France will end its ban on travelers from the UK on Friday (January 14), permitting non-essential travel once again. 

France imposed a non-essential travel ban on arrivals from the UK In December when the Omicron variant was spreading "extremely quickly" there, with some exceptions made for French and EU citizens.

Starting tomorrow (January 14) that ban will be lifted and travel from the UK will be permitted, though some COVID-19 restrictions still apply.

"People will once again be able to travel for leisure between France and the UK, and to go skiing," France's tourism minister, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, told reporters.

Read more: France travel during COVID-19 - What it felt like to visit this winter

France testing and self-isolation rules for UK arrivals

Vaccinated UK travelers will no longer need an essential reason to enter France, and will not have to self-isolate upon arrival. However, they must provide a COVID-19 test result taken within 24 hours of departure. This applies to all travelers over the age of 12. 

The rules remain unchanged for unvaccinated UK travelers who will have to register their essential reasons for visiting France on an app, present a negative COVID-19 test, and self-isolate for at least 48 hours upon arrival—only leaving isolation if they produce another negative test in France.

To be considered as fully vaccinated, travelers must have had two doses of one of the four EU-approved vaccines, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson at least two weeks prior to travel.

Passengers arrive from London at the Eurostar terminal at Paris Gare du Nord station
France has lifted its travel ban on the UK ©Getty Images

Why was the travel ban introduced?

The ban was introduced when the UK was facing a surge of Omicron-fuelled COVID-19 cases, shortly after the new variant had emerged in Europe. France had hoped that by limiting travel to and from the UK, it would give them time to control the virus within their own borders.

In a statement released two days before the ban, the French government said that from Decemer 18 "people cannot travel for tourism or professional reasons," adding that the British government had itself said that the UK would face “a tidal wave” of new Omicron-driven infections in the coming days.

Now that Omicron has reached most of the world, with France expected to reach its Omicron peak in mid-January, the French government no longer feels it is necessary to continue the ban.

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This article was first published Dec 16, 2021 and updated Jan 13, 2022.

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