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France Closes Borders to Non-EU Travel Due to COVID-19

1 Feb

On Friday, January 29, 2021, the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, announced that, starting from Sunday, January 31st, “any entry into France and any exit from our territory to or from a country outside the European Union will be prohibited” with certain exemptions.  

To date, exemptions from France’s new travel restrictions include cross-border workers, haulers, healthcare workers, students and diplomats as well as exemptions for those traveling to/from low-risk countries. With the United Kingdom (U.K.) no longer in the E.U., these new travel restrictions do affect the U.K., although haulers transporting goods to or from the U.K. will not be affected. The following countries are exempt from the new restrictions as they are considered to be low risk countries: Australia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, and Thailand.  

Additionally, under these new restrictions, all arrivals from E.U. countries and from several neighboring states (Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, the Vatican, and Switzerland) are required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to enter France unless they fall within one of the exempted groups of people. This rule applies to all arrivals, whether arriving by air, land or sea. 

As COVID-19 cases rise in France and as new, more contagious British and South African variants of the virus have emerged, France has implemented these new travel restrictions to try to avoid another nationwide lockdown. Over the past few weeks, the number of new cases has continued to rise in France, with nearly 23,000 new cases reported on Friday.

France is only one among many countries implementing such travel restrictions to protect its population from the virus. These travel restrictions are often put into place with very little advance notice as was the case here and highlight the continuing risks of international travel during a global pandemic. Foster will continue to monitor developments in connection with all new and continuing COVID-19 related travel restrictions and policies and will make future updates available on our firm’s website at