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Eurotunnel for France and back

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 CPH 04 Sep 2021

Has anyone recent experience of travel to France (for Provence) and back using Eurotunnel (or ferry)? I think I have sorted all documents etc buy wondered if you have any top tips to avoid problems; any issues getting Covid 19 tests in France for return; any delays at customs etc. (have seen other thread). Thanks.

 im off 04 Sep 2021
In reply to CPH:

We've travelled out but not come back yet. Was all straight forward. We're vaccinated which makes things easier. If not vacced I think u need testing b4 set off etc. Eurotunnel are really helpful and prompt u what to do and when. Take proof of vaccination...the official nhs vaccine certificate thing. You need this in France for restaurants etc. Didn't get asked for anything else other than vaccination evidence. In way back need a test within last 3d of travel. Apparently easy to get this done as places everywhere doing it. Need to arrange a test b4 travel for the day u get back in UK.

Seems fairly straightforward so far.

No delays on way out. Was quiet and quick.

 CPH 04 Sep 2021
In reply to im off:

Thanks for that; all useful to hear.

 ChrisJD 04 Sep 2021
In reply to CPH:

We have been recently out and back on Eurotunnel in van. Two vaccinated adults, two young adults (<16), non-vaccinated.

It was a seamless experience both ways. From booth to being on train in ~20 mins both ways.

Literally 4 vehicles on the whole train both ways (we were in a 'high' vehicle).

Testing/documentation was daunting and quite stressful on way out/back, hoping we had uploaded everything correctly etc; but all worked fine, not questioned/challenged about anything we had uploaded.

Hats off to Eurotunnel for getting it sorted so well.

Day-2 tests done on return.  All our testing -Ve.

Take UK lateral-flow tests with you for the pre-return testing.  Pre-book the Day-2 tests - you'll need the booking refs for your return form.

We also used the French Covid app to show our NHS Vac results.

Make sure you have an NHS Login/account so you can download your Vac certificates.

Under 18s in France now need (from 1st Sept) to be vaccinated to get into bars/venues etc.

Post edited at 15:33
 CPH 04 Sep 2021
In reply to ChrisJD:

Brilliant, thank you.

 Hovercraft 04 Sep 2021
In reply to ChrisJD:

Currently sat between French and English customs at Frethun on our way home after 2 weeks in the Ecrins.

Until 40 mins ago I would have agreed with everything written above. Our journey out was simple.

This is obviously a busy day (Saturday evening before lots of schools go back), and whilst actual check in was fast - we had uploaded our paperwork on the Eurotunnel website - it appears that where people haven’t done this it takes absolutely ages to get through, so on a busy day a tipping point is reached where everything grinds to a halt.

If you’re planning on travelling on a popular day I would allow lots of time…

 Hovercraft 04 Sep 2021
In reply to Hovercraft:

Having now made it through UK Customs - where it appears the same principle applies (it took us 2 mins at the booth having queued for half an hour), we were told by the friendly UK Border Force officer that it has been like this for several days. Overall, with a flexiplus ticket it’s taken about 75 mins from arrival to clearing formalities. 

 ChrisJD 04 Sep 2021
In reply to Hovercraft:

Hope you get through OK.  ... a Saturday B4 schools go back is always going to be hellish   We travelled out on 9th Aug Monday pm and back early morning on Weds 1st Sept. 

Ecrins was great again this year

 Bingers 04 Sep 2021
In reply to CPH:

Currently in France and due back on Tuesday, Dover Calais ferry both ways.

I was concerned about queues for the border checks due to our mix of citizenship, but the single queue for all four cars in it was no problem.  Paperwork preparation was quite stressful, but the French border guard asked if we were all vaccinated and as soon as she saw my clipboard with paperwork prepared, said it was fine without even looking at it.

In terms of the French COVID App - https://bonjour.tousanticovid.gouv.fr , it is easy to use to upload NHS COVID certificates and WILL be required to get into restaurants (Terrace included), larger centre commercials and museums, etc.  At one Centre Commercial, the QR code wouldn't scan properly, but the security guard let us in anyway.  Masks are compulsory in supermarkets and EVERYONE wears one, perhaps they don't have any asthmatics in France or any other reason not to wear one.

For the tests coming back you can find your local testing labs on this website: https://www.sante.fr/cf/carte-depistage-covid.html .  You can book an appointment online, there is a fixed national price for PCR and Antigen (LFT).  Note, many do not do weekend appointments and not all do Antigen tests.

You won't be able to use your NHS LFT as proof of being negative for the return as the reporting website won't work if are attempting to use it whilst in France (I have just this moment tried to do so).

I still have the joys of the UK Border Force for the return and hope UK customs don't go looking for our stashed confit de canard.

Didn't see any sign of migrant activity on the way out for the first time in many years, but did see two porpoises in the Channel for the first time in 26 years of doing the crossing.

 Hovercraft 04 Sep 2021
In reply to ChrisJD:

Thanks Chris. Now on the M20 heading home to the mountains of Cambridgeshire.

I’m glad you commented that you also found the pre-return admin daunting/stressful. Between the remotely supervised lateral flow tests, booking the day 2 tests, doing the Government Passenger Locator forms and uploading the documents to Eurotunnel I reckon I spent 3-4 hours on the laptop (for 2 adults) in the 2 days before leaving Vallouise.  I reckon the first 3 of those could probably be done on a mobile, but possibly not the last.

[That’s an observation rather than a complaint or political comment, btw]

 CPH 05 Sep 2021
In reply to Hovercraft:

Thanks again everyone; all very useful.

 ChrisJD 05 Sep 2021
In reply to Hovercraft:

> I’m glad you commented that you also found the pre-return admin daunting/stressful. Between the remotely supervised lateral flow tests, booking the day 2 tests, doing the Government Passenger Locator forms and uploading the documents to Eurotunnel I reckon I spent 3-4 hours on the laptop (for 2 adults) in the 2 days before leaving Vallouise.  I reckon the first 3 of those could probably be done on a mobile, but possibly not the last.

Same here!; so glad we threw in a chrome book at the last minute!

And I was very impressed by the Eurotunnel on-line guidance and their document upload/checking/tracking system.

 Bingers 07 Sep 2021
In reply to CPH:

Having now got back again, I can report that for the ferry at least, all the checks - PCR test, Passenger Locator Form were all looked at, so therefore necessary.  Our PCR results came back within 6 hours, but I have to say the French put the testing stick a very long way up your nose - imagine how long the stick is - half of that disappears up your nose!  Fortunately, they don't do a throat swab.

For those who were concerned on what was allowed to be brought back, we successfully smuggled in some confit de canard as customs didn't bother us with a search at the Dover end.  ALL cars were being checked for smuggled migrants having gone through the Calais border checks.

Finally, for those with EU passports, there are not separate queues to get through the UK border and I was told that there are no plans to do so.  For those who have Settled Status, that is already on the computer system and is flagged up when the relevant passport is scanned.

 CPH 10 Sep 2021
In reply to Bingers:

Thank you for your reply.

In reply to CPH:

Recently went out on the ferry and came back on the eurostar, booked my pre-arrival test using https://www.doctolib.fr/ which was super easy, they emailed and texted you the test certificate. When in france I just used the nhs app as the bar code from that works for restaurants and cafes. Interestingly nobody scanned any barcodes on the crossing either way and just glanced at the documents. It was more strict to sit down at a cafe, where you had to scan your barcode straight away!


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