Expert Simon Calder answers your questions on travel changes in France and beyond
Because of his high-level contacts within the Elysée Palace, the journey correspondent of The Impartial was in a position to safe the reopening of French frontiers to completely vaccinated British travellers earlier than his promised deadline of 15 January.
Now the journey ban has been lifted, Simon Calder is constant discussions with essentially nameless officers in Paris to attempt to ease among the rigour within the new guidelines – particularly concerning teenage travellers.
However because the cabin was being ready forward of his voyage to the Normandy port of Dieppe, Simon took an hour to reply your questions on France and past.
Q: What’s the definition of “totally vaccinated” for getting into and holidaying in France?
A: For the needs of crossing the frontier, being double-jabbed with Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Novavax, or a single Janssen dose.
For travelling inside France and visiting venues, there’s a tighter definition: being double jabbed just isn’t essentially vital.
Broadly, all adults who had their second jab over seven months in the past should have proof of a booster vaccination.
Q: I booked easyJet flights after listening to that France have been permitting vacationers as soon as extra. Nevertheless, I perceive from what you’ve written that our household group is not going to qualify inside the powerful vaccination necessities. Ought to I cancel these underneath easyJet’s 24-hour cancellation coverage?
A: That may be a tough one to name. Whereas it is good news that France has ended its futile and damaging four-week journey ban on guests from the UK, pleasure just isn’t precisely unconfined: the French have imposed rigorous situations on the vaccination standing of British travellers on the border, and even tighter guidelines in case you truly wish to get pleasure from your self.
Households with kids aged 12 or extra are in essentially the most tough place when it comes to assembly the “totally vaccinated” situation for entry in addition to the necessities for the well being go. “Two jabs otherwise you’re out” is the order of the day.
I’m positive you aren’t alone in having dedicated prematurely to a visit to France earlier than studying the small print of the deal.
However keep in mind that 4 weeks stay earlier than half-term for most colleges. My hesitation at recommending you cancel is as a result of 28 days is a really very long time within the coronavirus period. In any case, France went from gentle restrictions to a near-total ban on Brits to some leisure in simply 4 weeks.
Many British households are in the identical sad boat as you.
Given the monetary significance of half-term to the French winter sports activities trade, particularly after Christmas and New Yr have been written off, I think about there are strident representations to chop some slack for youngsters.
However I can’t make sure, so in case you are feeling in any respect cautious then money in your chips: easyJet permits 24 hours of leeway for a change of thoughts, with a £49 administration price for the entire reserving (not per passenger or flight sector).
Whereas that is a lot better than the same old phrases for cancellations, easyJet’s 24-hour cancellation coverage is nowhere close to as beneficiant as that of British Airways: offering you guide direct, BA gives this courtesy freed from cost.
Within the hope that it’s going to make you are feeling higher: through the years, I’ve skilled “purchaser’s regret” on a number of events after reserving flights that I later discovered have been unsuitable.
Certainly for my journey out to France as the foundations modified, I used to be solely a click on away from spending £66 on an easyJet flight to Basel in Switzerland on Thursday night, from the place I hoped to stroll throughout the border to France at midnight.
Fortuitously I checked the airport’s guidelines and located the annoying be aware that French legal guidelines utilized – in addition to Swiss guidelines – for British arrivals into Basel.
Q: For entry to bars and eating places in France, will we use the NHS app or will we have to entry the TousAntiCovid app?
A: The TousAntiCovid app is a superb creation and I urge you to put in it in good time. It’s intuitive to make use of, with a superb English choice, and can fortunately register your NHS certificates.
The go vaccinal that may come into impact imminently will restrict entry to many venues to completely vaccinated folks. I’m nonetheless in search of clarification on how precisely it would work, however I’m advised it would merely be a code generated from inside TousAntiCovid.
Q: Do it’s a must to put on a medical-grade masks in France (particularly within the ski resorts) or is a cloth snood okay? What restrictions are in bars and eating places?
A: Particular person departéments make their very own guidelines on masks carrying open air. Normally, they’re necessary for giant gatherings and crowded locations corresponding to markets and queues for ski lifts.
Even when it isn’t obligatory, many voters select to put on masks open air always. It’s possible you’ll want to do the identical out of courtesy.
Material masks are typically frowned upon, with FFP (filtering facepiece) medical-type masks suggested.
