Holidays in France: Passport validity, Channel crossing, driving requirements and Covid and face mask rules explained

After two years of travel restrictions, many of us can no longer fly abroad for a week or two in the sun. Among the most popular countries for Brits looking for summer holidays in the sun is of course France and the country is ready to welcome millions of holidaymakers and tourists this summer.

But going on vacation to France is not as simple as before the pandemic. There is a long list of passport validity, Covid vaccination and “sanitary pass” rules that all tourists and visitors must follow.

Not only does the French government require visitors to have a vaccination certificate showing that at least seven days have passed since a visitor’s third (booster) dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Novovax vaccines (or 28 days have passed since a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) to enter the country, holidaymakers must also adhere to strict passport validity rules – and must follow all face mask rules in France.

Read more:Furious holidaymaker forced to travel 2,000 miles to return to Manchester after ‘vital’ luggage left plane

The official EuroTunnel website details vaccination requirements for holidaymakers traveling from the UK to France via the EuroTunnel (also known as Le Shuttle or Channel Crossing). The information, last updated May 18, 2022, explains that fully vaccinated passengers “must provide proof of their vaccination status.” Appropriate evidence includes a vaccination certificate from the NHS app, NHS website or TousAntiCovid app, according to EuroTunnel, and travelers should upload this to their account/booking for EuroTunnel online, before travelling. If you don’t, manual checks will be required, which could delay people’s departure.

Unvaccinated passengers over the age of 12 must show a negative result from a non-NHS PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before travel, or a non-NHS antigen test (lateral flow) taken no more than 48 hours before travel through a private testing provider. At French border control, unvaccinated passengers will be asked to present digital or paper proof of the negative result from the private test provider.

Here are the latest tips from Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office at the time of publication. It’s always worth checking for the latest updates before you travel.

Passport validity rules for France

All UK passports have an expiry date. Usually, a passport under 18 lasts five years and a passport over 18 lasts 10 years. But, depending on the number of months left on your passport when you renewed it, some people’s passports have an expiration date a little over 10 years from the date of issue. But unfortunately, these “additional months” are not always valid, as reported by MyLondon.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, people traveling to France must have a passport that has been:

  • issued less than 10 years before the date of entry into the country (check “date of issue”)
  • valid for at least three months after your scheduled day of departure (check the “expiration date”)

“You should check that your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before October 1, 2018, additional months may have been added to its expiry date,” explains the Ministry of Affairs website. foreign.

Proof of vaccination required to enter France

The UK Foreign Office explains that the French government requires holidaymakers over the age of 12 to have a ‘vaccination certificate’. The easiest way to get a valid “vaccination certificate” is to download the Covid Pass from the NHS app or the NHS website. The certificate must show that seven days have passed since the traveler received their third dose (booster) of Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax, or that at least 28 days have passed since the traveler received her second dose of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccination.

The Foreign Office says: “France will accept British proof of recovery from Covid-19 and vaccination card at the border. The French government recognizes any vaccination certificate that meets EU standards. This means that your last dose must have been administered at least seven days before traveling to Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, or 28 days after a second dose of Johnson & Johnson Your vaccination centers NHS appointment card is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccination status.

“For travelers aged 18 and over, France will recognize you as ‘vaccinated’ upon entry if you have completed your initial vaccination course within the last nine months. If more than nine months have passed since your course initial and you have not received since a booster, you will be considered unvaccinated and must follow the rules [for unvaccinated passengers].”

The Foreign Office continues: “From 31 March 2022, travelers from the UK aged 12 and over who are not fully vaccinated must provide a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours or a antigen test result taken within 48 hours of departure You may also be asked to complete the EU-PLF form [Digital Passenger Locator Form] before boarding.

“You must not use the NHS testing service to obtain a test to facilitate your travel to another country. You must arrange to have a private test with a private coronavirus test provider. The results of the tests must be certified by an approved private testing provider to be accepted.”

Proof of vaccination required for crossing the English Channel

The official EuroTunnel website explains that people traveling from the UK to France via the EuroTunnel (also known as Le Shuttle or Channel Crossing) must provide proof that they are vaccinated. Appropriate evidence includes a vaccine certificate from the NHS app, NHS website or TousAntiCovid app. People traveling via the EuroTunnel must add their vaccination certificate to their online account/booking before departure.

Unvaccinated passengers over the age of 12 must show a negative result from a non-NHS PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before travel, or a non-NHS antigen test (lateral flow) taken no more than 48 hours before travel through a private testing provider. At French border control, unvaccinated passengers will be asked to present digital or paper proof of the negative result from the private test provider, the EuroTunnel website says.

Driving conditions in France

According to the RAC, people wishing to drive in France must be aged 18 or over and hold a full and valid driving license to drive legally in France. Driving licenses issued in EU and EEA countries are accepted and international driving licenses are recognized but not required.

When driving in France, you should always carry the following with you: your full and valid UK driving licence, an identity document, for example your passport, your car insurance certificate, your V5 registration document. Your car must also have a UK sticker, unless it already has “UK” on the number plate.

You are also required by law to carry the following items when driving in France: one reflective vest per car occupant, a warning triangle, headlight deflectors (if your car does not adjust manually) and a breathalyzer / alcohol test. blood alcohol level.

In addition, the latest road regulations for drivers in France specify that all drivers and motorcyclists are prohibited from wearing helmets or earphones while driving. Changes to road regulations in France have also reduced the speed limit on many A and B roads to 80 km/h (50 mph).

It should also be noted that the blood alcohol limit for driving in France is lower than in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For drivers and motorcyclists with less than three years of experience, the blood alcohol limit is 0.2 grams per litre. For drivers and motorcyclists with more than three years of experience, the limit is 0.5 grams per litre. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the limit is 0.8 grams per litre, and in Scotland it is 0.5 grams per litre.

Britons driving in France should also be aware that it is necessary to affix a “Crit’Air” sticker to their car when traveling to certain cities. The sticker costs £3.60, but drivers can face an on-the-spot fine of around £120 if they don’t have one, the RAC says.

Face mask and Covid rules in France

The UK Foreign Office says face masks are compulsory in all healthcare establishments in France, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, retirement homes and assisted living facilities, as well as in establishments for people with disabilities.

People wishing to visit these places must obtain the “sanitary pass” from the French government. You can apply for a pass by showing your vaccination certificate, a negative PCR or antigen result from a test carried out within the last 24 hours, or a document (dated more than 11 days and less than six months) proving that you have recently recovered from Covid.

From Monday May 16, wearing a mask in public transport is no longer compulsory in France – but it is recommended, especially for vulnerable people.

The Foreign Office adds: “Some tour operators such as airlines may specify the types of masks to be worn on board, for example surgical masks, and may encourage you to bring spares for long journeys. Please check with from your tour operator before you travel.”


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Edward L. Robinett