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France lifts ban on travel to and from UK

France has announced the end of the strict rules that banned most types of travel to and from the UK.

France lifts ban on travel to and from UK
The France/UK border is reopening. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

France on Thursday announced the relaxation of strict travel restrictions that amounted to a ban on almost all travel between France and the UK.

Since December, people have only been able to travel to or from France to the UK if they fitted one of the very narrow criteria for motif impérieux (essential travel) – this ruled out tourism, family visits, visits from second-home owners, trips for compassionate reasons and – until last week – work travel.

However these restrictions will be lifted and fully-vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide the essential nature of their trip. Vaccinated arrivals from the UK will no longer need to quarantine.

All travellers aged 12 and over will, however, need to show a negative Covid test taken within the previous 24 hours.

The rules will come into effect on Friday, January 14th.

Announcing the changes, prime minister Jean Castex said: “In view of the predominance of the Omicron variant in both France and the United Kingdom, the government has decided to ease the specific health border control measures that were decided in December for vaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom.

“These measures were taken at a time when the epidemic was progressing spectacularly in the United Kingdom, while France was still relatively unaffected by the Omicron wave.

“The widespread spread of the variant in both countries has led the Government to decide on the following adjustments.”

 

Following the removal of the extra restrictions, the UK will be placed on France’s ‘red list’ for travel.

This means;

Vaccinated travellers – fully vaccinated people can travel to France for any reason and do not need to provide a reason for their journey.

All passengers ager over 12 do, however, have to provide at the border a negative Covid test, taken within the previous 24 hours. This can be an antigen or PCR test, but not an NHS home test kit.

UK lateral flow tests that are self-administered at home and verified by a provider can be accepted as long as they provide a certificate for travel with all the correct information that can be verified by border police and transport companies. It’s advised that travellers check with their test provider to ensure they provide a full certificate of results.

All travellers aged 12 and over also need to fill in a declaration that they do not have Covid symptoms and have not recently been in contact with an infected person – find the form here.

Once in France, there is no need to self-isolate or take any more tests.

‘Fully vaccinated’ is defined as having two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna or a single dose of Janssen. A booster shot is not necessary to be considered as fully vaccinated (although you may need one in order to use the French health pass).

Unvaccinated travellers – unvaccinated travellers can only travel if they trip fits one of the ‘essential reasons’  for travel. You can find those HERE – they do not allow for tourism, family visits or visits from second-home owners.

Those who do meet the criteria for travel must provide a negative test taken within 24 hours of departure.

In addition to the declaration form mentioned above, they must also fill out an attestation detailing their reason for travel – that can be found HERE under red list countries.

Unvaccinated people must quarantine for ten days upon arrival in France. You must declare in advance the address where you will be staying via an online portal. Police officers can come and check the quarantine address and if you break the quarantine rules, you could receive a hefty fine.  

Under 12s – the rules on vaccination and testing refer to all travellers aged 12 and over. Under 12s do not need to provide proof of vaccination, provided they are travelling with a fully vaccinated adult. They are also not required to test.

Once in France, under 12s can visit venues such as cafés and cinemas without a health pass, but all children aged 12 years and two months or older will need a pass to access health pass venues, even if they are attending with family. 

 

Member comments

    1. We returned to France (Dover-Calais) on the 5th January with LFT results from the drive-through test centre at Stansted the previous day. Our test results were accepted.

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TRAVEL

‘IT problems’ blamed for cancellation of flights from French airports

The French holiday weekend of Ascension has been hit by travel problems after Easyjet cancelled dozens of flights.

'IT problems' blamed for cancellation of flights from French airports

Easyjet announced on Thursday that it would have to cancel several dozen flights, many of which were set to depart from French airports like Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, Toulouse and Nice.

The British budget airline tweeted an apology to the customers impacted, explaining that ‘IT system issues’ were to blame. 

In total, 200 flights across Europe were affected, confirmed the British newspaper The Independent.

Several customers expressed frustration at the hours-long wait times, many taking to Twitter to vent, like this user below:

So what happened?

Easyjet has not been very specific about the issue aside from explaining that the root of the problem was a computer system failure. They announced quickly that they were working to restore their systems and that in the meantime customers should continue to check Flight Tracker in order to verify the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport.

While flights were set to resume on Friday, Thursday’s cancellations have had a domino effect, bringing about further delays and cancellations for flights originally scheduled for Friday. 

If you have flights booked, it is best, as stated above, to keep an eye on Flight Tracker in order to avoid potentially long wait-times at the airport.

Will passengers be compensated?

While Easyjet initially explained the IT problem as “beyond [their] control” and an “exceptional circumstance,” the company eventually retracted these statements and released a new statement saying that “Customers can request compensation in accordance with the regulations.” Here is the link to their website to find out more.

If you plan to request a refund, be advised that under European regulation for air passenger rights, travellers should be entitled to compensation between €260 to €410 per person depending on the duration of the flight, with the latter representing flight distances of over 1,500 km. Read more here.

Since Brexit, passengers departing from the UK may no longer be covered by the European compensation rules.

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