France – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update : November 04th 2020

France implements second lockdown to last for next four weeks

What is the change?

A new, four-week lockdown took effect on Oct. 30 due to surging COVID-19 infections in France.

  • As announced by French President Emmanuel Macron, France will be in lockdown until Dec. 1.
  • As part of the lockdown, people in France will only be allowed to leave their homes if they have one of three attestation forms for essential purposes: food shopping, commuting to work if it is not possible to work from home, medical care, a family emergency or an appointment with public services. Outdoor exercise will be allowed for one hour per day within 1km of the home. Schools will remain open with children six-year-old and older required to wear masks.
  • Appointments with the local authorities will remain available.
  • Travel restrictions remains the same. Travelers entering France under an exception to the entry ban (e.g., French nationals, third-country nationals holding a residence permit or those performing worked deemed essential) must print out an “International Certificate” and carry it with them when they travel.
  • France is currently requiring travelers from non-EU countries to test negative for COVID-19 before entering the country. Travelers from Bahrain, Panama, the United Arab Emirates and the United States must complete a test before traveling. Travelers from all other non-EU countries can be tested at the airport upon arrival if they do not obtain a test before departing for France.

Employers should expect ongoing disruptions to employee mobility.

Update : July 31st 2020

Testing for travelers from certain countries, including US, implemented

What is change?

France is now requiring COVID-19 testing for individuals traveling from 16 countries prior to entering France. Most foreign travelers from these countries are still not allowed to enter France, with limited exceptions.

Key points:

  • The high-risk 16 countries are: Bahrain, Brazil, Israel, India, Kuwait, Madagascar, Oman, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
  • Beginning 1st August a mandatory PCR test will be required 72 hours before boarding a plane for France for those traveling from these countries.
  • Individuals traveling from Bahrain, Panama, the UAE and the U.S. will have to present a negative PCR test 72 hours before boarding a plane for France, otherwise they will be denied boarding.
  • For travelers from the other 12 countries, a mandatory test will be given at French airports if a traveler arrives in France without test results.
  • The test will not be required for children under the age of 11.

France has begun to lift some COVID-19 entry restrictions. Last month, France lifted entry restrictions for non-essential travel to France for citizens of European Union and Schengen Area countries. Earlier this month, France lifted restrictions on travel from 13 non-EU/EEA countries. While France has not issued an updated list yet, restrictions on travel from Serbia are likely to be re-imposed based on their inclusion in the list of 16 countries for which a COVID-19 test is required. International students who need to travel to France for study purposes have been able to do so since 1st July.

Employers are encouraged to check with Deloitte for additional details, as travel requirements are fluid.

Update : July 13th 2020

Travel restrictions lifted for some countries

What is change?

As of July 1, France has lifted entry restrictions for travelers from 13 countries.

Key Points:

  • The entry ban is lifted for those traveling from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
  • Entrance of travelers from the above countries is subject to Schengen Area border regulations.
  • Algeria and China were originally included in the initial list recommended by the EU Commission but have since been removed.
  • The government will update the list every 15 days.
  • Although French consulates have resumed operation in the U.S., they are not processing work visa applications, owing to the current ban on entry to France for travelers from the U.S.
  • French consulates in the U.S. are prioritizing the processing of applications for the following visas: short stay for spouses of French citizens; short stay for spouses of EU citizens; short and long stay for students; return visa – only for those whose French resident permit is lost or stolen or whose récepissé is expiring.
  • According to the French visa website, French consulates in the 13 countries will give priority to the review of visa applications “for work purpose and family settlement.” The website gives no other information in this regard.

Update : June 1st 2020

Entrance restrictions updated

What is change?

France has updated entrance restrictions and related regulations.

Key Points:

  • As of May 25, the following foreign nationals may enter France:
    • Citizens of France, the European Union, Andorra, the U.K., Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino and the Vatican, as well as their spouses and children if they reside in France or if they are passing through France on their way to the country of which they are nationals or residents.
    • Third-country seasonal agricultural workers whose main residence is in the above countries, and who hold a prior declaration of employment, a receipt with the Simplified TESA or the TESA+ order number, a contract of employment signed with a company or an agricultural company operating in France.
    • Posted European workers whose assignment cannot be postponed, and who hold a service agreement specifying assignment duration.
    • Third-country nationals, as well as their spouses and children, with a valid French or European residence permit who are traveling to their main residence.
  • All foreign nationals entering France must hold a travel certificate in addition to the other required documentation (e.g., proof of residence, work certificate, etc.).
  • As of May 25, travelers from outside of Europe are subject to 14-day quarantine.
  • Travelers flying from Spain will be asked to enter voluntary quarantine. This measure shall also be implemented for travelers from the U.K. once the British quarantine has entered into force.

