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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

EXPLAINED: The European countries on UK’s ‘green’ travel lists and what that means

England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have published changes to their green list countries for travel. Here's the situation for the nine countries covered by The Local, and for Brits living in those countries.

EXPLAINED: The European countries on UK's 'green' travel lists and what that means
Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

The UK is operating a traffic light system for travel giving each country a designation – red, amber or green – based on data including case numbers and vaccination rates in the country.

The UK government does not differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, so these rules apply to all arrivals, even those who have had both doses of the vaccine.

On Thursday, governments in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland announced changes to their lists.

On the amber list are all the countries The Local covers; Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

However things have changed for Spain’s Balearic islands, previously on the amber list they have now been moved to the green list by England, Scotland and Northern Ireland – which means people who have visited the islands do not need to quarantine.

You can find the full list here.

People can travel from amber list countries for any reason – there is no need to prove that your trip is essential and entry is not limited to UK nationals or residents.

However, there are rules on testing and quarantine in place.

Arrivals must;

  • Have a negative Covid test to show at the border
  • Complete the passenger locator form – find that HERE
  • Quarantine for 10 days – this can be done in a location of their choice including the home of a friend or family member and there is no need to pay for a “quarantine hotel”.
  • Arrivals also have to pay for travel-testing kits which cost around £200 per person.

It should also be noted that the UK government advises against travel to amber list countries for leisure or tourism reasons. This isn’t a travel ban, but this kind of official advice can invalidate travel insurance, so check your policy before you travel.

There are some exemptions to the quarantine for compassionate reasons or for people in certain professions – find out more here.

Most countries require a negative Covid test for arrivals from the UK and some have quarantine in place, so check carefully the rules of the country you are travelling to or from.

On the subject of vaccinated travellers, a spokesman for the British Department of Transport told UK media: “In recognition of our successful domestic vaccination programme, and as part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s checkpoint review, our intention is that later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries.

Member comments

  1. Does anyone know whether we can use an NHS lateral flow test as the rapid antigenic test for entry into Italy? These are now provided free of charge to all in the UK and we are being actively encouraged to test twice a week so I can’t see why they couldn’t be used. A negative result is evidenced by a text or email from the NHS with one’s name, date of birth and date of test so would seem to fulfil requirements?

  2. Is anyone actually considering going to the UK for holiday if you have to quarantine for 10 days before your vacation even starts? Even if your vaccinated? I’m for sure not. My British family won’t risk coming to visit us either because they can’t quarantine upon their return to England? What good is vaccination if they still treat you like you are sick? What good is vaccinated most of the people if you still think they can get sick and die? It’s not logical. Who knows when we’ll ever see our UK family again.

  3. So my son and family come to visit us in France for 3 weeks and we do everything together. Then we travel back to the UK together in 2 cars. We are all double vaccinated weeks ago. When we arrive in the UK and arrive at our UK house, his family is British, resident in the UK so they won’t quarantine. We are British but resident in France so we must quarantine. Can someone please explain the science behind this.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

After two years of limited travel many people are planning a holiday this year and France is a popular destination - but it's easy to lose track of the latest travel rules. Here's what you need to know if you are coming to France from a country that is within the EU or Schengen zone.

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

Restrictions

France operates a ‘traffic light’ system that has been in place since summer 2020, assigning countries a colour based on their Covid infection rates.

These days most of the world is green – the lightest level of restriction – including all the countries in the EU and Schengen zone. Find full details on the government website here.

Map: French interior ministry

Vaccinated – if you are fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) and travelling from a green zone country all you need to show at the border is proof of vaccination. There is no requirement for extra paperwork such as passenger locator forms or health declarations and no Covid tests needed. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Unvaccinated – if you are not fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) you will need to show a negative Covid test at the border. The test can be either a PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours or an antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Fully vaccinated – in order to qualify as ‘fully vaccinated’ you must be vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca or Janssen) and must be at least 7 days after your final dose (or 28 days after in the case of Janssen). If you had your vaccine more than nine months ago, you will need a booster shot in order to still be classificed as ‘fully vaccinated’ if you are aged 18 and over.

Anyone vaccinated within the EU/Schengen zone will have the EU digital vaccine pass, but vaccination certificates issued outside the EU are also accepted at the French border. 

Children – The rules on vaccination apply to all children aged 12 and over. Under 12s do not need to supply proof of vaccination at the border. Children aged between 12 and 18 do not need a booster shot, even if their vaccine took place more than nine months ago.

The above rules apply to all EU and Schengen zone countries – if you are travelling from the UK click HERE, click HERE for travel from the USA and HERE for travel from other non-EU countries.

In France

So you’ve made it into France, but what are the rules once you are here?

On May 16th, France ended the mask requirement for public transport, representing one of the last Covid restrictions still in place.

Masks – masks are now only compulsory in health establishments, although they remain recommended on public transport. They are not required in other indoor spaces such as shops, bars, restaurants and tourist sites, although private businesses retain the legal right to make mask-wearing a condition of entry.

Health pass – the health pass was suspended in March and is no longer required to enter venues such as bars, restaurants and tourist sites. It is still required to enter establishements with vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. In this case it is a health pass not a vaccine pass – so unvaccinated people can present a recent negative Covid test.

Hygiene gestures – the government still recommends the practice of hygiene gestures such as hand-washing/gel and social distancing although this is a recommendation and not a rule.

Self-isolation – if you test positive for Covid while in France you are legally required to self isolate – full details HERE.

READ ALSO How tourists and visitors to France can get a Covid test

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