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Recap: What Covid travel rules are in place between the UK and France

Measures are far stricter for unvaccinated travellers than for fully vaccinated people

Both France and the UK have relaxed travel rules since the beginning of the year Pic: Thanakorn.P / Shutterstock

Both the UK and France have in recent weeks relaxed travel restrictions, making movement between the two countries easier. 

However, some measures remain in place, particularly for unvaccinated people. 

We explain what documents and tests are needed to travel both ways across the Channel. 

From the UK to France

Fully vaccinated* people can travel from the UK to France without needing an essential reason, and will not have to quarantine when they arrive. 

All travellers must: 

  • 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. Find this document here
  • Present the negative result of a PCR or antigen test taken in the 24 hours before their journey begins

Children aged under 12 do not need to present a test. 

Also, the UK government website states that in France: "The same measures applied to vaccinated adults are applied to any minors who are travelling with them, whether vaccinated or not." 

This means anyone aged 17 or under travelling with a fully vaccinated guardian will also be considered fully vaccinated. 

It is also possible that arrivals from the UK will be randomly asked to take a Covid test after landing in France. If the test is positive, they will be “placed in quarantine”, the French Interior Ministry’s website states. 

*It should be noted that for international travel, fully vaccinated does not at this stage include the booster shot. So a person who has had two doses of, for example, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, is considered fully vaccinated for travel purposes. 

However, once in France, the definition of fully vaccinated changes and for everyone aged 18 and over means someone who has had a booster dose no later than seven months after their second dose. 

This time period is to decrease to four months from February 15. 

From Monday (January 24), proof of being fully vaccinated (including the booster if required) or having recovered from Covid will be necessary to enter the majority of leisure-orientated public places as part of the new vaccine pass scheme. 

Read more: Booster Covid dose needed for travel within EU from February 1

Read more: Does ‘fully vaccinated’ include booster jabs under French rules?

For unvaccinated people, the rules are stricter. 

They can only enter France from the UK if they have an essential reason (motif impérieux). 

The approved reasons are based on people having the right to live or work in France, or for those transiting onwards. See the list of essential reasons at the bottom of the web page here.

Pre-departure, unvaccinated travellers must also register their details on a database that serves as France’s equivalent to a passenger locator form, called éOS passager. Find the online form here

Upon arriving in France, they must carry out a 10-day quarantine at the location indicated on the éOS form. Random checks will be carried out by police. 

Read more: UK-France travel: What should I do with the éOS-Passager form?

From France to the UK

Everyone entering the UK must: 

  • Fill in a passenger locator form as per UK government instructions. This must be done in the 48 hours before you 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.

People travelling to the UK do not need to take a pre-departure test in the 48 hours before their journey begins. 

Fully vaccinated passengers must: 

  • Book and pay in-advance for a test to be taken on or before day two after arriving (the arrival day is day zero).

This day-two test can be a lateral flow rather than a PCR test, and travellers do not need to self-isolate while they wait for their result. 

The UK accepts vaccination certificates from EU countries including France and from America for entry into the country.

Non-fully vaccinated travellers must:

  • Be able to present proof of an essential reason for leaving France. Further information on this can be found here (in French).
  • Book and pay in advance for two PCR tests to be taken on or before day two and on or after day eight after arriving. 
  • Quarantine for 10 days on arrival in the UK (if over 18). For people travelling to England, there is an option to buy a ‘test to release’ kit for day five, allowing you to leave quarantine early. This is not available for travellers arriving in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. 

Children aged four and under are not subject to any restrictions, while five to 17-year-olds must carry out a day two test after arriving in the UK. 

Related articles

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

France to begin lifting Covid restrictions in February: The key points

UK-France travellers told to quarantine even after restrictions lifted

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