Coronavirus - Advice for Foreign Nationals in France

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The virus identified in January 2020 in China is a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. The illness provoked by this virus has been named COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Since 11 March 2020, the WHO has classified the global COVID-19 situation as a pandemic; this means that the epidemic is now global.

For information from the French Government about COVID-19 visit https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19

This document contains information specifically for foreign nationals on:

  • International travel and travel within France
  • Duration of validity for residence permits
  • Students
  • Work (employee, employer, business, cross-border workers)
  • Childcare

Contents

I am a foreign national currently abroad. I normally live in France. Can I return to France?

European Union citizens, and those of the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra, Monaco and Switzerland, their spouses and children, can enter France, as well as citizens of the Holy See and San Marino, their spouses and children, if they reside in France or are transiting through France to reach their place of residence.

Foreigners with a valid residence permit, including a long-stay visa valid as a residence permit, can enter France.

In limited cases (particularly the transport of goods), foreigners with a short-term visa may be authorized to enter France.

To return to Metropolitan France, you must fill out and carry with you two documents:

• the exempted movement certificate for Metropolitan France which can be downloaded on the Interior Ministry’s website. You must present this certificate to travel companies before using your travel ticket, as well as to border control authorities (for travel by air, sea and land, including by rail).
• A declaration that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

If you are returning to home to a French overseas community, you must fill out and carry with you two documents:

• the exempted international movement certificate for French overseas communities, which can be downloaded on the Interior Ministry’s website. You must present this certificate to travel companies before using your travel ticket, as well as to border control authorities (for travel by air, sea and land, including by rail).
• A declaration that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

All of these documents can be downloaded from the Interior Ministry’s website.

I am a foreign national living in France and have a residence permit. I am currently abroad. Can I return to France?

Yes, foreign nationals with a residence permit, as well as their partner and children, can return to their residence in France. Those whose permit has been lost or stolen can request a return visa from the competent diplomatic or consular post.

Documents authorizing a stay in France which would have expired on 16 March 2020 and 15 May 2020 have been extended for six months.

For the latest information, click here: “Residence permits - Duration of validity” on the Interior Ministry’s website.

I am a foreign national. Do I have to comply with quarantine/voluntary quarantine measures when I enter France?

Once admitted onto French territory, foreign nationals will be subject to a voluntary quarantine implemented by the Government from Monday, 25 May 2020 depending on the country the travellers left from:

Travellers arriving from outside the European space will, upon arrival, be given information on the conditions for a voluntary quarantine in the residence of their choice, or where appropriate, in an appropriate accommodation structure.
Travellers are asked to show civic responsibility and to follow this health precaution.

For travellers arriving from inside the European space (European Union Member States, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Holy See), the borders are not closed but will still be subject to certain restrictions on movement as part of border controls. Given the similar epidemiological situations among European States and the coordination of crisis management measures, there will be no quarantine requirement for entering French territory for persons arriving from countries in the European space.

However, for travellers arriving from European countries whose authorities have decided, without coordination with France, to apply quarantine measures to travellers entering their territory from other European countries, a voluntary quarantine will be requested on the grounds of reciprocity.

Travellers arriving by air from Spain will be invited to carry out a voluntary quarantine from Monday, 25 May. This applies to Spanish and French nationals and all other nationalities. Similarly, travellers coming from the United Kingdom, regardless of nationality, will be requested to carry out voluntary quarantine once the British quarantine measures officially enter into force.

I am a foreign national. Am I exempt from quarantine/voluntary quarantine?

Certain categories of persons, particularly those in transit to another country, will be exempt from the voluntary quarantine mechanism, unless they show symptoms:

  • Individuals in transit to another country;
  • Crews and personnel operating passenger and cargo flights, or travelling as passengers to reach their departure base;
  • Individuals carrying out international goods transport;
  • Drivers and crews of buses and trains;
  • Crew and individuals operating trade and fishing vessels;
  • Foreign health professionals helping to fight COVID-19;
  • Personnel of diplomatic and consular missions, as well as international organizations headquartered or having an office in France, and their partners and children;
  • Foreign and French internal security and defence staff returning from missions, or on missions, judicial authorities when carrying out their duties as well as other civil servants posted abroad or returning from a mission, as well as their partners and children;
  • Cross-border workers;
  • Individuals with an essential family reason (travel for custodial or visiting rights for a child as well as the school attendance a child, emergency help for a family member, funeral of a close family member);
  • Individuals permitted to enter France for economic reasons if their stay is less than 5 days. The quarantine conditions applicable to seasonal and posted workers will be set out at a future date.

