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New UK-France restrictions: No tourist visits and quarantine announced

Rules surrounding pre-departure testing and reasons for travel are to be tightened in a bid to slow down the arrival of the Omicron variant, the government has announced

The French government has announced that it will be tightening rules for travel between the UK and France Pic: Hayk_Shalunts / Shutterstock

[Article updated December 16 at 10:45]

A series of stricter measures controlling travel between the UK and France has been announced. They will come into force from 0:00 on Saturday, December 18.

Read more: France to UK travel also needs essential reason from Saturday

Essential reasons for travel

Arrivals will be restricted to residents of France, French nationals and their immediate families as a limited list of essential reasons for travel is imposed on all travellers, regardless of vaccination status.

This will effectively rule out tourism and also work trips for people who do not have French or EU nationality, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said.  

Pre-departure tests

The time frame in which people can take their obligatory pre-departure PCR or antigen tests for travel to France will also be tightened from 48 hours to 24 hours. 


People arriving in France will have to sign up to an app which will generate a prefectural decree requiring them to quarantine. 

This means that people coming into the country from the UK will have to self-isolate for seven days, although this can be in a place of their choosing. 

However, travellers can leave quarantine after 48 hours if they can provide the negative result from a Covid test taken after their arrival in France. 

Mr Attal announced the new measures on BFMTV this morning (December 16), saying that: “We are going to introduce even more drastic border controls with the UK. We are going to limit the reasons which allow people to come from the UK to France.”

This will help the government to “slow down, to reduce as much as possible the arrival of cases of the Omicron variant into our territory,” he added. 

The UK saw a record number of new Covid infections yesterday (December 15), with 78,610 being reported over just 24 hours. 

On December 14, the UK government reported that there were over 10,000 confirmed Omicron cases in the country, and nearly 25,000 suspected cases. 

Around 240 Omicron cases have been confirmed in France, but it should be noted that the UK sequences more of its Covid cases, and so is more likely to detect the new variant. The real number of Omicron cases in France is therefore sure to be higher. 

You can read more about the new travel rules on the French government website (in French).

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