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TRAVEL NEWS

UPDATE: Answers to your questions about the new France-UK travel rules

The French government announced a raft of strict measures, barring non-essential travel for people coming from the UK. But a number of questions remain unanswered or at leat not clear. We have contacted the French PMs office and consulate in London in search of answers.

France has implemented tough new travel rules for people coming from the UK.
France has implemented tough new travel rules for people coming from the UK. But many questions remain unanswered. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP)

Can I bring my French partner and family to the UK over Christmas? 

The answer to this question appears to have got a little clearer.

The French government is calling on everyone to delay France-UK travel plans where possible. All non-essential travel is banned. 

In its official guidelines, it writes: “Touristic or professional visits are not considered imperious motives”. 

On the list of legitimate reasons for travel from France to the UK, it is written that French nationals, residents of France or the EU can return from the UK, along with their partners and children (of whatever nationality).

When it comes to travel to the UK, the French authorities have not published any solid guidance about whether the French partners and children of British citizens are permitted. 

Under the list of criteria covered for essential travel the first one simply says: “Foreign national returning to their country”.

The French Consul in London tweeted that French people with residency in the UK could travel to the country.

But our questions about whether British nationals can take their French family to the UK for Christmas or indeed their family of any nationality have gone unanswered.

However, the French government’s attestation or permission form that everyone is required to sign before departure to the UK suggests that French partners or children of British citizens would be covered under essential reasons as can been in the form below.

“French nationals or foreigners returning to the country of residence or origin (without guarantee of returning to France unless they have an essential reason) as well as their partners and children,” reads the form.

We have reached out to the French Prime Minister’s office and the French consulate in London for further clarification on this question. 

UPDATE: Do children need to quarantine on arrival in France and fill in attestation? 

We have an update to this question thanks to the French Consulate in London.

Initially it was not clear at all if children were subject to the rule that all travellers arriving in France had to self-isolate for 10 days or do take a test to end quarantine after 48 hours.

It was also unclear what online paperwork needed to be filled in for children.

The answer is basically the quarantine and test rules and the paperwork obligation only apply to children over 12.

The French Consulate in London states: 

Children over twelve are subject to the same rules as adults:

  • PCR or Antigen test less than 24 hours before their departure
  • The need for an “essential reason” (motif imperièux) for travel to France from the UK and the form showing it
  • Presentation of the declaration of honour (that you have no Covid symptoms)
  • Fill out the eOS online platform for details of self-isolation address in France
  • Self-isolate on arrival in France and take a test to leave after 48 hours

So children under 12 are exempt from this paperwork and quarantine rules.

READ ALSO: The nine bits of paperwork you need for France-UK travel under new rules

Source: France Diplomatie

Can I transit through France on the way to the UK? 

If you are British, then the rules state that you are entitled to return to the UK from France. British citizenship is listed as an essential reason that allows you to return. And as stated above it appears you can take your family too.

Entering France from other EU countries is easy and looks likely to remain that way. France only requires PCR or antigen Covid tests for non-vaccinated visitors coming from EU countries, which are on the “green list”. Logically, British citizens could enter France from Spain or Italy, before continuing their journey on to the UK. 

For other EU and Schengen area citizens however, the French authorities have yet to publish any guidance. If you are Italian or Swiss for example, it is uncertain whether the French authorities will allow you to drive/fly/rail into France and then travel to the UK. French citizens, without an essential reason, are forbidden from doing so. 

We have reached out to the French Prime Minister’s office for clarification on this. We have yet to hear back after multiple calls. 

It is possible that the French authorities themselves are not sure of the rules. Passage to the UK may be dependent on Ad-hoc conversations with border officials. We suggest behaving politely and explaining your situation. We may not know what the rule is for non-French EU citizens until the rules come into play at midnight on Friday. 

What is clearer however is that you can transit through France coming in the opposite direction, so from the UK to Italy via France for example. More information here.

