France began easing restrictions on international travellers from outside Europe on Friday, the foreign ministry has announced, including those from the UK, Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. However travellers will still need to provide a negative Covid test on arrival.
The ministry said in a statement on Thursday that people travelling to and from those seven countries will no longer have to provide documentary proof that they have “essential reasons” for their trip such as a family or medical emergency.
French Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said this easing was due to the improving health situation in those countries.
“The list includes Britain, because the UK variant now also circulates widely in France,” he added on his Twitter feed. More than 60 percent of all Covid cases in France are now the ‘UK variant’.
All other restrictions, such as a requirement for a negative Covid-19 test less than 72 hours before travel, would remain in place, the ministry said, adding a decree was due to be published on Friday.
Lemoyne said that for other non-European Union countries the list of legitimate travel motives would be widened, notably to take into account family situations.
The foreign ministry statement said new legitimate reasons for travel would include the fact that one person in a couple – both married or in civil partnership – is living abroad for professional reasons.
Other legitimate reasons include families living abroad but who have children in school in France, couples with children abroad and in France, students taking an exam, as well as people returning to their principal residence if that is in France.
The ministry said it still strongly recommends limiting international travel wherever possible.
The government curbed international travel on 14 January to try and get a grip on the circulation of the coronavirus and its new, more contagious variants.
Passengers were required to provide documentation proving that their travel met the necessary threshold at airline counters during check-in and then again at border control. Border police required written proof before allowing passengers to board.