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UPDATE: Can I travel from the UK to Spain through France despite the new restrictions?

UPDATE: Can I travel from the UK to Spain through France despite the new restrictions?
Photo: Ander Gillena/AFP
France is bringing in tough new restrictions on arrivals from the UK over fears of the so-called Indian variant of Covid - 19, but what about people who just want to pass through France on their way to Spain?

Question: I am planning to drive to Spain from the UK and obviously that involves going through France – do the new French travel rules apply to me if I am only passing through?

From Monday, May 31st, France is tightening up entry requirements for arrivals from the UK, following in the footsteps of Germany and Austria as European countries become increasingly concerned about circulation of the ‘Indian variant’ of Covid in the UK.

The new travel rules have three parts;

Travellers need a vital reason to enter France. You can find the full list of vital reasons HERE but the criteria are strict and require documentary proof. Travel to second homes and to visit family and friends is not accepted as a vital reason. This rule does not apply to French citizens, citizens of another EU country or people who have their permanent residence in France.

Travellers must show a negative Covid test at the border taken within the previous 48 hours (a change from the 72 hour requirement). This can be either a PCR or an antigen test. This applies to everyone, including French and EU citizens and permanent residents of France.

Travellers must self-isolate for seven days on arrival, although there will be no police checks to enforce this. This applies to everyone including French and EU citizens and residents.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about the new Spain-UK travel rules

So what’s the situation if you are just passing through?

If you are returning to your permanent residence in another EU or Schengen zone country then you can travel, as one of the listed ‘vital reasons’ is returning home. You will, however, need to show some proof of your residency, ideally a residency card.

If you are travelling for another reason you can travel through France, provided you spend less than 24 hours in the country.

The testing requirement applies to all arrivals, even if you are only passing through France, but if you spend less than 24 hours in the country you are not required to quarantine.

You will also need to check the rules in your destination country on arrivals from France. If you are entering France from an EU or Schengen zone country you will need to show a negative Covid test taken within the previous 72 hours and this must be a PCR test. You can enter France for any reason from an EU/Schengen country.

And yes, these rules all apply even to the fully vaccinated.

To find out more about the restrictions and requirements for driving between Spain and the UK click here


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