Expert Simon Calder answers your questions on travel changes in France and beyond

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Because of his high-level contacts within the Elysée Palace, the journey correspondent of The Impartial was capable of safe the reopening of French frontiers to totally vaccinated British travellers earlier than his promised deadline of 15 January.

Now the journey ban has been lifted, Simon Calder is continuous 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.

Jab journey

Q: What’s the definition of “totally vaccinated” for coming into and holidaying in France?

Hollie B

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 will not be essentially vital.

Broadly, all adults who had their second jab over seven months in the past will need to have proof of a booster vaccination.

Youngsters’ stuff

Q: I booked easyJet flights after listening to that France have been permitting vacationers as soon as extra. Nonetheless, I perceive from what you have got written that our household group won’t 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 will not be precisely unconfined: the French have imposed rigorous circumstances on the vaccination standing of British travellers on the border, and even tighter guidelines for those who really need to take pleasure in your self.

Households with youngsters aged 12 or extra are in probably the most tough place by way of assembly the “totally vaccinated” situation for entry in addition to the necessities for the well being cross. “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 faculties. 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 rest 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 12 months have been written off, I think about there are strident representations to chop some slack for youngsters.

However I can’t be certain, 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 payment 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 ebook direct, BA provides 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 principles 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 observe that French legal guidelines utilized – in addition to Swiss guidelines – for British arrivals into Basel.

App clap

Q: For entry to bars and eating places in France, can we use the NHS app or will we have to entry the TousAntiCovid app?

Oliver W

A: The TousAntiCovid app is a wonderful creation and I urge you to put in it in good time. It’s intuitive to make use of, with a superb English possibility, and can fortunately register your NHS certificates.

The cross vaccinal that can come into impact imminently will restrict entry to many venues to totally vaccinated folks. I’m nonetheless looking for clarification on how precisely it’ll work, however I’m informed it’ll merely be a code generated from inside TousAntiCovid.

Masks guidelines

Q: Do it’s important 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 sporting outside. Typically, they’re necessary for giant gatherings and crowded locations akin to markets and queues for ski lifts.

Even when it isn’t obligatory, many voters select to put on masks outside always. It’s possible you’ll want to do the identical out of courtesy.

Cloth 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 mixtures – described variously as cache-cou avec masque buccal or excursions de cou. The out of doors provider Decathlon sells one for €20 (£17).

Type filling

Q: We’re travelling to France on 23 January in our motorhome to transit to Spain. How can we full the passenger locator type as we gained’t have an deal with to place down as we will probably be staying on aires as we transit by way of France.

Jane C

A: In my (restricted) expertise, frontier officers are uninterested within the deal with you placed on the shape. As is my long-standing behavior for the US, you would alternatively choose a lodge at random.

Take a look at match

Q: I’ve learn a lateral stream take a look at will probably be accepted for France, nevertheless not the free NHS one. Is that this appropriate? The place ought to I buy these from as I want to full take a look at at house?

Angie M

A: NHS checks can’t be used underneath any circumstances for worldwide journey.

As I’ve performed during this wretched pandemic, I strongly advocate 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 might have saved cash with a self administered take a look at, however I’m afraid I’m not assured in my means correctly to conduct mentioned take a look at. So whereas I imagine France will settle for such certificates, I imagine 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 reasonably than a PCR take a look at not more than 24hrs earlier than will probably be acceptable for entry into France after the modifications to restrictions tomorrow?

Li Help

A: I’m actually within the variety of enquiries I get about whether or not a PCR take a look at is critical. There are a comparatively low variety of nations the place this gradual, costly take a look at is required, however for many European areas and for totally vaccinated travellers, lateral stream is sort of enough. This consists of France.

Restoration place

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 capable of have the booster but? Additionally our kids 14 and 15 have had one vaccine however not the second as that they had Covid.

Kim W

A: Two jabs for entry is ok. One jab will not be, 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 will need to have proof of a booster vaccination.

I’m nonetheless ready for extra readability about what restoration standing counts, and how you can show it.

Q: I’m meant to be snowboarding this weekend. I’ve just lately recovered from Covid over new yr however 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 must do a take a look at earlier than coming into the nation? In that case, will this take a look at not come again constructive regardless of me not being contagious because it has not been over 90 days since preliminary an infection?

