Update 9 June: new measures are entering into force, and some of the information below may not be 100% relevant any longer. Please check our dedicated article for complete and accurate information.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Spring 2020, France has adopted an agile approach to travel restrictions, coupled with a strict scrutiny of the virus’ circulation rate and compliance to EU recommendations.
This article aims at summarizing the current restrictions and help travelers understand what requirements they will need to meet to be allowed to enter metropolitan France or exit the country.
What borders are open?
France’s internal borders with other EU countries are open with no restriction as to the reason for traveling. This covers the following countries:
- Other European Union Countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden
- EFTA countries & European microstates: Andora, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland
Not all these countries are part of the Schengen Space, thus depending on nationality of traveller, a visa may be needed to cross borders. Since borders are open, all types of visas are available in French consulates in these countries.
Additionally, France recently re-opened its borders with a handful of third countries, where the control of the virus is at least equivalent to the European level. This list is subject to change but currently includes:
- Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom
However, has the traveler stayed in a country not listed in the 14 days preceding travel to France, the general regime of “closed borders” applies.
What if borders are closed?
When borders are closed, one is only allowed to enter if they evidence an “imperious reason” to enter. Those are listed in a limitative way by the authorities and restrict the types of visas that consulates are currently able to issue accordingly. These exceptions are:
- French nationals, their partner and children;
- EU nationals, their partner and children;
- Third-country nationals holding residence permit and having their residence in France or in the EU;
- UK nationals covered by the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (ie. residing or regularly commuting to the EU before 31 December 2020);
- Third-country nationals holding a refugee family reunion visa;
- Foreign healthcare workers supporting the fight against Covid-19;
- Third country nationals with a « Passeport Talent » long-term visa (VLS) and their dependents;
- Students or researchers;
- Transiting travellers, flight, cargo, train, bus or vessel personnel, international carriers of goods;
- Diplomatic or International organizations staff working in France;
- Travelers staying less than 24 hours in the airport international transit zone.
It is to be noted that no visas are currently issued to residents of closed countries if not falling under one of the above categories. For instance, Salarié Détaché ICT visas are currently frozen and Schengen visas haven’t been issued for a year now.
Similarly, any traveler exiting the country shall evidence an imperious reason to do so. It can be personal, medical or professional, and same will be controlled by the authorities before departure.
What documents are needed at the border?
Every traveler seeking to enter France shall present the following documents:
- A negative and recent PCR test (-72 hours at departure time);
- A sworn statement confirming that they have no symptoms of Covid-19 infection, no knowledge of having been in contact with a confirmed case in the past 14 days, and agreeing to a new PCR test upon arrival upon request of the authorities.
On top of these, travelers from outside the European Area (EU and assimilated States) shall also present:
- An undertaking to self-isolate during 7 days upon arrival and take a new PCR test at the end of the voluntary quarantine.
Travelers from closed countries shall add to the above:
- The international travel certificate specifying which category they fall under amongst the 11 listed (eg. Passeport Talent holder, students)
It is to be noted that PCR tests are only required for travelers aged 11 and more.
Templates of statements are available on the Ministry of State’s webpage accessible here.
We will continue to keep you informed on the developments of French travel restrictions in the Covid-19 context.