Will travel between the UK and France be restricted from January?


The UK’s full departure from the EU on January 1 raises questions about potential new travel restrictions linked to Covid-19.This could affect both trips to France from the UK, such as those returning to France on New Years after Christmas trips, and future trips to the UK from France.

A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed The connection that the United Kingdom from January 1 will no longer be considered part of the European zone with regard to restrictions at “external” borders during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is a logical consequence of the “Full Brexit” with the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020 – there will be no reason from January 1, 2021 for the EU or France to consider the Kingdom United as an exception to the rules applicable to “third countries”, a term designating countries outside the EU or the European Economic Area at large.

The connection raised the issue with the British Embassy in Paris who told us that the UK community will be updated in due course if anything changes.

What could change to come to France from the UK?

The most pressing question for many Britons in France, in particular, will be whether anything will change if they return home to France after visiting family in the UK over the holiday season.

There are two main things that would logically follow from the fact of the ‘full Brexit’ from January 1:

1. Currently, if you want to come to France from most countries outside the European zone, you must bring a form called Certificate of travel to Metropolitan France. The form includes a section at the end where you must swear on your honor that you are not showing symptoms of Covid-19. It is not related to the attestations that those in France must fill out when leaving home, until December 15.

This form requires people to select one of the few, very limited reasons for traveling to France, including being a foreigner who legally resides in France and is returning home. The only other exceptions mentioned mainly concern coming to France to perform certain types of work (such as medical work to fight against Covid or transporting goods), or coming for treatment in a French hospital.

There is no provision, for example, to come on vacation or even to visit a relative in need.

There is another important exception to this requirement: if a country has been placed on an exemption list for countries where there is little circulation of the Covid-19 virus.

The Ministry of the Interior specifies that this list is updated at least every two weeks, in partnership with the other EU States, taking into account the recommendations of the Council of the European Union, the evolution of the health situation and reciprocity.

The list currently includes countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission said the European Council maintains its own list and whether or not the UK is on it would be a decision to be taken by the Council. This can be dubious as figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control show the UK still has a fairly high rate of cases and deaths compared to many of its neighbors.

The spokeswoman said the council reviews its list every two weeks. He calls for EU member states to “gradually lift” restrictions on designated countries. The current French list follows closely, but not exactly, the Council’s latest recommendations.

The spokesperson also said that the EU believes that anyone with a “basic reason” should be allowed to enter Europe from outside.

Recent EU guidance to member states includes advice that ‘imperative family reasons’ should be allowed, but this is not on the French government’s form.

2. Currently, entering France from a non-European country – apart from those on the list mentioned above – requires people to take a Covid-19 test.

For those coming from certain designated countries, especially those where it is considered easy to get a test, France requires that they arrive with a negative test from the previous 72 hours.

This could be important for Brits who return to France next year.

People coming from other countries – with the exception of countries appearing on the exempt list – are required to take an exam on their arrival in France.

If the test is positive, you will be asked to self-isolate for a period of seven days.

What could change for a trip to the UK from France?

The official website of the French government’s Public Service declares that “the borders remain open within the European space” but “travel outside Europe is prohibited”.

More ambiguously, the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states: “The external borders of the European space remain closed. In the event of travel for an imperative reason, information on the regulations in force [in the destination country] can be found in the Travel Advice for each country.

The ministry also recommends signing up for the Ariane service, which can provide you with updates relating to the country you are visiting.

The connection asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs what these “compelling reasons” contained.

However, it seems logical that leisure and social travel to the UK will not be allowed from January 1, until the EU’s closure of the external borders is relaxed.

This is contrary to the situation in the European area, where borders remain open, which means that once the lockdown is lifted in France on December 15, for example, it will be possible to visit the UK to see family. .

The European Commission spokeswoman said the rules for possible travel restrictions to countries outside the European area belonged to each European country.

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