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Can I travel back to France during the lockdown?

Brexit may complicate travel to France if the lockdown is still in place over the New Year

Reader question: I’m not in France right now but that’s where my home is. Will I still be allowed to travel home?

Short answer: Depends where you are and if you are a French national or resident

France is now in a period of lockdown that is set to last until at least December 1.

The country’s internal borders within the European area will remain open during the confinement, while the external borders will be closed “except for the movement of French nationals and residents in France”, prime minister Jean Castex said in a speech on Thursday (October 29). 

The European area includes: 

All 27 EU states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK (which is currently afforded the rights of an EU country as it is in a transition period that will end on December 31, 2020). 

If you are in any one of these countries, it will still be possible to travel back to France. If you are not in any one of these countries, you will only be able to return to France if you are a French national or a resident in France. 

Anyone entering France from most of the countries of the world will now have to present a negative Covid-19 test carried out 72 hours in advance or (for those coming from certain countries) otherwise a test on arrival may be imposed as an alternative. However this does not apply to those coming from EU countries and the British Embassy states it understands the UK to be included in this. The French consulate in London also confirms a Covid test is not needed to come from the UK.

For people in the UK, travel to France could become more complicated after the end of the transition period. 

If there is no agreement in place between the UK and the EU before the end of the year, the UK will no longer be considered as a country in the European area. So, if France’s lockdown extends beyond December 31, only British people who are legally resident in France will be able to enter the country. 

Travel out of France is still possible. All public transport is running so it should be possible to get to airports, train stations or ferry ports. 

Anyone travelling will need to have proof of travel (plane, train or ferry ticket), plus an exemption certificate (attestation de déplacement). You should tick the most relevant box to your reason for travel.

As one Twitter user comments, “I am going to go to the airport and I will put on the attestation ‘going out to go to school’”. 

Read more:

French PM clarifies lockdown rules

France lockdown: What form is required to go out?

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