When is France lifting UK travel ban? Covid restrictions, entry requirements and when rules will ease

The French government announced fully vaccinated British holidaymakers will be able to travel to the country

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France will lift its ban on UK holidaymakers from Friday morning, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has announced.

Travellers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter France if they have evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure.

The requirement to isolate on arrival will be scrapped.

It comes after France recently eased its Covid restrictions to make travel to and from the UK a “bit easier” following a rise in Covid-19 cases.

The French government widened its list of ‘compelling reasons’ to visit the country last week (6 January), given the fact coronavirus infections in the country were now on a similar level to the UK.

Holidays to France from the UK are still off limits under current rules (Photo: Getty Images)Holidays to France from the UK are still off limits under current rules (Photo: Getty Images)
Holidays to France from the UK are still off limits under current rules (Photo: Getty Images)

Here’s what you need to know about the change in rules, and when restrictions will be lifted.

Can I travel to France for a holiday?

From Friday (14 January) people from the UK can travel to France for holidays.

Lifting the tourism ban will mean thousands of people in the UK who have booked ski holidays in France will be able to travel.

This is a major boost for cross-Channel transport operators and winter sports travel firms, particularly as it comes ahead of the vital February half-term period.

France introduced the ban on non-essential travel to and from the UK on December 18 in a bid to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, but that has since become the dominant strain in the country.

The UK eased its own travel restrictions last week.

People who are fully vaccinated no longer need to take a coronavirus test before they arrive in the UK, and can take a cheaper and quicker lateral flow test rather than a PCR test after they arrive.

The changes save a family of four around £300.

What has been said about it?

Brittany Ferries chief executive Christophe Mathieu described the announcement as a “great relief” and expressed hope that “we have seen the last border closure of the Covid crisis”.

He said: “We’ve all suffered enormously over the last two years.

“Healthcare professionals are exhausted and businesses in the travel sector have struggled to survive.

“Thousands of Brittany Ferries passengers have been disrupted and millions of pounds in income has been lost as a consequence of draconian measures like border closures.”

Mr Mathieu went on to urge people to “embrace” coronavirus vaccines to “halt this cycle of pain and frustration”.

Abby Penlington, director at industry body Discover Ferries, said: “France is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits and traditionally January is a critical month for travel operators as people start to book summer holidays.

“While the ferry industry has continued to operate essential services across the Channel while the border remained closed, we’re confident that its reopening will provide a much-needed uplift in bookings.”

What were the previous rules?

France imposed a ban on British arrivals in December last year due to the rising number of Omicron cases in the UK, but has since eased its rules slightly after seeing the country saw its own spike in infections.

Anyone wishing to travel to France from the UK could only do so for essential reasons, as defined by the French government, regardless of their Covid-19 vaccination status.

All French nationals and those who are residents in France were considered to have an essential reason for travel to the country.

On 6 January, the French government expanded its list of essential reasons for travel.

The rules allowed people to visit for business travel purposes, and UK nationals who are a resident in other EU Member states or assimilated countries can also enter.

It meant people with a home in an EU Member state could transit through France to return to their country of residence, which was not previously allowed under rules put in place in December 2021.

Transit for less than 24 hours in the international zone of an airport was also permitted.

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