BREAKING: UK-France travel restrictions will ease tomorrow

People coming from the UK will no longer need an essential reason and will not need to quarantine on arrival 

13 January 2022

France is relaxing its restrictions on UK travellers Pic: EugeneEdge / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

[Update January 14 at 12:00 - The French Interior Ministry has confirmed that the essential reasons requirement has also been lifted for fully vaccinated people travelling from France to the UK.]

France will relax its restrictions on UK travellers tomorrow (January 14), lifting the ‘essential reasons’ requirement for vaccinated people. 

This means that fully vaccinated people will once again be able to travel to France from the UK for tourism, family visits and all work purposes, and will not need to self-isolate on arrival.

However, travellers will still have to present their travel operator with the negative result of a PCR or antigen Covid test taken within the last 24 hours, which is stricter than the 48 hours required for arrivals from other parts of the world. 

The rule relaxation was announced by Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne on Twitter this morning (January 13). A decree will be published tomorrow with immediate effect.

The Tweet does not add whether restrictions will also be eased for people wishing to go from France to the UK, who are also currently subject to the compelling reasons for travel requirement.

“This news comes as a great relief and I can only hope that we have seen the last border closure of the Covid crisis,” said Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries. 

“We’ve all suffered enormously over the last two years. Health care professionals are exhausted and businesses in the travel sector have struggled to survive.

“Thousands of Brittany Ferries passengers have been disrupted and millions of pounds in income has been lost as a consequence of draconian measures like border closures. 

“Science has now delivered the means by which we can halt this cycle of pain and frustration. It’s up to all of us to embrace it.”

This announcement comes after government spokesperson Gabriel Attal hinted yesterday (January 12) that France-bound travel would become easier for people from the UK before the end of the week. 

Read more: France says rules for travel from UK to be eased ‘in the coming days’

A spokesperson for the UK travel association ABTA said: "France is an incredibly important destination for many ABTA members and the decision to ban UK holidaymakers had a devastating impact particularly on those selling snow and winter sports packages, city breaks and educational trips.

"Lifting of restrictions [will] be very welcome as many thousands of UK holidaymakers will be keen to travel to France over the coming weeks and months.”

The rule relaxation comes also as one specialist ski travel operator, skiline.co.uk has put back on sale French ski chalet holidays from Saturday in expectation of the restrictions being lifted by then. 

France's tightened restrictions for travellers coming from the UK came into force on December 18 in an attempt to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

However, Covid case numbers in France have for a couple of weeks exceeded those reported in the UK. While nearly 362,000 new infections were recorded in France yesterday, in the UK the number was 129,587, and there are some signs that the Omicron-related peak has passed. 

Mr Attal said yesterday that the Covid situation was similar in France and the UK and that Omicron “clearly accounts for the majority of cases in France”.

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