On 13/1/22, France announced that the stricter COVID restrictions currently in place will be lifted from Friday 14/1/22. Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to enter without any ‘compelling reasons’ or quarantine on arrival. A pre-departure COVID test (PCR or lateral flow/antigen) must be taken within the 24 hours before entering France for all travellers aged 12 years and over. A 'sworn statement' (déclaration sur l'honneur) must also be completed and you must be able to prove your vaccination status.
As before, the same measures applied to vaccinated adults are applied to any minors who are travelling with them, whether vaccinated or not.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has updated their travel advice to France to reflect this. You can read this here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements. Official information (in French) can be found here - https://uk.ambafrance.org/Conditions-de-deplacement
Please note that neither the 'pass sanitaire' (COVID health pass, see more below) nor the 'pass vaccinal' are applicable to international travel (to enter or exit France).
What we know
Our bookings for summer 2022 and winter 2021/22 are open. We are fully ABTA bonded so you can book your summer 2022 or winter 2021/22 holiday now with confidence knowing that any payments you make to us are protected.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice for France has now changed and it no longer advises against all but essential travel to France. The temporary travel restrictions implemented by the French government on 18th December 2021, have also been lifted as of 14th January 2022. This means that you can travel to France for holiday purposes.
Fully-vaccinated travellers (aged 12 and over) have to provide the result of a negative PCR or antigen test (in paper or digital format) carried out less than 24h prior to departure. This cannot be a self-administered test. However, the French Embassy site clarifies that in fact, as long as you get an email from the testing provider with an official certified result from the testing lab, then you can administer the test yourself (i.e. it doesn't need to be a video-call or in-person supervised test to enter France. However, free NHS tests are NOT authorised). Fully vaccinated travellers need to complete a 'sworn statement' (déclaration sur l'honneur) form self-certifying that they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This form can be found on the French government's website. They also need to have proof of their vaccination status .
Children aged 12 and over who are not fully vaccinated and travelling with their fully vaccinated parents will be required to present a negative test result (from within the previous 24 hours, either PCR or cheaper antigen, self-administered tests are not permitted). Children aged 11 and under do not need to present a negative test result to travel.
Read the requirements and latest information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france
Returning from France
From 4th October 2021, the UK government introduced a clearer travel system. The traffic light system no longer exists and has been replaced by a red list and the rest of the world. From 4am on Friday 7th January 2022, if you qualify as fully vaccinated or are under 18, you do not need to take a PCR test before you travel to England or self-isolate when you arrive. Since 4am on Sunday 9th January 2022, if you qualify as fully vaccinated, you can take either a rapid lateral flow or PCR test within 2 days of arriving in England. Children aged 5 to 17 have to follow the same testing rules for people who qualify as fully vaccinated on arrival in England. All passengers will still need to fill in a passenger locator form ahead of travel. Read full current guidance - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england
French mountain resorts
Our resorts have been open for skiing since December and all resorts were open for summer 2021. Health and safety measures to prevent the risk of COVID-19 have already been extensively tested.
A "pass sanitaire" (COVID health pass)* is not required in any of our accommodation. It has been announced however that from 4th December 2021 a "pass sanitaire" will be required on ski lifts in France. This requirement will be lifted when cases fall below a certain level. These are also currently required in cafés, bars and restaurants for example by everyone aged over 12 years and two months.
The NHS app can act as a COVID health pass to prove vaccination status under the "pass sanitaire".
Similar to the situation in the UK, masks will be required in many indoor venues as well as in lift queues and on lifts.
If you test positive for COVID while you are away: Adequate travel insurance is a vital aspect to booking any holiday. Insurance covers you for cancellation from the moment the policy is taken out and we require that clients have this in place. It’s important to ensure that your travel insurance will cover you if you test positive for COVID while you are away as you may need to extend your stay; without it you would then be responsible for any additional costs incurred. Many insurance policies now include cover for COVID. Read the policy terms carefully to ensure that it covers what you need.
As with all measures, the situation is under constant review by authorities in light of the situation with the pandemic. We will therefore continue to monitor the situation closely.
Brexit - travelling to France from 01/01/21
We've summarised key points below. In the main, this will have no impact on travelling to France for holidays aside from:
- No visas will be required for UK citizens. Passports will still be required as before but they will require 6-months validity and must not be over 10 years old (you can check your passport online). The UK has never been part of the Schengen passport-free European travel area, and therefore there have always been identity controls for UK travellers coming into the EU. This won't change and you won't see any difference in queues. You'll need to use separate lanes from those for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens.
- For those driving, an International Driving Permit will only be required if you only have a paper licence or if your driving licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. This can be easily obtained from UK Post Offices for an approximate cost of £5.50.
- For those driving with their own car, you do not need to carry a Green Card from your car insurance company when you drive in the EU and Switzerland. From 28th September 2021, you'll need to display a UK sticker rather than a GB sticker.
- You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) before leaving the UK (if you have a current European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) this will be valid until its expiry date). These are valid for EU countries. Travel insurance (which we have always insisted our clients have in place, as this is good practice) should also be in place as the GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. You should be prepared to show proof of travel insurance for your trip on entry to France.
- Procedures for those wishing to travel with their pets will be more complicated and we would urge anyone wishing to do so to look into this well in advance of travel. Find out more about the new process - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-from-1-january-2021
Any other questions?
Many questions our clients have been asking us over the few past weeks are covered on a dedicated ABTA page found here https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Peak Retreats is a member of ABTA and this helpful page provides the answers to some frequently asked questions relating to coronavirus and travel.
Our team is available to help clients on our usual office number during our office opening hours. For the time being however, we currently no longer accept holiday enquiries in person. Please call us for any enquiries relating to new bookings.
* Under the "pass sanitaire" regulations anyone aged over 12 years and two months can prove they meet the requirements for a "pass sanitaire" by providing proof of one of the following:
1/ A vaccination certificate, which conforms to the EU Digital Covid Status Certification framework (anyone fully vaccinated in the UK would meet this requirement), illustrating that you are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised by the European Medical Authority. This means:
- 7 days after a second dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna
- 28 days after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
2/ A negative PCR or antigen test result from within the previous 24 hours (testing sites are available in all our resorts, nearly all pharmacies in France offer these. They cost around €25-€30). We will provide all our clients with a list of the most convenient testing centres nearer to their date of travel.
3/ A document (dated more than 11 days ago and less than six months ago) proving you have recently recovered from COVID.
The UK government announced on 13th December 2021 that fully vaccinated 12-15 year olds are now able to access a letter that will confirm their vaccination status. The NHS COVID Pass letter can be used for international travel and will include an internationally recognised 2D barcode. The letter can be accessed by calling 119 or via NHS.uk - please note that it can take up to 7 days to receive your COVID Pass letter.
Any new measures that France may introduce soon for accessing domestic services (such as bars and restaurants) and which would NOT be applicable to or change the rules for international travel, would not cover 12-15 year olds. 12-15 year olds who aren't fully-vaccinated would still be able to use testing as a way to validate their 'pass sanitaire' (COVID health pass).
As of 15th December 2021, double vaccinated people over 65 years of age and those who have been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine will need to have their booster shot in order for their "pass sanitaire" to remain valid. From 15th January 2022, double vaccinated people over 18 years of age who had their second dose of vaccine more than seven months ago, and those who have been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, will need to have their booster shot in order for their "pass sanitaire" to remain valid.