The rules for children and travel from France to the UK

Do under 18s have to be vaccinated? Do five-year-olds need a pre-departure test or just a test on arrival? We explain the rules for travelling with children from France to the UK

18 October 2021

The UK rules on testing and quarantine for children travelling to the UK from France are varied and complicated Pic: Halfpoint / Shutterstock

By Thomas Brent

There are different rules for travelling from France to the UK with children depending on whether you are visiting England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

We break them down here.

Note: These are the rules that will be in place from August 8, 2021. 

General travel rules from France to the UK

Fully vaccinated people can travel from France to the UK without filling out France’s essential reason form. If the adult travelling with the child (under 18s) is fully vaccinated, then the child is also considered fully vaccinated. 

People who are not fully vaccinated must provide an essential reason (motif impérieux) for their journey from France to the UK (listed as amber by France). The form for this can be found at this link

The French government states that no one looking to return to their home country will be prevented from doing so, but they must still fill out a form citing this as an essential reason. 

There is no guidance on whether children must also fill out this form or if they are included under the adult’s form. If your child is capable of filling out a form, it is worth doing. If there is any confusion, airline staff can provide these forms at the airport. 

Before leaving France everyone over the age of 18 must fill in a UK passenger locator form.

You can find the form on the UK government's website here. This must be done within 48 hours prior to leaving France. Children’s details (under 18s) can be added to their parents' forms. 

Travel from France to England

Children of all ages (all under 18s) who are resident in the UK, US, France, other EU countries, etc. do not need to quarantine at all, regardless of their vaccination status. 

If they are aged four and under, they do not have to take any Covid-19 travel tests. This includes pre-departure tests and tests on arrival.

11 to 17 year olds must take a:

  • Covid-19 pre-departure test before travelling to England
  • Day 2 test on or before day 2 in England – arrival day is day 0

5 to 10 year olds:

  • Do not have to take a pre-departure test
  • Must take a day 2 test on or before day 2 – arrival day is day 0

Read the official rules here.

Travel from France to Scotland

Children under 18 who normally reside in the UK, EU (including France) or US as well as dependents of those vaccinated overseas, do not need to self-isolate on arrival.

Children under the age of 11 do not need to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test.

Children aged 12 and over must take a Covid-19 test within two days of arriving in Scotland. You must book and pay for this test using the CTM Booking Portal.

Read the official rules here. 

Travel from France to Northern Ireland

Children under 18 who are residents of the UK, France, other EU countries or the US do not need to quarantine or take a day eight test.

Children under five do not need to take any tests. 

11 to 17 year olds must take a:

  • Covid-19 pre-departure test before travelling to Northern Ireland
  • Day 2 test on or before day 2 in Northern Ireland

5 to 10 year olds:

  • Do not have to take a pre-departure test
  • Must take a day 2 test on or before day 2 

Read the official rules here. 

Travel from France to Wales

Children under 18 who are residents of the UK, France, other EU countries or the US do not need to quarantine or take a day eight test.

Children under five do not need to take any tests. 

11 to 17 year olds must take a:

  • Covid-19 pre-departure test before travelling to Northern Ireland
  • Day 2 test on or before day 2 in Northern Ireland

5 to 10 year olds:

  • Do not have to take a pre-departure test
  • Must take a day 2 test on or before day 2 

Read the official rules here. 

Note that Wales has not yet dropped quarantine measures for fully vaccinated adults arriving from France - France-England quarantine easing: What about Scotland, Wales, Ireland?

Related stories:

Why some ‘fully jabbed’ people in France must still quarantine in UK

Does the UK accept French Covid vaccination certificates?

UK quarantine is ending for vaccinated visitors from France

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