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: 5 February 2021

CURFEW

A national curfew is in force in Metropolitan France, from 18:00 to 06:00. For all information on this issue, visit https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19.

TRAVEL TO FRANCE

Can I enter France?

All travel to and from countries outside the European space is prohibited, unless there are pressing grounds for travel. Travel to and from countries within the European space is strongly discouraged.
Specific rules apply to hauliers.

Arrivals from within the European space

If you are arriving from a country on the list below (countries in the European space), you can enter France.

European Union Member States, 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 an establishment 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:

  • haulier
  • cross-border worker
  • resident of a cross-border area (border within a 30 km radius of your residence).
Arrival from a country outside the European space

If you are in a country outside the European space, you may only enter France if your journey meets one of the exception criteria as listed on the exempted international travel certificate and if you have pressing grounds for travel.

Before boarding, you must present:

  • An exempted international travel certificate for travel to France, available here in English.
  • 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, regardless of your nationality, a negative PCR test result, carried out less than 72 hours before boarding.

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 an establishment 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.

N.B. : French civil servants with essential duties relating to policing the French border in the United Kingdom, British civil servants with essential duties relating to policing the British border in France, and essential operational staff for rail or port infrastructure in France and the United Kingdom are exempt from these health measures in the course of their duties.

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?

To travel to overseas territories, whatever your place of departure, the abovementioned health checks will apply.

If you are arriving from a country outside the European space or countries outside the area in which the virus is circulating (see above), you must also hold a travel certificate for overseas territories not subject to pressing grounds for travel, which is available on the Interior Ministry’s website.
You cannot travel to or from French Polynesia, New Caledonia or the Wallis and Futuna islands if you cannot prove imperative family or professional grounds.
You must therefore have a travel certificate for overseas territories subject to pressing grounds, 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.

Can I leave France?

There are no restrictions on travel to other countries within the European space but such travel is strongly discouraged.
You can only travel from France to a country outside the European space if you have pressing grounds for travel, or if you are travelling to your country of origin or residence. You will need to fill out and carry an exempted international travel certificate for travel to France, available here in English and in French.
If your time of departure requires you to leave your place of residence during the curfew, you must carry an exempted movement certificate.

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. 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.
  • 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: 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

CHILDREN

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. 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.
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.