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Travel to France – when Brexit and Covid collide

Travel limitations to France 

The UK government has stated that, even after Brexit, tourist travel to the EU is still permitted, for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, at present, with the Covid pandemic this is not strictly true.

Travel to France from the UK is currently very limited (more so than from other non-EU countries) because of the new variant of Covid identified here. These additional restrictions were due to expire on 6 January 2021 but have been quietly extended until at least 21 January 2021.

Permitted reasons for travel to France

No tourist travel from the UK is permitted, and even EU nationals living in the UK will only be allowed entry into France in very limited circumstances. Broadly, the permitted reasons for travel are:

  • French nationals, EU/EEA/UK nationals whose primary residence is in France or who are in transit through France to reach the country of which they are a national or which is their primary residence.
  • Third-country nationals holding a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa, whose main residence is in France or who are travelling via France to their main residence in a European Union or associated country.
  • Third-country nationals spending less than 24 hours in international transit areas.
  • Diplomatic and similar passport holders
  • Exceptions relating to work (e.g. border personnel, transport service providers, drivers of passenger coaches or trains, crew members of merchant and fishing ships).
  • Education reasons (under certain conditions).
  • People seeking medical care or complying with custody orders.

And some additional similar limited situations, for example journalists. The reason for travel has to be evidenced on a travel certificate (in addition to a declaration that the person travelling is Covid free and a negative PCR test).

In this most abnormal of years it looks like it is going to be some time before there is anything like normal travel between the UK and France.

Further information

For further information about this and our French legal services, please speak to your usual Druces contact or: