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

15 Jan. 2021: From 18 January, all travellers arriving in France from a country outside the European space (EU Member States and Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland) will need to present a negative PCR test from less than 72 hours before boarding. You will also be required to self-isolate for seven days on arrival, and take a second test at the end of that period.

This page is currently being updated.


Updated: 11 January 2021

A nightly curfew from 8PM to 6AM is currently in force in Metropolitan France. For all information on this issue, visit https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19.
TRAVEL TO FRANCE

Can I enter France?

1. If you are arriving from a country on the list below, you can enter metropolitan France without any COVID-19 restrictions.

Member States of the European Union, Andorra, Australia, the Holy See, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Rwanda, San Marino, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, and Thailand.

2. If you are in the United Kingdom, from 23 December 2020 until at least 6 January 2021, you will not be able to enter France, unless your case falls within one of the following exceptions:

  • French nationals, and their partners (spouses, civil partners, or cohabiters, subject to evidence of cohabitation) and children;
  • European Union citizens and citizens of Andorra, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marina, Switzerland and the Vatican, with their main residence in France or travelling to the country in which they are a citizen or resident by transiting through France, as well as their partners (spouses, civil partners, or cohabiters, subject to evidence of cohabitation) and children;
  • British nationals wishing to establish their main residence in France before 31 December 2020 in order to benefit from the withdrawal agreement, subject to examination of their individual requests by the Ministry of the Interior (DGEF/DIMM/SDV) and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (diplomatic and consular posts);
  • British nationals wishing to establish their main residence in a Member State of the European Union before 31 December 2020 in order to benefit from the withdrawal agreement, at the request of the authorities of the future country of residence and subject to individual examination of their requests by the French authorities listed at the previous point;
  • Nationals of a third country with a valid European or French residence permit or long-stay visa with their main residence in France or travelling to their main residence in another European Union or assimilated country and transiting through France;
  • Nationals of a third country transiting for less than 24 hours in an international zone;
  • Holders of official passports;
  • Foreign nationals (including British citizens) working in a diplomatic or consular mission or an international organization headquartered or having an office in France and their partners and children;
  • British civil servants for the purposes of their missions, persons working for the border police, and customs officers;
  • Foreign health professionals (including British citizens) helping to fight COVID-19 or recruited as a trainee for this purpose;
  • Persons working in the transport sector of transport service providers, including drivers of any vehicle for transport of goods to be used in the French territory and those which are only in transit, or such persons travelling as passengers to reach their departure base;
  • Drivers or crew members of coaches or passenger trains;
  • Members of staff of the Channel Tunnel (including for tasks linked to operation, maintenance and security) or cross-channel facilities;
  • Crew members and personnel operating merchant, including cruise, or fishing vessels;
  • Students with a long-stay visa, a short-stay visa for study or internships, excluding short-stay visas for examinations, or travelling for less than 90 days from a country exempt from short-stay visa requirements, and minors enrolled in school, who can prove they have accommodation in France;
  • Teaching staff and researchers employed or invited by a French higher education establishment or research laboratory, travelling for study and teaching purposes;
  • Nationals of third countries with a “Talent Passport” long-stay visa or an “ICT posted worker” long-stay visa, and their partners and children;
  • Foreign nationals (including British citizens) travelling to France to receive treatment in a public or private hospital.
  • Foreign nationals (including British citizens) travelling to France to exercise custodial rights recognized by a court decision;
  • Nationals of third countries who are humanitarian workers or international volunteers;
  • Border workers and posted workers;
  • British pupils, students or interns travelling to France on a daily basis;
  • Seasonal workers;
  • Journalists travelling for the purposes of their work.

If you fall within one of the above categories, you will be required to provide the following three documents before boarding:

  • A sworn declaration stating that you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and that you have not knowingly been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days leading up to the journey.
  • If you are aged 11 or over, regardless of your nationality, the result of a PCR test carried out less than 72 hours before boarding that has not detected COVID-19 infection. Antigen tests listed by the Ministry for Solidarity and Health are also authorized.
  • A certificate for travel from the United Kingdom to France
    These documents can be downloaded in French and English fromthe Ministry of the Interior’s website.
Click here for further information on the limited resumption of the movement of people from the United Kingdom to France.

