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New travel rules for the French

We know the journey is particularly difficult right now. But alongside the latest travel advice and COVID-19 updates, we want to keep inspiring you with new travel ideas so you’ll be ready when the world reopens.

The health situation remains very vague not only in France but around the world, and travelers continue to ask questions as changes occur. In which countries is the PCR test compulsory? When do you need a certificate? What are the rules related to the Coronavirus for trips to Spain, Italy, Greece or the United Kingdom, destinations very popular with the French? In order to dispel the fog a bit, here is a summary of the new procedures, processes and documents that clarify how to travel during COVID.

What is the PCR test for COVID?

The RT-PCR test, also called a virological test, is a screening test to detect if the virus is present in the body at the time of the test. Infected people can thus isolate themselves and take the necessary measures to treat themselves. This is a nasopharyngeal swab: a long cotton swab is inserted into the nose to collect cells which are then analyzed for traces of the virus. In most cases, results are available 36 hours after the test is performed.

In France, these tests are available without a prescription. Following a positive test in France, you must communicate a list of all your recent contacts to Health Insurance so that they can be alerted quickly, and talk about it with your general practitioner before isolating yourself. Travel is therefore prohibited.

Travel rules: analyze your situation before you fly

When should you do a PCR test to travel?

For those who have returned to mainland France from overseas and non-EU countries, if they are aged 11 and over, a PCR test carried out less than 72 hours before departure is compulsory. Without these results, boarding is prohibited. To travel peacefully, it is always wise to check the regulations in place in the country of departure before flying. If you find yourself in a country where COVID PCR tests are not available, you can ask the French Embassy for a test exemption for compelling reasons.
Regarding travel rules during the COVID crisis from France to other countries, the obligation to take an RT-PCR test depends on your destination. To avoid taking risks, always consult the embassies and consulates of the country in question, and also find out about the recommendations of your airline. In case a PCR test is mandatory, you can find a screening center near you on and in some airports like Paris Orly, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Marseille Provence. Centers there carry out PCR tests on site – they can be booked in advance on their websites.

Travel rules: take a test to fly

Do I need a certificate to travel?

It is mandatory for anyone entering France from any country outside the EU (in addition to Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican) to have a certificate on the honor certifying that the traveler does not show signs of Covid-19, nor has he been in contact with people infected with Coronavirus during the last 14 days. This certificate commits the signatory to isolate themselves for 7 days after their arrival, as well as to do a PCR COVID test at the end of their confinement. These trips may also require justification of the reason for the trip, with relevant documents and supporting international travel certificate. All these certificates are available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior. Do not forget to check the advice of your airline before leaving.

Travel rules: Brexit affects how to travel in the UK

How to travel between the UK and France since Brexit and during the COVID-19 crisis?

On January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom left the EU and is therefore no longer part of the Schengen area. It is nevertheless possible to go there under certain conditions. Either before your departure, or up to 48 hours after your arrival, you must complete a form, available in English on the British government’s website, which indicates your residence address, your contacts and your travel information. Negative results of a PCR test carried out a maximum of 72 hours before departure is also required in order to travel there from France. Then, a 10-day isolation as well as a self-declaration of this confinement are mandatory.

Traveling safely

What travel rules apply to French people traveling to Spain?

Entry rules due to COVID-19

To travel from France to Spain, currently considered a country at risk, the negative results of a PCR test carried out at most 72 hours before departure are required, except for children under the age of six. Documents containing the results are accepted in Spanish, French, English or German. You must also complete the Health Control Form (FCS) which can be found on the website of the Spanish Ministry of Health. Following the sending of this form, a travel QR code is sent to you and must be presented at the airport on the day of departure.

What are the rules for transit through Spain?

Stopovers in Spain remain entirely possible and do not require a PCR test.

Do I have to take a PCR test when I arrive in Spain?

A PCR test is not mandatory when arriving in Spain, however, a health check is required and can take the form of a documentary check, a temperature check or a visual check.

Greece awaits travelers

What travel rules apply to French people traveling to Greece?

Entry rules due to COVID-19

All residents of France and other EU countries are allowed to enter Greece. Travelers must complete a form, the Passenger Locator Form, which shows their travel information. The form is available on the Greek government website as well as on the free Visit Greece mobile app. It must be presented at the time of boarding. You must also present the negative results of a PCR test carried out 72 days before departure, written in English. If travelers plan to make several stopovers in Greece, they must declare this and indicate their travel itinerary for the following 7 days.

What are the rules for transit through Greece?

All travelers with a stopover in Greece are exempt from the country’s entry requirements provided that they remain in the transit area of ​​the airport for the duration of their stopover.

Do I have to take a PCR test when I arrive in Greece?

It is currently mandatory to take a rapid COVID test upon arriving in Greece, followed by a 7-day isolation.

Travel rules: how to travel in Greece?

What travel rules apply to French people traveling to Italy?

Entry rules due to COVID-19

Any entry into Italy from France requires either the negative result of a PCR test within 48 hours, or a 14-day isolation once there. On arrival, you must alert the health authorities of the region where you are staying – the list of contacts by region is on the website of the Italian Ministry of Health.

What are the rules for transit through Italy?

Any traveler in transit in Italy for less than 36 hours is exempt from PCR testing and quarantine. Transits in the red zones of Italy are authorized only if the trip is justified by professional reasons, necessity, health or by a return to the main residence.

Do I have to take a PCR test when I arrive in Italy?

PCR tests on arrival in Italy are not mandatory and are no longer available.

So how do you travel during COVID? By remaining cautious and always on the lookout for the latest changes concerning your departure region, your destination and your airline. To follow the evolution of travel conditions in a specific country, consult the website of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Find out where you can travel safely from France

Are you planning to make a move? Find out which borders are open with our interactive world map. You can also subscribe to receive e-mail notifications to be informed of the evolution of the opening of the borders.

Travel Rules FAQ

Can we travel during curfew hours?

Journeys to or from an airport are authorized during curfew hours, but require the presentation of your ticket as well as a derogatory travel certificate, available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.

Do French people living abroad have the right to return to France?

All French citizens have the right to return to France with their spouse and children.

Is a COVID-19 PCR test required for overseas travel?

Any overseas flight requires a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before departure.

This article was updated on January 22, 2021 and travel restrictions are subject to change. Please check government websites for the latest rules and regulations.

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