Travel to France: What is the ‘second homes exemption’ in the UK’s travel rules?

Travel to France: What is the 'second homes exemption' in the UK's travel rules?
Photo: Patrick Herzog/AFP
Travel from the UK to France is currently quite tightly restricted by UK rules, while the French rules on travel were relaxed at the start of the month - but the UK rules do have special provision for second-home owners. Here's what the rules say.

Travel between France and the UK is, of course, governed by two sets of rules – those put in place by the French government and those set by the UK government.

On the French side things travel rules have recently relaxed and travellers from the UK no longer need to prove that they have ‘essential reasons’ for travelling to France – opening up the possibility of tourism, family visits and trips from second-home owners.

To enter France you will need a negative Covid test and a declaration that you have no Covid symptoms – find the full details HERE. Arrivals are also asked to self-isolate for seven days on arrival, but this can be done at a location of your choice and there is no enforcement.

Once in France you need to be aware of local restrictions, which now vary across the country with some areas in lockdown, things can change quite quickly – find the latest information HERE.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about travel between France and the UK

On the UK side, however, the rules are stricter with travel out of the country only allowed for essential reasons.

There was a provisional date of May 17th for the relaxation of these restrictions, but the noises coming from the UK government in recent days suggest that this may be pushed back. 

A new bill due to be discussed on Thursday, March 25th, contains provisions for a £5,000 fine for going on holiday, but there are also suggestions it may include an exemption for second-home owners.

However under the present rules, among the reasons listed for ‘essential’ travel is one that may interest second-home owners.

The rules states that travel is allowed “to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property.” Find the full rules HERE.

The rules do not make it clear how you prove that you are travelling to your second home to do activities relating to selling or renting it, as opposed to merely visiting it – we have asked the UK government for clarification on this point – but some of the documents suggested by the UK government on its travel page include “letter or appointment details from estate agent, relevant contract or letters detailing sales, or other appropriate documentation”.

To leave the UK you will need to fill out a form for international travel.

You also need to bear in mind restrictions on re-entering the UK – this requires a negative Covid test and a passenger locator form. Once there you need to quarantine for 10 days and buy a compulsory travel testing kit from the government’s list of approved suppliers – these cost around £200 per person.

France is not currently on the UK’s ‘red list’ of countries although there has been speculation that it could be added. If that happens, the entry requirements are the same but the quarantine must take place in a government-approved quarantine hotel, which cost more than £1,000 per person.


Member comments

  1. How about going to second homes in Italy through France? Do you know anything on that? And if you are going to get it Covid safe for renting it out, how do you prove that?

  2. This blog is such an explanatory blog for all those who are planning their trips to schengen area for coming months of summer. Previously the embassy and consulate were very strict for travelling to schengen region especially for tourism purpose. However just sometime back some relief has been given on travelling, although the news is not yet totally out therefore there are some confusion going in everybody’s mind. However in such a situation if one reads this blog, he or she will easily get an idea of how and when he or she can plan the travel to France. I am very much impressed by the blog. The next plan that I have made is of applying for online France visa UK so that I can easily travel to desired places once I have my visa in hand.

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