New rules: Everything you need to know about travel between France and the UK

Dec 2, 2021

As the British and French governments brings in strict new travel rules, here's what you need to know about travelling between France and the UK.

The French government has announced a new testing requirement for all non-EU travellers – including the UK – from 00.01am on Saturday, December 4th.

From this date, the rules will be as below with one exception – all travellers, vaccinated or nor, will require a negative Covid test in order to enter France. The test must have been taken within 48 hours of the time of departure and applies to all travellers aged 12 or over – including those with French citizenship or residency.

The test must be “capable of detecting the N protein in Covid” according to the French government Decree on the subject. This covers all PCR tests and most rapid-result lateral flow or antigen tests available in the UK.

In order to be accepted for travel, you will need a certificate with a QR code stating that your test result was negative, which not all Lateral Flow Test providers give, in the UK you generally need to book a specific ‘travel test’ or ‘fit to fly certificate’ in order to get this. Home test kits are not accepted for travel purposes. 

The British government’s travel advice states that NHS test should not be used for travel purposes.

If you live in France, be aware that testing in the UK is very different to testing in France, you can’t just wander into a pharmacy and get a test suitable for travel purposes, travel tests need to be booked in advance through private test companies, and can be quite costly.

From the UK to France before Saturday, December 4th

If you are not vaccinated

France’s traffic light system differentiates between vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers – find a full explanation of how it works HERE – the UK is currently on the amber list. 

Unvaccinated travellers are allowed into France for essential reasons only, meaning they have to fall into certain criteria.

You can find the full list of accepted reasons HERE but it is strict, with no travel allowed for family visits, visits for second-home owners or holidays. French citizens are permitted to enter, along with students, and EU citizens who are permanent residents of France or other EU countries and non-EU citizens (including Brits) who are permanent residents of France.

You will need to show a negative Covid test at the French border – this can be either a PCR or antigen test, but must have been taken within the previous 24 hours. This applies to all unvaccinated travellers, including French or EU citizens and residents of France. Children under 12 do not need to take a test.

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