Borders and Covid: Portugal, Algeria, these countries that lift their restrictions for summer 2021

12 min reading time

Published on 20/05/21 - Updated on 05/04/22

Frontières et Covid

While compelling reasons will be lifted between some overseas territories and the Hexagon, some countries have gradually reopened their doors in the run-up to the 2021 summer vacations. Some countries are open without or with restrictions, others with even a quarantine, and some completely closed. Travel within the EU is possible provided that there is a compelling or professional reason as well as a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old.

Travel restrictions on overseas destinations:

o Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint-Martin and France: the compelling reasons will be lifted as of June 9. A negative PCR test less than 72 hours before departure will continue to be required for departure from France to these overseas territories. Non-vaccinated travelers will have to commit to a 7-day self-isolation period after which they will have to test negative. Vaccinated travelers (full vaccination schedule) will be exempted from the self-isolation commitment, says the government.

o Reunion and Mayotte and France: the lifting of the compelling reasons for vaccinated travelers (full vaccination schedule) will take place in both directions from June 9: a negative PCR test less than 72 hours before departure will continue to be required. Travelers to and from these territories will also commit to a 7-day self-isolation at the end of which they must test negative, whether or not they are vaccinated."

Since Monday, May 17, 2021, people from European Union countries with a coronavirus incidence of less than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (including France) "can make "all types of travel to Portugal, including non-essential travel," the Portuguese government said in a statement. However, all passengers over the age of 2 must present a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old before boarding. Airlines that take passengers on board without a test will be fined "between 500 and 2,000 euros per passenger", the Ministry of the Interior warned.

o Greece: from now on, visitors will only have to present a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test to enter the country.

o Algeria: the country will partially reopen its borders from June 1. This reopening will begin with "a plan of five daily flights to and from the airports of Algiers, Constantine and Oran", the country's largest cities. It will operate in "strict compliance" with preventive measures against Covid-19. A press release detailing the details of this reopening will be issued "within a week".

Countries where French citizens can travel:

It is recommended that every French person visit the Quai d'Orsay website for detailed information on the reopening of the borders of each country. On this page, a search engine allows you to quickly consult the current regulations by entering a destination. For the overseas territories, Jean Castex reminded us of the need to present a negative test before departure, while specifying that the rules vary according to the communities.

o Greece, Croatia, the Seychelles and Dubai are open to French tourists without any restriction other than the presentation of a negative PCR test or a vaccination certificate. France is working with Tous AntiCovid Carnet and the European Union on a tourist pass that will be implemented in early June in France in order to "facilitate travel after the lifting of restrictions between different European countries with tests and vaccination".

Countries for which border controls are reinforced :

In order to combat the spread of Covid-19, the government has extended the list of countries for which quarantine is mandatory upon return to France. A mandatory ten-day quarantine upon arrival in France applies to four additional destinations, as of Sunday May 16: Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay. The 10-day quarantine is already imposed on people coming from the following five countries since April 24: India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa. And since May 8, to those coming from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan.

Travelers arriving from all of these countries must show proof of a PCR test less than 36 hours old, or a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old with a negative antigen test less than 24 hours old. "A verification system" of the existence of a quarantine area is set up and controls of the respect of the quarantine are carried out at home by the national police or the gendarmerie, specifies the communiqué. Violators are subject to a fine of up to 1,500 euros.

Gradual lifting of compelling reasons to travel overseas:

It will soon no longer be necessary to provide compelling reasons to travel to or from overseas territories, with the exception of French Guiana, where the number of infections is increasing. The requirement to present a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old remains valid for all destinations.

Compelling reasons have been lifted since May 19 between France and the islands of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Saint Barthélémy. They will be lifted on June 9 for Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Saint-Martin. On the same date, the requirement to have a compelling reason to travel will also disappear between France, Reunion, Mayotte and French Polynesia, but only for vaccinated travelers who have received two doses - who will also be exempt from quarantine.

o For New Caledonia, as part of the territory's "Covid-free" strategy, the local government has decided to limit scheduled flights to its territory, at least until October 30, 2021. Compelling reasons are maintained for travel to and from France. For Wallis and Futuna, discussions are still underway with local authorities. As for French Guiana, "the lifting of compelling reasons is not on the agenda," according to the statement from the Ministry of Overseas France. Due to the worrying increase in the number of contaminations linked to the so-called "Brazilian" variant, a containment measure has been applicable since May 14 in the territory.