On arrival in France, do I need to enter quarantine straight away or can I stop somewhere on the way to my residence? 

As previously mentioned, travellers from the UK to France must quarantine upon arrival. 

They are required to fill out an online form with their quarantine address. This must be completed before departure from the UK. As soon as this form is received by the French authorities, they will be able to check whether you are respecting self-isolation rules. 

This means that technically, you are obliged to enter quarantine as soon as you arrive in France. If you are willing to risk stopping off at a hotel overnight, to avoid driving from Calais to Bordeaux in one stretch for example, then that is up to you.

There is a good chance that the police won’t check up on you straight away. But if they did decide to check at the address you listed and you are not there, you could face a hefty fine. There doesn’t appear to be any guidelines on stopovers.

As with the other travel restrictions, we will see how seriously it is enforced once the rules come into place at midnight on Friday. 

Do you have any further questions? Please email us at [email protected]

Member comments

  1. What about Americans/Canadian/Australians in France who have flights leaving from London back to their home countries? When I asked a Eurostar employee they asked when the flight was, and since it was not immediate, they weren’t sure if we can get through.

    Another issue is if you are near the end of your 90 days in EU which is max allowed for non-EU citizens.

  2. We traveled to uk before restrictions came in force. I completed and printed the return forms in advance of our return 4th January. Just been informed that the officials and police turned up at our house today, to check if we were isolating.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

After two years of limited travel many people are planning a holiday this year and France is a popular destination - but it's easy to lose track of the latest travel rules. Here's what you need to know if you are coming to France from a country that is within the EU or Schengen zone.

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

Restrictions

France operates a ‘traffic light’ system that has been in place since summer 2020, assigning countries a colour based on their Covid infection rates.

These days most of the world is green – the lightest level of restriction – including all the countries in the EU and Schengen zone. Find full details on the government website here.

Map: French interior ministry

Vaccinated – if you are fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) and travelling from a green zone country all you need to show at the border is proof of vaccination. There is no requirement for extra paperwork such as passenger locator forms or health declarations and no Covid tests needed. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Unvaccinated – if you are not fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) you will need to show a negative Covid test at the border. The test can be either a PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours or an antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Fully vaccinated – in order to qualify as ‘fully vaccinated’ you must be vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca or Janssen) and must be at least 7 days after your final dose (or 28 days after in the case of Janssen). If you had your vaccine more than nine months ago, you will need a booster shot in order to still be classificed as ‘fully vaccinated’ if you are aged 18 and over.

Anyone vaccinated within the EU/Schengen zone will have the EU digital vaccine pass, but vaccination certificates issued outside the EU are also accepted at the French border. 

Children – The rules on vaccination apply to all children aged 12 and over. Under 12s do not need to supply proof of vaccination at the border. Children aged between 12 and 18 do not need a booster shot, even if their vaccine took place more than nine months ago.

The above rules apply to all EU and Schengen zone countries – if you are travelling from the UK click HERE, click HERE for travel from the USA and HERE for travel from other non-EU countries.

In France

So you’ve made it into France, but what are the rules once you are here?

On May 16th, France ended the mask requirement for public transport, representing one of the last Covid restrictions still in place.

Masks – masks are now only compulsory in health establishments, although they remain recommended on public transport. They are not required in other indoor spaces such as shops, bars, restaurants and tourist sites, although private businesses retain the legal right to make mask-wearing a condition of entry.

Health pass – the health pass was suspended in March and is no longer required to enter venues such as bars, restaurants and tourist sites. It is still required to enter establishements with vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. In this case it is a health pass not a vaccine pass – so unvaccinated people can present a recent negative Covid test.

Hygiene gestures – the government still recommends the practice of hygiene gestures such as hand-washing/gel and social distancing although this is a recommendation and not a rule.

Self-isolation – if you test positive for Covid while in France you are legally required to self isolate – full details HERE.

READ ALSO How tourists and visitors to France can get a Covid test

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