The sudden prohibition on journey to France by British guests has thrown many 1000’s of plans into disarray. These are the important thing questions and solutions.
What has occurred?
In response to the surging instances of the Omicron variant within the UK, France has imposed robust new guidelines.
A border closure took impact at 11pm GMT on Friday 17 December (midnight French time) and apply no matter vaccination standing.
Solely a “compelling motive” is permitted for journey from the UK to France. Whereas French persons are in a position to journey from the UK to France, all holidays and enterprise journeys for British travellers – in addition to most household visits –are off till additional discover.
What counts as a “compelling motive”?
Exemptions embody being a returning resident; a partner or little one of a French citizen; or a scholar enrolled in France.
Nationals of different EU nations, plus companions and youngsters, are allowed to transit by way of France to the nation of which they’re nationals (or to their fundamental residence whether it is in a unique European Union nation).
For British travellers, household visits will not be permitted. Travelling to a second house is banned aside from individuals who have official residence standing in France.
Transit for UK travellers is permitted just for a voyageur en transit de moins de 24 heures en zone internationale dans les aéroports – a “passenger in transit for lower than 24 hours within the worldwide zone at airports”.
What if I’m already in France?
Keep there till you had been resulting from return, and be grateful that your journey is unaffected. The final ban imposed by France on journey to the UK doesn’t apply to British individuals returning house.
I’ve a Christmas/New 12 months vacation booked. Can I get a refund?
When you’ve got booked transport individually – whether or not a flight, ferry, Eurotunnel or Eurostar journey – there could also be no computerized proper to cancel with a full refund.
Whereas some ferry fares are refundable, the usual coverage for cheaper tickets is more likely to be: no a refund, however the suitable to rebook for a later date or (in some instances) take a voucher for future journey.
One exception might be if the flight you might be booked on is cancelled. Given the collapse in demand that may consequence from the French determination, it’s doubtless that airways resembling British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair will cancel numerous flights – particularly to airports close to ski resorts resembling Geneva and Lyon.
In case your flight is cancelled, and you haven’t already requested to postpone the journey or take a voucher, then you might be entitled to a full refund inside every week.
I’ve booked a package deal vacation. Any distinction?
Sure. When you’ve got purchased a correct package deal vacation – with transport and lodging mixed in the identical transaction – then you might be coated by the Bundle Journey Laws 2018.
If the journey you booked can’t go forward – as a result of you’ll not be allowed into the nation –then you might be entitled to your a refund inside two weeks. This can cowl journeys resembling ski holidays and metropolis breaks.
Crystal Ski says: “We’ve needed to cancel our holidays to France on 21 December, 28 December and 4 January. We perceive the large disappointment this may trigger.”
The agency has emailed prospects with a re-booking incentive, however you might be entitled to money again.
What if I booked lodging/automobile rental individually?
There isn’t a computerized authorized proper to postpone, however many firms (and Airbnb hosts) will enable you to take action. A money refund is unlikely.
I deliberate to drive by way of France to Belgium/Germany/Switzerland/Italy/Spain. Can I?
Not in response to the newest model of the French authorities guidelines, which have been clarified in a single day. They now specify transit is allowed solely within the worldwide zone of an airport.
Residents or residents of one other EU nation can drive by way of France to get there, however might want to present proof and meet French testing necessities.
Ferry alternate options that don’t serve France embody: Stena Line from Harwich to Hook of Holland; P&O Ferries from Hull to Rotterdam; DFDS from Newcastle to Amsterdam; Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Bilbao or Santander.
Can I enter from one other nation to keep away from the journey ban?
Apparently so. Not like the journey ban imposed by Germany, there isn’t a consideration of getting been within the UK within the current previous.
You’d, after all, have to stick to all the foundations of the intermediate nation.
Direct entry to France from the Franco-Swiss airports of Basel and Geneva shouldn’t be allowed; British travellers getting into Switzerland should have a destructive PCR take a look at consequence within the 72 hours earlier than boarding a airplane to Switzerland.
The Overseas Workplace says: “From Monday 20 December, a lateral stream take a look at (not older than 24 hours) will even be accepted.”
Will ferry traces re-route ships to non-French ports?
Not if their hope and expectation proves appropriate: that these restrictions will proved short-lived.
Whereas re-routing is feasible in principle, it could create however enormous logistical points and disrupt the freight they carry.
