Holidays France coronavirus update

Holidays France Coronavirus Update Feb 2021

Summary – UK

The UK is currently in a national lockdown due to COVID-19, with essential travel only being allowed. You must not leave your home unless necessary (for exercise / shopping / medical requirements etc).

International travel

You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.

If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice.

UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

Foreign nationals are subject to the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. You should not travel abroad unless it is permitted. This means you must not go on holiday.

If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.

Travel to France

Travel to France is subject to entry restrictions

  • France announced they would be restricting travel to and from France from non-EU countries from 31 January 2021. Travel will only be permitted for essential reasons.
  • There have been restrictions in place for travel from the UK since 20 December 2020. Travel restrictions apply to all air, car, ferry and train passengers. If you are due to travel to France please contact your travel operator. Only the following categories of people are authorised to travel to France from the UK:
  1. French nationals and nationals of the European Area and their spouses and children
  2. British and/or third country nationals who are either habitually resident in France, the European Union or the European Area, or who must travel for certain essential reasons (set out in the criteria for exemptions listed on the exempted international travel certificate). For further details, please see the French Embassy London’s website
  • All travellers from the UK, including children aged 11 and above, will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR only), carried out less than 72 hours before departure. Arrivals will also be required to self-isolate for 7 days upon arrival, before taking another PCR test.
  • Arrivals from the UK will need to complete both a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight, and a signed ‘travel certificate’ (attestation), confirming their reason for travel. These can be found on the French government’s website.
  • You should check the COVID-19 advice on things to consider, and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel. Further updates will be published when they are available.

Preparing for your return journey to the UK

If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:

check if you need to self-isolate on your return

Domestic travel in France

What about those already in France who want to visit friends or family in another part of the country or just enjoy a change of scenery?

At present there are no limits on travel within France so you can travel to another part of the country.

Ski lifts will remain closed throughout February, which will rule out skiing for most people (unless you are a cross-country skiing enthusiast) but travel to ski resorts is allowed to do some hiking or just drinking in the mountain scenery.

The train network is running a normal service and all train tickets are fully refundable up to a couple of hours before travel.

Travel to France’s overseas territories such as Guadeloupe and Martinique is not allowed for tourism or family visits.

Visits to family/friends 

France is not on lockdown so visiting family and friends is allowed. There is no formal limit on gatherings within a private home but people are advised to keep gatherings to a maximum of six people, plus children.

Gatherings of more than 10 people in public places are not allowed and public events such as festivals or concerts are not going ahead. Markets are allowed to operate.

Advice – while there are not many rules around visits, there is a lot of government advice, with government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Wednesday generally asking people to limit contacts as much as possible.

As mentioned above the ‘rule of six’ limits gatherings in private homes to six, although this is a recommendation rather than a rule.

If you are travelling, particularly if you intend to meet anyone in a high-risk group such as the elderly, the advice is to self-isolate for eight days before travel if possible and get a Covid test.

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