Once you’ve been to France, it’s hard to not think about returning. The sheer beauty of its cities, the tastiness of its food and wine and its gleaming Mediterranean coastline, is all enough to keep you coming back for more. But right now you may wonder if that’s actually possible.
That’s why we’ve created this informative guide to France’s COVID entry requirements. This article will be covering a wealth of details: what travel restrictions are in place for France, which countries are on its safe list, and what New Normal guidelines to observe once you’re there.
Our guide has everything YOU NEED TO KNOW for visiting France in 2020.
A message from Will, the OG Broke Backpacker
Amigos, let’s face the facts: travel isn’t what it was. Things have changed.
We strive at The Broke Backpacker to be the best source of up-to-date and relevant information in the travel-sphere. All the information here was sourced, checked, double-checked, and published on 10/11/2020. While the information was correct then—and we will outline any changes and updates that we do make in the future—it’s important to respect the immense changeability of this topic.
If you’re going to be travelling amongst the coronavirus world, you need to, do your own research and do it hard. No one blog or website is a sufficient source, and even if it was, it might all just go tits up anyway.
This information changes more often than I fart in a day. Tread with caution.
And if you do see some misinformation, please leave a (constructive) comment so that we can patch it up! We really do appreciate your support and input in these weirdest of times.
Who Can Travel to France Right Now?
There are a number of countries whose citizens are currently permitted to travel to France. However, the level of travel restrictions in place varies between different parts of France.
The following list includes European Union member states, countries in the Schengen Area, and a handful of third countries. There are no restrictions on travel from these countries to Metropolitan France:
For countries not on that list, a travel ban for tourists remains in place. Essential travel may however be permitted.
However, there are exceptions to these restrictions. These include French citizens travelling from countries not on the above list, travel for treatment in a French hospital, and travel for international students. See the full list here.
Can Americans travel to France?
Sadly, no American’s cannot enter France at this time.
Alas, it’s hard days for the Americanos, but have no fear! We’ve put together a couple of sexy COVID-proof travel guides that may just help you plan your travels through the Ragnarok times:
No, American tourists are not currently permitted to travel to France.
There is a travel ban in place for all those travelling for leisure purposes coming from countries other than those on the above list. However, things are likely to change in the future, so it still pays to know what entry requirements may be in place when travel is freer for American tourists.
What Are the COVID-19 Entry Requirements for France?
There are some straightforward rules for those who wish to travel to France during these times. France’s entry requirements for visitors from countries on the above safe list are simple. However, for those travelling from other countries, there are more requirements to meet.
Notwithstanding the below, remember that if you are visiting from from outside the EU you then your travel purpose must be ESSENTIAL.
COVID-19 Testing Requirements
Unlike many countries in the world, there are no requirements to test on arrival in France for those travelling from countries on the safe list. Nor do they have to provide a negative test result.
However, countries not on the safe travel list are placed into three categories as follows:
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
Travellers from these countries must present a negative PCR test taken no less than 72 hours before departure. Without this document you will be unable to board a flight to France.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Occupied Palestinian territories
- South Africa
Travellers from these countries can either: present a negative test result taken no less 72 before departure; or take a PCR test at the airport.
For countries not on those lists (Category C), travellers are encouraged to take a test prior to travel or on arrival.
These entry requirements apply if you have visited one of the above countries in the past 30 days, even if you’re travelling from a country on the safe list.
Health screenings and/or temperature checks apply to all travellers entering France’s borders.
Visitors are not required to quarantine on arrival in France. However, travellers from Category B and C countries who fail to provide a negative test when requested will be obligated to self-isolate.
In addition, those who show symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival will be asked to self-isolate. In both cases, this will consist of a seven-day isolation period at your residence or place of accommodation.
There are some exemptions to quarantine, however. These were set out by the Ministry of Interior in a press statement.
Tourists arriving by air or by sea from countries on France’s safe list must complete a déclaration sur l’honneur (“sworn statement”).
