A Connexion reader has told of a lucky escape when he was asked for quarantine declaration forms on arrival in France last week even though the rules requiring fully vaccinated people to self-isolate had stopped that day.
Luckily, he had printed out the form just in case he encountered problems.
David Tate, a retiree who moved permanently to France in 2013, took the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe on Friday afternoon after visiting friends and family in the UK.
“When queuing at passport control, a customs officer passed along the cars demanding that the document issued by the prefecture concerning self-isolation must be produced,” even though this was no longer necessary.
“Fortunately, we had previously completed the form online and had hard copies which were accepted, and we passed through passport control without further ado.
“Had we based our documentation requirements on the government declaration [on the rules being relaxed] we may have deemed this document as unnecessary.”
Mr Tate was not sure whether this erroneous enforcement of the former rules caused issues for other vaccinated passengers, who may not have filled in the quarantine declaration as they believed that it was no longer necessary.
“When we went through passport control in Newhaven the lady in the booth informed us that the previous day – whilst the regulations were still in place – passenger/s without the quarantine document had been fined and sent back from France on the next returning ferry. This is of course hearsay.
“As we drove off through the barrier we did notice a couple of cars pulled over having passed the control booth whose drivers were returning to the booth with mobiles in their hands,” he said.
It is possible therefore that people were allowed to complete the form on arrival in Dieppe, “but the point of course is that the requirement should have been cancelled by then,” Mr Tate added.
“The following morning – January 15 – we were visited by two gendarmes to confirm we were self-isolating. They advised that we needed to have a negative test taken if we wanted to lift the self-isolation.
“We would need to take the results of the test to the nearby gendarmerie in Offranville after 16.00 on Sunday.”
Mr Tate took a test on Monday [January] 17 and presented his results and passport at the gendarmerie, where it was confirmed that he could leave his self-isolation.
“When I queried whether this was currently still necessary the young gendarme agreed it was not. At least I think so - our French could be improved.”
Offranville gendarmerie declined to comment on the subject when approached by The Connexion.
The French consulate confirmed to The Connexion that “Following the declarations from the French government regarding travel restrictions between France and the UK on Thursday, January 13, fully vaccinated travellers from the UK are exempted from compelling reasons and self-isolation upon arrival in France since Friday 14 January 2022.”
Unvaccinated people must still present an essential reason for travel to and from France, and must self-isolate on arrival in France.