For winter sports activities, there are more and more many snood (neck hotter)/facemask combos – described variously as cache-cou avec masque buccal or excursions de cou. The outside provider Decathlon sells one for €20 (£17).
Q: We’re travelling to France on 23 January in our motorhome to transit to Spain. How will we full the passenger locator type as we received’t have an handle to place down as we shall be staying on aires as we transit by France.
A: In my (restricted) expertise, frontier officers are uninterested within the handle you placed on the shape. As is my long-standing behavior for the US, you could possibly alternatively choose a lodge at random.
Take a look at match
Q: I’ve learn a lateral movement take a look at shall be accepted for France, nonetheless not the free NHS one. Is that this right? The place ought to I buy these from as I want to full take a look at at house?
A: NHS assessments can’t be used underneath any circumstances for worldwide journey.
As I’ve completed throughout this wretched pandemic, I strongly suggest that you just take a professionally administered take a look at that’s correctly licensed. I annoyingly paid £35 for a take a look at to permit me to go to France.
I agree that I may have saved cash with a self administered take a look at, however I’m afraid I’m not assured in my skill correctly to conduct mentioned take a look at. So whereas I consider France will settle for such certificates, I consider the general public well being curiosity is a lot better served by going to a medical skilled.
Q: Have you learnt if an antigen take a look at somewhat than a PCR take a look at not more than 24hrs earlier than shall be acceptable for entry into France after the modifications to restrictions tomorrow?
A: I’m actually within the variety of enquiries I get about whether or not a PCR take a look at is important. There are a comparatively low variety of nations the place this gradual, costly take a look at is required, however for many European places and for totally vaccinated travellers, lateral movement is kind of ample. This consists of France.
Q: We’re double vaccinated and haven’t had the booster however have had Covid. Will France settle for that for entry as we haven’t been in a position to have the booster but? Additionally our youngsters 14 and 15 have had one vaccine however not the second as that they had Covid.
A: Two jabs for entry is okay. One jab just isn’t, I’m afraid (so far as we all know). As soon as in France: anybody who had their second jab over seven months in the past should have proof of a booster vaccination.
I’m nonetheless ready for extra readability about what restoration standing counts, and learn how to show it.
Q: I’m meant to be snowboarding this weekend. I’ve lately recovered from Covid over new yr nevertheless it has been over 2 weeks since I first examined constructive. Will France permit me to enter utilizing a proof of restoration code of the NHS App? Or will I nonetheless should do a take a look at earlier than getting into the nation? If that’s the case, will this take a look at not come again constructive regardless of me now not being contagious because it has not been over 90 days since preliminary an infection?
A: There may be numerous concern about individuals who have lately recovered from Covid-19 testing constructive inside 90 days, however with a lateral movement take a look at I feel the probabilities are extraordinarily low that you’ll accomplish that.
Q: We’re flying to Geneva on 26 January then driving straight into France. Whose guidelines ought to we observe: France or Switzerland? Or each?
The entire group are vaccinated, and boosted as nicely.
A: Geneva airport is shared between France and Switzerland. In regular instances that is a superb association, providing equally quick access to each the tremendous Swiss lakeside metropolis and the mountains of France. However throughout a worldwide pandemic the association triggers complexity.
For France, you might want to take a lateral movement Covid take a look at within the 24 hours earlier than departure, and be totally vaccinated – which in fact you’re. You need to additionally fill in a French passenger arrival type and full a “sworn endeavor to adjust to guidelines for entry into Metropolitan French territory”. Flying into Geneva, these formalities must be ample; it’s best to be capable to exit by the French facet.
I don’t assume it will likely be essential to adjust to Swiss guidelines – however there isn’t a hurt in being in line. Full the very simple Swiss passenger locator type and, if requested, produce proof of vaccination and the take a look at outcome that you just want for France.
Taking this simple precaution ought to guarantee there are not any issues on the departure airport or on arrival – and, within the unlikely occasion that you just get diverted to Zurich due to dangerous climate at Geneva, it would assist you to breeze out of the airport and discover a prepare.
Q: I shall be flying into France (Grenoble) in a few weeks, however departing from Switzerland (Geneva). I’ll solely be travelling into Switzerland to be able to fly out same-day again to the UK. I’m unclear as as to if I would wish to hold out a Covid-19 take a look at whereas in France to be able to transit into Switzerland. I’m a completely vaccinated (with booster) UK nationwide.
