News Digest: UK-France Travel Rules Change Yet Again



News Digest: UK-France Travel Rules Change Yet Again

As the summer holidays get underway, there’s more bad news for those hoping to travel to and from the UK, and Macron’s new Health Passport restrictions have been met with resistance in France. Here are the four French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. More Bad News for UK Travellers to France

After announcing in last week’s New Digest that fully vaccinated travellers from the UK will no longer be required to quarantine on return from amber countries such as France, we’re sorry to report that this rule has once again been changed. The UK government issued a statement on July 16th declaring that while this rule still stands for all other amber listed countries, it will now not apply to France.

The official statement says: “While current cases of the Beta variant in France are not high enough to require arrivals to enter managed quarantine [ie. for France to be added to the red travel list], it is important to consider the potential detection and transmission risk in light of the current situation in England. 

“As a precautionary measure to protect the gains made in the UK’s vaccination programme, and as the country unlocks, anyone arriving from France to England will continue to quarantine for 10 days from early Monday morning, while we continue to assess the latest data and track prevalence of the Beta variant.”

There was already an uproar from British expats in France over the fact that this ruling applied only to UK residents visiting France (but not French residents wishing to visit family and friends in the UK), and an online petition against this has already received more than 50,000 signatures. Now, understandably, holidaymakers and second-home owners are questioning why it is that France is the only country affected by this rule change.

For the latest on the situation, keep an eye on our Travel Between France and the UK page.

2. Stricter Border Checks on Unvaccinated Travellers from the UK

As the UK tightens its rules on travel to French shores, France has also announced tougher border checks on unvaccinated travellers from the UK, along with Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands, and Greece. All travellers must now present a negative Covid test taken 24 hours before their flight departure time.

However, there’s good news for vaccinated travellers arriving in France from amber or red-listed country (such as the UK). You will now no longer need to take a Covid test, and arrivals from red-listed countries no longer need an essential reason to travel. Another positive announcement is that the EU and France are now recognising the Covishield AstraZeneca vaccine – this previously wasn’t the case and was a worry for the many Brits who had received the Indian-produced vaccine.

See our guide to France’s Traffic Light System for Travel for more details.

3. French Revolt Over Health Pass Rules

French President Emmanuel Macron announced last week the extension of France’s Pass Sanitaire (Health Pass). From tomorrow (July 21st), the pass will be required to enter all cultural venues, including cinemas, theatres, and gyms, and from August, it will be required for all bars, restaurants, shopping centres, and long-distance transport. Essentially, this means that those who are not vaccinated will need to take a Covid test before enjoying any of the above-mentioned activities.

Macron’s announcements have been met with resistance – including protests in Paris and the vandalism of two vaccine centres – although this didn’t stop a record 1.7 million vaccine appointments from being booked in the 24 hours after his speech. The President is undeterred by the resistance, however, stating to those who refuse to get vaccinated: You cannot have the same rights because you have not taken on the same responsibilities. I don’t consider that taking away people’s freedoms. It is simply a reminder that in a nation, freedom implies responsibility.

For those resident in France, the Pass Sanitaire (Health Pass) is available on France’s TousAntiCovid app — scan the QR code of your vaccination or Covid test certificate to activate it. Vaccines are now available for everyone over the age of 12 and can be booked online at Doctolib or through your médecin traitant.For UK residents or those who received their vaccine in the UK, you will need to present your NHS Covid Pass instead.

4. Local Laws to Tackle Fourth Wave

The imminent fourth wave of Covid, driven by the spread of the Delta variant, has brought a rapid rise in case numbers in several French regions, most notably in the south and along the west coast – all popular tourist areas where crowds are gathering for the summer holidays. While many national restrictions have been lifted, many local departments are now putting new health measures in place.

In the Pyrénées-Orientales, bars and restaurants in tourist areas now have an 11pm curfew, and masks have once again become mandatory in open-air public spaces. Similar rules are being put in place in parts of Hauts-de-France, Normandy, and Occitanie.

If you’re visiting or holidaying in France, be sure to check local regulations before travelling.

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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  • Russell Johnson
    2021-07-22 07:07:13
    Russell Johnson
    Hello Zoe I am intending to travel to France in August for a couple of weeks to visit a second home, i have my Vaccine certificate green card for car insurance, Travel insurance i have filled in a sworn undertaking to comply with the rules of entry of where my second home is, have euros, Passport upto date What other documentation do i need as i will be travelling with Eurotunnel Regards Russell


    •  Eleanor Gill
      2021-08-06 08:48:51
      Eleanor Gill
      Hi Russell, Did you get any useful information on this? A lot of us are bound to be asking precisely the same questions, searching for bang up-to-date information. Our situation is exactly the same as yours, travelling in August, Eurotunnel, and I am now questioning whether the rules of entry are different from area to area, depending where your property is? And did you clarify whether you need any other documentation/proof of hoop jumping? Regards, Eleanor


  •  Paul Davies
    2021-07-21 08:55:13
    Paul Davies
    Hello Could you advise where this is from? French Entree is the only site I can find that has reported this? Another positive announcement is that the EU and France are now recognising the Covishield AstraZeneca vaccine – this previously wasn’t the case and was a worry for the many Brits who had received the Indian-produced vaccine.


  •  Doug Brodie
    2021-07-21 08:19:28
    Doug Brodie
    Hi - it would be very helpful if you could write an up to date guide on dog travel between UK and France. I have a house in the Landes and travel with a dog. Currently, from the UK end we need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC), even though we have a UK issued Pet Passport. The AHC has to be issued by a vet authorised to do sign off. You need a new AHC every time the animal travels. I live in London and have been quoted between £150 and £250 for the AHC, so if visiting France 4 x in a year that would cost up to £1,000. That's per year!! The question I have is whether I can get a French Pet Passport, being a French property owner or otherwise. If so, is there anything needed other than the UK Pet Passport and medic stamps?


  •  Alan & Helen
    2021-07-21 06:41:15
    Alan & Helen
    Arrived in Dieppe on Saturday morning with a full car . No problems with the border control, very polite and accomodating. Good news that further travel will not require a negative covid test as this added £200 to our costs. Also glad to hear that France along with European countries are accepting the Astra Zenica Vaccination, which allows access to Bars, restaurants etc. Looking forward to our stay here in Verteuil


  •  Mark T
    2021-07-20 07:18:43
    Mark T
    Thanks Zoe, all useful information in what is turning out to be a fluid picture. Look forward to more updates as necessary. Stay safe xx Re customs, there appears to be no checks at all going into the UK. It's different coming back into France, no pork pies, pasties, cheddar etc. French customs website is pretty clear.


  • Chris Nation
    2021-07-20 06:49:53
    Chris Nation
    The answer to Mr Heigham's question is to be found on the French Customs pages here. In short the answer is 'No' unless special pet food for the health of the animal.


  •  Jeremy Heigham
    2021-07-20 06:11:07
    Jeremy Heigham
    Thank you for the up dated info. It is really difficult keeping up with this. It might make a difference to going to France next month (4 times postponed trip). Can you confirm the Brexit ruling re foodstuffs etc carried. Are we really not allowed to take a ham sandwich or milk with us in the car (and dog food etc). I realise there may be a problem exporting these items but this is in holiday luggage in our own vehicle. Thank you