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Leaving or returning to France… what new rules for travel in Europe?

The arrival of new variants has undoubtedly been decisive in this new turn of the screw. While travel between European countries has so far been somewhat spared from health restrictions, France has decided to review its copy by introducing new border control rules, which will come into force this Sunday. Whether you want to leave or return to France, here is everything you need to know, in three practical cases.

Case n°1: I am French and I want to travel to Europe

The Member States of the European Union, while many have introduced restrictive measures, have not really agreed on the harmonization of procedures. A French traveler wishing to travel to another EU member state must therefore carefully inquire about the rules in force applicable in the country of destination.

  • Four countries have no restrictions

If you wish to travel to Portugal, Luxembourg, Sweden or Bulgaria, you will not need to present a negative PCR test.

  • Eight ask for a negative PCR test OR isolation

Here again, the validity period of the PCR test and the period of isolation to be respected in the event of no-show differs according to the country. Lithuania, Italy and Croatia require a test less than 48 hours old. The respective isolation periods are 10 days in Lithuania, 14 in Italy and until a negative test is presented in Croatia.

Greece, Malta, Estonia, Slovakia and Spain are claiming a negative test dating from less than 72 hours before leaving France. The rules on isolation also differ depending on the country of destination. The various schemes in force can be consulted on the website, which is regularly updated.

  • Six request a negative PCR test AND isolation

These countries have opted for heavier restrictions, in an attempt to cope with the epidemic outbreak that has affected them. Germany, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Latvia and the Netherlands therefore not only require a negative PCR test, but also compliance with a mandatory isolation period.

  • Three require isolation

The regulations in force in Iceland are hybrid. A traveler from France will indeed have to choose between carrying out a test on arrival in its territory followed by a five-day isolation and a 14-day isolation.

Poland imposes on travelers arriving on its soil a mandatory 10-day isolation. Romania has opted for a quarantine of 14 days or 8 in the event of presentation of a negative test once this period has passed.

  • Six countries have closed their borders

These are Finland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Cyprus and Hungary. Some only accept permanent residents on their soil, others like Denmark also tolerate “legitimate and justified” travel. It is therefore once again essential to inquire before considering any trip.

Case n°2: I am French in Europe and wish to return to France

From Sunday, if you are in another European country and wish to return to France, you will be asked for a PCR test dating back less than 72 hours to be able to board a plane or boat without any problems. With regard to land and rail, the Ministry of the Interior still told us this Saturday that the methods of control were still being defined. The implementing decree had not yet been published when we published this article.

What if the test is negative? “We cannot return to France with a positive test, we say to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. People who test positive for coronavirus are supposed to self-medicate, self-isolate and not travel. »

However, the government could find itself confronted with French nationals in difficulty in a foreign country. Could repatriations be made possible if this becomes necessary. “It is almost a general principle to allow our nationals to return to French territory”, underlines another ministerial source.

Case n°3: I am European and I wish to come or return to France

This time the rule is much clearer. A negative PCR test of less than 72 hours is required for all European travelers wishing to travel to France, whether by boat or by plane. Again, the government is working on the subject of rail and land travel.

Cross-border workers who work in France and reside in a neighboring country will benefit from an exception. This guarantee has already been announced by the executive, but the terms of these exceptions have yet to be defined.

During border control, the European national will not need to provide a travel certificate to enter French territory, unlike non-EU nationals. Travelers from the United Kingdom are obliged to complete a specific certificate.

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