France closed its borders in April, and the EU external border closure will remain in force until at least June 15.

Update : May 15th, 2020

Change regarding state of emergency

What is change?

A new law is now in effect as of May 12.

The state of emergency initially planned for two months starting March 24 is now extended until July 10. Several new regulations regarding quarantine and movement of people are included.

In addition, the lockdown is lifted as of May 11 with the result that certificates are no longer needed to prove the purpose of leaving home.

Some kindergarten, primary and middle schools are also reopening. Some shops are also opening, with the exception of restaurants and bars, provided they implement all sanitary requirements. French government administrations including the prefectures will resume progressively and will review applications in accordance with necessity (right of asylum takes priority).

Borders are still closed until further notice. However, the European Commission requires the travel ban continue until at least June 15.

What does the change include?

People can move freely within 100 kilometers of their home (in French cities and French overseas territories). Those wishing to exceed this limitation outside their department of residence must complete and sign an attestation stating one of the following reasons for traveling beyond the 100 kilometers:

  • Urgent work.
  • Studies or taking an exam.
  • Medical reasons.
  • Urgent family reasons.
  • Reporting to police/national authorities.
  • Summons to appear before administrative and judicial authorities.
  • Specific tasks imposed by the administrative authorities.

Government officials can impose a 14-day quarantine on those coming from a third country (not including European Union countries and the U.K.) in the following situations:

  • If they are arriving from an area deemed infected by COVID-19 (according to the Ministry of Health list).
  • Those who are infected by COVID-19 as certified by a certificate from a medical doctor.

Update : March 31st, 2020

Labor Office closures, limited services affect application processing

What is change?

Labor Office application processing is halted or delayed as a result of France’s COVID-19 self-isolation mandate.

Key Points

  • The Labor Offices have either suspended operations or are only partially operational, affecting work permit application processing.
  • When normal operations resume, longer processing times are anticipated.
  • During mandatory home confinement, people may only leave their residence for essential purchases of food and medicine, to seek medical care, to assist those in need, and for work. Anyone who leaves home must hold an individual statement explaining the reason for leaving confinement.

Employers must be prepared for significant disruptions to employee mobility and all but essential business activity and government services.

Update : March 18, 2020

New measures to prevent the spread of the virus: Closure of nurseries, schools and universities and all non-indispensable places.

Further to an address to the nation on March 16 evening by the French President and further to the Ministerial Council held on March 17, the French government has implemented the following measures :

  • A total-containment of the population during at least 15 days effective March 17 from noon is now in place. Individuals are allowed to get out only for essentials needs (work purpose, make essential purchases (food, medicine, ..), visit doctors, child care or help vulnerable individual with the entire respect of the sanitary barrier). They must hold an individual statement reporting the reasons for being out of their home
  • In an agreement with the other Schengen member states, all travel between non-European countries and EU countries are suspended for 30 days, making impossible for non EU nationals to enter France. The exception to this rule concerns French nationals, non-EU nationals holding a French long term visa and family of EU nationals

Impact in France – Communication from the public services:

  • The local administrations (notably the Prefectures) in all French areas are closed until further notice. Any appointment planned during the closure period is cancelled and will be postponed
  • In order to maintain the rights (work, residence, social right) in France of non-EU nationals legally present in France, the validity of their residence permits, expiring from March 16th 2020, is extended for three (3) additional months.
    The documents concerned are:

    • Long-stay visa
    • French residence permit, regardless the immigration status
    • Temporary residence permit
    • APS (temporary authorization of stay)
    • Asylum application attestation

In such situation the non EU nationals will be considered in a lawful status from a domestic perspective; still any travel outside France is prohibited as no return to France will be possible with expired residence permits.

This transition period should be sufficient to have the situation get back to normal. Still, we recommend to continue liaising with the local administration to apply for any further appointment.

Impact from abroad: Communication from the official visa website for France

Due to the current situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus, France has decided to suspend the issuance of visas until further notice.

All visa types are affected : short-stay Schengen visas, long-stay visas to France, visas to overseas territories. This suspension also applies to visa applications for which an appointment has already been made.

Sophie Carlei

Sophie est Managing Director au sein de l’équipe Mobilité Internationale de Lyon et dirige l’équipe immigration. Elle conseille les groupes français et internationaux et intervient tant pour des clients travaillant dans […]

Fatia Bouteiller

Fatia Bouteiller a rejoint Deloitte Société d’Avocats en 2017 pour renforcer l’équipe Immigration. Fatia dispose d’une expérience de 15 ans en mobilité internationale dans les domaines du droit de l’immigration, […]