Travel ban has finally lifted for vaccinated Brits
The French ban on British travellers that began on 18 Desember 2021 is to end on Friday.
The French minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced the move with a twiet.
“We are relaxing the entry conditions to France from the UK for vaccinated travellers," hy het gesê.
“End of compelling reasons and isolation on arrival. A negative test < 24h will be requested at the start.
“The decree will be published tomorrow morning, with immediate entry into force.”
These are the key questions and answers as of 9.30am on Thursday. They will be regularly updated as more information becomes available.
What do I need to travel to France?
As a British traveller going on holiday, visiting family or friends or embarking on a business trip, you will need proof of full vaccination. For the purposes of crossing the frontier, that comprises being double-jabbed with Pfizer, AstraZeneca, ens.
You can upload the QR certificates generated by the NHS showing your vaccinations to the TousAntiCovid app.
This is most easily done using a smartphone with a download of the NHS certificates.
Must I take a test?
Ja. You must have a negative result to a Covid test (lateral flow will do; PCR not necessary) taken within 24 hours of departure to France. This must be privately obtained and paid for; you cannot use an NHS test.
Any forms to fill in?
Ja, two. The first is the passenger arrival form. (Bear in mind that the UK is Royaume-Uni on the drop-down menu.)
This is mostly straightforward apart from the “zipcode” requirement for your birthplace – type 999.
When it asks, “What type of accommodation will you be staying in?” select “Individual accommodation”. Do not select “Jail”, one of the other options on the drop-down menu.
You will need to give an approximate location for where you are staying, for which a zipcode is required. Byvoorbeeld, tik 75 into the drop-down menu for Paris and choose the appropriate option for the arrondisement where you will stay.
The document generated when you complete it must be accompanied by your “sworn undertaking to comply with rules for entry” – asserting that you have not been suffering from coronavirus symptoms and “have no knowledge of having been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 during the last 14 days”. This simple one-page form can be downloaded from near the foot of this document.
What do I need for travel within France?
Proof that you have been fully vaccinated – which has a tighter definition than simply being double jabbed.
This weekend the rules toughen in France, as part of the president’s plan to cheese off unvaccinated citizens. Up to now the TousAntiCovid pass was acceptable with evidence of a negative test or recovery; from Saturday 15 January it will only apply for people who have been vaccinated.
Daarby, from Saturday, all adults who qualify for a booster must have had one.
What about children?
Apart from the requirement to be boosted, the rules apply equally to everyone aged 12 en oor. Under 12s need not be vaccinated nor take tests.
How soon will normal transport service resume?
Ferry firms, Eurotunnel shuttles (carrying cars from Folkestone to Calais) and Eurostar trains (carrying passengers from London to Paris) are running to schedule, with plenty of space available, airlines are not able to ramp up so quickly.
Jet2 says its ski flights to France will begin again on 22 Januarie, one week after the ban is lifted. Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2, gesê: “This is the positive news that skiers and snowboarders have been looking forward to, and the spike in bookings for ski flights has been both sharp and immediate.
“The snow conditions in the French Alps are said to be excellent, meaning our customers are jumping at the chance to get back on the slopes.
“We know how much our customers want to get back to the French Alps and we are very pleased to be flying them there again from next weekend onwards.”
Meanwhile ferry operators are reporting “phones red hot” as travellers book trips to France.
I only want to drive through France to get somewhere else. Do I need to go through all this?
Ja. You must also meet all requirements for your destination country.
When exactly will the ban end? I want to get to France for some skiing
The minister’s wording was simply: “The decree will be published tomorrow [Vrydag] morning, with immediate entry into force.” Die Onafhanklike is urgently seeking clarification.
What do I need to do to come back to the UK?
Book a so-called “day two” test (lateral flow will do) to be taken on the day you return or either of the following days, and use the reference number to complete a passenger locator form. More details in this explainer.
Why was a ban imposed on British travellers?
When France closed its borders to UK visitors op Saterdag 18 Desember, the Interior Ministry in Paris said the move was “in response to the extremely swift spread of the Omicron variant in the UK”.
The ban applied regardless of the traveller’s vaccination status. A few “compelling reasons” were permitted for travel from the UK to France, including the automatic right for French citizens to return and for EU nationals to pass through to their main place of residence.
A week ago, exemptions were extended to include essential business trips and for British residents of other European Union nations to be able to transit to their homes on the Continent.
Why has the French ban continued for so long?
The frontiers will have been closed for almost four weeks. Its original purpose – concern about the rapid spread of the Omicron variant – has long since been futile. Since the start of the year, France has had a rate of new Covid infections roughly twice as high as the UK, almost all of them attributable to Omicron.
The ban is clearly both futile and damaging – emotionally to many people deprived of family visits and holidays, and economically to ferry, train and air operators as well as the French tourism industry.
The kindest explanation of why France continued with the pointless closure of its frontiers for so long is that there were fears that large numbers of British visitors testing positive for coronavirus could add to the pressure on the French health service.
But politics provides more plausible explanations – in particular the need leaders around the world feel to look tough by imposing travel bans.
Some say the ban was a political response to the UK’s bizarre decision in July 2021 to create a special “amber plus” category in coronavirus travel rules, requiring all arrivals from France to quarantine.
British ministers ascribed that ban to a variant of concern prevalent on the French island of Réunion, but have never fully explained why the isle itself was exempted from the category.
Daarby, opening frontiers to Brits while closing down big events in France and making people work from home is unlikely to prove popular – except among people and businesses who benefit directly from UK tourism.
But the continuation of a pointless travel ban may simply be yet another example of the tendency of governments to be very swift to impose restrictions yet to be very slow to ease them.
Do other countries have a blanket ban on British travellers?
Sjina, Australië, New Zealand and other nations in the Asia-Pacific region have very strict rules in force against arrivals from most or all foreign locations, which amount to travel bans.
Elders, restrictions are less onerous – although the Foreign Office says: “Entry to Turkmenistan is prohibited except for Turkmen nationals and accredited diplomats, permanently registered foreigners and some employees of international companies and organisations.”
What is the general view on travel bans?
The World Health Organization (WIE) does not believe they do much good. Aan 30 November 2021, as concern grew about the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the body said: “Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.
“In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivising countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.”