France to UK travel: Do I need to buy Day 2 Covid test for a day trip?

Fully vaccinated travellers from France need to buy a Covid test in advance to be taken on day two after arrival in the UK but what about people only going for a day trip or just one night?

13 August 2021

Reader question: Do you know if it is possible to travel from France to the UK for just one day without having to buy day 2 tests? My husband and I are both fully vaccinated.

France is on the UK’s amber travel list, meaning people who are fully vaccinated and travelling from France to the UK have to pay in advance for one UK Covid-19 test, regardless of how long they plan to stay in the UK. 

The UK government rules state:

“If you will be in England for less than two days you still need to book and pay for a day two Covid-19 test. 

“You only need to take the test if you are still in England on day two.”

People who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will need to book and pay in advance for two Covid-19 tests, and quarantine for 10 days on arrival, or the whole time they are in the UK. 

Bob Bell, 75, who lives in the Ile-de-France region in France, recently travelled with his wife to the UK to see their son for a quick lunch, before he and his family set off to the US.

Both Mr Bell and his wife are fully vaccinated and paid £40 each for two Covid-19 tests. 

The tests then had to be sent to his address in France, which cost an additional £18 postage.

“I’m angry, but I’m not distraught. For some people, that £100 will be a real sting,” he said.

“It hurts us a little bit more because as a percentage of the total cost of the trip, it’s huge.” 

Mr Bell said that the tests that arrived at his address in France did not have any instructions for use and it was not clear how he could separate his test swab from his wife’s.

If you travel from the UK to France intending to return you will be required to buy a day two Covid-19 test before returning to the UK, or two tests if you are not fully vaccinated.

The UK rule states that the rule applies if you have been in any amber country within the past 10 days. 

Related stories:

How do France’s Covid vaccine numbers compare with rest of Europe?

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

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