This certifies that you are not suffering from any COVID-19 symptoms, and have not been in contact with anybody who has confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to travel.
The form is available to download and print, or save digitally, here. It must be filled out and carried with you at all times during your journey.
Those from Category B and C countries as stated above must complete an international travel certificate. This will certify that your travel to France is essential; self-certifies that you have no COVID-19 symptoms, and have had no contact with any positive COVID cases in the past 14 days.
This form is available to download in English here (the page is in French; scroll down to “Attestation de déplacement dérogatoire”). It can also be filled out online here. It is highly recommended that you also carry any supporting paperwork denoting the essential nature of your travel.
The visa requirements for France remain the same as they were before the coronavirus pandemic. That means that there won’t be any additional forms to fill in for those looking to apply for a visa.
There is also no change in countries who can travel to France visa-free. These include member states of the European Union, Schengen Area states, and a further selection of countries.
You may answer a simple questionnaire on the government page Avez-vous besoin d’un visa? (“Do you need a visa?”), to find out whether you or not your country is visa-free.
France’s Travel Restrictions – On the Ground in France
France has a number of restrictions in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Along with restrictions on gatherings, opening hours, and stay-at-home regulations, there are a few main New Normal guidelines that those in France need to follow:
- Washing your hands regularly
- Sneezing or coughing into a handkerchief/tissue or sleeve
- Using disposable tissues
- Greeting without shaking hands or hugging
- Social distancing (1 metre)
Wearing a face mask is mandatory. These must be worn in enclosed public spaces nationwide, including public transport. However, in some regions, such as Paris, wearing a mask is also compulsory outside. Furthermore, groups of more than 6 are forbidden from congregating in public spaces.
A curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. is effective as of 16th October for six weeks. This is enforced in Paris, Aix Marseille, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, and Toulouse. Essential movement between these hours requires a certificate; download it here. You’ll be fined €135 for breaking the curfew.
Starting 30th October for 4 weeks, France has stricter lockdown measures in place. As with the country’s lockdown earlier in the year, you may only leave your residency under certain circumstances and you must have an exemption certificate.
Failing to provide your exemption certificate (physically or on a mobile device) when requested will result in a €135 fine. You can download the exemption certificate here.
It is currently forbidden for anyone to travel between different areas of France.
What Tourist Services Have Reopened in France?
There is currently a strict lockdown in France to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many cultural venues and services are closed, and those that have remained open do so under strict limitations.
Museums, art galleries, and tourist attractions are closed. Non-essential shops, as well as bars and restaurants, will be closed. Some restaurants and cafes may provide takeaway services.
Grocery stores, petrol stations, pharmacies, supermarkets, and other essential services remain open. However, New Normal guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks apply.
Until the four-week lockdown measures are re-assessed, travel possibilities remain limited in France.
Now, while travel insurance is not a mandatory entry requirement for France, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. You really shouldn’t ever be travelling without insurance, and that goes double for the pandemic!
Keeping yourself covered against coronavirus mishaps is a complex subject, however, Americans get it easy. Our favourite insurance provider. World Nomads just got favourite-r! They’re covering against COVID-related incidents and will also count for countries where corona coverage is a requirement.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple—just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Is there a backup option? Sure is—SafetyWing Travel Insurance! SafetWing is the cheap, long-term insurance for cheap, long-term travellers. And now, they’ve stepped up to the plate covering travellers and digital nomads against the COVID-19 medical costs… at a bargain!
And if neither of those two choices are right for you? Well, in that case, I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend doing your own research on the top travel insurance companies and finding one right for your trip.
And Keep Smiling
Travel isn’t going anywhere. There are strict lockdown rules in place for visitors from countries on France’s safe list, and a virtual travel ban on other countries, but France will wait for you.
Even if you are able to visit France now, it may not be possible to fully enjoy the country. The best bet may be to lie low for a while and see how the lockdown pans out in France.
Whether you choose to visit in the near future or if you’re leaving it for better days, travelling to France remains a dreamy prospect. And who says you can’t at least plan a trip to France?
Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.