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When will France lift all its travel test requirements?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 11 Feb, 2022 Updated Fri 11 Feb 2022 15:08 CEST
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A medical assistant takes a swab sample for a Covid rapid test on a woman at a test and vaccination centre set up a car dealership in Iserlohn, western Germany, on January 5, 2022, amid the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. - The owner of the car dealership, Arne Olsen, has temporarily set up a vaccination centre with a team of doctors and nurses at his dealership and has had several hundred people vaccinated since the start in December. As many people as possible are to be vaccinated by the second week of January. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

France has eased the 24-hour test requirement for UK arrivals, but still demands for recent negative Covid tests most arrivals from non-EU countries including the UK, Canada and the USA - so is this likely to change soon?


The measures were originally put in place to control Covid cases and curb the spread of the Omicron variant - but with Omicron now making up 98 percent of all cases in France and daily Covid cases standing at around 400,000, are these restrictions likely to be lifted?

The rules

All arrivals into France - vaccinated or not - from orange countries (which includes the UK, USA, Australia and Canada) need to show a negative test taken within 48 hours of their departure time.

The traffic light travel map. Map: French Interior Ministry

Unvaccinated travellers face further restrictions and must prove that their journey is essential before being allowed to travel at all.

The UK was previously subject to even stricter rules with all arrivals - vaccinated or not required to show a negative test taken within 24 hours of travel. However this was relaxed on February 4th to be within 48 hours for full-vaccinated travellers.


As with orange countries, unvaccinated people must prove that their journey is essential - which rules out tourism, family visits and visits from second-home owners.

In all cases the test can be either a PCR or antigen test, but many home-test kits are not accepted - click HERE for the full breakdown on test type.

Find the full details for travel rules HERE

The problems

The test requirement is proving a particular travel headache for arrivals from the UK - which includes French residents or French citizens returning from a trip over the Channel.

Unlike France where tests are widely available on a walk-in basis at most pharmacies are are free for fully-vaccinated residents, in the UK travel tests must be booked in advance from private providers. NHS tests cannot be used for travel purposes. 

Many people have reported struggling to get results back in time with some travellers missing departures because their test has not come back.

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

The best option is on-site testing at airports or transport interchanges with on-the-spot results, although this can be expensive.

Likewise in the US, many readers have reported having to travel long distances from their home to get a test that is both suitable for travel purposes and will give the results in time.

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

What is changing?

As France began to report higher daily case numbers than the UK, many British travellers regarded the 24-hour testing rule as unfair and unnecessary.

It was finally scrapped on February 4th, bringing the UK in line with other orange list countries.

But arrivals into France from within the EU no longer need to show any tests, so when is this rule likely to be applied to  non-EU arrivals?


Unlike some countries, France does not have review dates for its travel rules, instead the regulations are reviewed on a rolling basis and are frequently updated.

The change that is under discussion at present is an EU-wide one, in which the European Council proposes a systemic change that would allow fully vaccinated travellers to travel without the need for any further restrictions - including testing or quarantine.

READ ALSO EU countries agree to simplify travel rules for fully-vaccinated

Like all EU proposals that relate to borders, this must be agreed by individual member states. However France has been at the forefront of calling for an EU-wide approach to travel rules, so it seems likely that the French government will agree.

However there is one important caveat to this - it refers only to travel within the EU and Schengen zone, not to arrivals from outside the EU such as the UK, USA and Canada.

When asked by The Local, an EU official told us: "A review of the recommendation on travel from third-countries [non-EU or Schengen zone countries] to the EU is currently under discussion. Therefore, no changes have been made yet."

France could also decide unilaterally to ease restrictions on arrivals from outside the EU.

On February 4th, France also moved all countries that were on its red list - including the USA - onto the orange list.

Government sources have been reported as saying an announcement will be made to end test requirements for all vaccinated travellers, possibly as soon as mid-February.

We will update our Travel section HERE as soon as there is an announcement. 



