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UPDATED: When will Americans be able to travel to France again?

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
UPDATED: When will Americans be able to travel to France again?
Photo: Ian Lagnsden/AFP

After more than a year of closed borders, the French president has finally laid out a date from which travel from the USA can restart - there are some conditions though.


When outlining the timetable for the reopening of France, president Emmanuel Macron included one date for international travel - from June 9th all types of travel, including tourism, can restart from countries outside the EU.

However, there are some caveats to this:

Firstly, the June 9th date is step 3 of France's reopening plan, and there is still an option to delay each phase if the health situation deteriorates once other aspects of life in France open up.

Secondly, travel will be conditional on a pass sanitaire - a health passport giving either the vaccine certificate of each traveller or a recent negative Covid test for those who cannot be vaccinated.

Thirdly, France is currently on the US State Department's list of 'Level 4' countries, where travel is advised against because of the health situation. This is a recommendation only, but travelling to a Level 4 country can invalidate travel insurance, so check your policy. 

Full details of exactly how the health pass will work have not yet been released, but here's what we know.

Until at least June 9th, the current rules remain in place.

So what are the rules now for Americans?

Firstly, the travel rules are based around where you are coming from, not what passport you hold. So a US citizen travelling from Spain, for example, would be permitted to enter France.

Secondly there are exemptions in place for certain types of travel.

But for tourists and second-home owners travelling from the USA, the French borders remain closed.

It's also worth pointing out that the US State Department has placed France on its list of 'Level 4' countries, where travel is advised against. This is a recommendation only, but travel to a Level 4 destination can invalidate your travel insurance.


Essential travel

The only exceptions to the travel ban are people with motif imperiéux (compelling/essential reasons) for travel.

The full list of reasons are;

Family reasons

  • The death of a parent, grandparent, child or sibling or visit to one of these family members who has received a terminal medical diagnosis (death certificate or doctor’s letter will be needed)
  • Childcare by a parent or guardian with custody or visitation rights (court letter and proof of address)
  • Providing vital assistance to a sick or disabled person (document establishing relationship)
  • Travel for legal or judicial reasons (letter or summons)
  • A legal or economic reason that makes it impossible to remain in the country you are travelling from eg the expiry of a residency card 
  • Travel for reasons of personal safety eg domestic violence or custody dispute (any documentation relating to the situation)
  • Returning to your main residence from a trip that began before January 31st (proof of residency eg carte de séjour, receipt of application for carte de séjour or proof of address, plus tickets showing your outward journey)
  • Students beginning or ending a period of study (documentation from the place of study)

Health reasons

  • Medical emergency (one person can accompany the sick person if necessary, doctor’s letter or hospital appointment card)

Work-related reasons

  • Vital work requiring an in-person presence where the work cannot be cancelled or postponed without disproportionate consequences (attestation from employer plus professional card if applicable)
  • Health professionals engaged in Covid-related work (professional ID)
  • Diplomatic or state work trips which cannot be cancelled or postponed (professional ID and/or letters from relevant ministers)
  • High-level sports professionals participating in fixtures approved by the sports minister (professional ID and documentation from the sports ministry)

From March 12th, some extra exemptions were added to this list. They are;

  • Couples who are married or in a civil partnership where one of the members is living abroad for professional reasons
  • Minor children attending school in France while the family home is established abroad
  • Couples with children, one living in France, the other abroad and separated.
  • Students taking a competitive examination
  • Returning to a main residence in France

These rules concern travel both in and out of France, so anyone wanting to leave France and travel to the USA will also need a vital reason.

Travel rules

Those who do fit one of these categories will need to plan their journey carefully, however.

The major requirement is a negative Covid-19 test result - this must be a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before travel.

Anyone who does not have the test result will be denied boarding and it cannot be taken in the airport or on arrival in France.

This rule applies to everyone travelling from the USA, including French residents and French citizens.


You will also need to fill in an attestation stating the purpose of your trip, with supporting documents if necessary. You can find the form HERE.

Finally, check carefully with your airline on any extra rules, especially around masks. Some airlines specify that medical-grade masks must be worn and you can be denied boarding if you turn up at the airport without the correct type of mask.

