France Opens Borders to EU & Schengen Citizens—Restrictions for Spain & the UK

On 15 June 2020, France lifted COVID-19 related travel restrictions on EU and Schengen residents seeking to enter the country. However, citizens of Spain and the former EU member nation, the United Kingdom, are still barred from traveling to France.

14-day quarantines will still remain in place for travelers from Spain and the United Kingdom due to the Spanish and British governments’ own guidelines for travelers from France.

Individuals seeking to travel to France should visit the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs’ Travel Advice webpage for more information. Travelers will be required to fill out a declaration for international travel, but will no longer be required to carry a derogatory international travel certificate.

Visa and resident permit requirements will be given priority by the French government for international students.

The guidance on reopening first came in a report from the European Commission on 13 May 2020 in which the importance of tourism to the European Union was stressed. The report mentioned the vital role tourism plays in the economies of EU and Schengen nations.

“The months to come should not be lost for the vibrant European tourism ecosystem covering a range of activities such as travel, transport, accommodation, food, recreation on land and water, culture or nature. Directly and indirectly, it contributes close to 10% to EU GDP and has made the EU the world’s leading tourism destination, with 563 million international arrivals and 30% of global receipts in 2018,” the report reads.

French Ministers for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and Christope Castaner announced that the move was made in response to the fairly positive health conditions in Europe stating,

Given the favorable development of the health situation in France and in Europe and in accordance with the recommendations of the European Commission presented yesterday, France will lift all traffic restrictions at its internal European borders on June 15 in the morning, (land, air and sea, implemented to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Recently, France’s cases of COVID-19 have been on the decline and restrictions within the country’s borders have slowly but steadily been being lifted. On the 22nd of June, for instance, children will return to French schools excluding high schools. A second round of municipal elections that were originally to take place in March will also be held on the 28th of June.

With the lifting of travel restrictions, French President Emmanuel Macron stated in an address, “As soon as tomorrow, we will be able to turn the page on this first chapter across all our territory,” but was adamant that, “this does not mean that the virus has gone and that we can completely drop our guard.”

He went on to say, “The summer of 2020 will be a summer unlike any other and we will need to watch the evolution of the epidemic to be prepared in case it comes back with renewed strength.”

2020 has been without a doubt an unprecedented year and most governments are beginning to notice the indirect toll taken on their people by the economic impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. As the world continues to come to grips with the virus and its economic fallout, more and more restrictions on travel and commerce will be lifted.

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