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BRITS IN FRANCE

Reader question: Can I use a Lateral Flow Test for travel to France?

With strict testing requirements in place for entry to France, many readers have asked if the UK Lateral Flow Tests can be used for travel purposes. The answer - it depends.

Reader question: Can I use a Lateral Flow Test for travel to France?
Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP

Question: I’m travelling from the UK to France and I know I need to show a negative test taken within 24 hours of my departure time – but my question is whether I can use a Lateral Flow Test for this or whether it needs to be a PCR test?

PCR tests are always accepted for travel, but since results are needed within 24 hours for UK arrivals, many PCR providers are not able to provide results in time for travel.

The French travel website states that the test for entry can be ‘either a PCR or antigen test’.

So this seems pretty straightforward. However, the UK has different types of Lateral Flow Tests on offer, and not all of them meet the French travel standards, which is why this question doesn’t have a simple answer.

READ ALSO When will France lift its 24-hour test requirement for travel?

Firstly the UK government is clear – NHS Lateral Flow Tests cannot be used for travel purposes, so you face paying for your test and unlike France, there is no limit set by the government on how much test providers can charge.

The French requirement for tests is that you need a test certificate showing your name, date of birth, type and date of test and of course, the result. QR codes are helpful but not essential as long as the certificate has the necessary information. 

This certificate can be presented either on paper, in a digital format or scanned into the French TousAntiCovid app.

UK Lateral Flow Tests come in different forms and not all of them give the required certificate.

If you’re using a home test kit that does not provide a certificate then you cannot simply take the little plastic results strip to the travel terminal with you (for some reason staff aren’t keen on handling something that contains the results of your nasal swab) and a photo of it is not accepted either.

If you book a test described as a travel test or one that includes a ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate that will give you the paperwork you need.

Likewise if you go to a testing centre in an airport or travel hub that offers on-the-spot results for travel you will get the certificate that you need.

In between this is a bit of a grey area as some firms offer tests that you take at home under video supervision – the French requirement is not concerned with the circumstances in which you take the test, but only with having the correct certificate type so in this case you will have to check with the provider to ensure that you get the paperwork you need in order to travel.

You can read full details of the rules for travel between France and the UK HERE.

Bear in mind that once you are in France you will need a vaccine pass to enter many everyday venues – full details HERE.

Member comments

  1. I had a lateral flow ‘fit to fly’ test in Folkestone last week before travelling via the Eurotunnel.
    It was at a test centre but I had to insert the swab myself whilst the assistant watched. Quite easy really.
    I had the result within 45 minutes.
    I took the precaution of going to the local Mcdonalds whilst waiting for the result so that I could use the free Wi-Fi to upload the result to the Eurotunnel site.

    The price was £39.99, but having searched the internet looking for a test centre, I found them as expensive as £179 for the same type of test. Definitely shop around.

    P.S. The sooner this ridiculous test requirement is dropped the better.

    1. Hi Les, please would you mind sharing the name of the test provider in Folkestone? I’ll be visiting family there soon so that would be the most convenient place for me to get a test to travel back to France. Thanks, Laura

      1. Hi Laura.

        No problem.

        The name is Hope Travel Clinic and they are located at this address;
        Unit 5
        Triumph Park, Ross Way, Shorncliffe Industrial Estate
        Folkestone, Kent
        CT20 3TX (SAT NAV- CT20 3UJ)

        Scroll down their page to find the £39.99 test as the first items are more expensive.

        Hope that helps. Les.

          1. Just so that you are aware. The test centre is in a small yard on that industrial site although they did have their own parking spaces.
            It did seem to be a bit of an ad-hoc setup but at least they were efficient.
            They do require your Passport for checking too, so that info’ can be included on the result document.

            Good luck. Les.

  2. Hi Laura.

    No problem.

    The name is Hope Travel Clinic and they are located at this address;
    Unit 5
    Triumph Park, Ross Way, Shorncliffe Industrial Estate
    Folkestone, Kent
    CT20 3TX (SAT NAV- CT20 3UJ)

    Scroll down their page to find the £39.99 test as the first items are more expensive.

    Hope that helps. Les.