European countries that open their borders to the French:

o Spain has reopened its land, air and rail borders with the rest of the EU. However, any passenger wishing to travel to Spain by air will have to complete a personal and non-transferable form: once this form is completed and signed, the traveler will receive a QR code associated with his or her trip that he or she will have to keep on his or her cell phone or print out in order to pass the airport health check. A PCR test carried out less than 72 hours before arrival and whose result must be negative, is required to enter the Spanish territory by air, sea, and now land. The Spanish authorities announced on Saturday that a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old will be required for anyone wishing to cross the French land border to Spain. The measure, which will take effect Tuesday, March 30, comes as Spain steps up restrictions in hopes of preventing an increase in Covid-19 cases during Holy Week.

o Germany has classified France as a high-risk area for the Covid pandemic, which is expected to result in entry restrictions ranging from requiring a negative test upon entry into Germany, to quarantining people in Germany for 10 days, to imposing strict border controls.

o Belgium, where travel abroad for tourism and other non-essential purposes had been banned since late January due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reopened its borders on Monday 19 April to travel within the European Union (EU).

People from EU countries with an incidence of coronavirus "less than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (including France)" can make "all types of travel to Portugal, including non-essential travel". If the quarantine on arrival has been lifted, the negative PCR test of less than 72 hours remains mandatory.

o In the United Kingdom, only French and European Area nationals and British or third country nationals who are either ordinarily resident in France, the European Union or the European Area will be allowed to travel to or from the United Kingdom. A negative test less than 72 hours old is required to enter England and Scotland. You must also present a document including information about your origin and the place where the quarantine period will be carried out "passenger locator form" to be completed online.

As of January 16, all travelers must present a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old upon arrival in Ireland. You will also be required to complete a Passenger Locator Form upon arrival.

o In the Netherlands, the nightly curfew was lifted on April 28 and bars and restaurants were allowed to serve small groups outdoors between noon and 6:00 pm. The Dutch government is requesting a ten-day home quarantine for travelers upon arrival in the Netherlands.

o Greece announced it was lifting all health measures after months of containment. From now on, visitors need only present a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test to enter the country.

A negative PCR test less than 72 hours old is required for all travelers coming from all airports in France, including those in the Ile de France region. Any presentation of a falsified PCR test result leads to arrest by the local police, prosecution and very high fines. All travelers to Malta by air are required to bring a Travel Declaration Form and a Passenger Tracking Form (available online, in English only) to be handed in either to the airline operating their flight to Malta or to a dedicated area in the arrival terminal of Malta International Airport. Persons who have stayed in countries with which the Maltese health authorities have authorized the reopening of borders (including France) are exempt from the mandatory quarantine.

o Andorra: French citizens can cross the border with Andorra again since June 1st.

o In Denmark, since the end of August, France is considered as a "closed" country and tourists coming from France will not be admitted. From France, only people who can show a legitimate and justified reason will be allowed to enter the Danish territory.

o Norway advises against non-essential travel to France. France is now classified as "red" on the map of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI). From this date, anyone arriving in Norway from France will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine.

o In Iceland, all persons arriving from abroad (residents and travelers) must respect a 14-day quarantine. To shorten this period, it is possible to be tested upon arrival at Keflavik international airport (for a cost of ISK 11,000 on site, or ISK 9,000 if prepaid online), and then observe a strict quarantine until the second PCR test (free) in one of the country's screening centers.

o In Croatia, since June 30, citizens of the European Union or Schengen area member states, regardless of their place of residence, as well as their family members, can freely enter Croatia.

Since October 7, France has been among the countries subject to a fourteen-week visa requirement. All persons who have stayed in France during the 14 days preceding their entry into Romania are concerned.

o Cyprus: travel to Cyprus is impossible until further notice.

o For other European countries, consult the updated information on this page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Countries reopening their borders to the French in Asia :

o After Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Guyana, whose travelers are now subject to mandatory quarantine upon arrival at French airports, India is now in the sights of the authorities: government spokesman Gabril Attal announced after the Council of Ministers that "for a few countries where the health situation is serious and particularly worrying and worrisome, we will tighten the screw further," India being added to the list of countries subject to "drastic" travel restrictions.

o China is now blocking the arrival of travelers from France and a dozen other countries heavily affected by Covid-19.

o Japan: French travelers cannot currently travel to Japan without a visa. Only business trips can be submitted to the Japanese Embassy in France for a visa. Tourist travel is currently prohibited.

