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Suppose that someone has a Student "Titre de Séjour" that is valid for a little more than a year, and this person is in France right now. If this person leaves the European Union for about a month, does the French government, upon the return, have the authority to ban the entry based on COVID-19 grounds? For instance, if this person is coming from a country such as the United States or Brazil, that are more hard hit, can the EU forbid their entrance in the Schengen Area?

I understand that the situation right now might not be this one, I am however supposing a theoretical second-wave or worsening in the given person's home country (USA, Brazil).

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  • @DavidSupportsMonica it's not entirely true that they can do "whatever they think is appropriate." They are constrained to some extent by European Union law (and other treaties). European Union law (in general) does permit them to exclude people to whom they have issued residence permits (even EU citizens can be excluded on public health grounds; see my answer). Someone who has acquired "long-term residence" under Directive 2003/109/EC will have somewhat more rights, and some people might be able to assert human rights claims.
    – phoog
    Jun 15 '20 at 16:27
  • True enough, I was maximizing. Will delete the comment. I agree with your answer. Jun 15 '20 at 16:41
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does the French government, upon the return, have the authority to ban the entry based on COVID-19 grounds?

The French government has the authority to prevent even European Union citizens from entering France on grounds of public health. EU citizens have very strong rights to enter and reside in other EU countries. These rights are much stronger than those of a third-country national with a residence permit, so there is certainly nothing preventing the French government from keeping a student with a titre de séjour outside the country.

Such a ban might be vulnerable to a legal challenge, since an outright ban from the country may be seen as disproportionate. A more reasonable approach might be to let the person in subject to a period of enforced quarantine. Then again, such a challenge might not be successful, especially in the case of a student who has no other ties to France, even more so if classes are meeting remotely, implying little need on the part of the student to be physically present in France.

So, for worst-case scenario planning, it is definitely a possibility.

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