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France to UK travel: Do I need to buy Day 2 Covid test for a day trip?

Fully vaccinated travellers from France need to buy a Covid test in advance to be taken on day two after arrival in the UK but what about people only going for a day trip or just one night?

Reader question: Do you know if it is possible to travel from France to the UK for just one day without having to buy day 2 tests? My husband and I are both fully vaccinated.

The UK is no longer operating a traffic light system for Covid risk and now just has 'red list' countries and all the others. France comes under the 'others' category.

Fully vaccinated travellers do not need to quarantine on arrival in the UK and no longer need a pre-departure Covid test.

However, vaccinated travellers to the UK will still need to book and pay in advance for a private Covid-19 test that is to be taken within two days of arrival (the arrival day is day 0). 

This rule remains in place, regardless of how long the traveller will be in the UK. 

Pic: Screenshot via gov.uk/guidance

Fully vaccinated travellers to the UK must fill in a passenger locator form (for over 18s only). As part of this form, you will be asked to fill in a reference number for the day 2 test that you have booked.

It is not possible to complete the form without a valid reference number for your day 2 test. 

At present these are PCR tests. From October 22, you will have the option of booking cheaper lateral flow day 2 tests instead.

The UK government rules state:

“It does not matter how long you’re visiting England, you still have to book and pay for the tests.

"For example, even if you’re only going to be in England for one day, you’ll still need to book your required tests."

The rules add that travellers only need to take the test if they are still in the country after two days

So, you and your husband will each need to book and pay for a day 2 test for your day trip, but you will not need to take the test. 

More on travel from France to the UK

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

What do we need to do to travel from France to the UK this Christmas?

UK contact-cases: Quarantine rule for French-administered vaccines

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