COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice
As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.
Cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in France. The French authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus.
For information on how to return to the UK from France, see Return to the UK
Borders and entry
On 20 March 2020, the French Government announced reinforced border controls with the UK. UK nationals wishing to cross the border to return to the UK via France can still do so. The French Government confirmed on 20 March that UK nationals resident in France could continue to enter France if returning to their principal residence.
On 16 March, the French Government announced that the EU would suspend travel between the EU and non-European countries for an initial period of 30 days from midday 17 March. Permanent residents of EU countries, including France, will be able to cross the UK/France border into France if they have proof of residence. The French Government confirmed that UK nationals could continue to enter France if returning to their principal residence. You must, however complete the necessary “attestation” confirming that your travel is an absolutely necessary journey.
The French authorities have also confirmed there are now border checks in place with Italy, Spain and Germany.
Some countries are imposing a compulsory period of quarantine for all travellers from France. If you are travelling from or through France, check the situation at your destination before you travel.
The French authorities have announced that flights between metropolitan France and its overseas territories will stop at midnight on Monday 23 March until 15 April. The measure will be in place until 15 April and will include flights between metropolitan France and Martinique, Mayotte, Guadeloupe, Guyana, La Reunion, Saint Martin and Saint-Barthelemy. Journeys between the islands will also be prohibited, except in exceptional circumstances.
There is separate guidance for the freight transport industry published jointly by the Department for Transport and the FCO.
The French Government outlined new measures on 16 March to stem the spread of coronavirus. This includes limiting travel to journeys that are absolutely necessary, effective from midday 17 March for an initial period of 15 days. On 27 March 2020, the French government extended the confinement period for at least a further two weeks, until 15 April 2020. Rules associated with the confinement measures remain unchanged.
Necessary journeys include to purchase food, to seek medical care, urgent family reasons including childcare or assisting vulnerable people, journeys to work where working from home is not possible, or to exercise. These restrictions were tightened on 23 March. Some cities and towns have implemented night time curfews – check advice locally.
Anyone making such a journey will need to download and complete an “attestation” or declaration certifying their reason for travel. This declaration is available on the French Ministry of Interior website. Please note you are able to hand write and sign a similar declaration if you are unable to access printing facilities. You must carry a physical copy of the declaration; electronic versions will not be accepted.
The French Government has said it will enforce these measures and fine those who are not compliant. Fines are becoming increasingly severe, especially for repeat offenders. For more information, read the guidance issued by the French Government on there website (in French) or (In English) and on the French Ministry of the Interior website. You should follow instructions of the French authorities.
These measures are in addition to those already announced by the French Government, including the closure of all non-essential establishments open to the public (i.e. restaurants, cafes, cinemas) from midnight on 14 March until further notice. Food shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, and banks will stay open.
On 15 March, the National Union for Ski Regions and the National Association for Mayors in Regions with Ski Resorts announced that all ski resorts in France are closed with immediate effect until further notice. Consult your relevant tour, travel operator and insurance provider as to your immediate next steps.
You should monitor the French government website (in French) to inform your decisions regarding travel to, from or within France.
The French government advises those with possible coronavirus symptoms to call 112. You should not go directly to the doctor or emergency services.
Further information on coronavirus, including advice on preparing for foreign travel and helping reduce the spread of the virus, is available from Public Health England and on the TravelHealthPro website.