Can I take a Eurostar practice from London to Brussels or Amsterdam?
It’s unclear at current: all trains from London to the Belgian and Dutch capitals are presently scheduled to cease in Lille in northern France. Passengers undergo French passport management at London St Pancras.
It appears affordable that individuals ticketed to both metropolis could possibly be allowed, probably with additional checks on individuals disembarking in Lille to forestall abuse (shopping for a ticket to Brussels however solely desiring to go so far as Lille).
My ski vacation is exterior France but it surely makes use of flights to a French airport. Can I am going?
It relies upon if the operator can change to a unique airport. Crystal Ski is attempting to re-route its flights for Andorra holidays from Toulouse to Barcelona.
By the way, if you’re snowboarding in Italy or Switzerland in part of the Alps the place ski areas are linked with these in France, there wouldn’t be an issue should you stray throughout the border – as long as you comply with the foundations for travellers getting into France from these nations.
I’ve Covid exams booked for a visit that’s now cancelled. Can I declare a refund?
That relies upon, after all, on the refund coverage of your chosen testing firm. When you had booked a postal take a look at and the gadget has already been despatched out to you, then it could be unimaginable to get your a refund – although relying on the timing, you might be able to use it for a future journey.
The Impartial continues to suggest that travellers guide exams on the final doable second, to minimise the prospect that modifications to journey restrictions will render the acquisition pointless.
What if I’m simply altering planes in Paris CDG and flying elsewhere?
1000’s of persons are in that place.
For long-haul locations, there isn’t a drawback. In case you are travelling on a “UK-Paris-Outdoors EU” ticket then it’s best to have the ability to change planes within the French capital with out a problem, as long as you meet the necessities in your ultimate vacation spot.
Due to Schengen space guidelines, if you’re travelling to different EU nations (with a couple of exceptions), you might be required to cross by way of passport management on arrival in Paris. Subsequently you will not be allowed to journey. Air France, the principle airline for many travellers, ought to have the ability to advise.
For the avoidance of doubt, you’ll not be allowed to fly into Paris CDG and out from Orly airport. And if in case you have separate tickets (UK-Paris, Paris-final vacation spot) then you might be more likely to be barred from journey.
If I qualify to go to France, what are the foundations?
You will need to current a destructive Covid take a look at consequence (lateral stream/antigen or PCR) taken inside 24 hours of journey. Checks supplied by the NHS will not be acceptable (and in any case, they need to by no means be used for worldwide journey). Whereas the foundations appear to permit self-administered, licensed exams from non-public suppliers for use, there’s ambiguity within the wording.
You will need to additionally self-isolate for at least 48 hours, and might go away quarantine solely with a destructive lateral stream or PCR take a look at.
“Controls might be organised to make sure the correct implementation of those measures,” the French authorities says.
The authorities in Paris have additionally referred to as on French travellers who had deliberate to go to the UK to postpone their journey.
How lengthy will these guidelines be in place?
Nobody is aware of. The ban may show to be un disjoncteur (circuit breaker) that lasts simply a few weeks – reasonably just like the UK ban on southern Africa.
Anybody with a visit beginning within the new 12 months is suggested to not take any motion but. Relying on what occurs with the unfold of Omicron in France and elsewhere, the ban could possibly be lifted by January.
Within the meantime, should you determine to cancel or postpone a visit that’s nonetheless deliberate to go forward, you’ll give up your proper to a refund if the journey is cancelled.
I count on the journey ban to be lifted early within the new 12 months – although I’ve been chronically over-optimistic all through the Covid pandemic.
Wanting additional forward, if journey to our nearest Continental neighbour remains to be banned at Easter, heaven assist us all. However whereas I’m not but a purchaser of a French vacation in the summertime of 2022, I’m definitely dreaming and planning.
What is going to this do to tourism in France?
Will probably be devastating – clearly within the quick time period, for what ought to have been a really worthwhile interval for winter sports activities holidays over Christmas and New 12 months, but additionally long run.
By taking such strict measures so near departure, the French authorities is performing in an identical approach to British ministers. The impact might be to erode confidence in any ahead reserving to France.
There will even be additional injury to Eurostar, Eurotunnel, the ferry operators and the airways. Inside hours of the French announcement, Eurostar stated new bookings had fallen by greater than half.