What are the entry requirements for France?

·6-min read
 ( Unsplash)
( Unsplash)

France is an extremely popular holiday destination, with around 17 million British nationals visiting every year.

Currently, both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers can visit the country, but they must adhere to the rules that are in place to limit the spread of Covid-19. Below we explain what is required of travellers before they depart for France and after arrival, as well as explain why taking out travel insurance for France is a good idea.

What’s the current travel situation?

On 31 March 2022, the French government relaxed Covid border restrictions to allow unvaccinated travellers entry to the country for leisure and work purposes. Previously, only vaccinated travellers were permitted entry for leisure and work, while unjabbed travellers could only visit the country if they had a compelling reason.

Unvaccinated travellers should provide proof of a negative PCR test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in France, or an antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival.

They will no longer need to quarantine for seven days on entering the country.

Rules for vaccinated travellers were also relaxed. They no longer need to submit a sworn declaration form stating that they show no Covid symptoms. They are only required to present proof of vaccination.

Travellers who have been administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should wait 28 days before travelling to France, while those who have had two or more jabs of the Oxford/Astrazeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines must have had their second jab at least seven days prior to their departure.

Children under the age of 12 arriving in France, are exempt from all border rules and restrictions.

What were the entry requirements for travel to France?

On 18 December 2021, the French government tightened border restrictions and requirements for people travelling to the country from the UK due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Travellers were required to have an extenuating reason to journey between the UK and France. The authorities listed acceptable reasons here. Travel solely for work or leisure purposes was banned.

Before the  18 December, fully vaccinated travellers from the UK (12 years or older), whatever their nationality, needed to provide a negative PCR or antigen test result (in paper or digital format) that had been carried out less than 48h hours prior to departure.

Self-administered tests, including NHS tests, were not considered valid for travel, so a private contractor had to be used.

Prior to departure, fully vaccinated travellers entering France from the UK also needed to present a sworn statement certifying the absence of Covid-19 symptoms and of any contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the 14 days prior to their crossing.

They also needed to show proof of vaccination.

Printed PDF proof of vaccination status had to date from 1 November to ensure the certificate could be scanned successfully. NHS appointment cards from vaccination centres weren’t intended to be used as proof of vaccination and were therefore not acceptable as proof of vaccine status.

People vaccinated in the UK could import their NHS QR code into the TousAntiCovid app. Travellers could also present a digital or paper NHS certificate showing their full vaccine status.

Travellers who were not vaccinated, had to give a compelling reason to be allowed to enter France (such as being a French resident. Ownership of a second home was not deemed sufficient).

Unvaccinated travellers also had to provide:

  • The result of a negative PCR or antigen test (in paper or digital format) carried out less than 24 hours prior to departure (providing they were 12yo or older and regardless of nationality). Self-administered tests were not deemed valid.

  • sworn statement certifying the absence of COVID-19 symptoms and of any contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to their crossing.

  • A sworn undertaking to take an antigen test or biological examination on arrival in France.

  • A sworn undertaking to self-isolate for seven days on arrival in France, and then to take a second PCR test at the end of that self-isolation period.

Travellers from Northern Ireland (whatever their nationality) entering France via the Republic of Ireland had to abide by the rules applicable to travellers from the UK.

Children aged 12 years old or older who were not fully vaccinated and travelling with a fully-vaccinated adult had to present a negative PCR, or antigen, test result but did not have to provide an essential reason for travel or self-isolate on arrival.

Other rules for children said that those aged:

  • 11 years old or under did not need to take a test

  • 12 years old or older, who were unvaccinated and travelling alone, were subject to the same conditions as adults who are not fully vaccinated.

Other entry requirements

Check your passport’s validity before travelling to France. It must be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave France and be less than 10 years old. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count toward the minimum three months.

At French border control, be prepared to show proof of:

  • where you intend to stay

  • travel insurance for your trip

  • a return or onward ticket

  • the fact you have enough money for the duration of your stay.

Once in France

The compulsory wearing of face masks is restricted to healthcare settings in France. As of 12 May 2022, you do not need to wear a mask on public transport but it is recommended Some travel operators may specify a type of mask to be worn, such as surgical masks, while using their services.

You will be required to show your Covid-19 status through the ‘pass sanitaire’ to access healthcare settings, such as hospitals, retirement homes and establishments for people with diabilities. Find out more about restrictions and requirements here.

Returning to the UK

As of 18 March 2022,  both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers arriving in or returning to the UK will not need to take any form of Covid test, complete a passenger locator form or quarantine.

You can find more information and guidance on travel rules for returning to the UK.

Do I need travel insurance for a trip to France?

Travel insurance should be an essential element of any trip that you take. A comprehensive travel insurance policy will also give you peace of mind that you are financially protected against a number of things that could go wrong while you’re away including cancellation in the run-up to a trip and lost or damaged possessions.

A free Global Health Insurance Card is another essential for a trip to France. This card, which replaced the earlier EHIC version, gives you access to medically necessary state-provided healthcare.

In other words, healthcare that can’t wait until you come back to the UK and provided by the country in question on a like-for-like basis as it would be for local inhabitants.

Travel insurance and Covid-19

Nearly all travel insurance policies  cover medical costs and repatriation as a result of Covid-19 and trip cancellation due to Covid-19. However, it’s important to check the Covid documentation attached to a policy for the limitations and exclusions. The specific risks covered may vary between policies. For instance, certain policies may cover cancellation of a holiday due to another insured person on the policy contracting the virus, while others won’t.

You should also compare other important elements of different policies such as excess amounts, financial limits and any exclusions to ensure you find the best policy for you at a competitive price.

Use the box below to compare travel insurance quotes.

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