Reunion travel guide
One of the last vestiges of the French colonial empire, you can hardly blame Paris for keeping hold of this slice of paradise. Floating in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, Réunion serves up an enticing mix of Creole culture, exotic fauna and natural wonders.
Administered directly from Paris (it also flies the tricolore and is part of the Eurozone), the island has a distinct cultural identity, which has resulted from 400 years as a remote outpost of empire.
Its history is best absorbed wandering through the old heart of Saint-Denis, the island’s de facto capital. Edifices that would not look out of place in the French capital line streets and public spaces buzz with the sound of French, Creole, Cantonese and Tamil, among myriad other languages. English is almost never one of them.
The beaches are a big draw, but Réunion’s flora and fauna is equally enticing. The island’s fresh water lakes, rivers and waterfalls support some 90 species of bird, while its coral reefs harbour an abundance of marine life. Whales are also regularly observed from the beaches between May and September.
Away from the coast, much of the island’s forested and mountainous interior is protected and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A variety of activities are available, from paragliding to rock climbing and hiking. Trekking paths lead to natural wonders such the 3,000m (10,000ft) extinct volcano Piton des Neiges (the highest point anywhere in the Indian Ocean), or the lunar landscapes around Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
With centuries of influence from Europe, Asia and Africa, Réunion offers Gallic charm with a tropical twist, an island where history and natural beauty abound.
2,507 sq km (968 sq miles).
867,214 (UN estimate 2016).
336.5 per sq km.
Réunion is an Overseas Department of France and as such is an integral part of the French Republic.
President Emmanuel Macron since 2017, represented locally by prefect Jacques Billant since 2019.
President of the Departmental Council Cyrille Melchior since 2017.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Réunion on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Réunion.
Returning to the UK
When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.
Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in Réunion
The French Government has outlined measures to stem the spread of coronavirus in the French Overseas Territories. For further information on the measures which apply to Réunion, see the French government website. The local Prefecture website will have details of any further local restrictions.
Healthcare in Réunion
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health
View Health for further details on healthcare in Réunion.
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Réunion
Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Reunion announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.
The Reunion vaccination programme started in January 2021 and is using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. British nationals resident in Reunion are eligible for vaccination. Further information on the vaccination programme is available on the local Prefecture’s website and the French Government’s website.
Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.
If you’re a British national living in Reunion, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, you should contact your local British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephones numbers are available 24/7.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Réunion, attacks can’t be ruled out.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Drugs, alcohol-related and traffic incidents are dealt with similarly to mainland France.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Réunion set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Travel to Réunion is severely restricted until further notice. Only travellers who can prove that entry is for essential reasons will be allowed to enter, and they will be expected to fill in a travel certificate (available here) and provide proof. The local Prefecture website will have details of any further local restrictions. Quarantine may be requested by authorities in other territories if travelling from Réunion.
All travellers over the age of 11 must undertake a test for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure for Réunion. The test is obligatory and the traveller must show proof of a negative result before embarking. Arrivals to Réunion will be required to self-isolate for seven days, before taking another PCR test.
Travellers may also need to produce a self-certified document affirming that they have no COVID symptoms and that to their knowledge they have not been in contact with any person confirmed positive within the last 14 days. You should check with your travel operator and the local Prefecture’s advice ahead of travel.
Airlines may refuse boarding to anyone who does not produce both proof of a negative result and the self-certified document.
These entry requirements are subject to change. For further information on the entry restrictions in place for French Overseas Territories, see the French government’s website before travelling.
If travelling via France, you should also check our Travel Advice for France.
Regular entry requirements
Réunion is an Overseas Department of France (département d’outre-mer) and part of the European Union.
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Réunion for stays of up to three months. Other British passport holders, and those who plan to stay longer than three months, should check the current entry requirements on the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, if necessary, confirm with the nearest French Diplomatic mission.
You must have at least sixmonths left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the six months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.
UK residents in Réunion
If you live in Réunion, you should carry your residence document, as well as your valid passport when you travel. If you have applied but not yet received your document, carry your certificate of application. You will have received this as an email. If you have not yet applied for a residence document, you should carry evidence that you are resident in Réunion. This could include a tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020. For more information, including on how to apply for a residence document, see the French government’s website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK emergency travel documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Réunion.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Réunion on the TravelHealthPro website
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Réunion.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
General health care facilities in Réunion, including emergency services, and the availability of doctors are good. Some specialist treatment is also available.
You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.
The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
If you are planning to move to Réunion, consult the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for advice on long-term entitlement to health care provision under the French national system. Please call DWP Overseas Medical Benefits help-line on 00 44 191 218 1999. More information can be obtained direct from the English language service of the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (French social security service) on 00 33 8 20 90 42 12 or CLEISS (the Help desk in France for international mobility and social security) on 00 33 1 45 26 33 4.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
The cyclone season normally runs from December to April. You should monitor local and international weather updates from French Weather Service (in French) and follow any advice issued by the local authorities. You can also access the International Cyclone Centre for updates. See our Tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a tropical cyclone.
Volcanic activity is common and there are strict regulations on access to the Piton de la Fournaise volcano.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.