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When will France open its borders to visitors?

Official confirmation of a date for the opening of borders into France for tourism from other parts of Europe or the UK has still not been given, though June 15 has been cited as significant.

Several readers have been asking about this - as well as general tourism this would include visits from family abroad to residents in France and visits to second homes from those whose main residence is outside France.

The date of June 15 – now less than one week away – has been cited several times. Notably at a meeting in Brussels on Friday last week it was stated that most (but not all) EU states favour having no more ‘internal’ restrictions from that date (‘internal’ refers to the EU, Schengen Area and the UK).

The European Commission’s home affairs commissioner also expressed a strong wish that there should be no internal restrictions after June with a view to a 'gradual' opening of the 'external' borders after this (ie. allowing tourists from other countries to come).

French Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told BFMTV last Thursday that “there’s a real consensus of opinion forming around June 15; for three-quarters of the [European] countries, it’s the chosen date.” 

Answering questions in the National Assembly today he told MPs: "The borders issue is clear: we hope to lift the obstacles to movement within Europe from June 15 and to welcome international [ie. from outside Europe] visitors to our country at the start of July."

Connexion has put a question about this to the ministry of tourism as to when the exact date of opening to visitors within Europe will be confirmed.

Until a date is formally announced, anyone entering France still needs to bring with them a completed ‘International Travel Attestation’, selecting one of a limited choice of reasons for coming.

These currently include:

  • French nationals or foreign people who are residents in France, as well as their spouses and children.
  • Cross-border workers
  • Workers in diplomatic services or international organisations located in France, as well as their spouses and children
  • Seasonal agricultural workers who are EU or UK nationals or residents
  • EU posted workers
  • Healthcare workers fighting Covid-19
  • Transport workers
  • Seeing a child concerning whom you have custody or visiting rights
  • Going to school
  • Visiting a dependent relative or a child in a specialised medical institution

Also until further confirmation of a set date for free ‘internal’ movement to and from France within the European area, the country’s diplomatic service has been strongly advising against travelling out of France at all unless you have an ‘imperious’ reason, such as a bereavement or helping a vulnerable person. However there is no attestation form required to leave the country giving a reason such as this.

The UK government meanwhile advises British nationals in the UK against any but “essential” international travel, though it has never specified what counts as such.

At present different countries have varying rules relating to entry from within the European area, for example the UK does not have a strict list of reasons for coming in from these areas (see here for rules on ‘entering the UK’, which do not specify any requirement to give a set reason for it).

However the UK now has a generalised 14-day quarantine rule in place for all those arriving from outside the country, with limited exceptions, and a form giving details of your UK trip and intended accommodation must be completed before arrival.

Meanwhile, as long as the UK quarantine is in place, France is asking that those coming into France from the UK respect a ‘voluntary’ 14-day self-isolation, making travel between the two countries a complicated matter at present.

Mr Lemoyne has expressed hopes that the UK will lift its quarantine by July, though there are no guarantees of this; if so France would immediately lift its own 'voluntary' quarantine. The UK’s rules are set to be reviewed on Monday June 29.

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