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Boosters, tests: what are Covid rules for vaccinated UK-France travel?

We look at the testing requirements for adults and children and what ‘fully vaccinated’ means

We look at the testing and quarantine rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers between France and the UK Pic: Thanakorn.P / Shutterstock

[Article updated on February 8 at 08:45]

Both France and the UK have announced Covid travel rule relaxations in recent weeks but some restrictions still apply. 

We look at what you now need for travel between the two countries. 

Fully vaccinated people travelling from France to the UK

If you are fully vaccinated you do not need to carry out any pre-departure tests before travel to the UK. 

Until 04:00 February 11, you must, however, book and pay in advance for a PCR or antigen (lateral flow) test to be taken on or before day two after your arrival in the UK. You do not need to self-isolate while you wait for the result.

From February 11, the day two testing requirement will be removed for vaccinated travellers.

Fully vaccinated travellers must also fill in a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before they arrive in the UK. The details of under-18s (or under-16s in Scotland) who will be staying at the same UK address as any adults in the group can be added to their parent or guardian’s form. 

To qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to the UK, you must have had all the required doses of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before your trip. This does not include booster doses.

Proof of recent recovery from Covid cannot be used for travel from France, for which only vaccination records are accepted. This differs to France’s domestic vaccine pass rules, which allow for the inclusion of Covid recovery certificates under certain conditions.

Children under five are not subject to any restrictions, while five to 17-year-olds must carry out a day two test for as long as this remains a requirement (until February 11)..

Fully vaccinated people travelling to France 

People travelling to France from the UK must still carry out a pre-departure PCR or antigen test in the 48 hours before their journey begins. 

Read more: France drops 24-hour Covid test for fully vaccinated UK travellers

If you have only been in the UK for a few days, you may be able to use your day two test (see above) as your pre-departure tests, as long as you took in within the 48 hours before travel, it fulfills the necessary criteria and you have a certificate with your results ready for your return journey.

They must also sign a sworn statement (engagement sur l’honneur) confirming that they are not experiencing Covid symptoms and have not in the last 14 days been in contact with a confirmed Covid case. This also includes a promise to take a test on arrival in France if required to do so by the travel authorities, but this only happens in some cases and is not something you can plan ahead for.

Fully vaccinated people do not need to present an essential reason for travel and do not need to quarantine on arrival. 

Children aged under 12 are not required to carry out any tests, but must still fill in a sworn statement.

France’s interior ministry states that: “The measures applied to vaccinated adults extend under the same conditions to accompanying minors (under 18) whether or not they are vaccinated. 

So, unvaccinated adolescents aged between 12 and 17 will follow rules for fully vaccinated travellers as long as they are with a fully vaccinated adult.

What does France count as fully-vaccinated?

It should be noted that since January 30, it is necessary for people aged over 18 years and one month to receive a booster within nine months of their second vaccine dose (or first in the case of the single-dose Janssen jab) in order to continue to be classed as ‘fully vaccinated’ for entry into France. 

Read more: Covid booster dose requirement extends to all travellers to France

Unvaccinated people travelling between France and the UK

Unvaccinated people travelling to France from the UK must present an essential reason for travel, which normally includes being a French national or permanent resident. 

They must also carry out a pre-departure test in the 24 hours before their journey begins rather than 48 hours before, and must fill in their sworn statement.

You must also self-isolate for seven days on arrival in France, having filled in this form with your contact details beforehand.

It is also necessary for unvaccinated travellers to present an essential reason for travel to the UK, as well as carrying out a pre-departure PCR or antigen test in the two days before their journey begins.

You must book and pay in advance for two PCR tests to be taken on or before day two and on or after day eight following your arrival. 

You must then quarantine for 10 days on arrival in the country if over 18, although in England there is the option to buy a ‘test to release’ kit for day five, which will allow you to leave your isolation early if you test negative.

From 04:00 on February 11, unvaccinated travellers will only have to take a pre-departure and day two PCR test, as the day eight testing requirement is dropped along with quarantine rules. 

Further information on French and UK travel rules can be found on France’s interior ministry and the UK government websites. 

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