More information is available in the Government’s statement.

If you have questions on how to apply these measures when entering or staying in France, a free hotline is available: 0800 130 000.

I am a foreign national travelling within a French overseas department or territory. How can I return to my home country?

Home country returns are not subject to any restrictions.

I am a foreign national currently in France. My residence permit expired during the confinement period. What should I do?

Due to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, travel outside the home is limited in accordance with the Decree of 20 March 2020.

Foreign nationals whose residence permits expired from 16 March onwards are therefore exempted from the residence permit renewal procedure to prevent them having to leave the house for this reason.

Orders No. 2020-328 of 25 March 2020 and No. 2020-460 of 22 April therefore extend the duration of validity of documents that would have expired between 16 March 2020 and 15 May 2020 by 6 months. This measure applies to:

• Long-stay visas,
• Residence permits,
• Temporary residence permits,
• Receipts for residence permit requests,

Proof of asylum which expired during these same dates (16 March 2020 and 15 May 2020) are extended for 3 months.

It is important to note that this does not apply to short-stay visas (see next question).

For the latest information, click here

I am staying in France with a short-stay visa that is about to expire or expired during the confinement. What should I do?

Please contact your embassy as soon as possible to find out about how to return to the country where you are normally resident.

Holders of short-stay visas that are about to expire, and nationals exempt from a Schengen Visa whose maximum stay in the Schengen Area is reached or about to be reached, are asked to make contact with the Prefecture in the place they are staying which, in cases of justified emergency, may prolong their visa or issue a temporary residence authorization.

I requested a short-stay or long-stay visa from a French consulate, what will happen to my request?

Because of the COVID-19 health crisis, France has stopped issuing visas until further notice. This decision applies to all visa requests (Schengen short-stay visas, long-stay visas for France, and visas for overseas France). It also applies to requests already submitted and requests for which appointments had already been made.

I requested a visa to enter France. I had an appointment. Is it still valid?

Because of the COVID-19 health crisis, France has stopped issuing visas until further notice. This decision applies to all visa requests (Schengen short-stay visas, long-stay visas for France, and visas for overseas France). It also applies to applications for which appointments have already been made.

I was granted a visa to travel to France. I haven’t used it because of the border closures. What should I do?

If you have a short-stay Schengen visa that you cannot use, you will be able to use a simplified procedure requiring fewer proof documents for a new visa request once France has resumed issuing visas. The new visa will be issued free of charge.

If you have a long-stay visa that expires between 16 March and 15 May 2020, its validity has been automatically extended by 6 months so that you can return to France once this will be possible again.

I am an asylum seeker. I have an appointment with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA). What should I do?

• Closure of the general reception

The general reception has been closed since 16 March. No members of the public will be received without an appointment until further notice, even after 11 May.
Those seeking asylum or stateless person status may contact OFPRA only by email at the address indicated on their appointment letter. In the absence of an appointment letter, questions should be sent to communication at ofpra.gouv.fr.

• Closure of reception for those with international protection

The reception for protected persons has been closed since 16 March and will remain so until further notice. No civil status documents can be issued on the OFPRA premises.

Protected persons may however continue to request the issuance of civil status documents (birth/marriage/death certificates) online using the dedicated form on the OFPRA website. Tutorials have been created to help fill in online forms.

Requests for information or additional documents sent by OFPRA to protected persons, the deadline for which expired on or after 16 March, may be fulfilled until 29 May, whatever the date indicated in the OFPRA letter.

Considerable information on the civil status of protected persons or the right to family reunification is available on the OFPRA website.

• Gradual resumption of asylum and stateless person status interviews

From 11 May, appointment letters for asylum or stateless person status interviews will be sent by post or issued in person at the OFPRA offices in French Guiana, by appointment only.