3. If you are in another country, you are recommended to limit international travel as much as possible. If you however must travel, you can only enter France if your journey meets one of the following criteria for exceptions:

  • If you are a French national (you may be accompanied by your spouse and children);
  • If you are a European Union citizen or a national of Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, and your main residence is in France or you are crossing France to reach your country of nationality or residence (you may be accompanied by your spouse and children);
  • If you hold a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa and your main residence is in France or you are crossing France to reach your residence in the European space;
  • If you are transiting for less than 24 hours in an international zone;
  • If you hold an official passport;
  • If you take up your duties in a diplomatic or consular mission or in an international organization headquartered or having an office in France, where necessary with your spouse and children, or if you travel to France with a mission order issued by your home State;
  • If you are a foreign health professional helping to fight COVID-19 or recruited as a trainee for this purpose;
  • If you are a member of crew or personnel operating passenger or cargo flights, or travelling as a passenger to reach your departure base;
  • If you are carrying out international goods transport;
  • If you are a passenger coach or train driver or crew member;
  • If you are a member of crew or personnel operating a merchant or fishing vessel;
  • If you are a student with a long-stay visa or short-stay visa (VCS) for study or placements or coming for less than 90 days from a country exempted from VCS requirements or you are a minor enrolled in school, and you can prove you have accommodation in France;
  • If you are a professor or researcher employed or invited by a French higher education establishment or research laboratory and you are travelling for study and teaching purposes;
  • If you have a “Talent Passport” or “ICT posted worker” long-stay visa, where necessary with your spouse and children;
  • If you are travelling to France to receive treatment in a public or private hospital.
  • If you are travelling to France to exercise custody rights pursuant to a court decision;
  • If you are working as a humanitarian worker or international volunteer.

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

  • An exempted international movement certificate for travel to metropolitan France. 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 sworn declaration that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
    These documents can be downloaded in French and English from the Ministry of the Interior’s website.

In addition, for travellers over 11 years of age:
A. If you are arriving from a country on the list below, even if you are in transit, or if you have been there in the last 30 days
you must present a negative test result carried out less than 72 hours before boarding. You will not be allowed to board without this document.

Algeria, Bahrain, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Panama, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United States and Zimbabwe.

B. If you are coming from another country, you are strongly recommended to present a negative test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure, upon your arrival in France. If you do not have this result, you will have to take a test at your airport of arrival.

In all cases, the usual travel restrictions apply (visas, duration of stay, etc.).

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

I am planning to marry a French national, or I am in a romantic relationship with a French national to whom I am neither married nor with whom I have entered into a PACS contract. Can I travel to France?

In addition to the normal travel restrictions (visa, duration of stay, etc.), you should ask for a laissez passer from your Consulate of France for your place of residence.

For more information on the procedures for issuing this laissez passer, visit the website of the diplomatic or consular post of your place of residence.

I am travelling to France. Will I be subject to quarantine upon arrival?

If you do not have a negative result of a test carried out in the 72 hours before your departure and if your test at the airport is positive, or if you have COVID-19 symptoms, the authorities can require that you self-isolate.

Travellers are asked to show civic responsibility and to follow the health precautions recommended by the authorities.

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

To travel to French overseas communities, if you are over 11 years, you will have to produce a negative result of a PCR test carried out less than 72 hours before boarding, in addition to the rules set out above and regardless of your place of departure.

You cannot travel to or from Reunion, Mayotte, French Polynesia, New Caledonia or the Wallis and Futuna islands if you cannot prove imperative family or professional grounds.

You will then have to provide an exempted movement certificate for travel to or from these overseas territories, available on the Ministry of the Interior’s website.

Travel to French Polynesia is subjected to special rules and check-in prior to travel. All necessary information is available here: https://www.etis.pf. Tourism remains authorized if you are not coming from Metropolitan France or Martinique where the confinement does not allow you to leave your home except for imperative reasons.

Upon arrival in metropolitan France from an overseas community, you will be required to have a PCR test or, failing that, to comply with a seven-day isolation period.

Can I leave France?

There are no restrictions on departures from France. If you must leave your home during the nightly curfew to catch your flight, you must fill out and carry an exempted movement certificate.

VISAS AND RESIDENCE 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. 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 application for asylum. 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.
  • Gradual resumption of interviews for asylum and stateless person status
    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.
    This information will be updated on the OFPRA website.
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 enter France (see above). 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.

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, read the National Covid Protocol for the Health and Safety of Workers on the website of the Ministry of Labour (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 detailed information, click here :

CHILD CUSTODY

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

There are no COVID-19 restrictions on departures from France. 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.
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.