The Local 2022/02/11 15:08

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bastide.des.oliviers 2022/02/07 15:37
@ Alexander, The official resource from the Interior Ministry is here: Under the world map click on the tab for the colour of country you are travelling to/from, then find in the text the correct section (travelling to or travelling from France) and the section for vaccinated or not as applies to you. As of now for example, a vaccinated person entering France from a green country requires proof of vaccination and a health declaration, plus a test taken within 48 hours only if you are coming from one of the few non-EU/EEA green countries eg Japan or NZ. However that can change so keep an eye on that page. While I'm posting but not related to your question, a couple of the other comments below I think suggest some confusion with these rules still which is unsurprising given how often they change. An Antigen (lateral flow) test is accepted for entry to France where relevant which unlike a PCR takes 15-30 mins and can be done at home with a near-instant online certificate for under £20 (at least for those of us in the UK). Ameliadoran provided one example and there are plenty of alternatives if you search for 'fit to fly at home antigen tests'. The Local is a great resource but I don't think the language about readers finding it hard to get tests done is helpful any more since anyone with an internet connection can now get a result in minutes. Also it is important to note that the French rule in the link above is that the test sample must be taken within the 48 hours before departure for France, not 48 hours before arrival in France. Not a big deal for Brits perhaps unless they are swimming across but a big difference for the commenter worried about flying from Australia!
thelocal_462458 2022/02/07 14:46
No tests required for vaccinated from green countries.
thelocal_462458 2022/02/07 14:45
48 hours applied to the departure time - not the arrival time.
a.silcock 2022/02/06 21:01
I can see no mention of the testing requirements for green countries, only orange & red. Does anyone know?
lschonfelder 2022/02/05 00:18
It takes at least 24 ours to get to France from Melbourne, Australia. What are we supposed to do? We also can only get private PCR testing for travel and I've seen this advertised at up to au$600, that's about €370, with no guarantee that the results will be available within 24 hours.
audreylovelock 2022/02/01 19:26
I used projectscreen (Prenetics) as soon as I uploaded my test I got a certificate the test antigen was 19£. All a rip off frankly. As Uk is the only country France are asking to get tested , really petty and totally unjustified.
paulinepdickinson 2022/02/01 10:56
We are travelling to France on the overnight ferry in the middle of March, we have to travel several hours to Portsmouth to board approximately 6pm. How are we supposed to get a test within 24 hours of boarding? It seems yet more stress is being added.
dave.cheesmond 2022/02/01 10:43
It’s expensive to do short winter trips over on Ryanair and anything less than a fortnight is not worth the drive/ferry. Extra hassle with this test has meant we will not go till Easter. The sooner we get rid of this Nationalist government with the Evil Clown, the sooner we an build closer, and kinder relationships with Europe.
maryjschiller 2022/02/01 09:12
Thank you for that recommendation. I'll look them up asap.
Ameliadoran 2022/01/31 23:10
I used Randox Certifly to travel and got my result back, with the required info/fit to fly certificate and QR code in minutes after uploading the test to their app. I had no problems when presenting the results at the border. I hope you get to see your daughter soon.
matt.cummins 2022/01/31 20:59
Psst, just use one of the many providers who allow you to upload a photo of your test. They give you a certificate you can print after reviewing it. Takes 2 hours normally. I have used this 4+ times in the last six months, including twice in the last ten days. Can’t promise it works for flying, but it does for Eurostar and ferry travel.
maryjschiller 2022/01/31 20:03
I've been trying to plan a trip to the UK, too, but this requirement is ridiculous. My daughter (who lives in the UK) has said that it would be next to impossible to get a result back that fast.
amandareed9375 2022/01/31 19:00
I’m sorry to hear that. If it’s any consolation the weather here is awful atm
andrew_6046628188425 2022/01/31 18:15
Almost impossible to comply with the 24hour requirement when travelling from the UK, so I have cancelled my trip for February 🙁

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