Those requesting asylum or stateless person status whose interviews were cancelled before 11 May will receive a new appointment later.

Those invited for an interview at the OFPRA offices are requested not to bring their children.

The presence of any third parties at an interview must be notified to OFPRA at least 48 hours in advance so that organizational steps can be taken.

Individuals received at the OFPRA are invited to respect the prevention measures that the OFPRA has put in place to protect their health and that of others:

  • Access to OFPRA sites is subject to a temperature check by security personnel;
  • A surgical mask is issued to users and must be worn during the entire time they spend in the OFPRA buildings.

If individuals visiting the OFPRA present symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately inform the security officers or protection instructing officers to receive help.

• Submitting an asylum application to OFPRA

Asylum seekers who need to submit an application to OFPRA are invited to do so as usual (by post only).

Order No. 2020-306 of 25 March 2020, superseded by Order No. 2020-560 of 13 May 2020, provided for extensions for certain formalities that were due to be completed between 12 March and 23 June, inclusive. As such, in accordance with Article 2 of the Order, asylum applications that should have been submitted to OFPRA during this period may be duly submitted until the end of the initial timeframe, counting from the end of this period.

In practice, the new submission date will run from 23 June 2020.

Given the situation, it is possible that the delivery of the submission letter may be delayed. In any case, OFPRA will strive to carry out the computerized registration required to note the submission and enable the payment of allowances for asylum seekers.

• Notification of OFPRA decisions

Because of the closure of some post offices, ongoing notifications of OFPRA decisions taken before 16 March may be disrupted. These circumstances will be taken into account by OFPRA to carry out new notifications after the health state of emergency, where required.

• Requests for access to OFPRA files

Asylum seekers and protected persons who wish to access their administrative asylum application files may do so by sending an email to the following address: comacces at ofpra.gouv.fr.

This information will be updated on theOFPRA website

I am a foreign student in France. The establishment where I was studying is closed. Should I stay or return home?

Although universities are closed, international students can remain in France. Students who were staying in university halls of residence may have been asked to leave before the confinement period. Wherever possible, international students who are still in France are requested to contact their consular authorities to help them decide what to do. Students will still be entitled to healthcare and, where relevant, to remain in university halls of residence during their stay in France.

Campus France will ensure that international scholarship students who wish to return to their countries can do so, when they are managed by said agency.

International students on training courses in France whose residence permits will soon expire will have their residence permits automatically extended by three months by the French government. Residence permits, receipts and long-stay visas due to expire between 16 March and 15 May 2020, which had already been extended by three months, will be extended by a further three months.

Further information is available on the Campus France website.

I am a foreign student in France. Are classes finished?

All French higher education establishments have been closed since Monday, 16 March following the decision of the President of the French Republic and until further notice.

During this period, teaching is continuing in formats appropriate for this unprecedented situation.

You are strongly advised to remain in contact with your education establishment and pay attention to the information sent by email and posted on their websites and official social media.

I am a foreign student in France, and I am living in a student residence. Can I stay there?

The procedures and new regulations adopted by each CROUS are set out on the social networks of each CROUS.

For the latest information, click here.

I am a national of a European Union Member State. I am registered for a national teacher recruitment exam. Will this competitive exam go ahead?

The external teacher recruitment exams that have already started will go ahead. Starting in June, the admission exams will be organized in strict accordance with the health protocol. Videoconferencing will be used as necessary and where possible.

The external teacher recruitment exams that have not started will be reorganized. The admission exams, which will be organized in June and July, will be composed only of the written components. They will be taken in strict accordance with the health protocol.

At the start of the new academic year, those who passed the teacher recruitment exam will enjoy increased support and be visited by an inspector to monitor their progress. In spring 2021, those who passed the teacher recruitment exam will sit an oral exam the details of which will be set out in coming weeks in order to qualify for teacher status.

Furthermore, all internal teacher recruitment exams that have not yet been taken will be postponed until the new academic year in September 2020.
All candidates will be personally informed of the new format of these teacher recruitment exams.

In the coming weeks, a more precise schedule for the exams will be published.

