Expats latest: France charging Britons to visit friends and family

Holidays: Simon Calder issues warning about PCR test cost

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Britons heading to France to visit friends or family will need to pay a €30 fee, show proof of an invitation and be registered at the local town hall thanks to post-Brexit rules. The UK is now regarded as a third country outside the EU, so visitors are required to show an acceptance certificate (attestation d’accueil) to prove they have been invited into the country.

The rule only applies if you are planning to stay less than three months, and if you will be staying with friends or family at their private residence. 

Prospective hosts will need to go to their local town hall to put in a request at least a month before their British guests arrive. The host is required to provide documents showing proof of address and utility bills.

Hosts will also need to register the travellers’ details such as a passport number.

Travel expert, Simon Calder, writes in the Independent that the form must include proof that visitors are covered by a minimum of €30,000 (£26,000) of insurance, even though the UK Global Health Insurance Card (Ghic) covers emergency medical treatment.

It is a €30 fee, but this covers a whole family if travelling with a spouse and children.

The French civil service states: “A foreigner who wishes to come to France for a tourist stay of less than three months must present a proof of accommodation. 

“This document is called acceptance certificate and is established by the person who will welcome him at his home during the stay in France.

“The request is made in the town hall. The certificate is issued if the host meets certain conditions.”

If the requirements are met, officials will provide a certificate that must be shown by visitors on arrival in France. Mr Calder assured that if officials refuse to issue the certificate, the host can appeal.

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France is currently on the UK’s amber list of countries and government advice is not to travel there unless it is necessary.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I think it is very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.

“And if people do go to an amber list country, they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reason, then please bear in mind that you will have to self-isolate, you will have to take tests and do your passenger locator form and all the rest of it.”

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