Can I cross border out of France to fly to the UK to avoid quarantine?

30 July 2021
By Thomas Brent

Reader question: I live in France near the border with Belgium and I am planning to go back to the UK. What travel rules will apply to me if I fly from Belgium to the UK, rather than from France?

The UK states that for England and Wales, you need to follow the rules for the highest risk country or territory you have been in - or passed through - in the previous 10 days. 

Scotland and Northern Ireland have not announced different rules so the UK measures are thought to apply. 

When you are entering the UK from abroad, you need to fill out a passenger locator form, indicating all the countries and territories you have been in in the past 10 days. 

This is done in good faith, and travellers are expected to declare truthfully the countries they have been in despite the fact it is unlikely that any travel or border authorities will check which countries you have been in, other than the one you are travelling from. 

The UK has applied special travel rules to France, whereby everyone including fully vaccinated people travelling from France to the UK still have to quarantine on arrival, and take two Covid-19 tests on days two and eight of the quarantine. They also need a pre-departure Covid test. 

Read more: EU, US visitors can skip UK quarantine – but France is excluded

Fully vaccinated people travelling from Belgium to the UK, for example, do not need to quarantine on arrival. They will still need to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test, but only need to buy one Covid test to be taken on day two of their quarantine. 

As the French travel rules are stricter, these are the travel rules that would apply to our reader. 

Related stories:

Covid travel: What rules apply if I transit in France on way to UK?

UK’s France quarantine rules: What about Scotland, Wales and Ireland?

UK minister’s statement on France Covid quarantine and Réunion flawed

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