Consult the National Education website (in French)

I am employed in France. What precautions should I take when carrying out my work?

You should follow the health recommendations available on the government website

The French Labour Code provides that the employer must take the necessary steps “to ensure the safety and protect the physical and mental health of workers” (Article L. 4121-1). The employer therefore has the right to take restrictive measures to ensure the health of their staff after assessing the risk of contamination in the business.

Furthermore, under Article L. 4122-1 of the Labour Code “in accordance with the instructions given by the employer, each worker should take care, in accordance with their training and as far as they are able, of their health and safety as well as that of other people concerned by their actions or omissions in the workplace.”

Therefore:

  • You must comply with the instructions given to you by your employer according to the situation in your company and your own situation;
  • You must ensure your own security and that of your colleagues while respecting the health advice given.
    For the latest information (in French), click here

The rules for issuing work permits have been simplified.

As regards seasonal workers:

  • Ongoing contracts for which work permits have already been given may be renewed. For this, the employer must send an email to the DIRECCTE for their local area with the following: A copy of the contract renewal, the work permit and seasonal residence permit of the employee, instead of the permit request form.
  • For contracts with a new employer, requests for work permits should be sent in digital format to the DIRECCTE with sheet 1 of the CERFA 15196*03 filled in, without the other proof documents.
  • New recruitments (first work contract giving access to the “seasonal worker” residence permit) have been suspended at this time.

The same simplifications apply to all other situations requiring temporary work permits:

  • For students working more than 964 hours per year and asylum seekers with proof of asylum request older than 6 months, temporary work permits that have already been issued may be extended by 3 months. For this to take place, the employer must send by email to the DIRECCTE a copy: of the work contract renewal, the residence permit (or proof of asylum request) and the temporary work permit obtained for the initial contract;
  • Temporary workers whose work contract is reaching expiry and whose residence permit has been extended by three months, may have their initial work permit extended for a maximum of 3 months, following the same procedure as for temporary work permits above,
  • Foreign nationals already present in France, holding a residence permit that does not allow them to work, may sign a work contract of 3 months maximum. The employer must request a work permit using the same simplified procedure.

Regarding foreign doctors:

  • Associate practitioners and specialised assistants whose residence permit was due to expire between 16 March and 15 May and has been extended may have their contracts extended by 3 months using the same procedure as for temporary work permits above.
  • The same shall apply to individuals fulfilling the role of an “interne” (FFI).
  • 3-month extensions for permits expiring between 16 March and 15 May mean you may continue to work as long as your internship does not last longer than a total of 24 months and 12 months in the same establishment.

I am foreign employer in France. What should I do to ensure the health and safety of my staff?

The epidemic requires us to be particularly vigilant in the interest of staff and businesses. The presence of employees necessary for the functioning of the business will largely depend on the businesses’ ability to address the concerns of employees and ensure that they are correctly protected from the specific risks relating to the virus (particularly employees in contact with the public).

The Labour Code requires the employer to take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of their personnel. It must therefore carry out a job risk assessment. This assessment must be carried out again due to the epidemic to reduce the risk as much as possible of contamination at work or taking measures such as preventative actions and information and training campaigns as well as roll-out of workplace adaptations, in accordance with government instructions.

As part of managing the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic, the Ministry of Labour has published information brochures for employers on the steps to take to protect the health of their employees.

For the latest detailed information in several languages, click here

I work in France but live in a neighbouring country. Can I continue to go to work?

The Prime Minister’s general instructions apply to cross-border workers. Cross-border workers in jobs that cannot be carried out from home may travel to their place of work. They will be authorized to cross the border. Specific measures have been taken to facilitate border crossings.

For each border crossing, cross-border workers must present their certificates for international travel as well as authorization from their employer.

Generally speaking, job contracts continue to be valid and the cross-border worker continues to enjoy the rights and protections resulting from their contract similar to other employees.

For the latest detailed information, click here

The movement certificate form is available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior

I am a seasonal agricultural worker, what should I do to enter France?

Seasonal agricultural workers who are citizens or residents of a country that is a Member State of the European Union or the Schengen area or of the United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or the Holy See are authorized to enter and work in France.

