France: UK arrivals must quarantine and have essential reason to visit

Rules start from Monday, May 31, and mean tourists and second-home owners will not be able to come to France

27 May 2021
UK and France flags

The new rules will be applied to travellers from the UK due to concerns about the spread of the Indian variant of Covid019 Pic: Aritra Deb / Shutterstock

By Thomas Brent

People travelling from the UK to France will only be able to come from Monday May 31 if they have an “essential” reason and will then be required to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival at a residence of their own choice.

The rule was announced by France’s government spokesperson Gabriel Attal yesterday (May 26), who cited concerns over the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19 in the UK. 

Travellers from the UK must justify their trip with an essential reason, which does not include leisure or holiday trips, meaning tourists and those with second homes in France will not be allowed into the country. 

Information on the certificate needed to enter France and the essential reasons for entering, which are limited to health, family emergencies or professional reasons, will be available on the Ministry of Interior’s website at this link - however, as yet the specific form needed for travel from the UK from May 31 has not been added.

The government has not yet defined which essential reasons will apply to the UK, but the lists established for other non-EU countries allow travel only for essential health, family or professional reasons. They do not include travel for leisure.

Read our article here explaining the essential reasons that apply to other non-EU countries.

French or EU nationals who reside in France or the EU but are currently in the UK, as well as their partners and families, will be allowed to enter France from the UK.

All arrivals will have to present proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before departing for France. Current rules demand a test taken 72 hours before departure. 

How will the quarantine work?

They will have to self-isolate at a residence they pre-declare for seven days. 

There is a fine of between €1,000 and €1,500 for anyone caught breaking the rule. 

Unexpectedly, France’s government spokesman Gabriel Attal stated that for the time being, there will not be home inspections on people self-isolating after coming from the UK, due to the low rate of Covid-19 cases there. These checks are in place for the 16 countries where France imposes obligatory quarantine for arrivals.

Currently, the French government recommends people who have arrived in France from non-EU countries and who are voluntarily self-isolating to take a Covid-19 test at the end of the seven-day period. 

It is not yet known if this will be made a rule for people arriving from the UK.

For the people undergoing the mandatory quarantine on arrival, they are only allowed to leave the house for essential reasons between 10:00 and 12:00. It is not yet known if this rule will also be applied to people arriving from the UK. 

How long will these measures be in place?

The French government has not indicated when the quarantine measure for UK arrivals will end.

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