Reader question: As a UK citizen with a second home in France, will I be able to visit once I have been vaccinated, without having a test for Covid-19?
Short answer: No, at least not soon
A travel ban on people from the UK entering France has been in place since December 20 and will remain until further notice, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on January 7.
There are exceptions to this ban, such as for French nationals or residents. See a full list here.
Anyone who is eligible to enter France from the UK will need to present a negative Covid-19 test to their travel authorities and are being asked to self-isolate on arrival for seven days.
These restrictions mean that UK citizens with second homes in France are not currently allowed to enter the country.
In the other direction, since January 18 all international passengers entering the UK have to test negative for Covid-19 before travelling.
But with both countries having started their public rollout of a vaccine against Covid-19, there is talk of Covid immunity passports being established.
What is a Covid immunity passport?
There has been discussion in France for some months about introducing a “health passport”. This would be a certificate that showed if someone has been vaccinated against Covid-19 and allow them entry to certain places, such as on planes or other public transport.
A new poll has shown that more than three fifths (62%) of the public would support the idea of making vaccination passports mandatory for plane passengers travelling abroad.
The Ifop poll was published in newspaper Le Parisien yesterday, and conducted online on a nationally-representative sample of the public in France.
It is suggested that "vaccination passports" would prove that the individual has been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Showing the passport would therefore grant entry to certain spaces in a bid to stop the spread of the virus - but individuals without the passport would then be effectively banned as a result.
If this was introduced, it is possible that these health passports could be used to allow people to travel freely again once they are vaccinated, without the need for negative tests.
However, the French government has come out against the idea.
Junior European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune told FranceInfo that it was too early to be discussing the concept.
“This is a very premature debate. To have a passport today that would give more rights to some than others would be shocking, it is not our understanding of protection and access to the vaccine,” he said.
#PasseportVaccinal | « Il s'agit d'un débat très prématuré. Avoir aujourd'hui un passeport qui octroierait plus de droits à certains qu'à d'autres, ce serait choquant, ce n'est pas notre conception de la protection et de l'accès au vaccin. » @jjbertolus @franceinfo pic.twitter.com/J1TEMv7X8n— Clement Beaune (@CBeaune) January 17, 2021
Despite the French government’s reticence on the subject it is an idea that is not going away.
The World Health Organisation called on governments to drop the idea, but European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has recently come out in support of it.
She said, though, that the idea would first need to be discussed at EU level.
For the moment then, it is not probable that a Covid-19 vaccination will mean unrestricted travel between France and countries outside of the EU.