Travel to France: latest advice as road ban on British expats is lifted

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When will the France travel ban end?

This is not known; no end date has been given.

Who can still enter?

The only people who can travel from the UK to France are French nationals or French residents returning home, people attending a funeral of a close relative, travel for medical reasons, travel for essential work, and a few other exceptional cases. Hauliers are exempt from the new rules.

Britons who own property in France but are not residents, are not exempt from the ban. However, British expatriates who are driving through the country to reach their homes in other EU countries are now permitted to travel.

I am in France – what should I do?

You may stay in France until you are due to return back to the UK. Remember you now need to take a pre-departure test within 72 hours of travelling home, and a Day 2 PCR test on arrival into the UK.

I am due to travel to France – what should I do?

If you have booked your flights and accommodation separately, there is no guarantee that you will be able to receive a full refund. However, most companies will offer the option to rebook for a later date or take a voucher. Contact your providers right away.

If your flight is cancelled, then you will be eligible for a full refund within a week.

I have booked a package holiday to France – what should I do?

You are covered. If you have booked combined accommodation and flights with an ATOL-bonded company and your trip cannot go ahead, you will be eligible to receive a full refund within two weeks. This covers most ski holidays.

Can I drive through France to reach another country?

You may only drive through France if you are a British expat travelling to your home in another EU country, and you completed your initial journey to the UK before December 28. However, if you are a holidaymaker, or have a non-essential reason for travelling, you are not permitted to drive through France en route to another country. An exception is made for residents or citizens of another EU country, who must adhere to the French testing rules.

For those who were planning on travelling via ferry to Europe, some companies offer routes which swerve France. Brittany Ferries sails to northern Spain (Santander and Bilbao), while P&O and Stena Line offer trips to Holland. 

Can I travel on a Eurostar train through French territory?

It is possible to travel through France on the Eurostar so long as you do not disembark the train. In a statement released after the ban was introduced, Eurostar said: “There is no change to our Brussels/Amsterdam service at this time as the rules have always applied to the departure/destination station.”

Eurostar has also extended its free-free ticket rebooking service until January 10 2022. 

Can I change planes in Paris Charles de Gaulle?

Yes. You are able to change planes at Charles de Gaulle airport so long as you meet all the necessary entry requirements at your final destination, and that your stopover does not exceed 24 hours.

If I can go to France, what are the rules?

Fully vaccinated arrivals must take an antigen or PCR test within 24 hours of travel. On arrival, you must self-isolate for a minimum of 48 hours, and can only leave quarantine with a negative lateral flow or PCR test. All arrivals will need to register their address in a special app, and fill in a ‘sworn declaration’ health form. 

Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces, and you must show a valid pass sanitaire (NHS QR code is compatible with the TousAntiCovid app) to enter restaurants, bars, cafes, museums and some hotels. Over 65s need a third shot to activate their pass, and from January 15 this will apply to all age groups.

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