Brexit and Covid have combined to bring disruption and change to all our lives - and especially those of us who travel across international borders. The dual effect has also caused huge amounts of confusion. So I thought a short summary of the current situation would be helpful, with a few personal perspectives as someone who does the UK-France journey regularly.
The most disruptive consequences of Brexit affect freight and employment but not tourist travel. Here are some points to be aware of:
- The UK Government now requires you to display a "UK" sticker on your car. If anyone can find a use for a thousand shiny GB stickers with Spring Harvest Holidays logo, please let me know!
- Your UK passport must be less than ten years old and valid for at least three months after you plan to return. You don't need any kind of visa. Your passport will be stamped on entry and exit: we're only allowed 90 days in any 180 day period in the EU/Schengen area but that's plenty for holiday and most business travel.
- You're fine with a normal UK driving license. Likewise your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) still entitles you to limited free healthcare - but when you renew it, you'll be given a GHIC (Global instead of European but with all the same benefits).
- There are rules on what you can import and export (no dairy products for example) but the wine supplies that you may want to bring back from your holidays are unaffected: the UK border still seem to apply the same principle that it must be for personal consumption.
So what about Covid restrictions? Here's my understanding of the current situation:
- To travel to France you must be fully vaccinated and able to prove it using the NHS app. The French Embassy website says this applies to travellers aged 12 and over with under-twelves "exempt from all Covid travel restrictions in all cases"
- You need to present a negative test certificate from a test within 48 hours of your arrival in France - this can't be an NHS or self-administered test
- Everyone needs to complete a simple form declaring that you've not have symptoms or been in contact with an infected person.
- There are no testing or isolation requirements when you return to the UK but everyone needs to complete an online Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours prior to travelling back.
In France, the passe vaccinale, formerly known as passe sanitaire, is universally required to enter cafes, restaurants, bars, places of entertainment and holiday venues such as Le Pas Opton. The UK's NHS app is accepted as an equivalent to the passe. In recent days, the French Government has been signalling a likely end to these restrictions, possibly in May and certainly before July.
As we all know, the situation changes regularly. Keep checking, keep praying! Right now things are moving rapidly in a positive direction for those of us who love to travel and holiday at LPO.