Coronavirus - Advice for Foreign Nationals in France

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This FAQ contains information for foreign nationals wishing to enter France or already in France, who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

General information on restrictions and recommendations in France and action taken has been centralized on a platform at the following address: https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19.

During your stay in France, download and activate the #TousAntiCovid application.

Last updated: 10 May 2021

MEASURES IN FRANCE

Restrictions (including lockdown measures) and a nation-wide curfew are in force in metropolitan France. For all information on these measures, visit https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19.

TRAVEL TO FRANCE

Can I enter France?

Travel to and from foreign countries is strongly discouraged, and in some cases prohibited. Travel restrictions are also in place within France - visit the Government website for details.

Specific rules apply to road hauliers (in French and English).

Arrivals from within the European space

If you are arriving from a country within the European space, you can enter France. You must comply with health regulations to enter France (PCR test and sworn declaration). You are not required to self-isolate.

The countries which comprise the European space are all the European Union Member States, as well as Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland.

You will need to present the following to the transport operator and border control authorities:

  • A sworn declaration stating that:
    • You do not show signs of COVID-19;
    • To your knowledge, you have not been in contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the 14 days before travel;
    • You agree to submit, if you are aged 11 years or older, to a virological RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 upon arrival in France;
  • If you are aged 11 or over, a negative RT-PCR test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure.

Where an RT-PCR test cannot be carried out in the country of departure, you can ask the embassy or consulate of France for a specific document called a “PCR test exemption” (Dispense de test PCR), subject to pressing grounds for travel (limited to a very small number of circumstances) and prior acceptance of:

  • A virological screening test capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 (antigen/lateral flow test) upon arrival
  • A 7-day isolation period in a hotel designated by the French authorities, subject to presentation of a booking;
  • An RT-PCR virological test at the end of the isolation period. In countries where antigen/lateral flow tests are available, the “PCR test exemption” is valid only if accompanied by the results of such a test carried out less than 72 hours before boarding and which does not identify COVID-19 contamination.
    The costs of the isolation period are at your own expense
    .

Health controls do not apply if you are a:

  • road haulier
  • cross-border worker
  • resident of a cross-border area (border within a 30 km radius of your residence, and for a duration of less than 24h).

Arrivals from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United Kingdom.

If you are arriving from one of those seven countries, you can enter France. You must comply with health regulations to enter France (PCR test and sworn declaration). You must self-isolate for seven days after your arrival.

For your arrival in France, you need to fill in and carry two documents in addition to required travel documents:

  • A sworn declaration stating that:
    • You do not show signs of COVID-19;
    • To your knowledge, you have not been in contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the 14 days before travel;
    • You agree to submit, if you are aged 11 years or older, to a virological RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 upon arrival in France;
    • You agree to self-isolate for 7 days upon arrival in France, and to submit, if you are aged 11 years or older, to a virological RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 at the end of the isolation period.
  • If you are aged 11 or over, a negative PCR test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure.

Where an RT-PCR test cannot be carried out in the country of departure, you can ask the embassy or consulate of France for a specific document called a “PCR test exemption” (Dispense de test PCR), subject to pressing grounds for travel (limited to a very small number of circumstances) and prior acceptance of:

  • A virological screening test capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 (antigen/lateral flow test) upon arrival
  • A 7-day isolation period in a hotel designated by the French authorities, subject to presentation of a booking;
  • An RT-PCR virological test at the end of the isolation period. In countries where antigen/lateral flow tests are available, the “PCR test exemption” is valid only if accompanied by the results of such a test carried out less than 72 hours before boarding and which does not identify COVID-19 contamination.
    The costs of the isolation period are at your own expense.

Arrivals from Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates

If you are in one of these 12 countries, you can only enter France (including French overseas territories) if you have pressing grounds for travel. You must comply with health check measures to enter France (PCR test and sworn declaration). You will be subject to a compulsory 10-day quarantine.

