The UK’s new travel system comes into force today (4th October, 2021), with countries and territories categorised as either ‘red’ or ‘rest of the world’.
This means that the old traffic light system of red, amber and green as been removed and if you are fully vaccinated, travel will become a lot easier.
And France is now currently ‘rest of world’. (In France, the UK is classed as ‘amber’ – more on that below).
This means that it’s good news for fully vaccinated travellers as you will no longer have to take a PCR or lateral flow test before returning to the UK.
Also, everyone under 18 can also travel to the UK without taking a pre-departure test, whether or not they’ve been vaccinated.
There is one test that is still remaining which is the PCR two days after returning back to the UK – it is advised that you book this test before you travel.
What if I’m unvaccinated?
If you are not fully vaccinated then French law dictates that travel to France is for ‘essential’ purposes only.
You will still need to take a PCR or lateral flow/antigen test (not a free NHS test) within three days before returning to the UK. You also need to take a test on day two and day eight after your return. You must also self-isolate at home for 10 days after arrival in the UK.
Test to Release will remain an option for unvaccinated passengers to England who want to shorten quarantine.
Fingers crossed for…
It is hoped that from the end of October, people coming to England may no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival. Instead, they’ll be able to take a cheaper and simpler lateral flow test. Good news for half term breaks!
Scotland and Wales have not yet commented on this, although both are expected to follow Englands guidance.
The government says it wants to have this in place for when people return from school half-term breaks.
Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
Proof of vaccination. Children under 12 have the same vaccination status as the adults they are travelling with, children over 12 have to have evidence of a negative PCR test.
Sworn declaration – find document on link above.
If you are not vaccinated:
France has its own traffic light system for international travel, similar to the UK’s. England is currently on the French amber list which means that people who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated will only be permitted to travel for essential reasons.
Restrictions to attractions in France
When you are in France, from 21 July, you will need to demonstrate your COVID-19 status (vaccination status, negative test or proof of recent recovery) to access events/spaces with over 50 people attending.
From August 1st this will apply to a wider group of leisure activities as well as some public transport.
Proof of vaccination for adults and negative testing for children over the age of 12 will be required in cafes, restaurants and attractions. You will be able to purchase testing kits in France, at the moment the cost is said to be around 49 euros for a PCR test and 29 euros for an antigen test.