France is set to ease its strict travel ban on UK travellers, according to comments made by French authorities.
Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said on 5 January that France would make it “a bit easier” to move between the two countries.
Since 18 December, only those with “compelling reasons” have been allowed to travel from Britain to France – even if they are fully vaccinated.
But the French government could be adding to the list of official reasons to travel as early as next week, with business travellers set to return ahead of holidaymakers.
It comes as the Omicron variant surges in France – with more than 330,000 daily COVID-19 cases recorded on Wednesday – a similar scale of outbreak to the UK.
As France is the UK’s most popular ski destination, thousands of Brits are hoping that restrictions will ease in time for the February half term holiday.
Currently, only French citizens, their spouses, partners and children are able to enter the country, except for those with compelling reasons – a full list of which can be found here.
Do UK travellers need a COVID-19 test to enter France?
France already required all UK travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test but this requirement was tightened in December.
For UK travellers, tests have to have to be carried out within the previous 24 hours rather than 48.
This rule applies to arrivals from all countries outside of the EU, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. The test can be either a PCR or an antigen.
Antigen tests must be certified by a laboratory and NHS lateral flow test kits are not allowed.
Privately booked lateral flow test kits can be used at home though, such as the Randox lateral flow test kit. After testing, users can submit their results via an app and the results will be certified by a laboratory. Users will then receive a travel certificate to present at the airport.
Arrivals from the Schengen zone only need to present a negative test if they are not fully vaccinated. This test will need to be taken 24 hours before travel.
Details on what tests are needed for returning to the UK can be found here.
Are there flights between South Africa and France?
France removed its ban on travellers from South Africa on Thursday 6 January. A decree by the French government states that the African country has been removed from its list of locations subjected to highly restrictive travel rules.
After an initial blanket ban when the Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa, flights to and from South Africa restarted on 12 December under very strict conditions.
This meant only French and EU residents, diplomats, and flight staff were allowed to disembark. They were required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival before undergoing a seven day quarantine, even if the result is negative.
Now South African travellers who have received the jab will be able to enter France without having to complete a self-isolation period. Those who are unvaccinated must quarantine in France for 10 days under supervision from local authorities.