France Prepares COVID Traffic Light System for Summer Travel

France Prepares COVID Traffic Light System for Summer Travel

France is to classify countries into three colour-coded categories for foreign travel, with the colour determining the quarantine measures and other travel restrictions for countries outside the European Union.

The “traffic light” system is one of the steps the French government is taking to ensure a safe reopening this summer when it expects international travel to pick up again.

Several countries such as the UK have already put in place similar systems, allowing for travellers coming from ‘green’ countries with low infection rates to escape some of the strictest measures in place on those coming in from ‘red’ countries with high infection rates.

France’s Travel System

The French tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne did not clarify the rules for each colour group, nor did he mention specific countries subject to either colour, other than hinting that “there are only five or six” ‘green’ countries at the moment.

“But with time it will expand,” Lemoyne said, referring to when more people are vaccinated against the virus.

Due to a mounting fear of new COVID variants, France already placed several countries on a ‘red’ list obliging travellers to comply with strict rules including a compulsory police-enforced quarantine period. 

France Current Travel Rules

Travel for most non-EU countries at present is only possible for essential reasons, although this restriction will lift from June.

Only travellers from the following third countries are allowed to enter France.

  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Japan 
  • New Zealand 
  • Singapore
  • South Korea 
  • the United Kingdom

All non-EU arrivals need to present a negative COVID test and a sworn declaration at the border and are asked to observe a voluntary quarantine.

France’s Red List

The French government announced the extension of its ‘red list’ of countries in which all arrivals are subject to a compulsory, 10 days police-enforced quarantine.

Only essential travel is allowed to enter France for travellers from the following countries:

  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • India
  • Nepal 
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkey 
  • the United Arab Emirates

Arrivals from these countries need to present negative PCR test results and a sworn declaration that they do not have known contact with someone COVID-19 in the 14 days before travel to France. 

Travellers from other countries not on the green and red list cannot enter France unless they are exempted from the travel restrictions.

The French government hopes to publish the new red, orange and green lists “sometime before the end of the month”. The lists will be updated according to the epidemic development in each country.

The French government is also working together with the EU to set up a digital COVID-19 ‘health pass’ with vaccination certificates and test results that will become key for international travel within the bloc.

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