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LATEST: What you need to know if you’re travelling from France to the UK

LATEST: What you need to know if you're travelling from France to the UK
A Brittany Ferries boat waits in the port of Le Havre. Passengers from France to UK face Covid rule changes in October. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP
From Monday, October 4th, the UK government's travel rules for arrivals from the EU have been relaxed - but be aware that there are still restrictions and testing requirements in place.

Previously, if you were travelling to England from an amber list country such as France, you had to take a pre-departure Covid test, then book and pay for a Day 2 test. 

Fully vaccinated arrivals could leave it there, but those unvaccinated had to quarantine for 10 days and pay for further tests. You also needed to be ‘fully vaccinated’ by UK standards (more on that below).

From Monday, October 4th, however, this has changed.

The announced rule change is for England, if you are travelling to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, click on the relevant country link.

The UK government has done away with its amber list and now has only green or red – all European countries are on the green list.

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For those countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Austria and Germany who were on the green list under the old system, the rules remain the same for fully vaccinated arrivals but have become more strict for those who are not vaccinated.

Here’s what the new rules say:

Vaccinated

Fully vaccinated arrivals no longer need to take a test in France and show it before boarding the train/plane/ferry.

Crucially, however, you still need to book and pay for the Day 2 test, and this must be done before leaving France.

At the border you will need to show the Passenger Locator Form, and this cannot be completed without a booking reference number for a Day 2 test.

These tests have a byzantine booking system and are frequently infuriatingly expensive – find the full breakdown on booking HERE.

The Day 2 test is required even if you are spending less than two days in England (yeah we know, it makes no sense to us either).

The UK government has said that in the future Day 2 tests could be the cheaper antigen (lateral flow) tests rather than PCR tests, but there is no firm start date for this policy.

Unvaccinated arrivals 

People who are not vaccinated (or who do not meet the UK government definition of vaccinated) have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, this can be done at a private home and you do not need to go to a hotel.

In addition, they have to book and pay for both a Day 2 test and a Day 8 test before leaving.

There is an option to pay extra for a Day 5 test and end quarantine early, but be warned that quarantine does not end on Day 5, it only ends when the test results arrive. Many readers have reported long delays in getting test results leaving them spending 9 or 10 days in quarantine anyway, but having paid more for an extra test.

Who is vaccinated?

The UK government accepts people as ‘fully vaccinated’ if they have received either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines and received their final dose at least 14 days ago.

The French or EU vaccine certificate is accepted as proof at the border.

After a confusing period, the UK government now accepts as fully vaccinated people who had a ‘mixed dose’ eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer.

However people who only received a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – as is standard practice in France and other European countries – do not count as vaccinated, and this has not changed even under the more relaxed rules.

READ ALSO I had Covid and a single-dose vaccine – what are my travel options?

From the UK to France

The travel rules coming into France remain unchanged – fully vaccinated people need to show only proof of their vaccination, while unvaccinated people can only enter if they fit one of the criteria for essential travel – find the full details HERE.

All travellers need to fill in a declaration that they are not suffering from any Covid symptoms – find the form HERE.

Also bear in mind that Brexit has changed things at the UK/France border so there are restrictions on bringing in items including food, plants and pets – full details HERE.


Member comments

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  1. Hi I think you have made the link regarding travel to an out dated article. There is a newer article with more accurate information which was update last week. EXPLAINED: How does France’s Covid traffic light system for travel work?

    From the UK to France

    The travel rules coming into France remain unchanged – fully vaccinated people need to show only proof of their vaccination, while unvaccinated people can only enter if they fit one of the criteria for essential travel – find the full details HERE.

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