o Russia: Russia's external borders are closed, and no foreign nationals are allowed to enter Russia, including foreigners with temporary residence permits.

o For other Asian countries, please consult the updated information on this page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Countries reopening their borders to French citizens in America :

o United States: as the vaccination campaign continues apace in the United States, the CDC has updated its recommendations for airline customers in early April, "to reflect the latest scientific evidence and data" on the effects of vaccination. For domestic flights, fully vaccinated individuals (two weeks after receiving the last or only dose) may fly without testing negative at the departure airport or self-insulating after arrival. For international travel from the U.S., vaccinated passengers may fly without testing "unless the international destination requires it. Upon return, they are no longer required to quarantine themselves "unless required by a state or local jurisdiction"; however, travelers must still have a negative Covid-19 test before boarding a flight to the U.S., and retest 3-5 days after returning from international travel.

o Canada: Non-Canadian nationals are prohibited from entering the country. There are a number of exceptions to this measure, depending on the status of the travelers involved and coming to the country for an essential purpose. All travelers aged 5 years or older entering Canada must have a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old at the time of boarding.

o Cuba: A PCR test less than 72 hours old is required for travel to Cuba. It is also necessary to pay a health tax at the airport in the amount of 30 USD.

o Brazil: questioned during the government question period about flights from Brazil that continue to land in France every day despite the very high number of variants, Prime Minister Jean Castex assures us that "to date, anyone wishing to travel to France from Brazil can only do so for compelling reasons". We note that the situation is worsening and we have therefore decided to suspend all flights between Brazil and France until further notice," explained the head of government during the government question session at the National Assembly. The decree, published in the Official Gazette, states that "the movement of people from this country to the territory of the Republic are (...) prohibited until April 19, 2021 at zero hour.

o Argentina: Access to Argentine territory from abroad is open exclusively to Argentine nationals, nationals of other nationalities residing in Argentina and nationals of other nationalities who are related in the first degree (spouse, parents, children, siblings) to residents in Argentina.

o Colombia: Colombia's land and sea borders remain closed until further notice. The country's air borders are not closed. For international travel, a PCR test less than 96 hours old should be presented before boarding a flight to Colombia.

o Costa Rica: A negative PCR-RT test for COVID-19 is no longer required for tourists in Costa Rica and no mandatory quarantine health order has been put in place. However, travelers with symptoms will not be allowed to board.

o Mexico: Travel to Mexico is not recommended, but the borders are open.

o For other American countries, please consult the updated information on this page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Countries open to French citizens in Africa:

o Tunisia: since May 3, 2021, travelers entering Tunisia must present a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old and undergo self-isolation at their own expense in an approved hotel (full list of establishments here) for a period of 7 days. Self-isolation is possible after a negative PCR test on the 5th or 7th day of self-isolation, at the traveler's expense (indicative cost: 170 Tunisian dinars). Exempted from mandatory hotel confinement are: travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 or those who have contracted COVID-19 and have received a vaccination dose.

o Morocco: the state of health emergency has been in effect in Morocco since March 20, 2020 and has been extended monthly since that date. As part of the state of emergency, Morocco's air, land, and sea borders are closed. However, Morocco has authorized the resumption of air and sea links to allow certain categories of people to enter and leave Morocco: Moroccan citizens, foreign citizens with resident status in Morocco, and foreign citizens traveling to Morocco on official business. All persons traveling to Morocco must present a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old upon boarding.

o Algeria will begin a gradual reopening of its borders on June 1, 2021. The national airline Air Algérie relayed on social networks a communiqué of the Council of Ministers announcing that "the resumption will be at the rate of five flights per day from and to three airports: Algiers, Oran and Constantine", the largest cities in the country.

o Egypt: Since July 1, Egypt has resumed air travel to and from abroad. Since August 15, 2020, it is mandatory to present a negative PCR test in order to enter the Egyptian territory.

o Madagascar: due to the local evolution of the health crisis in Madagascar, international flights to and from Nosy Be airport are suspended for an indefinite period. Similarly, domestic flights to and from Nosy Be airport are suspended until May 31, 2021, for the same reasons.

o For other African countries, please consult the updated information on this page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Countries open to French citizens in Oceania :

o Australia will extend the closure of its international borders by at least three months, until June 17, 2021, a self-isolation policy to protect it from Covid-19 that has already been in effect for a year.

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