Coronavirus - Advice for Foreign Nationals in France

Since January 2020 a Coronavirus COVID-19 (ex 2019-nCoV) epidemic has spread from China. You’ll find authoritative answers to your questions on the epidemic and recommendations for your health on the French government’s website:

Exempted movement certificates for travel

Certificates for travel within French territory

To travel within or to French territory, you must have the necessary certificates printed or handwritten. These certificates (including English versions) may be downloaded here.

Digital certificates for travel

It is now possible to automatically generate your certificate for travel online. This can be used instead of the paper form which remains valid.

After filling in the online form, a .PDF file is generated with a QR Code containing all the information given via the form, as well as the time and date that the document was created. This file must be presented on your smartphone or tablet if you are checked.

This service is available on all types of mobile devices through a web browser. It has been designed to be used easily by individuals with a disability.

The system does not collect your personal data. And no files are kept.


Translations, together with advice for their use, are available here to help you understand the certificates. These do not replace the official French language version.

This applies to all the situations set out in this FAQ.

Certificate for international travel and to French overseas territories

In the context of the public health state of emergency in France, access has been restricted to metropolitan France and French overseas communities. As of 8 April 2020 at midnight, all travellers are obliged to fill out and keep on their person the certificate corresponding to their situation:
• Travel from metropolitan France to a French overseas community,
• International travel to metropolitan France,
• International travel to a French overseas community.
This document must be shown to transport providers before boarding and during checks upon arrival.

A special certificate is available for travel to French overseas communities.

International road transport

For international road transport of goods, the European Commission’s single employer authorization is sufficient and replaces authorization from the French employer. It is not necessary to be in possession of the certificate for international travel to metropolitan France as set out in the Prime Minister’s instruction of 18 March 2020 regarding the provisions for border controls.

I am a foreign national living in France. What confinement measures have been implemented on French national territory?

On 16 March 2020, the President of the French Republic decided to take measures to reduce contact and travel to the lowest possible level. Confinement measures were put in place across French territory form Tuesday, 17 March at midday. It is forbidden to leave your home except in the following cases and only when in possession of a declaration:
• Travel from home to work when it is not possible to work from home,
• Buy essential items in authorized shops near your house,
• Attend an appointment with a healthcare professional,
• Travel for essential family reasons, to help vulnerable individuals or carry out childcare duties,
• Legal or administrative appointments,
• Brief excursions, of no more than one hour per day and within a 1km radius of your house, for individual physical activity, with the exclusion of all sporting practice in groups and while maintaining a safe distance from other individuals, for a walk with the individuals within your household, and for needs relating to pets.

The documents required for leaving the house are available on the website of the French Ministry of the Interior (also available in English)

Violations of these rules will be subject to a fine of €135 which may be increased to €375 and €1,500 in case of reoffence.

If you have any doubts about these restrictions, you can consult the FAQs by clicking here. Only the official document provided by the French Ministry of the Interior or a handwritten copy may be used.

For the latest information, click here.

I am a foreign national travelling within a French overseas department or territory. How can I return to my home country?

Home country returns are not subject to any restrictions. You must, however, be in possession of a correctly filled-out exempted movement certificate for travel.

I am a national of a non-European Union country. I am staying in a country bordering France. To return to my country of origin, I must use a French airport. What should I do?

It is not possible to make such a journey over land. It is only possible to travel by air: individuals who find themselves in this situation may take a flight from the country that they are currently in towards their home country, with a stopover at a French airport.

In this situation, individuals must be in possession of the aforementioned certificate and their ticket to their home country, and must stay within the confines of the airport airside. They must not enter French territory.

I am a foreign national currently in France. I am confined to my house. My residence permit has expired but I cannot leave my house. What should I do?

Due to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, travel outside the home is limited in accordance with the Decree of 20 March 2020

Foreign nationals whose residence permits expired from 16 March onwards are therefore dispensed from the residence permit renewal procedure to prevent them having to leave the house for this reason.

