Can I visit the UK from France for less than 14 days?

Reader question: I live in France but want to go to the UK for a week or so to visit family. Is it possible to do this as we are expected to quarantine for at least two weeks?

30 September 2020
A woman travelling. There is a mandatory two-week quarantine rule for anyone travelling to the UK from FranceThere is a mandatory two-week quarantine rule for anyone travelling to the UK from France
By Connexion journalist

Short answer: Yes.

The UK government states that if you are travelling to the country from a territory not on the travel corridor list (such as France) for less than 14 days, you will only be expected to self-isolate for the duration of your stay. 

When you plan to leave, you should go directly to the place of your departure (airport, train station, port, etc). 

That means that if you visit the UK from France for seven days, you will have to remain in self-isolation for all seven days, and then directly leave again. 

When does the self-isolation period begin?

If you are travelling from France to the UK you must go directly to the place you are staying and not leave until 14 days have passed, or until you plan on leaving the country again. 

This is known as ‘self-isolating’, the UK government states. 

The 14-day period starts from the day after you leave a non-exempt country or territory.

The UK government offers two examples:

You leave a non-exempt country on Monday morning and arrive in the UK on Monday afternoon. You must self-isolate: “On the day that you arrive back and for 14 full days after that”. 

Or you leave a non-exempt country on Monday afternoon and arrive in the UK on Tuesday morning. You must self-isolate: “On arrival and for 14 full days, including Tuesday”.

Do I need to quarantine when I go back to France?

No. 

There is no mandatory quarantine for people entering France from the UK. 

This is despite confusing statements from the French government, which promised to introduce reciprocal quarantine measures when the UK removed France from its travel corridor list in August. 

You can read our latest update on France’s proposed (or not) reciprocal quarantine measures here.

Read more about the effects of coronavirus on the UK and France:

How the UK and France’s coronavirus measures compare

Brittany Ferries safe, for the next year at least

Pre-Christmas lockdown not right for France

Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now