Important COVID-19 Travel
Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.
If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.
When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the new requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. For those travelling from a country on the banned travel list you will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.
Travel between the UK and France
France announced they would be restricting travel from the UK from 20 December. Travel restrictions apply to all air, car, ferry and train passengers. Only the following categories of people are authorised to travel to France from the UK:
- French nationals and nationals of the European Area and their spouses and children.
- 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 (as set out in the criteria for exemptions listed on the exempted international travel certificate). For travel to France from the UK, this can be found under the tab ‘Travel to/from a country outside the European Area’. In exceptional circumstances, the French Consulate in London may be able to assist with travel for an essential reason not listed on the international travel certificate. For further details, please see the French Embassy London’s website
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
All travellers from the UK, including children aged 11 and above, will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure. From 18 January, only PCR tests will be accepted for passengers. For hauliers, current testing measures at the border remain unchanged. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. A list of private providers of coronavirus testing is available here.
Passengers arriving in France from the UK will also be required to self-isolate for seven days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Exit from this self-isolation period is subject to a negative test result. Please find more information on how to obtain a PCR test in France here.
If you were due to travel to France, contact your travel operator. Further updates will be published when they are available. Check our COVID-19 advice on things to consider, and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.
Transiting via Geneva Airport (Switzerland) to France
For travellers coming from the UK, it is not currently possible to transit Geneva Airport (Switzerland) to enter France unless you hold a residence or cross-border permit for Switzerland. A French residence permit will not allow travellers to enter Switzerland for onward travel to France. Please see Switzerland Travel Advice for further information.
Travel within the EU
From 31 January, all air, car, ferry and train passengers arriving from the European area (defined by the French Ministry of the Interior as EU Member States, Andorra, Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland) will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure. Arrivals will also need to present a completed ‘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. This form can be found on the French government’s website. Travellers should then self-isolate for seven days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Cross-border workers and hauliers from within the European area are exempt from this requirement, as are people travelling within a 30km radius of their home.
You should consult the French government’s advice for foreign nationals in France page for further information.
Travel between the EU and non-European countries
From 31 January, any international travel – to or from France – from a country outside of the European Union will be prohibited, with the exception of certain essential reasons, including airside transit stops of less than 24 hours.
The French government has put in place COVID-19 travel restrictions on international arrivals. UK travellers/non-EU and EEA nationals resident in the UK will not be permitted entry to France for non-essential purposes due to EU-wide COVID-19 restrictions on arrivals from the UK. Essential travel is still permitted and a list of exemptions for entering France can be found on the French government’s advice for foreign nationals in France page. These restrictions do not apply to persons (including UK nationals) who are legally resident in France. You will be allowed to re-enter the country, but may need to show proof of residence. These restrictions also do not apply to hauliers. Testing measures for hauliers remain unchanged. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. A list of private providers of coronavirus testing is available here.
If you wish to travel from France to a country outside the European area, including the UK, you must also complete a ‘Certificate to leave Metropolitan France’, which specifies exemptions for travel outside the European
Further information on French COVID-19 travel restrictions can be found on the French government’s website.
If you are travelling from a country which is not exempt from French COVID-19 travel restrictions you may only enter France if your journey is essential and meets the criteria for exceptions. You will also need to complete both an exempted international movement certificate and a sworn declaration that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms, which can be found on the French government’s website. You will also be required to present a negative test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure, upon your arrival in France. If you do not have this result, you could be asked to take this test at your airport of arrival in France. Arrivals will also be required to self-isolate for 7 days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Further information is available from the French Government’s advice for foreign nationals in France.
Travellers should equip themselves with the necessary attestation whilst travelling to their point of international departure if travel takes place during the daily curfew. Some countries are imposing a compulsory period of quarantine for travellers from France. If you are travelling from or through France, check the situation at your destination before you travel.
Travel between France and the UK
All travellers from France to the UK must complete a ‘Certificate to leave Metropolitan France’, which can be found on the French government’s website. This will be requested by the French Border Police on departure.
From 4am on 18 January, if you intend to travel to England, Scotland, or Wales, including UK nationals returning home from travel abroad, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival. You can access tests in France via the French government’s website. Travellers will then be subject to quarantine measures in place in the UK upon entry.
Travel to French overseas territories
Regular flights between metropolitan France and its overseas territories resumed in late June. Travellers need to provide a negative RT-PCR test taken in the 72 hours preceding arrival, and complete a self-declaration of absence of COVID-19 symptoms and contact with confirmed cases in the 14 days preceding arrival for entry into all French overseas territories. This is available in English on the French Embassy London’s travel and quarantine page.
For travel to certain French Overseas Territories, you must present an international travel certificate confirming that your journey is essential and that you have not been suffering from a set of listed symptoms associated with COVID-19 or in contact with confirmed cases in the 14 days prior to travel. This international travel certificate and further information on travel requirements for the French Overseas Territories is available on the French Ministry of Interior website. The certificate is to be presented to transportation companies before boarding, as well as to border control authorities.
Regular entry requirements
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to France and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
- to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the French government’s entry requirements. Check with the French Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit you may need
- if you stay in France with a visa or permit, this does not count towards the 90-day limit
Any time you spent in France or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
The French government has published further information on requirements for British nationals travelling to France, you should consult this before travelling.
At French border control your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You should also be prepared to:
- queue in separate lanes from EU, EEA or Swiss citizens
- show proof of your accommodation, for example a hotel booking or invitation from your host
- show proof of insurance for your trip. Please check the guidance on travel insurance
- you should also be able to prove that you have enough money for your stay. The minimum amount required depends on your accommodation. Please read the French government FAQs on travel
There are separate requirements for those who are resident in France. If you are resident in France, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see the French government’s website for British citizens and our Living in France guide.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Travelling with children
From 15 January 2017, any child (under the age of 18) who is (a) living in France and (b) leaving France unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, must present the following documents on departure at the French border: (i) the child’s own ID card or passport, (ii) a completed AST authorisation form signed by a parent/guardian (Authorisation de Sortie du Territoire) and (iii) a copy of the ID card or passport of the parent or guardian who has signed the AST form. For more information visit the French Ministry of Interior website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from France.
Travelling with pets
If you wish to travel with a pet to the EU, please read our guidance.
On arrival in France, pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated travelers’ point of entry (TPE).
If your pet passport was issued in an EU Member State it remains valid for travel to France.
Customs checks upon entry into France
There are limits on the volume and value amounts for certain goods that you can bring into France as a traveler. You should check the French Directorate General of Customs and Excise website to confirm the latest allowances per traveler.