Katie F P
A: I’m delighted that your plans can come to fruition, with the southern opening of France to British travellers as soon as extra. Whereas Geneva airport is principally in Switzerland, I can not see that the border officers could have the remotest curiosity in UK guests flying house, and can merely allow you to examine in as regular within the French a part of the airport.
Q: We’re resulting from be travelling to Austria in March. One among our get together has solely simply has their second jab. Austria is saying it would solely permit Brits in who’ve had their booster. My pal can’t get their booster in time, they should go away it three months after the second jab.
My question is: as a result of their second jab occurred so lately, may that be thought-about as a booster? If not, is there every other method spherical their restrictions?
A: Not that I can see at present – however your journey is a minimal of six weeks away, and far can change in that point. Specifically I count on among the extra rigorous guidelines throughout Europe to be eased if Covid hospitalisations will not be extreme. So, maybe unhelpfully, I can advise you solely to attend and see.
Q: I’m going to Austria on 26 January(totally jabbed and boostered). I fly into Munich and drive to Austria. My query is concerning the mandatory PCR for getting into Austria. It must be inside 48 hours. Would that be inside 48 hours of crossing the highway border within the automobile, or inside 48 hours of touchdown in Munich for onward journey?
A: Inside 48 hours of getting into Austria. So it appears as if you’ll have to organise a take a look at earlier than you fly to Munich.
One other choice is that if one of many glorious testing centres at Munich airport is ready to offer you a really fast turnaround PCR take a look at on arrival there.
Q: We’re resulting from journey to Canary Islands for Feb half time period. Our kids (aged 12 and 14) will not be totally vaccinated resulting from lately having Covid and received’t be earlier than Feb half time period. As issues stand they don’t seem to be allowed to enter Spain.
Do you assume it will change earlier than the Feb half time period or do you assume we should cancel our vacation?
A: I’m actually sorry that you just and so many different individuals are on this absurd place of not assembly one other European nation’s required requirements. All I can say is that half time period is a month away, and because the very abrupt modifications in French journey guidelines at this time present, an amazing deal can alter in a short while.
If solely British ministers have been spending their time lobbying counterparts in Madrid, and many others, to align the foundations and permit households to journey. However I sense they’re somewhat extra intent on jostling for political benefit proper now.
Q: Any information on the Netherlands? Do you assume they’re prone to change their UK entry necessities anytime quickly following the choice in France?
A: I’m feeling very optimistic – not least as a result of I’m within the very glad place of not having to eat my hat on Saturday (I had promised to take action if the French restrictions weren’t lifted by then. I reckon the Netherlands will ease its present guidelines by the tip of January.
Q: I there any replace on the Schengen digital Entry/Exit system, and notably the way it will work for car-ferry passengers? They, like Shuttle passengers and coach journeys, wouldn’t usually be leaving their automobiles at passport management to go by some type of biometrics e-gate. With implementation due in Might, you’d assume they’d have labored this one out by now?
A: The Etias system, which the UK was concerned in establishing earlier than the Brexit referendum, is because of take impact in Might 2022 (although I feel this can be very prone to slip by as much as 18 months).
Sure, as issues stand this euro-visa system will result in chaos at borders and ports. Presumably pro-leave campaigners had a plan for it, so I recommend you ask any member of the federal government to elucidate it to you.
Q: Is Mexico in March a very good prospect?
A: Sure, from many factors of view March is the month with the most effective local weather from north to south and east to west of this huge and fantastic nation.
Flight night time
Q: I used to be resulting from return from the Algarve on 19 December to Leeds Bradford departing at 1.45 pm. It was obvious even earlier than I left for the airport that there have been issues because the flight hadn’t but taken off from the UK. The flight finally took off at 11.15 pm and went to Manchester
A: It’s the airline’s accountability to compensate you to the tune of €400 in case you arrived three hours or extra late at your remaining vacation spot and it was their accountability.
Q: Have you learnt of any imminent change to the present no covid-pass coverage for underneath 16s? We’re particularly in want of a restoration go for underneath 16 in QR code type to be able to journey to Italy to ski in half time period. There appears to be an enormous hole with the 12-15 age group with Covid go and restoration go as they don’t seem to be allowed to have the NHS app.
A: The issues for teenage kids and their mother and father hoping to go to many nations are immense. The one comfort is that for one more month, they are going to be in school, giving the UK authorities extra time to deal with correct certification for younger folks and European nations an opportunity to type out much less onerous necessities.
Sorry I can’t be extra useful.