As France is a very popular destination, many people don’t know if they need a French visa. The answer is that most visitors don’t need a visa-only those who are planning on staying in the country longer than 6 months are required to obtain entry documents. Here is more information on visas for France and everything you need to know if you plan on visiting the country soon.France has recently made changes to its visa application process for several countries in the European Union (EU), including the UK. The changes are particularly relevant for those trying to visit, study or work in France either temporarily or permanently.
Getting a visa to visit France isn’t as difficult as you might think. However, depending on your nationality and the circumstances of your trip, the requirements that the French Embassy will ask from you may be different from the next person.
Does The Uk Need A Visa For France
All travellers should familiarise themselves with the entry rules for France before travel.
If you’re fully vaccinated
From 31 March 2022, fully vaccinated travellers from the UK aged 12 and over must provide proof of vaccination.
If you have received a booster, you are considered fully vaccinated for entry into France. There is currently no expiry date for booster jabs. If you are aged 18 and over and have not received a booster, but have received two doses of a vaccine approved for use by France, then no more than 9 months must have passed since your second dose, to qualify as fully vaccinated.
You may also be asked to complete the EU-PLF form before boarding or upon arrival in France.
Proof of vaccination status
France will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record at the border. The French Government recognises any vaccination certificates that conform to EU norms. This means your final dose must have been administered at least 7 days prior to travel for Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or 28 days after a second dose of Johnson & Johnson. For details on how to demonstrate your COVID-19 status in domestic settings in France, see the Coronavirus page. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
If your vaccine certificate shows a different name to your passport (e.g. marital / birth name), please also carry any supporting documentation (e.g. marriage certificate) when travelling.
Check our COVID-19 advice on things to consider, and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
From 31 March 2022, travellers from the UK aged 12 years and over who are not fully vaccinated need to provide:
- A negative PCR test result, taken within 72 hours or an antigen test result, taken within 48 hours pre-departure.
You may also be asked to complete the EU-PLF form before boarding or upon arrival in France.
You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to an-other country. You should arrange to take a private test from a private coronavirus testing provider. Test results must be certified by an approved private test provider to be accepted.
Children and young people
The French Ministry of the Interior website states that all children under 12 are exempt from all COVID-19 travel restrictions.
For travellers aged 12 to 18, please see the sections above for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers. In addition, depending on vaccination status and that of any accompanying adult, you may be required to provide other documentation. You should consult the full details on the French Embassy in the UK’s website.
If you’re transiting through France
Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.
Transiting through France is permitted for travellers from the UK in line with the entry requirements set out above.
HGV drivers from the UK entering France do not have to show a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination and do not have to quarantine.
Travel to France from other countries (except the UK – see above)
France has a colour-code system governing international travel to and from France. There are four categories: green, amber, red and ‘scarlet red’. For details on the entry restrictions for travel to or from France from other countries, you should check the status of the country and relevant restrictions on the French government’s website.
Entry to French Overseas Territories
On 12 May 2022, the French government announced restrictions on travel between France and many of its overseas territories would be relaxed. If you’re unvaccinated, you may no longer need a compelling reason for travel or proof of a negative COVID-19 test before travel. You should refer to the French Government’s website to check the measures in place in each territory.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.
Your passport must be:
- Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
- valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
You can travel to countries in the Schengen area, which France is part of, for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training. Find more information here.
If you are travelling to France and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.
To stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the French government’s entry requirements. To see what your individual entry requirement might be, you should visit the France Visas website.
If you are travelling to France for work, read the guidance on visas and permits.
If you stay in France with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
British citizens who are unable to return to the UK before the expiry of their visa / permit or the end of their visa-free limit should contact their local prefecture in France.
Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through France as a visitor. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.
You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.
At French border control, you may need to:
- show proof of where you intend to stay, for example, a booking confirmation or proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home). Further information is detailed below
- show proof of insurance for your trip. Please check the guidance on travel insurance here
- show a return or onward ticket
- prove that you have enough money for the duration of your stay. Further information is detailed below
France categorises possible accommodation arrangements for visitors as follows:
- Staying with family, friends or third party – you may be asked to provide an ’attestation d’accueil’ (welcome invitation) from your host if you are staying with friends or family. The French resident hosting you will need to obtain this attestation d’accueil from their local Mayor’s office, and send the original attestation before you enter France. You should also be prepared to show proof of funds of at least €32.50 per day, for the duration of your stay. If you do not have an ‘attestation d’accueil’ you should be ready to fulfil the requirements of option 4 below.
- You have a second home in France – you will need to be able to prove ownership or tenancy of your property e.g. a tax or utility bill.
- You are staying in a hotel or other commercially provided accommodation – you may be asked for confirmation of your reservation when entering France. You should also be prepared to show proof of funds of at least €65 per day for the duration of your stay.
- You do not have an ‘attestation d’accueil’ or any pre-booked accommodation – in this instance, you may be asked to prove you have sufficient means for your visit, of at least €120 per day for the duration of your stay.
British citizens who are unable to return to the UK before the expiry of their visa/permit or the end of their visa-free limit due to COVID-19 restrictions should contact their local immigration authorities in France.
For further information on these requirements, visit the French government’s website on travel conditions for British citizens.
If you are resident in France, read our Living in France guide for passport stamping information.
Travelling with children
From 15 January 2017, any child (under the age of 18) who is (a) living in France and (b) leav-ing France unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, must present the following documents on departure at the French border: (i) the child’s own ID card or passport, (ii) a completed AST authorisation form signed by a parent/guardian (Authorisation de Sortie du Territoire) and (iii) a copy of the ID card or passport of the parent or guardian who has signed the AST form. For more information visit the French Ministry of Interior website.
Travelling with pets
If you wish to travel with a pet dog, cat or ferret to the EU, please read our guidance. You can no longer use a pet passport issued in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) for travel to France. If your pet passport was issued in an EU Member State or Northern Ireland it remains valid for travel to France.
If you wish to travel to France with other pets (for non-commercial means) – rodents, rabbits/hares, ornamental tropical fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates (except bees and crustaceans), you will need a health document which must be signed by a vet.
Travel with pets for non-commercial means is limited to five animals.
You can find more information (in French) at this link and by then scrolling down and clicking on the link to a pdf document entitled note d’information sur l’importation d’animaux de compagnie en provenance de pays tiers. The health document mentioned above is on page 17 of the pdf (annex IV).
On arrival in France, pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated travellers’ point of entry (TPE) e.g. Calais, Dunkirk.
Customs checks upon entry into France
There are limits on the volume and value amounts for certain goods that you can bring into France as a traveller. You should check the French Directorate General of Customs and Excise website to confirm the latest allowances per traveller.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from France.