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Covid-19 - Travel restrictions in France and establishment of health measures at the borders

Covid-19 - Travel restrictions in France and establishment of health measures at the borders

Published on May 22, 2020
Press release issued by the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for Solidarity and Health (Paris - May 22, 2020)

To help control the spread of COVID-19, the Act of May 11, 2020 extending the state of health emergency provides for the possibility of putting specific health measures in place for travelers arriving in Metropolitan and Overseas France.

The measure comes on top of the travel restrictions which came into force at our borders on March 18 and will remain in place until June 15, 2020.

The decrees implementing the Act of May 11 will be published and come into force on Saturday, May 13, 2020. They create a legal framework which makes it possible to impose, by decision of the prefect and under judicial supervision, 14-day quarantine or isolation measures at home or in appropriate accommodation. This is a legal option, which nevertheless systematically applies to Overseas France, where there is a specific health situation, and to people arriving at our borders who show symptoms of being infected with COVID-19 during the health checks which will be put in place.

From Monday, May 25, 2020, the Government is additionally putting in place a voluntary 14-day quarantine measure for travelers arriving from certain countries:

  • For travelers arriving from outside the European area (all countries of the world except European Union member States, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City), the principle which remains in place today, and until further notice, is the border closure and therefore the ban on entry.

    French people or permanent residents in France may, however, enjoy continued access to French territory, as well as certain specific categories of people set out on the Interior Ministry website. In return, people are nevertheless asked to act responsibly by placing themselves in voluntary quarantine. On their arrival on French territory, those admitted who arrive from outside the European area will be provided with information about the conditions under which the voluntary quarantine can be carried out at their chosen address or, where applicable, in appropriate accommodation. Travelers are called upon to be civic-minded and demonstrate a sense of responsibility in putting this health precaution into practice.

  • For travelers arriving from inside the European area (European Union member States, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City), the borders are not closed but are still subject to travel restrictions imposed as part of border controls coordinated with our partners. Some measures have been relaxed: in addition to French people or people with permanent residence in France, cross-border workers, international carriers, new categories of people are now permitted to enter France, in particular for family reasons (separated spouses, continued schooling, childcare, visiting dependent relatives) and for professional reasons (seasonal workers and European posted workers whose missions cannot be postponed) to contribute to the economic recovery. All the permitted categories feature on the Interior Ministry website. Moreover, to facilitate the smooth movement of traffic while ensuring implementation of the restrictions remaining in force until June 15, border crossing points are gradually being reopened and permanent static checks are giving way to intermittent dynamic checks. Finally, we are working on a single, joint declaration with the border States.

    In health terms, given the similar epidemiological situations in European States and the coordination of crisis management measures, there will be no requirement for people arriving on French territory from countries in the European area to go into a 14-day quarantine period.

    However, for travelers arriving from European countries whose authorities have decided, in an uncoordinated fashion, to apply 14-day quarantine measures to travelers entering their territory from European countries, a voluntary 14-day quarantine period will be reciprocally requested. For example, from Monday, May 25 onwards, travelers arriving from Spain, on flights only, will be asked to go into voluntary quarantine, because Spain imposed a quarantine system on May 15 for travelers arriving in Spain by plane. This applies to travelers of Spanish, French and all other nationalities. Likewise, travelers arriving from the United Kingdom, whatever their nationality, will be asked to go into a 14-day quarantine period when the British 14-day quarantine measure, announced this evening, actually comes into force.

The following people will be exempt from voluntary quarantine, except if they show symptoms:

  • people in transit to another country;
  • crew members and people operating passenger and cargo flights, or travelling as passengers to their departure point; - international freight transporters;
  • coach and train drivers and crew;
  • crew members and people operating merchant and fishing vessels;
  • foreign health professionals helping fight COVID-19;
  • staff of diplomatic and consular missions and of international organizations with headquarters or offices in France, as well as their spouses and children;
  • French and foreign domestic security or defense forces personnel returning from missions, or on mission, staff of the judicial authority carrying out its work, and State employees posted abroad or returning from missions, as well as their spouses and children;
  • cross-border workers;
  • people with compelling family reasons (travel justified for the purpose of transferring custody of or having access or staying access to a child; continued schooling; urgent assistance to a loved one; the funeral of a close relative);
  • people allowed to enter France for economic reasons if they are staying for less than five days. The quarantine conditions applicable to seasonal and posted workers permitted to enter are set out in the directive of 20 May 2020.

In order to make their journey, travelers will have to provide the following documents, available also on the Interior Ministry website:

France is also continuing its efforts to increase coordination with its European partners, in particular its border countries. We ask the States in the European area to give priority to quarantine measures not applying to travelers arriving from inside the European area. We are also promoting coordinated health measures at the European area’s external borders, with the aim of arriving in the coming weeks at a harmonized list of third countries where the active spread of the virus has been observed, and for which increased and coordinated health measures may be implemented.

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