Can an unvaccinated Briton travel via another EU country into France?

All countries in the ‘European area’ are green-listed by France, meaning it is possible to enter from them with minimal formalities

15 June 2021

Is it possible for an unvaccinated UK national to enter another EU country such as Spain and then on to France? 

We have checked the travel rules for the UK, France and several other EU states and there is nothing in these to prevent you from doing this, assuming that the EU state in question allows you in.

All EU states at present are on the UK’s amber list, meaning that travel is not ‘recommended’ to them, but is not banned, and that a self-isolation period with testing is required on return to the UK.

France currently does not allow entry to unvaccinated visitors from the UK if they cannot attest to coming for one of a limited number of essential reasons, not including tourism or spending time at a French second home.

However France has no restrictions on entry from the whole ‘European area’, ie. EU, EEA and Switzerland. Also, unlike the UK, where entry rules depend on where you have been in the previous 10 days, the French rules only concern the place where you are travelling from.

There is currently no uniform policy among EU states as to entry from the UK, so you should check the UK government’s official travel advice for the country for its rules. 

Once you are in another European country it would then be possible to move onwards to France, though you would have to stop in the other EU country and you should not be taking a direct transit flight just connecting in the country on the way to France. 

A relatively simple way, for example, would be to enter via Spain.

There are currently no entry and testing restrictions for visitors to Spain from the UK, though it is necessary to fill in a pre-travel declaration form declaring any known history of exposure to Covid and giving contact details.

Even so, the UK’s travel advice states that in ‘some parts of Spain’ including the Canary Islands tourist accommodation may ask for evidence of full vaccination or a negative test, or of having had Covid and recovered from it; it is therefore recommended to check with accommodation providers prior to travel.

Italy, for example, also does not require an ‘essential reason’ for travel, but it does still have certain Covid restrictions, regardless of vaccination status.

You should provide the airline on travelling with a negative Covid antigen or PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before travel. 

Before travel you should complete an online digital form. This will generate a QR code, which should be presented to your travel provider and border police if requested. A paper form can be completed if you do not have an electronic device.

On arrival you are also asked to call a Covid helpline within 48 hours to inform them of your visit.

From 16 May until 30 July there is no longer a requirement to quarantine on arrival in Italy, unless travellers arrive without proof of a negative test.

Travellers arriving without a negative test will need to self-isolate for 10 days and undertake a test at the end of the isolation period.

Travel to certain other EU countries however is not currently possible. For example Germany classes the UK as a ‘virus area of concern’ and it is only possible to enter if you are a resident or you have an ‘urgent humanitarian reason’ such as a family bereavement.

Travelling from an EU country to France

You do not need to show any essential reason for travel.

Each traveller aged 11 years or older must present a negative PCR or antigen test taken less than 72 hours before departure or proof of full vaccination with a vaccine recognised by the European Medicines Agency.

You must also present a declaration on your honour that you have not shown Covid symptoms in the last 48 hours and have not to your knowledge been in contact with a sufferer in the last 14 days.

Self-isolating in France for a week is still ‘recommended’ by France on arrival from an EU state, but there is no obligation to do so.

Read more

12 reasons an unvaccinated people can visit France from an amber country 

Traffic light Covid rules for travel to or from France 

Rules for travel to and from France

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