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Covid-19: What are the rules for residents of France and travel to UK?

New travel restrictions on the French side mean that you must now give an essential reason for a trip to the UK

Man on airplane with face masks applies hand gel

People travelling to the UK from France who are not UK nationals or UK residents will have to provide a medical, family or professional reason for their trip Pic: Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock

Anyone travelling from France to the UK will now need to provide an essential reason for their trip, under new rules that came into effect today (May 31). For UK citizens living in France, travelling back to ones country of nationality is considered an essential reason. 

The other reasons must fall under the scope of a medical reason, a family reason, or a professional reason.

The form to attest to one of these reasons - this includes to signal that you are travelling back to your country of nationality - can be found on the French government’s website at this link, under section 1 of the heading “déplacement vers/depuis le Royaume-Uni”.

The government website states: 

“It should be noted that no foreign national wishing to return to his or her country of residence or origin will be prevented from leaving French territory – although there is no guarantee that he or she will be able to return [to France] without an essential reason.”

New UK to France Covid travel rules: Forms and 13 essential reasons

People in France can also go to the UK for personal or family reasons, such as:

  • The death of a close family member (grandparents, parents, children, siblings)
  • To provide care (to children or an elderly relative)
  • Being summoned by a judicial or administrative authority
  • Situations where it is legally or economically impossible to stay in France
  • Participation in a university exchange programme

For health reasons:

  • A vital medical emergency (for the person and an accompanying person if their presence is essential)

For professional reasons:

  • Assignments that are essential for business reasons, requiring you to be on site without the possibility of postponing or cancelling less there be a risk of disproportionate consequences (this includes those working in the transport sector)
  • You are a health or research professional contributing to the fight against Covid 19 or participating in collaborative operations of major interest in the field of health 
  • One-off assignments linked to the exercise of public authority (including diplomatic assignments and missions essential to the continued execution of the operational contracts of the armed forces or military corps) that cannot be deferred or postponed

Travellers will need to bring supporting documents to prove that they fall under one of these categories. The Connexion will publish shortly a full translation of the essential reasons people can leave France for the UK, including which documents can serve as proof. 

Rules on the UK side

France is listed on the UK’s amber travel list. 

This means that people travelling to the UK from France will be asked to undertake a minimum 10-day self-isolation period and to take two PCR Covid tests on day two and day eight (though there is a possibility of leaving isolation early if you pay for an additional ‘test to release’ test on day five).

The UK is also asking that people travelling back from France, and other countries, have a ‘pre-departure test’ in the country, which can be PCR or antigen.

It is also still necessary before entering the UK from abroad to complete a ‘passenger locator form’ in the 48 hours before your arrival in the country, with details of where you will be staying.

The UK is set to announce an update to its travel lists on June 3. Travellers returning from green listed countries do not need to self-isolate upon return.

There is no indication yet of whether France will be upgraded to the green list. 

Read more:

New UK to France Covid travel rules: Forms and 13 essential reasons

UK tourists important but health is priority, says French travel boss

France's ban on UK visitors is 'coherent' says Covid expert

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