On arrival in France you are requested to isolate for seven days. This can be done at a location of your choice including your home or the home of friends or relatives. The quarantine is run on an "honour" system, so there will be no checks carried out.

After seven days, arrivals from the USA are asked to take a second Covid test - find details on how to access tests in France HERE.

French rules

Once in France you will of course need to abide by the French health restrictions.

These are updated regularly, you can find the latest on our homepage HERE, but include the compulsory wearing of masks, including outdoors, an evening curfew and closure of some services. French police have the right to stop anyone in the street to check they are complying with the health restrictions, and issue €135 fines if they are not. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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Anonymous 2021/04/19 11:53
Shan, France is under lockdown still and to travel you need an attestation stating your reason to travel. The lockdown has a 10K limit on how far one can go and there is a 1900-0600 curfew. The attestation has the exceptions for travel listed, but tourism is not one of them. If one has a primary residence in France (you must show this), then they would be allowed entry but if you do not, I do not think you will be allowed entry.
Anonymous 2021/03/12 15:16
What if one is a USA Green Card older and is selling their house in the USA. Traveling on a UK passport. And has left the USA for more than a year? Can one then fly to USA, take their chances at the border then in a month fly back using one's Titre de Sejour? Complicated? :)
Anonymous 2021/01/22 02:40
My wife and I have been waiting to get to our new home in France since April 2020. We sold our home ,car ,furniture and had shipped the rest and now we are forced to rent until we can apply for a long stay visa. We are willing to take and test , do any quarantine just to get to our new home.
  • Anonymous 2021/04/19 11:58
    We are Americans and have lived in France (it is our primary residence) for going on five years. The first long-stay visa you get must be applied for in the US at your regional French consulate. Once you are here you re-apply yearly until you qualify for a 10-year residence card. I'm pretty sure the rules have not changed. You can look at both the consulate website and the website for the required forms, fees and info.
Anonymous 2021/01/20 22:20
I'm hoping (since I already bought plane tickets to France for this coming October) that once enough people are vaccinated that restrictions on travel from the US to France will be lifted.
Anonymous 2020/11/03 19:05
The problem with antibody tests is the false postive for antibodies. For example, a test that is 95% specific will have 5% false positive. If the prevalence of immunity is 10 % (current estimates) than of positive tests 5/15 will be false positive - 33%. Not good enough. If test is better --99%-- than 1/11 will be false postive, 9%. If you are 80, with 16-20% mortality from coronavirus, that's probably not good enough.
Anonymous 2020/11/03 17:21
I believe Canada has been removed from the EUs « safe country «  list.... ironically.<br />
Anonymous 2020/08/18 01:25
Shan-were you able to travel from the UK to France via the Eurostar as an American citizen? I’d like to do the same...
Anonymous 2020/08/06 18:05
I am reading “your document proving permanent residency” for France in order to travel there from another country. I’m American, what document is this? Are you talking about your carte de sejour? I have never heard of a permanent residence doc. Please explain.<br />Thank you.
  • Anonymous 2021/03/12 19:22
    It would be a carte de séjour which tou need to apply foe before Leaving the USA it’s a longish process and can be costly depending on your budget but I did mine a long time ago and I choose to renew each year one can of one is a full time tax paying french resident get a 10 year card after 5 years I’ve been living in both countries USA / France since 2001.
Anonymous 2020/08/06 17:27
I have a similar question... as an American spouse of an Irish citizen, can we expect to be permitted entry to France when traveling from Ireland ( EU but not Schengen)? We are not residents of any EU country.
Anonymous 2020/08/02 20:27
I’m trying to travel to my friend’s Hen in Epernay in two weeks. I am an American staying in the UK with family who are residents. We were planning on taking the Eurostar over. My understanding was that anyone could travel to France from within the eu and UK areas no matter your nationality. Is that now not the case so I wouldn’t be able to board the train? Does anyone know?
Anonymous 2020/08/01 10:56
Yes, if you have the status of permanent residency in a European country, you can cross the borders to enter another EU country. However, you must have your passport and your document proving permanent residency. I am an American who has obtained permanent residency in France and has no problem going from one country to another (with the proper documents).
Anonymous 2020/07/24 22:53
