French government restriction on movements and implementation of sanitary measures at borders

This is an unofficial translation of the French government’s press release from 22 May 2020 regarding border restrictions.

To contribute to managing the circulation of COVID-19, the law of the 11 May 2020 implementing a health state of emergency included the possibility to introduce specific sanitary measures for travellers arriving to mainland France and its overseas territories.

This measure is in addition to the movement restrictions in place at our borders since 18 March and until 15 June 2020.

The application of the decrees of the 11 May law will be published and enter into effect on 23 May 2020. They create a legal framework to enable the enforcement, based on decision of the Prefet and under the control of a judge, of self-isolation quarantine measures at home or in adapted accommodation. This is legally possible, which is currently systematically applied in the [French] overseas territories where the health situation is specific, as well as for people arriving at our borders presenting COVID-19 symptoms during health checks, which will be put in place.

In addition, the government will implement, from Monday 25 May 2020, a measure of voluntary quarantine based on the country of origin/arrival of travellers:

  • for travellers arriving from outside the European Area (all of the countries in the world except European Union member states, the United-Kingdom, Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Holy-See) the principal in place remains the same as today, and until further notice, that is the closure of borders and a ban from entering

French nationals or permanent residents of France can however continue to access the French territory, as well as certain specific categories detailed on the website of the Ministry of Interior. However, it is requested that they act responsibly by respecting a voluntary quarantine.

Upon arrival, individuals admitted into the national territory from outside of the European area will be given information on the conditions under which the voluntary quarantine can be followed at their residence of choice or, alternatively, at an adapted accomodation building. The passenger’s sense of responsibility and civic duty is called upon to implement these precautionary health measures.

  • for travellers arriving from within the European area (European Union member states, the United-Kingdom, Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Holy-See) the borders are not closed but are still subject to movement restrictions whose implementation are based on border controls coordinated with our partners

Some measures have been eased: in addition to French nationals or permanent residents in France, cross-border workers and international transporters, new categories of people are now authorised to access the national territory, namely for family reasons (separated spouses, continuation of studies, childcare, visits to dependent parents) and professional reasons (seasonal workers and European posted workers whose mission cannot be postponed) to contribute to restarting the economy.

The full list of authorised categories is available on the website of the Ministry of Interior. Furthermore, to facilitate the fluidity of traffic while also implementing the restrictions that remain in place until 15 June, border crossing points will be gradually reopened and permanent border controls will be replaced by spot checks. Finally we are working on developing a unique and common certificate with our border states.

In health terms, taking into account the similar epidemiological situations of European states, and the coordination of crisis management measures, there will be no quarantine requirement upon entry on French territory for individuals arriving from countries in the European area.

However, for travellers arriving from European countries, whose authorities have decided, without coordination, to apply quarantine measures upon entry to their territory for travellers arriving from European countries, a voluntary quarantine will be requested in reciprocity.

As such, travellers arriving from Spain by air only, will be invited from Monday the 25 May onwards, to respect a voluntary quarantine, because Spain implemented a quarantine system for travellers arriving in Spain by air on 15 May. This applies to all travellers, regardless of nationality, including French and Spanish travellers. In the same way, travellers arriving from the United Kingdom, regardless of their nationality, will be invited to respect a period of quarantine as soon as the British quarantine measures, announced this evening, enter into practical effect.

The following individuals will be exempted from the voluntary quarantine measures, unless they present symptoms:

  • people transiting to a third country
  • crew-members and people operating passenger and cargo flights, or travelling as passengers to reach their departure base
  • people ensuring the international transport of goods
  • train and bus conductors and crew
  • crew-members and people operating cargo and fishing vessels
  • foreign health professionals contributing to the fight against Covid-19
  • diplomatic and consular mission personnel, as well as personnel from international organisations that have an office or their headquarters in France, as well as their children and spouses
  • French or foreign internal security and defence forces personnel returning from their posting, or on their posting, the judicial authority during the performance of their duties as well as other agents of the State posted abroad or returning from their posting, as well as their children and spouses
  • frontier workers
  • compassionate grounds for family reason (travel justified due to childcare obligations, child visiting rights or accommodation needs of a child including the pursuit of studies, urgent assistance to a close relative or the funeral of a close relative
  • individuals allowed to enter the territory for an economic reason if the length of their stay is under 5 days. The quarantine conditions applicable to seasonal and posted workers are set out in the instruction of 20 May 2020.

To undertake any such journey, all travellers will need carry the following documents available on the Ministry of Interior website:

  • an international attestation movement certificate (Attestation de Deplacement international derogatoire)
  • a declaration of honour certifying that the traveller does not have any symptoms of COVID-19 infection

In addition, France continues its efforts to reinforce its coordination with its European partners, in particular border countries. We invite the Countries of the European area to favour quarantine measures that do not apply to travellers arriving from the European Area.

We are also promoting coordinated health measures at the external borders of the European area, with the objective of producing in the weeks to come a harmonised list of third countries where the active circulation of the virus is observed, and for which reinforced and coordinated health measures can be implemented.

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