France relaxes mask-wearing rules, we look at the changes regarding EU Roaming charges post-Brexit, and FrenchEntrée webinars are back! Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. EU Roaming Charges Post-Brexit
With the UK now out of the EU, one concern for travellers was the change in roaming charges when travelling between France and the UK. When the UK was in the EU, mobile phone operators were subject to a ban on additional roaming charges in EU countries; now, they are free to charge additional fees for using your mobile phone in France.
If you have a mobile phone with a UK operator, it’s highly recommended to check their specific rules regarding EU/UK roaming charges before travelling. However, here are some of the key changes:
- Contracts taken out with Three, EE, and Vodaphone from 2022 onwards (if you took out your contract at the end of 2021, these rules may also apply to you) now all include additional data roaming fees for travel within the EU.
- Vodaphone and EE both offer a ‘roaming pass’ that may be of interest to customers travelling to France for longer periods.
- The UK government has introduced a £45 cap on mobile roaming bills; after this point, data services will be automatically suspended until you choose otherwise. Companies must also inform customers when they are nearing the limit of their data allowance.
- ‘Fair use’ limits will apply, meaning that if you spend a lot of time in the EU and your data usage is high, you may be subject to increased charges or suspension of data services.
- Existing customers should not be subject to these new charges until your contract is renewed or updated. However, we still suggest double-checking the rules before travelling and finding out if and when these new fees will apply to you.
The good news for British residents in France with a French mobile phone contract is that no French operators will be adding additional roaming charges for the UK (although, as always, be sure to check the rules regarding data usage and allowance of your specific mobile phone plan).
2. Final Phase of Lifting France’s Covid Regulations
Monday, February 28th, marks the final phase in France’s three-step plan to lift the current Covid-19 health regulations. While this third step does not ease all restrictions – the Vaccine Pass remains in place, and masks will still be required in many indoor spaces – it does include a relaxation of some key rules:
- Masks will no longer be required in Vaccine Pass venues (restaurants, gyms, cinemas, and tourist sites). They will, however, still be required on all public transport, and in shops and workplaces.
- The rules for Covid-19 Contact Cases will be relaxed: you will still need to take an antigen or PCR test, but if it’s negative, you can follow it up with a Day 2 home test (autotest).
France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran has also indicated that if Covid numbers and hospitalisation rates continue to improve, mask-wearing rules may be lifted completely in March or April, with a corresponding reduction of venues where the Vaccine Pass is required.
3. FrenchEntrée Webinars are Back!
If you enjoyed our FrenchEntrée webinars last year, you’ll be excited to hear that we will be back very soon with a new series of webinars, packed with tips and advice for buying French property and moving to France in 2022.
Many of you have contacted us recently from the UK with your questions on moving and retiring to France after Brexit, visa and healthcare requirements, and long-stay visa rules for those with second homes. We’ve also had many questions from our American audience, keen for us to answer their specific questions on mortgages, visas, taxes, and moving to France. With this in mind, our first two webinars will be focusing on these two subjects—keep an eye on our News Digest in the coming weeks, as we’ll shortly be announcing the dates!
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our previous webinars and subscribe to our YouTube page, where we post weekly Q&A videos with our experts. Finally, if you want to suggest a topic for our 2022 webinars, get in touch at [email protected].
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