Christian H

A: There’s lots of concern about individuals who have just lately recovered from Covid-19 testing constructive inside 90 days, however with a lateral stream take a look at I feel the probabilities are extraordinarily low that you’ll accomplish that.

Swiss roles

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 effectively.

Oliver W

A: Geneva airport is shared between France and Switzerland. In regular occasions that is a wonderful 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 have to take a lateral stream Covid take a look at within the 24 hours earlier than departure, and be totally vaccinated – which after all you might be. You should 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 ought to be enough; it is best to have the ability to exit by way of the French aspect.

I don’t assume it will likely be essential to adjust to Swiss guidelines – however there isn’t any 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 consequence that you just want for France.

Taking this straightforward 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’ll let you breeze out of the airport and discover a prepare.

Q: I will probably be flying into France (Grenoble) in a few weeks, however departing from Switzerland (Geneva). I’ll solely be travelling into Switzerland with a purpose to fly out same-day again to the UK. I’m unclear as as to if I would want to hold out a Covid-19 take a look at whereas in France with a purpose 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 especially in Switzerland, I can’t see that the border officers may have the remotest curiosity in UK guests flying house, and can merely allow you to test in as regular within the French a part of the airport.

Awkward Austria

Q: We’re as a result of be travelling to Austria in March. One among our social gathering has solely simply has their second jab. Austria is saying it’ll solely permit Brits in who’ve had their booster. My good friend 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 just lately, might that be thought of as a booster? If not, is there another means spherical their restrictions?

J King

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. Particularly I anticipate among the extra rigorous guidelines throughout Europe to be eased if Covid hospitalisations should not 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 required PCR for coming into Austria. It needs to be inside 48 hours. Would that be inside 48 hours of crossing the street border within the automotive, or inside 48 hours of touchdown in Munich for onward journey?

Las 79

A: Inside 48 hours of coming into Austria. So it appears to be like as if you’ll have to organise a take a look at earlier than you fly to Munich.

One other possibility is that if one of many wonderful testing centres at Munich airport is ready to offer you a really fast turnaround PCR take a look at on arrival there.

Teen spirit

Q: We’re as a result of journey to Canary Islands for Feb half time period. Our youngsters (aged 12 and 14) should not totally vaccinated as a result of just lately having Covid and gained’t be earlier than Feb half time period. As issues stand they aren’t allowed to enter Spain.

Do you assume this may change earlier than the Feb half time period or do you assume we should cancel our vacation?

Andrew C

A: I’m actually sorry that you just and so many different persons 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 immediately present, an incredible deal can alter in a short while.

If solely British ministers have been spending their time lobbying counterparts in Madrid, and so on, to align the principles and permit households to journey. However I sense they’re reasonably extra intent on jostling for political benefit proper now.

Dutch braveness

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 top of January.

Forms hassle

Q: I there any replace on the Schengen digital Entry/Exit system, and significantly 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 cross by way of some type of biometrics e-gate. With implementation due in Might, you’d assume they’d have labored this one out by now?

Paul M

A: The Etias system, which the UK was concerned in organising 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 counsel you ask any member of the federal government to clarify it to you.

Mexican methods

Q: Is Mexico in March a great prospect?


A: Sure, from many factors of view March is the month with the perfect local weather from north to south and east to west of this huge and fantastic nation.

Flight evening

Q: I used to be as a result of 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 ultimately took off at 11.15 pm and went to Manchester

Stephen Parkin

A: It’s the airline’s duty to compensate you to the tune of €400 for those who arrived three hours or extra late at your ultimate vacation spot and it was their duty.

Italian infuriation

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 cross for underneath 16 in QR code type with a purpose 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 cross and restoration cross as they aren’t allowed to have the NHS app.

Mrs Rey

A: The issues for teenage youngsters and their mother and father hoping to go to many nations are immense. The one comfort is that for an additional month, they are going to be in school, giving the UK authorities extra time to handle correct certification for younger folks and European nations an opportunity to type out much less onerous necessities.

Sorry I can’t be extra useful.

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