COVID-19: rules for travel to France and the UK

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Following the communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs on 11 March 2021 (read the communiqué here), people travelling from the UK, whatever their nationality, are no longer required to have a compelling reason to enter French territory.

However, anyone travelling over the age of 11 still needs to present a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before departure. A sworn health declaration, which includes a commitment to self-isolate for seven days and carry out a second PCR test following the period of self-isolation, must also be presented during checks.

People who have been vaccinated remain subject to the same rules (PRC test and sworn declaration).

People are still strongly advised to keep international travel to a minimum. Anyone wishing to travel to France from the UK is also responsible for checking that they are permitted to do so under UK regulations. Indeed, from 8 March a new form must be presented to the UK authorities to leave England. Only those with a valid reason to travel may leave British territory.

TRAVELLING FROM THE UK TO FRANCE

1. Travelling from the UK to France

People travelling from the UK, whatever their nationality, are no longer required to have a compelling reason to enter French territory.

However, anyone travelling over the age of 11 still needs to present a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before departure. A sworn health declaration, which includes a commitment to self-isolate for seven days and carry out a second PCR test following the period of self-isolation, must also be presented during checks.

People who have been vaccinated remain subject to the same rules (PRC test and sworn declaration).

People are still strongly advised to keep international travel to a minimum. Anyone wishing to travel to France from the UK is also responsible for checking that they are permitted to do so under UK regulations. Indeed, from 8 March a new form must be presented to the UK authorities to leave England. Only those with a valid reason to travel may leave British territory.

List of documents and negative test to be presented for travel

From 8 March 2021, in addition to supplying the other documents, you must complete a new form to leave England. Only those with a valid reason will be able to leave the territory. All details about permitted reasons and the form can be found on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-declaration-form-for-international-travel)]

People who are permitted to travel to France from countries outside the EU (including the UK) must present to the transport operator before boarding:

  • A sworn declaration certifying that they do not have any symptoms of a COVID-19 infection and that they are not aware of having been in contact with anyone confirmed as having COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to their journey.
  • If the person is aged 11 or over, regardless of their nationality, the result of a PCR test (in paper or digital format) performed in the UK less than 72 hours before boarding, which does not conclude that there is COVID-19 contamination. From 18 January, antigen tests are no longer accepted
  • Those concerned must also make a sworn declaration to self-isolate for 7 days once they have arrived in France, then take a second PCR test following the period of self-isolation.

Download the official declaration for travel from the UK to France in English here

Road hauliers may, until further notice, present a negative PCR or antigen test taken in the UK less than 72 hours before departure. All information concerning travel for international road hauliers can be found on the dedicated page.

The UK authorities are updating a list of centres permitted to carry out COVID-19 PCR tests. This list can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing.

The NHS reserves its tests solely for people who present symptoms or are confirmed contacts. The NHS indicates that it will not carry out tests for travel purposes. Private entities offering the same service must therefore be used. There is no specific test for the new variant identified. Current PCR tests detect the presence of the virus.

For information only, please find a list of PCR testing providers at the following websites:

If you have to return to the UK, please check requirements for travelling from France to the UK before your departure.

2. Quarantine in France

From 18 January, people travelling from the UK must make a sworn declaration to self-isolate for a period of 7 days once they arrive in France, then take another PCR test following this period of self-isolation.

Book an online PCR test in your area at https://www.doctolib.fr/

The Consulate has no power to issue quarantine exemptions. Anyone permitted to travel to France is therefore asked to make a request to the French authorities when crossing the border or arriving in France.

You must also self-isolate in the following cases:

  • if you test positive for COVID-19;
  • if you are waiting to be tested because you show signs of the illness;
  • if you are waiting to be tested because you have been identified as someone who has been in contact with someone who has the illness;
  • if you have tested negative but you are an at-risk contact;
  • if you have tested negative but live under the same roof as someone who has the illness.

3. Travel on arrival in France

A nightly curfew is currently in force in metropolitan France. Between 7PM and 6AM you may only leave your residence for specific reasons and with an exemption certificate.

The latest information is available here : https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19

Please check the French government website to find out what the situation is in the department you are travelling to : https://www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus

The "curfew" travel declaration is available here : https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Attestations-de-deplacement-couvre-feu

Wearing masks is compulsory for all indoor spaces in France and in some outdoor areas.

TRAVELLING FROM FRANCE TO THE UK

1. Travelling from France to the UK

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From 15 February onwards, everyone allowed to enter England from outside the Common Travel Area must:

  • quarantine for 10 days
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining
  • follow the national lockdown rules

Follow the guidance on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england

In Scotland :

From Monday 15 February, everyone who arrives directly in Scotland by air from outside the Common Travel Area (the CTA, comprising United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands) must book and pay for managed isolation in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days from arrival.

