What do we need to do to travel from France to the UK this Christmas?

The rules for entry into the UK depend on your vaccination status, with fully vaccinated passengers being able to avoid most Covid-related restrictions

12 October 2021

Travel has been simplified for vaccinated people, but unvaccinated passengers are still subject to a number of restrictions Pic: Genja / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

My husband and I are going to the UK from France to spend Christmas with our family who we haven't seen since 2019. What are the documents that we need to provide and do we need to take Covid tests? 

The steps that you currently need to follow in order to enter the UK from France all depend on your vaccination status. 

The UK has simplified its traffic light travel rule system to a single red list of ‘no go’ countries. France is not on this list, meaning that fully vaccinated people can avoid the majority of travel restrictions. 

All adults whether vaccinated or not must complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before travel. 

The details of under-18s (or under-16 for Scotland) can be added to their parent or guardian’s form. 

If you are vaccinated: 

You do not need to quarantine on arrival in the UK and no longer need to take a pre-departure Covid test before leaving France. 

Read more: France-UK travel update: Mixed Covid vaccines are now recognised by UK

However, in order to fill in your passenger locator form you will need to book and pay for a test to be taken on or before day two after entering the UK, your day of arrival being day zero. 

At present these are PCR tests, but the option of cheaper lateral flow tests is promised for 'later in October'.

When you travel, you will be asked to present your passenger locator form, along with proof of full vaccination. 

The UK accepts the EU Digital Covid Certificate (which can be accessed through the TousAntiCovid app) and paper vaccination certificates issued in French and containing: 

  • Your full name
  • Your date of birth  
  • The vaccine brand and manufacturer
  • The date of vaccination for every dose
  • The country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer

Vaccination certificates are also accepted if written in English or Spanish.

Read more: Covid France: Should I update to an EU vaccine certificate to travel?

Please note that the UK only views individuals as fully vaccinated 14 days after their second vaccine dose (or first in the case of the single-dose Janssen vaccine). 

Read more: The rules for children and travel from France to the UK

To return to France, you must again present proof of your vaccination status, and complete an Engagement sur l’honneur (sworn statement), confirming that you are not experiencing Covid symptoms and have not recently been in contact with a confirmed case. 

Travellers should note that some women who were vaccinated in France have encountered problems when trying to leave the country because their travel documents show their married name while their vaccination certificates carry their maiden name. 

This problem can theoretically be tackled by asking a health professional to produce a new vaccination certificate with the correct name, but this is not always possible and The Connexion is trying to determine whether there is an alternative solution.

Read more: Updated: Reader tips over maiden names on French vaccine certificates

If you are not fully vaccinated you must: 

  • Book and pay for two PCR tests to be taken on or before day two and on or after day eight after entering the UK.
  • Complete your passenger locator form 
  • Take a PCR or antigen Covid test in the three days before you leave France
  • Quarantine for 10 days on arrival in the UK (if over 18). People travelling to England have the option to buy a ‘test to release’ kit for day five, allowing you to leave quarantine early. However, this is not available for travellers to Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. 

You must go directly to where you will be self-isolating, whether this is your home or your holiday accommodations. 

The day you arrive is day 0. If you are staying in the UK for less than 10 days you must quarantine for your whole stay and still book your day two and day eight tests. 

The French government also states that you must only travel for an essential reason, to be detailed on an Attestation de sortie du territoire métropolitain (certificate to leave metropolitan France) on this website here.

This documents contains a list of reasons deemed to be essential, which include travelling for medical treatment, work or because of a family emergency. 

To return to France, you must again present an essential reason and complete the sworn statement detailed above. 

For unvaccinated adults, this document includes a promise to self-isolate for seven days on arrival in France. 

Non-fully vaccinated travellers from the UK must also take a PCR or lateral flow test in the 24 hours before beginning their journey to France. 

Related stories 

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

France to UK family visit: What gifts can we bring under Brexit rules?

French vaccine certificates compatible with Scottish Covid pass scheme

Covid rule advice for UK October half-term holidaymakers to France

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