Closure of French borders: who can enter, who cannot

French police officers check motorists wishing to cross the Franco-Belgian border in March 2020 (illustrative image).

AP - Michel Spingler

Text by: RFI Follow

3 min

From this Sunday midnight, France closes its borders with countries outside the European area, except for compelling reasons.

Announced Friday by Prime Minister Jean Castex, this measure to counter the progression of Covid-19 aims to limit the movement of people


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Jean Castex had spoken of " 

countries outside the European Union

 " as being those concerned by the closing of borders.

These are actually countries outside the European area.

This means that travelers from Iceland, Monaco, Norway or Switzerland will still be able to enter French territory, under the same conditions that apply to member countries of the European Union: by justifying a test PCR negative less than 72 hours.

This test obligation was already in force for air and sea transport, but as

Jean Castex


announced on Friday

, it is now extended to land and rail transport.

For countries outside the European area, it is therefore now impossible to re-enter French territory except in the event of a compelling reason.

Many cases of derogation exist.

A French or a European residing in France will be authorized to reenter the territory, as well as their children and spouse.

A compelling reason for traveling

The French or Europeans living abroad will, on the other hand, have to justify a compelling reason to enter France.

According to 

a list published by the Ministry of the Interior

, this could be the death of a loved one, a resumption of studies, a " 

vital medical emergency

 " or even a professional mission "

which cannot be postponed


For nationals of countries outside the European area, there are many scenarios that allow them to come to France.

Holders of a French or European residence permit living in France will thus be authorized to enter the territory.

Just like those who need treatment there, or those working in the transport of people or goods.

In all these cases, proof of the negative PCR test will also be requested.

Any trip to or from French overseas territories is also conditioned on an overriding reason.

A rule that also applies to all trips to countries outside the European area. 


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