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France lifts all remaining COVID travel restrictions

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • Following a pattern that has played out across Europe in recent months, including in other leading destinations such as the UK and Germany, France has lifted all remaining restrictions for international arrivals to the country, including for those travelling on a student visa
  • The new rules are in effect as of 1 August 2022

France’s Ministry of the Interior has announced that all remaining restrictions for foreign travellers have now been removed. This updates the previous guidance for international arrivals, under which requirements varied by country of origin with unvaccinated travellers from some countries still required to self-isolate on arrival.

As of 1 August 2022, all such conditions have been suspended so that:

  • International travellers, including students, no longer have to complete any formalities before arriving in France, including the presentation of any health pass or proof of vaccination
  • Travellers are no longer required to demonstrate that they have a compelling reason to visit France
  • All testing requirements have been removed as well

“Since the beginning of the crisis, the border health control system has made it possible to protect our health system and to delay the arrival on national territory of variants with worrying characteristics,” said the Ministry. “This system, which mobilised up to 6,000 members of civil security each week to carry out the tests, border guards to check the health documents of travellers and internal security forces to control isolation or quarantine measures decided by the prefects, has been regularly adapted to changes in the health situation and community rules.”

“Faced with the new phase of the pandemic, the border health control system is lifted.”

However, the French government reserves the option to restore travel restrictions as required, under a so-called “emergency brake” provision in French law. This option currently remains in place until 31 January 2023, and, if activated, would allow the government to re-introduce travel limits for up to two months “in the event of an appearance and circulation of a new variant of covid-19 likely to constitute a serious health threat.”

France now becomes the latest major study destination to remove any remaining COVID travel restrictions, following similar moves by other leading destinations in Europe, including the UK, Ireland, Germany, and most other EU countries.

As we noted recently, driven by continuing strong demand from African sending markets, France’s foreign enrolment rebounded in 2021 to reach pre-pandemic levels. Overall, the French government issued 3% more student visas in 2021 than it did in 2019/20, the last full academic year before the onset of the pandemic.

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