UK-France travel ban: How long will it last, who can travel?

A 48-hour travel ban was partially lifted today, allowing access to France for French nationals or residents and some other groups

23 December 2020
Travel from the UK to France has re-started following a partial relaxation of a temporary travel ban
By Connexion journalist

The French government has re-opened its borders with the UK for certain individuals, including French nationals and lorry drivers, following a temporary travel ban over fears of a new strain of Covid-19 circulating in the UK that is thought to be more contagious. 

The relaxation on restrictions came into effect from midnight Tuesday, December 22. 

From today, the following people are allowed to enter France, as long as they can present a negative Covid-19 taken within 72 hours of departure to their travel company:

  • French and EU/EEA nationals, as well as their partners and children. Typically for Covid-related restrictions, this includes pacsed and long-term live-in partners. The Connexion has asked for official clarification on this and if it will be required to present any proof to travel companies. 
  • British or non-EU/EEA citizens who are residents in France or another EU country
  • People who are required to make essential journeys, such as those working in international goods transportation, students and holders of laissez-passers (see a complete list below)

The list of exceptions does not include UK citizens with second homes in France or British citizens or other non-EU/EEA nationals in the UK wishing to travel to France for a holiday. 

This arrangement will remain in place until January 6, when it will be reviewed. 

Travellers should have a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of travelling, or, if it is not possible to get a PCR test, certain antigen tests are also acceptable. A full list of those can be found here (in English). Everyone over the age of 11 will be required to present a negative test. 

Full list of people allowed to enter France for essential reasons:

  • Non-EU/EEA nationals, holders of a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa, whose main residence is in France or who are in transit through France to their main residence in a European Union country or equivalent.
  • Non-EU/EEA nationals in transit in the international zone for less than 24 hours
  • Member of a delegation on an official mission or the staff of a diplomatic or consular mission, or an international organisation having its headquarters or an office in France, as well as their spouse or children
  • Foreign health professional contributing to the fight against Covid-19
  • Foreign crew or personnel operating passenger and cargo flights, or travelling as a passenger to position themselves at their base of departure
  • Foreign national providing international transport of goods
  • Crew member or person operating a commercial or fishing vessel
  • Students holding a VLS or VCS for studies or internships (excluding the VCS Competition), or coming for less than 90 days from a country exempt from the VCS, or minors in school, who can prove that they have a place to stay in France.
  • Professor or researcher employed or invited by a French educational institution or research laboratory who travels for study and teaching purposes
  • Non-EU/EEA nationals with a VLS "talent passport"
  • Persons benefiting from a laissez-passer issued by the Direction générale des étrangers en France du ministère de l’intérieur, to facilitate the exercise of an economic activity, to reunite with partners or for medical reasons.

Rules from January 1

The Brexit transition period, which sees the UK remain a member of the single market and customs union despite it no longer being a member of the EU, will end on December 31, meaning the UK will then be considered an “external country”. 

The UK is not on the EU’s final updated list of ‘external’ countries exempt from strict Covid-19 EU entry rules.

No exemption on EU Covid travel restrictions for UK

The list confirms that it is highly unlikely that holiday or leisure visits from the UK – including to second homes – will be allowed to France or other EU countries next year until the EU judges that the pandemic is coming to an end or the UK has few new cases over a 14-day period.

It means also that a negative Covid-19 test will be needed in the previous 72 hours on entering France from the UK (if agreed by France, testing in the airport could also be allowed) and that those who can enter will need to bring an attestation de déplacement internationale

The latter will include both French and residents of France.

Read more:

Covid-19: tests for France residents returning from UK

France imposes UK travel ban for 48 hours

UK-France border closure: Can my British partner come?

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