For your arrival in France, you need to fill in and carry four documents in addition to required travel documents:

  • An exempted international travel certificate for travel to France, available here in English and in French. This certificate includes the list of exemptions. If you are an international road haulier, this certificate will be replaced by the European certificate.
  • A sworn declaration stating that:
    • You do not show signs of COVID-19;
    • To your knowledge, you have not been in contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the 14 days before travel;
    • You agree to submit, if you are aged 11 years or older, to an RT-PCR test for COVID-19 upon arrival in France;
    • You are aware that you will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in France.
  • For every traveller aged 11 or over, a negative PCR test result, carried out less than 36 hours before boarding, or otherwise, a negative PCR test result carried out less than 72 hours before boarding and a negative antigen test carried out less than 24 hours before boarding.
  • Proof of quarantine location (your home, or other appropriate accommodation) and, where necessary, access details for inspectors.

You will not be allowed to board without these documents.

Arrivals from any other country

If you are arriving from a country other than those listed above, you cannot enter France unless you have an exemption. You must comply with health requirements to enter France (PCR test and sworn declaration). You must self-isolate for seven days after your arrival.

For your arrival in France, you need to fill in and carry three documents in addition to required travel documents:

  • An exempted international travel certificate for travel to France, available here in English and in French. This certificate includes the list of exemptions. If you are an international road haulier, this certificate will be replaced by the European certificate.
  • A sworn declaration stating that:
    • You do not show signs of COVID-19;
    • To your knowledge, you have not been in contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the 14 days before travel;
    • You agree to submit, if you are aged 11 years or older, to a virological RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 upon arrival in France;
    • You agree to self-isolate for 7 days upon arrival in France, and to submit, if you are aged 11 years or older, to a virological RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 at the end of the isolation period.
  • If you are aged 11 or over, a negative PCR test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure.

Where an RT-PCR test cannot be carried out in the country of departure, you can ask the embassy or consulate of France for a specific document called a “PCR test exemption” (Dispense de test PCR), subject to pressing grounds for travel (limited to a very small number of circumstances) and prior acceptance of:

  • A virological screening test capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 (antigen/lateral flow test) upon arrival
  • A 7-day isolation period in a hotel designated by the French authorities, subject to presentation of a booking;
  • An RT-PCR virological test at the end of the isolation period. In countries where antigen/lateral flow tests are available, the “PCR test exemption” is valid only if accompanied by the results of such a test carried out less than 72 hours before boarding and which does not identify COVID-19 contamination.
    The costs of the isolation period are at your own expense.

You will not be allowed to board without these documents.

In all cases, the usual travel restrictions apply (visas, duration of stay, etc.).
Whatever your place of departure, if you show symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival in France, you will be quarantined or placed and kept in isolation by the prefect.

Other rules apply to travel to and from French overseas territories (see below).

I am travelling to or from a French overseas territory. What are the rules?

Each overseas territory sets its own entry conditions and possible restrictions (curfew, confinement, etc.) based on the local epidemiological situation. You are therefore highly advised to visit the website of the prefecture or high commission of your destination before you travel.

Travel between Metropolitan France and overseas territories is only possible if you have pressing grounds for travel.

You must in that case have a travel certificate for overseas territories, available on the Interior Ministry’s website.

The specific conditions for each overseas territory are available on the website of the prefecture or high commission of the relevant territory.

N.B.: if you are travelling to a French overseas territory from Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates you will be subject to the same aforementioned restrictions and obligations as in Metropolitan France.

Can I leave France?

Departures to a country in the European space, as well as to Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom are not subject to any restrictions but are strongly discouraged.
You can only travel from France to a country other than the above if you have pressing grounds for travel, or if you are travelling to your country of origin or residence. An indicative list of pressing grounds is available on the exempted international travel certificate for travel from France that you must carry, available here in English and in French.

VISAS AND PERMITS

I have applied for a French visa from a French Consulate. What is my application’s status?

French consulates are gradually resuming visa issuance where local public health conditions allow. For further information on this resumption, consult the France-Visas portal and the websites of diplomatic and consular posts.
You may have to make a new appointment to submit your visa application.

I received a visa to travel to France but could not use it because the borders were closed. Can I use it later?

You cannot use an expired visa. However, you will be eligible for a simplified procedure with less supporting documentation for a further visa application when issuance resumes. For further information on this resumption, consult the France-Visas portal and the websites of diplomatic and consular posts.

