France eases restrictions for UK travellers after ‘supersonic’ rise in Covid cases
The French government announced on Wednesday (5 January) that it would make travel to and from the UK a “bit easier” by expanding the list of valid reasons to visit.
French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said the government had decided to “widen the list of compelling reasons, notably professional” given the fact that Covid-19 case numbers were now on similar levels in France and the UK.
In December, the government banned all UK travellers from entering the country unless they had a “compelling reason” to do so, following a surge in Omicron cases in the UK.
The rule change meant British holidaymakers could only enter or leave France for a very limited number of reasons, including for essential work, urgent family matters, or nationals or residents returning home.
But what are the latest changes to restrictions? Here’s what you need to know.
Can I travel to France?
Anyone wishing to travel to France from the UK can only do so for essential reasons, as defined by the French government, regardless of their Covid-19 vaccination status.
All French nationals and those who are residents in France are considered to have an essential reason for travel to the country.
However, on 6 January, the French government introduced additional categories to its list of essential reasons for travel, meaning more people will be eligible to visit.
These categories include allowing people to visit for business travel purposes, and for UK nationals who are a resident in other EU Member states or assimilated countries.
This means that people with a home in an EU Member state are now allowed to transit through France to return to their country of residence. Under previous rules introduced in December 2021, this was not allowed.
Transit for less than 24 hours in the international zone of an airport is also permitted.
Most travel restrictions put in place for UK travellers on 18 December last year still apply.
This includes a ban on tourism travel for non-EU citizens and a negative Covid-19 pre-departure test result for eligible travelers.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises that UK travellers wishing to visit France should first check the full list of essential reasons for travel on the French government website to ensure they are eligible.
What are the rules for those who can travel?
Those who are eligible to travel to France from the UK are required to meet the following requirements:
- All travellers aged 12 and over must present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 24 hours pre-departure
- Before travel, anyone coming from the UK must provide contact details, including the address they will be staying at, to the French authorities via an online form
- All travellers must present a completed international travel form to prove the reason for essential travel. This can be found on the French government’s website
- All travellers must provide a completed ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This can be found on the French government’s website
- Upon arrival in France, all travellers must self-isolate for 48 hours, after which a negative PCR or antigen test is required to leave quarantine. If the result is positive, you will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. Only those taken by a professional at a testing site or pharmacy are valid for leaving self-isolation
This article originally appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld.