Written by Christopher Nye, Senior Content Editor, Property Guides
Last Modified: 8th April 2021

As the ‘third wave’ of COVID-19 continues to spread across Europe, international travel is still prohibited from the UK. Although there are some exceptions, 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.

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

France has been hit with the third wave of COVID-19 infections. Due to a recent surge in infections and people admitted to ICU, France entered its third national lockdown a few days ago. All schools and non-essential shops will shut for four weeks, and a curfew will be in place from 19:00 to 06:00. People also need a valid reason to travel more than six miles from their home.

New strains of the virus, as well as a delay in the vaccine rollout, have caused cases and deaths to increase.

Rules for those travelling from the UK to France

Travelling internationally from the UK is prohibited due to the current restrictions. However, there is an exemption for those travelling abroad to carry out activities relating to buying, selling, renting or letting a residential property.

With France’s recent change to entry restrictions, UK citizens who are buying or selling a property could travel there in theory. However, with the country recently going into a national lockdown, it may be difficult to travel around for viewing trips and so on.

Know how your purchase could be impacted by a no-deal Brexit with our guide, How to Live in France After Brexit.

Arrivals from the UK will need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form and present a negative PCR test result, which has been carried out over the last 72 hours. You will then need to self-isolate for seven days before taking another PCR test. Check the gov.uk website for full details.

France entered its third national lockdown a few days ago.

What is life like in France currently?

France is now under a national lockdown again, with schools and non-essential shops closed for at least four weeks. However, the definition of essential businesses is a lot wider than in the previous lockdown, with the likes of bookshops, florists and car dealerships remaining open. Many are coining this a ‘partial lockdown’ as a result.

The government has said that it does not expect to extend the lockdown measures beyond four weeks. There are also hopes that the vaccination campaign will pick up soon, although much of the French population remains skeptical. France had given out a vaccine dose to just 12.96% of its population by April 1st.

Travel between regions is also banned unless there is a ‘compelling’ reason for it.

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.


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