Travellers from France to UK warned of delays over IT glitch

Passengers at Gare du Nord, Paris
Passengers going to the UK have reported problems with the online form required. Photo: Jacques Demarthon/AFP
Anyone planning a trip from France to the UK is being warned to leave plenty of time to complete their passenger locator form after travellers reported a string of problems with the online process, leading to some people missing their departure.

All arrivals into the UK need to complete the passenger locator form, outlining their travel history and contact details, this applies to UK nationals as well as foreign visitors.

The form can only be completed online – find it here – and in most cases you cannot board a plane/train/boat to the UK without showing the form first.

However numerous passengers have reported problems, glitches and crashes on the site in recent days, with some missing their departure altogether because they were unable to complete the form in time for boarding.

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See also on The Local:

Roanne Bell, visiting Paris from the UK, ended up missing her Eurostar train from Gare du Nord because she was unable to complete the form.

She said: “I got to the station and plenty of time and then for an hour we just couldn’t get onto the website to do the form. Endlessly hitting refresh and it wouldn’t upload.

“Eventually I managed to load it, but by then it was too late to board.

“The Eurostar staff were great, they knew immediately what the problem was and said that it has been happening a lot – they just gave me a ticket for the next train and I didn’t have to pay any extra.

“So in the end it was alright, but I felt so frustrated that it didn’t work as it should, and also I found it hard to get the information in advance, the UK government website didn’t explain very clearly that you also have to book the Day 2 test before you fill out the form.” 

Given the ongoing nature of the problems, here are some tips;

  • The form can be completed any time in the 48 hours before your scheduled departure, so allow yourself plenty of time in case the website is down. 
  • The form appears to work better on a laptop or desktop computer than on tablets or phones, so if possible do it in advance on a desktop computer.
  • The form cannot be completed without a booking code for a Day 2 or Day 8 test, so you will need to book the test first and then complete the Passenger Locator Form. You need the booking code for a Day 2 test even if you will be in the UK for less than two days – here’s how the test booking works.
  • Fully vaccinated arrivals are asked to upload a copy of their vaccination certificate, but in many cases this upload simply doesn’t work. If this is the case for you, it is possible to complete the form without it but you will then need to show your proof of vaccination at your departure point before boarding. Allow yourself plenty of time to do this once you get to the airport/ferry terminal/station – one reader reported a queue out of the door at the Calais terminal of the Channel Tunnel, entirely composed of people who had been unable to upload their vaccination certificates successfully.
  • Try not to get cross with transport staff. Transport companies can be fined if they allow people to travel without the correct paperwork, so in most cases you will simply be refused boarding if you don’t have or cannot complete the form. Obviously this is hugely frustrating, but it’s not the fault of the transport company employee in France.

You can full details on the travel rules between France and the UK HERE.


Member comments

  1. It’s too late now but there is no need for the PLF to be limited to on-line completion, submission and acceptance, provided the required information was given typed on a downloaded form with photocopied essential supporting documents which would just need to confirm the required Covid vaccination level and booking for the 2 day test. Then there would be less faffing about except as may be caused by those caught short (maybe in another sense as well!). Also none of the within-48 hour deadline needed, except for those requiring pre-entry testing (although this has been referred to expertly as of no value).
    The not-so-distant past has delivered failures of government created grandiose computer-using ideas intended to benefit the public in some way. The problem may be they were created by too clever committees which, as the saying goes, are prone to creating nags rather than racehorses.

  2. I have completed the Locator form three times in the last few months and had no problem with it except some of the questions are a bit ambiguous. Agree it is really impossible to upload your Vaccination certificate and failed on three occasions from laptop and iPad so just didn’t bother. As for needing it at the border only Malta was very stringent with the documents; France Ryanair and Tunnel were not too diligent with only cursory glances and I had not preloaded my documents to them. I think this procedure will not go away in a hurry the KIS principle seems to have died with the COVID pandemic.

  3. To be fair I have travelled twice to the UK in the last 2 months and it has been a seamless experience each time. Le local has done a great job advising of the situation and the UK government site is really clear and easy to use (certainly from a lap top). I am not clear why some people go to a border report without having completed the necessary documentation before hand. We have been living with forms and controls for the last 18 months so not travelling prepared is not really any government or travel companies fault but only that of the traveller.

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