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The 21 essential reasons non-EU travellers can enter France

Visiting a sick relative in France or travelling to a second home is not on the list for Britons living in the UK

France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex announced last night (January 29) that the country’s borders are to be closed to travel from non-European Union countries from Sunday with no entry into or exit from France except for a "compelling reason".

No lockdown for France but crackdown on curfew breaches

The reasons allowed for travel from the UK and other non-EU countries are provided by France’s Ministry of Interior on its website. 

These include returning home - this applies to Britons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and others with a carte de séjour and / or long-term visas as well as French nationals and their families. 

Additionally, certain transport workers including Channel Tunnel staff, students, diplomats or people transiting in France for a period of less than 24 hours.

The list does not allow for Britons living in the UK to enter France to visit a sick relative or for second-home owners to enter to maintain their property. 

See a full list of reasons at the end of this article or by visiting the Ministry of Interior’s website here.

Read more about all the forms needed for travel in and out of France here

Anyone travelling to France from a non-EU country must complete a travel certificate attesting to their “essential” reason for entering the country, called an attestation de déplacement international.

There are different certificates for those travelling from the UK and those travelling from other non-EU countries. 

On the Ministry of Interior’s website you will find a certificate for travel from the UK under option 3 and travel from other non-EU countries under option 4. 

Certificates can be downloaded in French or in English.

Alongside the attestation de déplacement, travellers from the UK to France must now have with them: 

  • A sworn statement certifying the absence of Covid-19 symptoms and absence of any contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19;
  • A sworn statement to take an antigenic test or possibly undergo screening upon arrival;
  • A sworn statement to self-isolate for seven days, if necessary, in one of the facilities designated by the French authorities, along with a sworn statement to undergo a virology screening (PCR) test at the end of the isolation period.
  • For those aged 11 years and above, a virology screening test (PCR) carried out less than 72 hours before boarding, showing no Covid-19 contamination;

Reasons people in the UK can enter France. They are:

  1. Citizens of France, as well as their spouses (married, civil union or cohabiting partners upon presentation of proof of cohabitation) and children who are residents in France; French citizens who are not residents in France must also provide an essential reason, which can include urgent health, family or work reasons.*
  2. Citizens of the European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino, and the Vatican, as well as their spouses (married, civil union or cohabiting partners upon presentation of proof of cohabitation) and children who are residents in the EU; EU citizens who are not residents in an EU country must also provide an essential reason, which can include urgent health, family or work reasons.*
  3. UK citizens and their family members who are beneficiaries of the Agreement on withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community; 
  4. Citizens of other countries who are holders of a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa, who have their main residence in France or who are returning, in transit through France, to their main residence in a European Union country or equivalent;
  5. Citizens of other countries in transit in the international zone for less than 24 hours;
  6. Holders of an official passport (diplomatic, etc.); 
  7. Foreign citizens (including British) working in a diplomatic or consular mission, or an international organisation with headquarters or an office in France, as well as their spouses and children;
  8. UK civil servants carrying out their duties, border police and customs officers;
  9. Foreign health professional contributing to the fight against Covid-19 or recruited as an associate trainee;
  10. Transport sector workers or transport service providers, including drivers of vehicles carrying goods intended for use in the territory, as well as those who are only in transit, or travelling as passengers returning to their home base or for training purposes;
  11. Driver or crew member of a coach or passenger train;
  12. Channel Tunnel staff (particularly for operation, maintenance and safety missions) or cross-Channel facilities staff;
  13. Crew member or operator of a merchant ship, including cruise ships or fishing vessels;
  14. Students with a long-stay visa (LSV), a short-stay visa (SSV) for studies or work placements (excluding SSVs for entrance examinations), or visiting for less than 90 days from a country exempt from SSV, or minors in school who can prove that they have proper accommodation in France;
  15. Lecturers or researchers employed or invited by a French educational institution or research laboratory who travel for purposes of study and teaching;
  16. Citizens of other countries with a "Talent Passport" LSV or a "ICT seconded employee" LSV, as well as their spouse and children;
  17. Foreign citizens (including British) travelling to France for treatment in a public or private hospital; 
  18. Foreign citizens (including British) travelling to France in other to exercise custody rights recognised by a court decision;
  19. Citizens of other countries who are international humanitarian workers or volunteers;
  20. Workers at borders and on secondment;
  21. Third-country nationals holding a long-stay visa issued for family reunification or family reunification of refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and stateless persons.

*Updated February 4, 2021. 

Read more:

No lockdown for France but crackdown on curfew breaches

Covid-19: When will Britons be able to visit France again?

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