Countries in Europe are now being added to the UK’s ‘green’ list, meaning that no quarantine is required on return. However, France is on the ‘amber’ list, so you must still quarantine for 10 days upon returning to the UK from France.
Rules for those travelling from France to the UK
Visitors returning from France will still need to self-isolate for 10 days, either in your place of residence or a quarantine hotel. This is mandatory for anyone returning to Britain from France. You must fill in a passenger locator form giving your address, and there is the risk of a hefty fine if found to be flouting the rules.
If travelling back to England, you must also provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, which should have been taken in the 3 days before you depart. You will then need to take two more tests whilst in quarantine. It’s wise to book a travel test package before you leave.
For help from our trusted legal partner on any aspect of your purchase or move to France, including residency, click here for a non-obligation introduction.
France’s infection rates
After being hit with the third wave of COVID-19 infections and entering its third national lockdown back in March, cases have decreased in France.
Restrictions were eased slightly in May, with domestic travel now permitted and most children returning to school. Bars, shops and cultural spaces across France have reopened and the nighttime curfew has now been pushed back to 21:00. If the four-step reopening plan continues, on June 9 bars, restaurants and cafes should be allowed to reopen indoors with the curfew being pushed back to 11pm.
In the last seven days, France recorded 93 coronavirus infections per 100,000 people. This compares to 32 in the UK, 33 in Portugal and 68 in Spain.
Rules for those travelling from the UK to France
France is still on the ‘amber’ list, meaning that travel there is not recommended.
UK citizens who are buying or selling a property could travel to France in theory. However, arrivals from the UK will need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form and present a negative PCR or antigen test carried out less than 48 hours before departure. You will then need to self-isolate for seven days before taking another PCR test. Check the gov.uk website for full details.
What is life like in France currently?
France has recently eased some restrictions after entering a four-week national lockdown in March. Schools have now reopened and travel between regions is now permitted – you no longer need an ‘essential’ reason for domestic travel. The nighttime curfew remains, however, if Macron’s four-step reopening plan continues, the 21:00 curfew will be pushed back to 23:00 on June 9.
Bars and restaurants have reopened for outdoor service for groups of up to 6 people. Non-essential shops, cinemas, theatres, museums and sports venues are also welcoming customers. June 9 could see these venues opening for indoor use.
There are also signs that the vaccination campaign has accelerated. All adults are now eligible for a vaccine and around 38% of the population have now received their first dose.
What does this mean for buying property?
Estate agents have been extremely busy last year and at the beginning of this year. Although travelling to France at the moment is tricky, you could always start your property search with a virtual viewing. Virtual viewings are now offered as a matter of course, with even domestic buyers using them.
Since the UK has now left the EU, there are a few things to consider when buying a holiday home in France or moving there permanently.
You can stay in France, or any EU country, for 90 days out of 180 without being registered as a resident. If you are looking to stay in France permanently, you would need to apply for residency over that period. That could be either on a self-employed or an employed basis, where you would need a minimum income in France. For more information, visit the French government’s website.
Why not spread the cost of a French holiday home and buy with friends or family? Read our guide, Buying with Family.