What are the new rules for travel from the UK to France?

The French ban on British travelers which began on December 18, 2021 has ended.

These are the top questions and answers about traveling from the UK to France.

What do I need to travel to France?

As a UK traveler going on holiday, visiting family or friends or undertaking a business trip, you will need proof of full vaccination. For the purposes of crossing the border, this includes a double shot with Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna, or a single dose of Janssen.

You can upload NHS-generated QR certificates showing your vaccinations to the TousAntiCovid app.

This is most easily done using a smartphone with a download of NHS certificates.

Should I take a test?

Yes. The rules state: “All travellers, vaccinated or not, must initially show a negative test (PCR or antigen test) within 24 hours.” Antigen means cheap and rapid lateral flow tests are allowed. This test must be obtained and paid for privately; you cannot use an NHS test.

Note the ambivalence over timing – it is unclear whether the 24 hour window is before departure to France or upon arrival. To avoid any possible problems, it is advisable to take the test within 24 hours of arrival.

The French authorities specify: “Checks on arrival can be carried out at the place of arrival. If the result is positive, the traveler will be placed in isolation.

Forms to fill out?

You must sign a ‘sworn pledge to abide by the entry rules’ – stating that you have not suffered from symptoms of coronavirus and ‘are not aware of having been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid -19 in the last 14 days”.

This simple one-page form can be downloaded from the bottom of this document. Ferry companies and airlines may have their own version to sign.

What is the position of unvaccinated travellers?

Travel is only allowed for ‘compelling reasons’ such as urgent family issues – but with mandatory quarantine on arrival. The Passenger Arrival Form (known as eOS) has now been discontinued for vaccinated travellers, but non-jabbers still need to complete it.

What do I need to travel to France?

Proof that you have been fully vaccinated – which has a stricter definition than just being doubly vaccinated.

Basically, all adults who received their second shot more than seven months ago should have proof of a booster shot.

This weekend the rules are getting tougher, part of the French president’s plan to weed out unvaccinated citizens.

The key to enjoying places in France is the AllAntiCovid smartphone app. It’s well-designed and intuitive to use, with clear English instructions.

You can upload NHS vaccination QR codes to the app. Once done, you can tap “Health Pass” to get a QR code that each location will want to scan. You should use the “Activity” version (to access places like restaurants and museums), not the “Border” version.

Until now, the TousAntiCovid pass was acceptable with proof of a negative test or recovery. From some point in the very near future (probably Monday, January 17), it will only apply to people who have been vaccinated.

The term used is a get vaccinated, which will also be generated from the TousAntiCovid application.

What about children?

The rules should apply equally to everyone aged 12 and over. Children under 12 do not need to be vaccinated or tested.

To obtain proof of vaccination, people over 16 should be able to access the NHS app. Children aged 12 to 15, or their parents, can apply online for an NHS Covid Pass letter, which is then sent to them by post

The big problem for young Britons is that many have only received one shot, which does not count towards France’s entry requirements.

To access the sites in France, children aged 12 to 17 must prove that they have been vaccinated, but are not boosted.

How soon will normal transport services to France resume?

Ferry companies, Eurotunnel shuttles (carrying cars from Folkestone to Calais) and Eurostar trains (carrying passengers from London to Paris) provided services everywhere. Ferry operators are reporting ‘hot phones’ as travelers book trips to France.

Eurostar currently only offers two trains each way between London St Pancras and Paris Nord. The train operator will increase the frequency “according to demand”. There are nine daily returns scheduled for the February mid-term.

Airlines are multiplying rapidly. Jet2 says its ski flights to France will resume on January 22, a week after the ban was lifted.

Steve Heapy, Managing Director of Jet2, said: “This is the good news that skiers and snowboarders have been eagerly awaiting, and the surge in ski flight bookings has been both strong and immediate.

“Snow conditions in the French Alps are known to be excellent, which means our customers are jumping at the chance to get back on the slopes.

“We know how much our customers want to return to the French Alps and we are very happy to fly them there again from next weekend.”

I just want to cross France to go somewhere else. Do I have to go through all this?

Yes. You must also meet all requirements of your destination country.

What should I do to return to the UK?

Book a so-called ‘day two’ test (side stream will do) to take on the day of your return or one of the following days, and use the reference number to complete a passenger locator form. More details in this explanation.

Why was a ban imposed on UK travellers?

When France closed its borders to British visitors on Saturday December 18, the Interior Ministry in Paris said the move was “in response to the extremely rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK”.

The ban applied regardless of the traveller’s vaccination status. A few “compelling reasons” were allowed to travel from the UK to France, including the automatic right for French citizens to return and for EU nationals to pass through their main place of residence.

The exemptions were later extended to include essential business travel and for UK residents of other European Union countries to transit to their mainland homes.

Why did the French ban last so long?

Borders were closed for almost four weeks. The original purpose – concern over the rapid spread of the Omicron variant – has long been futile. Year-to-date, France has had a rate of new Covid infections around twice as high as the UK, almost all attributable to Omicron.

The ban has been very damaging: emotionally for many people deprived of family visits and holidays, and economically for ferry, train and plane operators as well as the French tourism industry.

The kindest explanation for why France has continued with the unnecessary closure of its borders for so long is that there were fears that large numbers of British visitors testing positive for coronavirus could add to the pressure on the French health service.

But politics provides more plausible explanations – in particular the need felt by world leaders to get tough in imposing travel bans.

Some say the French ban was a political response to the UK’s bizarre decision in July 2021 to create a special “amber plus” category in the coronavirus travel rules, requiring all arrivals from France to be put on hold. quarantine.

British ministers attributed this effective travel ban to a worrying variant of Covid prevalent on the French island of Reunion, but never fully explained why the island itself was exempt from the category.

Also, opening borders to Britons while closing major events in France and having people work from home is unlikely to be popular – except among people and businesses who directly benefit from British tourism.

But the pursuit of an unnecessary travel ban may simply have been another example of the tendency for governments to be very quick to impose Covid restrictions while being very slow to ease them.

Do other countries have a blanket ban on UK travellers?

China, Australia, New Zealand and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region have very strict rules in place against arrivals from most or all foreign countries, which amount to travel bans .

Elsewhere, the restrictions are less onerous – although the Foreign Office says: “Entry to Turkmenistan is prohibited except for Turkmen nationals and accredited diplomats, permanently registered foreigners and certain employees of companies and institutions. International organisations”.

What is the general opinion on travel bans?

The World Health Organization (WHO) doesn’t think they do much good. On November 30, 2021, as concern grew over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the body said: “Blanket travel bans will not prevent international spread, and they take a heavy toll on lives and livelihoods. of subsistence.

“Furthermore, they can negatively impact global health efforts during a pandemic by deterring countries from reporting and sharing epidemiological and sequencing data.”

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