Order No. 2020-328 of 25 March 2020 therefore extends the duration of validity of documents that would have expired between 16 March 2020 and 15 May 2020 by 3 months. This measure applies to:

Long-stay visas,
Residence permits,
Temporary residence permits,
Receipts for residence permit requests,
Proof of asylum.
It is important to note that this does not apply to short-stay visas (see next question).

For the latest information, click here

I am staying in France with a short-stay visa that is about to expire or has expired. What should I do?

Please contact your embassy as soon as possible to find out about how to return to the country where you are normally resident.

Holders of short-stay visas that are about to expire, and nationals exempt from a Schengen Visa who se maximum stay in the Schengen Area is reached or about to be reached, are asked to make contact with the Police Prefecture in the place they are staying which, in cases of justified emergency, may prolong their visa or issue a temporary residence authorization.

While waiting to return to your home country, do not forget to have in your possession the individual certificate (download it here) and your passport any time your leave the house.

I requested a short-stay or long-stay visa from a French consulate, what will happen to my request?

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, France has stopped issuing visas until further notice. This decision applies to all visa requests (short-stay Schengen visas, long-stay visas for France, visas for French overseas communities). It also applies to requests already submitted and requests for which appointments had already been made.

I requested a visa to return to France. I had an appointment. Is this appointment still valid?

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, France has stopped issuing visas until further notice. This decision applies to all visa requests (short-stay Schengen visas, long-stay visas for France, visas for French overseas communities). This also applies to requests for which appointments had already been made. You will need to book a new appointment to submit your visa request.

I was granted a visa to travel to France. I haven’t used it because of the border closures. What should I do?

If you have a short-stay Schengen visa that you cannot use, you will be able to use a simplified procedure requiring fewer proof documents for a new visa request once France has resumed issuing visas. The new visa shall be issued free of charge.
If you have a long-stay visa that expires between 16 March and 15 May 2020, its validity has been automatically extended by 90 days so that you can return to France once this will be possible again.

I am an asylum seeker. I have an appointment with the French Office for Refugees (OFPRA). What should I do?

Appointments scheduled after 16 March are cancelled and shall be rescheduled at a later date.

An appointment will be scheduled at a later date for asylum seekers and individuals requesting statelessness status who have had their appointment cancelled.
This measure may be extended as the situation changes.
Asylum seekers who were due to submit their file to the OFPRA are requested to submit their files as normal (only by post).
The OFPRA will save the file on the system so that the file is registered and the asylum seeker payments can be made.
Furthermore, for the duration of the public health state of emergency:

the limit of 21 days for submitting asylum requests to the OFPRA is suspended;
appeal deadlines for OFPRA decisions are suspended; they will start again from the end of this period;
hearings before the National Court of Asylum (CNDA) are suspended.

More information:

I am a foreign student in France. The establishment where I was studying has closed. Should I stay or return home?

International students whose establishments in France are closed are asked to return home, where possible, and in accordance with the measures regarding international travel. Furthermore, Campus France is ensuring repatriation for international students who have a bursary managed by Campus France in accordance with the French embassies that awarded the bursary.

For international students whose residence permits expire between 16 March and 15 May 2020, the validity of these permits has been extended by 90 days.
For the latest information, click here

I am a foreign student in France. Are classes finished?

All French higher education establishments are closed from Monday, 16 March following the decision of the President of the French Republic and until further notice.

During this period, teaching continues in formats appropriate for this unprecedented situation.

You are strongly advised to remain in contact with your education establishment and pay attention to the information sent by email, posted on establishment websites and on their official social media.

For the latest information, click here.

I am a foreign student in France, and I am living in a student residence. Can I stay there?

The university residences managed by the CROUS remain open. From 1 April, all students who have left their room - even temporarily - will not pay rent until they return. To enjoy this rent suspension, please inform the CROUS of your departure as soon as possible so that this can be verified and taken into account, using the email address of your residence.

However, Resto’U student restaurants are closed.

The Ministry of Higher Education, in collaboration with the CROUS and higher education establishments including universities, is currently arranging for the CVEC to fund vouchers for essential items for students who need them the most, in particular those confined in university residences.

For the latest information, click here.