  3. Can I use a lateral
    Flow test that I do at home then upload the results to a fit to fly app that gives me a certificate?!
    How does anyone know if I did the test properly if so?!
    Thanks

  4. Can U.S. residents use video confirmed home antigen tests, that are CDC approved to re-enter the U.S., to fly to France?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Weekend travel warning on French roads as summer getaway continues

The roads will be packed over the weekend France's roads watchdog has warned as tens of thousands of holidaymakers escape the cities and head for coast or countryside. 

Weekend travel warning on French roads as summer getaway continues

The Bison Futé service has classed traffic levels across most of France on Saturday as red – its second highest level, meaning travel on roads out of all major French cities will be “very difficult” – with those in the eastern Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region classed as  “extremely difficult”, the highest level.

But the problems begin earlier, with traffic levels on France’s major arterial routes rising from lunchtime on Friday, as some holidaymakers set off early to avoid the rush.

Image: Bison Futé

Bison Futé advises road users heading away from major cities in France to:

  • leave or cross the Île-de-France before 12noon;
  • avoid the A13 between Paris and Rouen from 5pm to 9pm, and between Rouen and Caen from 3pm to 9pm;
  • avoid the A10 between Orleans and Tours from 4pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the A63 between Bordeaux and Bayonne from 3pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 4pm to 10pm, and between Salon-de-Provence and Marseille from 3pm to 8pm;
  • avoid the A8 between Aix-en-Provence and Nice from 12pm to 8pm;
  • avoid the A9 between Montpellier and Narbonne from 4pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Bordeaux and Toulouse from 4pm to 8pm;
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel in the direction of Italy from 1pm to 7pm (waiting time greater than 1 hour).

Meanwhile, those heading back to the cities from popular French holiday resorts should:

  • avoid the A13 between Rouen and Paris from 5pm to 8pm;
  • avoid the A10 between Bordeaux and Poitiers from 1pm to 8pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Orange and Lyon from 3pm to 6pm;
  • avoid the A8 near Aix-en-Provence from 4pm to 9pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Toulouse and Agen from 3pm to 8pm.

On Saturday, the busiest day of the weekend on France’s roads, Bison Fute says motorists heading away from major cities should:

Image: Bison Futé
  • leave or cross Ile-de-France after 4pm;
  • avoid the A13 between Rouen and Caen from 1pm to 3pm;
  • avoid the A11 between Paris and Le Mans from 11am to 1pm;
  • avoid the A10 at the Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines toll area from 8am to 12pm, and between Orléans and Bordeaux from 10am to 6pm;
  • avoid the A63 between Bordeaux and Bayonne from 1pm to 5pm, 
  • go through the Fleury toll area on the A6 after 12pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 10am to 3pm and between Salon-de-Provence and Marseille from 1pm to 6pm;
  • avoid the A9 between Orange and Montpellier from 8am to 10am;
  • avoid the A75 between Clermont-Ferrand and Montpellier from 11am to 1pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Agen and Toulouse from 11am to 5pm;
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel in the direction of Italy from 10am to 1pm (waiting time greater than 1 hour);

Those heading the other way on Saturday should:

  • return to or cross Ile-de-France before 2pm;
  • avoid the A10 motorway, between Bordeaux and Poitiers, from 1pm to 3pm;
  • avoid the A7 motorway, between Marseille and Salon-de-Provence, from 9am to 3pm and between Orange and Lyon, from 12pm to 3pm;
  • avoid the A8 motorway, between Nice and Aix-en-Provence, from 10am to 2pm;
  • avoid the A9 motorway, between Montpellier and Orange, from 11am to 1pm.
  • Travel becomes much easy on French roads on Sunday, Bison Fute said.
Image: Bison Futé

But it has still issued the following advice for those travelling to holiday destinations

  • avoid the A10 between Poitiers and Bordeaux from 3pm to 5pm;
  • avoid the A63 between Bordeaux and Bayonne from 5pm to 8pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 12pm to 4pm.

Transport Minister Clément Beaune reminded holidaymakers that motorway operators were offering 10 percent reductions in the price of tolls holders of holiday vouchers for the whole of the summer holiday period.

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