Travel Restrictions and Implementation of Public Health Measures at Borders [fr]
Press Release (22 May 2020)
In order to contain the spread of COVID-19, the French Act of 11 May 2020 extending the public health state of emergency includes provisions for establishing specific health measures for travellers arriving in mainland France and in France’s overseas territories.
This is in addition to the travel restrictions put in place at our borders since 18 March and which will continue to be enforced until 15 June 2020.
The implementing decrees of the Act of 11 May will be published and take effect on Saturday, 23 May 2020. They provide for a legal framework allowing for two-week quarantine or self-isolation at home or in a suitable place of residence to be imposed, upon decision of the Prefect and under judicial supervision. They provide a legal basis for these measures, which will nonetheless be systematically enforced in French overseas territories, where the health situation is specific, as well as for all persons arriving at our borders and who present symptoms of COVID-19 during the health checks that will be put in place.
In addition, the French Government will implement a voluntary two-week quarantine measure starting Monday, 25 May 2020, which will depend on the traveller’s country of departure.
For travellers arriving from outside the European area (all countries in the world, except the European Union Member States, Andorra, United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Holy See), the rule, that remains in place today and until further notice, is that the borders are closed, and an entry ban is in place.
French nationals or individuals with permanent residence in France will nonetheless be allowed enter the country, as well as certain specific categories of individuals, as indicated on the website of the Ministry of the Interior. However, it is expected that such individuals will act responsibly and submit themselves to a voluntary quarantine period. Upon arrival from outside the European space, individuals allowed entry to France will receive information on the conditions of the voluntary quarantine, at the residence of their choice or, if necessary, in a suitable accommodation structure. Travellers are expected to fulfil their civic duty and show responsibility in implementing this precautionary health measure.
For travellers arriving from inside the European space (European Union Member States, Andorra, United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Holy See), the borders are not closed but movement restrictions are still in place, implemented as border control measures coordinated with our partners. Certain restrictions have been lifted: in addition to French nationals and those with permanent residence in France, cross-border workers and international carrier personnel, new categories of persons are now allowed to enter the country, notably for family-related reasons (such as separated spouses, children returning to school, individuals able to justify child custody and visits to dependent relatives), and professional reasons (seasonal workers and seconded workers who are European Union nationals whose mission cannot be delayed) to help stimulate the economy. The authorized categories can be consulted on the Ministry of the Interior website. To facilitate the smooth movement of traffic while ensuring that the restrictions that remain in place until 15 June continue to be implemented, border crossing points are gradually reopening and the permanent border controls at those points will be replaced by spontaneous dynamic checks. Lastly, we are working on drafting a single, shared movement certificate with neighbouring States.
In terms of public health measures, and given the similar epidemiological situations across European states and the coordination of crisis management measures, there will be no quarantine enforced for those entering France from a country in the European area.
However, for travellers coming from European countries where the authorities have decided, in an uncoordinated manner, to enforce quarantine measures for travellers entering their country from other European countries, a voluntary quarantine period will be requested, on the principle of reciprocity. Therefore, as of Monday 25 May, travellers arriving by air from Spain will be asked to carry out a voluntary quarantine, as Spain implemented a quarantine system on 15 May for travellers arriving in Spain by air. This applies to Spanish and French nationals and all other nationalities. Similarly, travellers arriving from the United Kingdom, irrespective of their nationality, will be requested to carry out a two-week quarantine when the British quarantine measures, announced this evening, come into effect.
The following persons will be exempt from the voluntary quarantine procedure, unless they present symptoms:
Individuals transiting to another country;
Crew members of passenger and freight flights, or travelling as passengers to their departure base;
Individuals ensuring the international carriage of goods;
Bus and train drivers and staff;
Crew members and seamen operating merchant and fishing vessels;
Foreign health workers supporting the fight against COVID-19;
Members of diplomatic and consular missions or of international organizations headquartered or having an office in France, accompanied by their spouse and children;
French and foreign internal security forces or defense forces personnel returning from mission, or on mission, or judicial authorities in course of duty, or other government officials posted abroad or returning from a mission, as well as their spouse and children;
Individuals able to justify a compelling family reason (child custody and access rights, child returning to school, emergency assistance to a close relative, or funeral service of a close relative);
Individuals allowed enter the territory for economic reasons if their trip is for a duration of less than five days. The quarantine conditions that apply to seasonal and posted workers who are authorized entry are specified in the instruction of 20 May 2020.
In order to make their journey, all travellers must be in possession of the following documents, which can be downloaded from the Ministry of the Interior website :
An international travel certificate;
A sworn statement declaring that the traveller does not present any symptoms of COVID-19.
France continues to strengthen its coordination efforts with its European partners, in particular with its neighbouring countries. We invite States in the European area to give priority to quarantine measures which do not apply to travellers coming from the European space. We promote coordinated public health measures at the external borders of the European space, with the aim of establishing in the coming weeks a harmonized list of third countries where active circulation of the virus is observed, and for which strengthened and coordinated public health measures will be implemented.