At midnight on Sunday 20 December, in view of the rapid development in the United Kingdom of the VUI-2020-12-01 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, France – the first land, sea and air border for exchanges between the UK and the territory of the European area – totally suspended the movement of people and road transport from that country for 48 hours. Other suspension decisions were taken simultaneously in the majority of countries in the EU and beyond.
This period allowed consultation between the European Commission and the Member States based on the public health risk analysis published on 20 December by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as well as constructive bilateral discussions between the French and British Governments.
In view of this situation, as from midnight on 22 December only the following categories of people will be authorized to travel in France or enter from the UK:
• French people and nationals of the European area;
• British or third-country nationals who either normally live in France, the European Union or the European area, or must make essential journeys as listed in the annex.
Travel by the categories of people concerned will automatically be subject to the requirement to have, prior to departure, the result of a negative test taken less than 72 hours earlier.
Whatever their nationality, all travellers will therefore be subject to the requirement to present to the airline or ferry or train company a document from a testing laboratory showing a negative result from a SARS-CoV-2 test. Staff responsible for border checks will thus be able to verify this.
In the absence of PCR tests, antigen tests sensitive to the VUI-2020-12-01 test will be authorized; a list of these will be published by the Ministry for Solidarity and Health.
Specific details of the resumption of goods traffic by road will be provided in the next few hours.
These arrangements will apply at least until 6 January, subject to any possible bilateral or European re-examination that might occur in the meantime.
Exemptions authorizing entry to French territory by British or third-country nationals entering France from the UK:
- Third-country nationals holding a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa, whose main residence is in France or who are travelling via France to their main residence in a European Union or associated country;
- Third-country nationals spending less than 24 hours in international transit areas;
- Members of delegations on official missions, staff of diplomatic or consular missions, or members of international organizations with headquarters or offices in France, and their spouses or children;
- Foreign health professionals involved in combating COVID-19;
- Foreign crews or staff working on passenger and cargo flights, or travelling as passengers to their starting point;
- Foreign nationals transporting goods internationally;
- Drivers or crew members of passenger coaches or trains;
- Crew members or people working on commercial or fishing vessels;
- Students holding long-stay visas, short-stay visas for studies or internships (except short-stay student examination visas) or coming for fewer than 90 days from countries exempt from the short-stay visa requirement, or school-age minors with proof of accommodation in France;
- Teachers or researchers employed or invited by French educational institutions or research laboratories, who are travelling for the purposes of study and teaching;
- Third-country nationals with long-stay “talent passport” visas;
- People with travel passes issued by the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate for Foreigners in France for the purposes of business, to be with a spouse or for medical reasons.