I am a national of a European Union country. I am registered for a national competitive exam. Will this competitive exam go ahead?
National exams scheduled to take place before 5 April have been postponed.

This applies to higher education competitive exams (post-CPGE) and teacher recruitment exams. Solutions will be found on a case-by-case basis which may involve postponements, changes, etc. Specific and personalized information will be sent to each candidate.

For the latest information, click here.

Administrative competitive recruitment exams are also cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date.

I am employed in France. What precautions should I take when carrying out my work?

You should follow the health recommendations available on the government website

The French Labour Code provides that the employer must take the necessary steps “to ensure the safety and protect the physical and mental health of workers” (Article L. 4121-1). The employer therefore has the right to take restrictive measures to ensure the health of their staff after assessing the risk of contamination in the business.

Furthermore, under Article L. 4122-1 of the Labour Code “in accordance with the instructions given by the employer, each worker should take care, in accordance with their training and as far as they are able, of their health and safety as well as that of other people concerned by their actions or omissions in the workplace.”

• You must comply with the instructions given to you by your employer according to the situation in your company and your own situation;
• You must ensure your own security and that of your colleagues while respecting the health advice given.

For the latest information, click here.

The rules for issuing work permits have been simplified.

As regards seasonal workers:

Ongoing contracts for which work permits have already been given may be renewed. To do this, the employer must send an email to the DIRECCTE for their local area with the following: A copy of the contract renewal, the work permit and seasonal residence permit of the employee, instead of the AT request form.
For contracts with a new employer, requests for work permits should be sent in digital format to the DIRECCTE with sheet 1 of the CERFA 15196*03 filled in, without the other proof documents.
New recruitments (first work contract giving access to the “seasonal worker” residence permit) have been suspended at this time.
The same simplifications apply to all other situations requiring temporary work permits:

For students working more than 964 hours per year and asylum seekers with proof of asylum request older than 6 months, temporary work permits that have already been issued may be extended by 3 months. For this to take place, the employer must send by email to the DIRECCTE a copy: of the work contract renewal, the residence permit (or proof of asylum request) and the temporary work permit obtained for the initial contract;
Temporary workers whose work contract is reaching expiry and whose residence permit has been extended by three months, may have their initial work permit extended for a maximum of 3 months, following the same procedure as for temporary work permits above,
Nationals already present in France, holding a residence permit that does not allow them to work, may sign a work contract of 3 months maximum. The employer must request a work permit using the same simplified procedure.
Regarding foreign doctors:

Associate practitioners and specialised assistants whose residence permit was due to expire between 16 March and 15 May and has been extended may have their contracts extended by 3 months using the same procedure as for temporary work permits above.
The same shall apply to individuals fulfilling the role of an “interne” (FFI).
Associated interns: 3-month extensions for permits expiring between 16 March and 15 May mean you may continue to work as long as your internship does not last longer than a total of 24 months and 12 months in the same establishment.

I am a foreign employer in France. What should I do to ensure the health and safety of my staff?

The epidemic requires us to be particularly vigilant in the interest of staff and businesses. The presence of employees necessary for the functioning of the business will largely depend on the businesses’ ability to assuage the concerns of employees and ensure that they are correctly protected from the specific risks relating to the virus (particularly employees in contact with the public).

The Labour Code requires the employer to take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of their personnel. It must therefore carry out a job risk assessment. This assessment must be carried out again due to the epidemic to reduce the risk as much as possible of contamination at work or taking measures such as preventative actions and information and training campaigns as well as roll-out of workplace adaptations, in accordance with government instructions.

For the latest information, click here

I work in France but live in a neighbouring country. Can I continue to go to work?

The Prime Minister’s general instructions apply to cross-border workers. Cross-border workers in jobs that cannot be carried out from home may travel to their place of work. They will be authorized to cross the border. Specific measures have been taken to facilitate border crossings.

For each border crossing, cross-border workers must present their certificates for international travel as well as authorization from their employer.

For more information, click here

The certificates for international travel are available on the website of the French Ministry of the Interior

Source: France Diplomatie

Dernière modification : 12/01/2021

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