Do UK quarantine rules apply if I transit in France?

I’m planning a short holiday to a country on the UK’s travel corridor list and a cheap option to fly back to the UK involves transiting in Paris. Would I need to quarantine on return to the UK, even if I don’t leave the airport?

26 August 2020
By Connexion journalist

Short answer: yes

The UK government website states that anyone transiting in a country not on the travel corridor list must self-isolate for two weeks on return to the country. 

France was removed from the UK’s travel corridor list on August 15.

A transit stop is defined as a stop “where passengers can get on or off” the vehicle you are travelling on. This can apply to coaches, ferries, trains or flights. 

Even if a person has been on holiday in a country on the UK’s travel corridor list, any transit stop in France will mean they are required to follow the quarantine rules. 

You would not need to self-isolate on entering the UK if no new passengers get on your vehicle, no one on-board gets off and mixes with people outside or passengers get off but do not get back on. 

This means that people transiting through France using the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Passenger Service will not necessarily have to quarantine on return to the UK, if they do not leave their car and mix with other people while driving through France. 

“Our understanding of the UK Government’s position is that if you drive through a country that is not on the list for quarantine exemption on your way to the UK, without getting out of your car, or allowing anyone to enter your car, then there is no additional need to self-isolate on your entry to the UK. You must check the status of all the countries you have visited, in which you have got out of your car,” the Eurotunnel website states. 

This exemption has angered Brittany Ferries, which has been badly affected by the UK’s decision to impose quarantine measures on people travelling there from France. 

The company declared it “nonsense” that people would not need to quarantine in the UK if they drive through the Eurotunnel, but would if they drive through France without stopping and onto a ferry to get back to the UK.

Brittany Ferries said it has sought "urgent clarification" from the UK Government over the ruling, saying that it puts us [ferries] "at a disadvantage for no apparent reason”.

Passengers travelling on ferries are required to leave their cars while on the boat. 

Read more about the UK's quarantine measures:

Do UK quarantine measures apply to Eurotunnel travel?

Brittany Ferries suspends route, 50,000 passengers affected

How UK ensures travellers from France observe quarantine

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