ASYLUM APPLICATIONS

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 2020. No members of the public will be received without an appointment until further notice.
    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.
    They can also make a request to the departmental offices of the OFII or the place they are staying, if they are staying in a residence provided by the authorities, for provisional proof of family composition established based on the declarations made when they submitted their asylum application. This document can be issued upon presentation of the OFPRA decision recognizing international protection and can be used to access social rights, without waiting for the OFPRA to issue the initial civil status documents.
    Considerable information on the civil status of protected persons or the right to family reunion is available on the OFPRA website.
  • Continuation of interviews for asylum and stateless person status
    In order to reduce numbers in waiting rooms and interview rooms, asylum seekers called to OFPRA for an interview are, wherever possible, requested not to bring their children with them.

The presence of any legally approved third party at an interview (a lawyer or a third party from an association accredited by OFPRA) must be notified to OFPRA at least 48 hours in advance so that organizational steps can be taken.

Third parties accompanying asylum seekers, other than those which are legally approved, will not have access to the premises.

In accordance with Article 4 of decree 2020-1310 of 29 October 2020, as amended by decree 2021-296 of 19 March 2021, asylum seekers who have been called for an interview, regardless of their place of residence and even during the curfew, will be allowed to travel to OFPRA under the rule “travel to attend a judicial or administrative summons”.

To do so, they must carry their invitation to the OFPRA interview and the appropriate certificate, marking the purpose for travel as “Judicial or administrative summons”.

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

Access to the premises will be subject to a temperature check by security personnel;
A surgical mask will be issued to visitors who do not have one and must be worn during the entire time they spend on the OFPRA premises. Please note that homemade masks and category 2 cloth masks will not be accepted.

Should they show any symptoms of COVID-19, visitors to OFPRA must immediately inform the security personnel or the reviewing protection officer for assistance.

  • Submitting an asylum or stateless person status application to OFPRA

Those seeking asylum or stateless person status and who need to submit an application to OFPRA must follow the usual procedure (by post only).

This information will be updated on the OFPRA website: https://www.ofpra.gouv.fr/fr/l-ofpra/actualites/mesures-liees-au-covid-19.

STUDY

I am an international student and I wish to travel to France. What should I do?

Whatever your country of origin, you are authorized to travel to France if you comply with the above health requirements. Your request for a visa or residence permit will be processed as a priority.

I have a question on reception in France of foreign students.

For the latest information, visit Campus France’s website.

EMPLOYMENT

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

You must follow the health recommendations available on the government website https://www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus.

Working from home full time is mandatory where possible.

Moreover, 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 company.

Moreover, 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 company.

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 circumstances;
  • You must ensure your own safety and that of your colleagues and respect the health advice given.

For the latest information visit the website of the Ministry of Labour (in French).
The rules for issuing work permits have been simplified.

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

For the latest detailed information in several languages, click here: https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/le-ministere-en-action/coronavirus-covid-19/protection-des-travailleurs/ (in French).

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

Yes, if working from home is not possible. Generally speaking, job contracts continue to be valid and cross-border workers continue to enjoy the rights and protections resulting from their contract similar to other employees.
For the latest detailed information, click here: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/le-ministere-et-son-reseau/actualites-du-ministere/informations-coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-declarations-du-ministre-et-de-la-porte-parole/article/communique-conjoint-covid-19-situation-des-travailleurs-frontaliers-19-03-20

CHILD CUSTODY

I live abroad and my child is currently in France with their other parent. Can my child travel to see me?

Exercising custodial rights is pressing grounds for travel to countries covered by these measures. To go to borders or airports during the curfew, you must carry an exempted movement certificate.
We recommend that you:

  • Check conditions for entry to the country concerned on the “Travellers’ advice” page and the website of the competent consulate.
  • Check that flights are available in both directions of travel.

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

I live abroad and I wish to travel to France to accompany my child to see their other parent who lives in France. Can I travel to France?

The conditions for travel to France, which vary depending on your country of departure, are set out above. Exercising custodial rights is pressing grounds for travel from countries covered by these measures.
Where possible, we recommend the “unaccompanied minors” services offered by airlines from the age of 5 years upwards.
If you or your child require a visa to enter France, you will need to contact the competent consulate in your country of residence.