Follow the guidance on https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/

You now no longer need a compelling reason to travel to the UK from France. You must adhere to local restrictions on British territory on your arrival. You are reminded that only border control staff can decide whether you may enter the country.
Since 18 January, the UK government has introduced pre-departure testing requirements for all inbound passengers to England. Passengers arriving by ship, plane or train will have to take a test up to 3 days before departure and provide evidence of a negative result before they travel. For more information please visit : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england

Moreover, doing a PCR test does not exempt people from going into quarantine on arrival in the UK.

Before entering the UK (48 hours before your arrival), you must complete a form with your contacts, your home or other address where you will be staying, and your travel details. This procedure is carried out on the UK government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk.

You are advised to take with you, in addition to your ID, a supporting document indicating a residential address in the UK and the reason for your journey, to be presented when you cross the border. Only the transport companies and/or staff responsible for border checks are authorized to decide on whether the supporting documents are permissible or not.

With each of the four nations implementing their own lockdown strategy, you need to stay informed about the rules applicable by referring to the devolved governments’ websites: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

N.B. You are required to wear a mask on most public transport when you travel.

2. 10-day quarantine measure imposed on passengers coming from France

LATEST:

From 15 February onwards, everyone allowed to enter England from outside the Common Travel Area must:

  • quarantine for 10 days
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining
  • follow the national lockdown rules

Follow the guidance on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england

In Scotland :

From Monday 15 February, everyone who arrives directly in Scotland by air from outside the Common Travel Area (the CTA, comprising United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands) must book and pay for managed isolation in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days from arrival.

Follow the guidance on https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/

The UK authorities have announced that a 10-day quarantine applies to all passengers arriving from France. Since midnight on Monday 14 December, anyone travelling from France has to provide an address in the UK, where they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. This measure is compulsory and likely to be subject to checks. Anyone in breach of the measure is liable to fines up to £10,000.

Before entering the UK (48 hours before your arrival), you must complete a form with your contacts, your home or other address where you will be staying, and your travel details. This procedure is carried out on the UK government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk.

From 18 January, anyone entering England from abroad must be able to produce a negative COVID-19 test. More information on this can be found on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england

Test to release

Under the scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating. The earliest you can take the test is 5 full days after you left a place not on the travel corridor list. The scheme is voluntary and applies to those self-isolating in England only.

To take part in the scheme you need to book a test with a private test provider (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing) and choose to opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form.

If, in the past 10 days, you have travelled in or passed through a country not on the exemption lists, you must observe the quarantine period for 10 days after leaving that country. If you want to travel to the UK for fewer than 10 days, you must remain in self-isolation throughout your visit and may then leave the UK, doing your best to avoid public transport when travelling to the train station or airport.

If you are visiting the UK for less than that period of time, you must remain in self-isolation throughout your stay. You may then leave, without using public transport, to reach the airport or station.

During the 10-day period of self-isolation, you must not:

  • go to work
  • go to school
  • use public transport or taxis
  • have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential support
  • go out to buy food or other essentials where you can rely on others

Once your period of self-isolation is over, you will have to continue following the UK government’s instructions on social distancing measures.

Implementation and checks: all those in breach of these mandatory conditions are liable to a £1,000 fine or prosecution. The level of fine could increase if the risk of infection from abroad increases. The Devolved Administrations will set out their own enforcement approaches. The authorities will undertake checks at the border and may refuse entry to any non-British citizen who refuses to comply with these regulations and isn’t resident in the UK. Random checks will be carried out to ensure compliance with self-isolation requirements. Removal from the country would be considered as a last resort for foreign nationals who refuse to comply with them.

Jobs that qualify for travel exemptions

Some people can be exempted from self-isolation measures on entering UK territory.

The full list can be found on the UK government’s website.

The Consulate has no powers to grant exemptions from quarantine under any circumstances.

3. Travel on arrival in the UK

The UK government has announced a national lockdown in England from 5 January 2021. The main message is "Stay at home".

Regarding international travel, the UK government is instructing people to travel only for essential reasons, particularly ones in a professional context.

Please check the measures in place at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

Face coverings are required in shops and supermarkets - in addition to public transport where they are already required. People are also strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in other enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet.

More information on the UK government’s website

As soon as you enter the UK, you are also asked to download the NHS Covid-19 app app and use it for the duration of your stay in the UK.

Published on 22/03/2021

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