This scheme is strictly limited to seasonal workers in the agricultural sector.

To enter and work in France, these workers must have the following documents upon entry into France and during their stay:

  • the international travel declaration (template available on the Interior Ministry’s website together with the declaration to state the holder does not have any symptoms of COVID-19);
  • the international travel declaration to be completed by employers(template available on the Interior Ministry’s website);
  • one of the following documents: a declaration prior to employment; the confirmation of reception of the simplified agricultural contract of employment (TESA or TESA+); a contract of employment signed with a business or farm in France.

No formalities are required for seasonal workers to enter and stay in France.

For more information see the section on quarantine measures on the Interior Ministry’s website.

I am a posted worker in France, what should I do to enter France?

Workers who are nationals of a European Union Member State who have to come
and work in France under the posted worker scheme may enter France and work if their mission cannot be postponed.

This scheme is also valid for UK nationals.

Before the worker arrives in French territory, the employer must send confirmation of reception of the advance declaration of posting and all the documents proving why the mission cannot be postponed (a hand-written declaration is sufficient where necessary) to the following email address:
detaches at interieur.gouv.fr.

To cross the border, these individuals must have:

  • the international travel declaration(template available on the Interior Ministry’s website together with the declaration to state the holder does not have any symptoms of COVID-19);
  • confirmation of reception of the advance declaration of posting.

For more information see the section on quarantine measures on the Interior Ministry’s website.

Visiting and overnight access rights for children in France or abroad during the confinement period. I live abroad and my child is currently in France with their mother/father. Can my child travel to see me?

Generally speaking, at this stage it is recommended that you limit all international travel as much as possible unless there are imperative reasons for travel.

Children travelling to see their father/mother living abroad may, however, be considered an “imperative family reason” for travel.

Before travelling, we recommend:

  • That children’s travel be limited as much as possible, especially over long distances;
  • For air travel, check that links are indeed available in both directions of travel;
  • Ensure that the legislation (or regulations) applicable in France and in the other country at the time of travel authorize such travel. To this end, we recommended that you regularly check the advice given on the Travellers Advice pages of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs website as well as the website of the relevant consulate in the other country. The contact details of your consulate are available in the Travellers Advice pages of the France Diplomatie website;
  • Make sure you carry copies of legal decisions which set out the framework for the visiting and overnight access rights which have been granted and any documents/travel declarations requested by French and local authorities.

NB: preventing exercise of visiting and overnight access rights by the other parent without legitimate reason or refusing to hand over a child may be punishable with up to one year imprisonment and a €15,000 fine.

I live abroad and I wish to travel to France to accompany my child to see their mother/father who lives in France. Can I travel to France?

Generally speaking, at this stage it is recommended that you limit all international travel as much as possible unless there are imperative reasons for travel.

It is therefore recommended that, in so far as is possible, children travelling to France after the school holiday periods should do so alone (using the unaccompanied minor service provided by airlines from 5 years of age).

In situations where it is impossible for a child to travel alone and you are the only person who may accompany them back to France, we recommend that you check the conditions for your entry into France before travelling by visiting the Interior Ministry’s website.

If your child requires a visa, we recommend you contact the consulate in your country of residence in order to check the conditions for issuing the visa that they would need to visit France (outside EU, Schengen Area and United Kingdom).
Generally speaking, in order to facilitate border checks, anyone wishing to enter France must have an international travel declaration (template available on the Interior Ministry’s website). This declaration must be presented at border checks together with the necessary proof documentation (legal decision setting out the visiting and overnight access rights, for example). Failure to produce this declaration will see you refused boarding by the airline.

If my child is returning from a country outside the European space (EU Member States, United Kingdom, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, the Vatican), will he/she be placed in voluntary quarantine upon arrival in France?

The French Government will implement a voluntary two-week quarantine measure starting Monday, 25 May 2020, which will depend on the traveller’s country of departure.

Travellers arriving from outside the European space will, upon arrival, be given information on the conditions for a voluntary quarantine in the residence of their choice, or where appropriate, in an appropriate accommodation structure.
Travellers are asked to show civic responsibility and to follow this health precaution.