km undersea cable.

At present journeys between France and Ireland require separate tickets for French trains, Irish trains and the ferry, unless you are travelling with an Interrail pass which can in certain circumstances include ferry travel.

The Franco-Irish ticket would replicate that system, but for single journeys rather than the multi-journey pass of Interrail. 

READ ALSO Yes, travel across Europe by train is far better than flying – even with kids