Hey Lawrence, I am also A U.S. citizen. I am doing research to find an answer to this question. I am in the same situation as you. If you have found out any additional info please let me know. I will do the same.
Anonymous 2020/07/01 04:34
Can anyone clarify the following statement for me? "Firstly, the travel rules are based around where you are coming from, not what passport you hold. So a US citizen travelling from Germany, for example, would be permitted to enter France because there are no health restrictions on the French-German border."<br /><br />I am a U.S. citizen wishing very much to visit my best friends in Paris. I spend 6 months every year with them following the 90/180 Schengen rule. So my question is if I fly from Ohio to Toronto Canada and then take a flight from there to Paris will I be permitted to enter france upon arrival at CDG, Paris?
Anonymous 2020/06/30 18:37
According to this article, as well as France 24 and the New York Times, coming to France as of July 1 will be based on RESIDENCY and not NATIONALITY. I am assuming, fingers crossed, that this means I can take the ferry to France next weekend as I would be coming from Jersey which has no active cases. If you have family that are French, I honestly do not know.
Anonymous 2020/06/30 18:20
<br />My wife and son are French citizens (dual citizenship in both cases) while I am American. Will it be possible for me to go to France with them?<br />
Anonymous 2020/06/30 17:41
Hi. I am an American resident on the island of Jersey. After July 1, will I be able to go to France? I am still an American citizen, but have been resident here since 2008. Thank you. Kind regards. Michael
Anonymous 2020/06/12 20:30
I hope that they at least allow family members from outside of Europe to travel here. I miss my parents!
Anonymous 2020/06/11 18:49
I would hope testing regimes linked to more or less restrictions would include antibody tests, and perhaps only those. It's an excellent strategy to use w<br />positive current-infection test results for isolating, contact-tracing and determining if someoneis likely just as safe as anyone already in the community, yes, but only a few tests will be positive where the person has no respiratory symptoms observable, to my understanding. Fine to do nonetheless, but consider the antibody tests' potential. There are the millions who have already recovered from the virus and often do not know it, there are those showing signs of sickness for whom a corona test would be helpful, and there are those not showing signs of sickness, only very few of whom would likely return a currently-positive test result, even if they will take sick from the virus the next day. Groups 2 and 3 could have and/or contract and spread virus. In contrast, Group 1 members coming in, assuming they have immunity at least for this season (as most public health authorities are expecting is true), would actually reduce the proportion of those susceptible to being infected, while spending money. At some point it might be wise to encourage them (us, I am 99% sure) to travel, work even with a minor cold, etc., rather than putting everyone into the same basket called "to be protected and also guarded against as potentially sick tomorrow "? But I am writing as an informed yet non-professional, non-epidemiologist here. Please, anyone with more expertise, or The Local perhaps with an article, let me know what you think.
Anonymous 2020/05/16 16:43
Troubled reader, thank for condescension and criticism while hiding behind a pseudonym but you misunderstood just about everything I wrote. First of all, you seized on the word "freedom" and immediately associated it with those who are protesting all restrictions. That was not the context in which I was using it. Second, you could have done a quick Google of the Austrian airport testing before jumping to conclusions. The purpose of the arrival quarantine is to determine whether an arrival is a greater risk of infecting others than someone from the local population - most of whom have not been tested. If someone tests negative, whether or not the test is perfect, they are less of a risk to others than untested unquarantined locals. Third, did you understand the distinction between quarantines for arrivals and the restrictions applicable to the general population. Doesn't sound like it. It's ironic that you start your post calling me by my name while you hide behind a pseudonym. That's what's called being a troll.
Anonymous 2020/05/16 14:34
Freedom to do what, Bill? Because that's not something any of us who have been on tight quarantine are hoping to hear. Testing negative doesn't guarantee anything. Tests return false negatives, and the newly infected don't yet show symptoms. "Freedom" sounds an awful lot like "Spreading." I hope you're more responsible than that, 200 euros be damned.
Anonymous 2020/05/15 20:16
Is there any indication that France will implement Austria's airport Coronavirus testing that allows travelers to avoid quarantine if they test negative? It costs 200 Euros but would seem to make it self-funding and many of us would gladly pay that for 14 days of freedom.

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