Can I enter France? Shall I present a PCR test? Can I apply for a visa? What documents shall I present upon entry? Will I be subject to quarantine?

In the current COVID-19 context, all these questions are frequently raised and can cause a lot of confusion for travelers. Regulations change regularly, but this guide aims at answering the questions in light of the situation as it is as we write.

1. What are the countries with open borders with France?

After 3 months of closure, internal EU borders re-opened on 15 June 2020. Travelers entering France from another European country will be allowed in with no restriction linked to Covid-19. This covers the following countries:

+ Other European Union Countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden

+ EFTA countries & European microstates: Andora, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland

Since 15 March 2021 at midnight, travelers from Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Singapore are also no longer subject to a compelling reason to enter France.

Please note that not all these countries are part of the Schengen Space, thus depending on nationality of traveller, a visa may be needed to cross borders.

All the above-listed countries are referred to as “open countries” in the present guide.

All other countries are referred to as “closed countries” in the present guide.

2. What categories of travelers will be allowed to enter, when coming from a country with closed borders?

Travelers from countries other than those listed above cannot, from a general point of view, enter France. Some categories have however been granted permission to enter as an exception. These are:

+ French or EU nationals and their family
+ Third-country nationals holding residence permit and having their residence in France => this excludes first arrivals after issuance of the D visa
+ Transiting travelers, flight, cargo, train, bus or vessel personnel, international carriers of goods
+ Diplomatic or International organizations staff working in France
+ Foreign healthcare workers supporting the fight against Covid-19
+ Students with proper visa & proof of address in France
+ Teachers and researchers employed or invited
+ Third country national with a « Passeport Talent » long-term visa (VLS) 
+ Foreign national entering France for medical reasons
+ Humanitarian worker.

3. What documents will travelers need to present when entering from a country with closed borders?

Travelers entering France from one of the open countries (see question 1) shall present at the border with:

+ a sworn statement of absence of Covid symptoms, dated and signed, for air or sea travel
+ a negative PCR test made less than 72 hours before boarding (except cross-border workers)- for all means of travel (arrival by road, rail, air, or sea)

Travelers entering from a closed country (see question 1) shall present at the border with:

+ evidence that they fall under one of the categories allowed in (see question 2)
+ an International Travel certificate to mainland France, dated and signed*
+ a sworn statement of absence of Covid symptoms, dated and signed*
+ a negative PCR test made less than 72 hours before boarding

*Those documents are available on:

4. What types of applications can consulates process now? In which origin countries?

In open countries (see question 1), consulates can issue all types of visas to France.

In closed countries (see question 1), they can only issue visas corresponding to a category allowed to enter (see list in question 2). Mainly, these are Family or French or EU citizen visas (in normal times family or EU would enter under tourism visa, but these being unavailable now, consulates can issue visas to these applicants), student visas, Passeport Talent visas.

5. When is a PCR needed? Is quarantine required upon arrival?

As of January 2021:

+ France requires negative PCR test (72h max) to be presented at the airport before boarding by travelers aged 11 and more from all countries outside the European territory (effective 18 Jan).

+ This also applies to all travelers entering France from a European country, except cross-border workers (effective 24 Jan).

+ Travelers from outside Europe will be required to self-isolate for seven days on arrival and take a second test at the end of that period.

+ Children under the age of 11 are not required to get tested but shall isolate themselves for 7 days upon arrival when travelling from outside Europe.

+ When it is not possible to get PCR test before travelling, one shall obtain an exemption from the French consulate in their departure country.

+ They will be tested upon arrival and will be sent to a place identified by the authorities to self-isolate for 7 days.

Important: Passengers in transit staying in the sanitary zone of the airport and remain in transit in France for a maximum of 24 hours do not need to present a PCR test to the French authorities. They will need to comply to requirements of the final destination country only.

6. What about the curfew/lockdown?

France entered a new curfew phase on 16 January. It limits the reasons for being outside between 7.00pm and 6.00am and requires that anyone out of their home carries documents justifying the reason for same: returning from work, collecting children from nursery/school, medical emergency.

Since 20 March, 16 departments are under lockdown: Aisne, Alpes-Maritimes, Essonne, Eure, Hauts-de-Seine, Nord, Oise, Paris, Pas-de-Calais, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-Maritime, Somme, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise et Yvelines.

As of 27 March, the departments Rhône, Nièvre and Aube are added to the above list.

In these departments it is mandatory to carry documents justifying the reason for being outside more than 10km from the place of residence at all times.

Useful links:

Your immigration contact at Santa Fe Relocation France is:

Aurélie Vasseur
Immigration Manager France
+33 1 80 38 31 26

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