Heathrow and Gatwick: Latest travel restrictions imposed on Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Germany after travel bans from France

Travelers have found themselves in trouble for the second year in a row after France imposed a ban on travelers from the United Kingdom earlier this month.

From December 18, travelers wishing to enter France now need an essential reason for their trip, with the exception of French nationals, residents or carriers.

The rules, which were imposed in an effort to curb the rapidly spreading Omicron of the COVID-19 virus, have hit the ski holiday hopefuls hard, and they will now be looking at alternative arrangements.

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Besides France, a number of other European countries, including ski hotspots in Austria and Switzerland, have followed suit and have tightened travel restrictions in recent days.

European countries are tightening their entry requirements in light of the variable Omicron
Image credit: Holly Adams/Getty Images)

Here are the latest travel restrictions for Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Germany:


From Christmas Day, Austria has cracked down on arrivals from the UK due to the rapid rise in Omicron infections in the country, with Austrian authorities strictly enforcing the rules, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Anyone who can provide proof of a booster injection plus two previous Covid vaccines (using an NHS Covid Pass) can still enter the country without having to be quarantined – but will still need a negative PCR test within 48 hours before travelling.

Alternatively, if you have been double-blowed without a supporter, but have recovered from Covid in the last 180 days, you can also enter Austria, provided you can show your certificate of recovery.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the new measures.

Meanwhile, adolescents over 15 years of age – born before 1 September 2006 – traveling to Austria from the UK need to be fully vaccinated and receive the third booster vaccine and also need a negative PCR test within 48 hours.

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New restrictions were similarly imposed in Switzerland as pressure mounted on Swiss hospitals amid the spread of Omicron.

Anyone 16 years of age or older must show a negative result for a PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to admission, or a A rapid antigen test performed within 24 hours prior to admission.

A second test is also required four to seven days after entering the country, unless you have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

You are eligible to enter Switzerland for any purpose of travel if you have been fully vaccinated and have a negative PCR test (not older than 72 hours) or a lateral flow test (not older than 24 hours) on board.

Travelers who have been vaccinated or have fully recovered will no longer have to take day 4 and 7 tests.


Italy will accept UK evidence of recovery and vaccination record for COVID-19 as the equivalent of a “green corridor”.

This means that if you travel from the UK and can demonstrate that you have been fully vaccinated, you can enter Italy without having to self-isolate.

However, you will need to know how to have a negative PCR test done within 48 hours prior to entering Italy, or a negative antigen test done within 24 hours prior to entering Italy.

The British government website also warns that regardless of vaccination status, anyone arriving in Italy by air, land or sea may be randomly tested for Covid upon arrival until January 31.

More rules apply to unvaccinated passengers wishing to enter Italy – they can be viewed here.

Children under 18 do not need to be quarantined if they are traveling with a parent who is fully vaccinated and has a negative PCR or antigen test, and children under six are exempt from the test.


As of December 19, the UK is a “viral shifting region” according to German restrictions, meaning that, with some exceptions, tourists cannot be taken to Germany.

Carriers such as airlines are limited to carrying a narrow group of individuals from the UK to Germany, including British nationals residing in Germany and German nationals.

From December 22, travelers from virus-changing regions to Germany must have a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival, regardless of vaccination status – rapid antigen or other tests are no longer allowed.

From 19 December, all permitted travelers arriving in Germany from the UK must self-quarantine at home for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

Children under the age of six are exempt from testing, but they must still be quarantined.

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