Reader question: Can foreigners in France get the Covid-19 vaccine?

As France rolls out its Covid-19 vaccination campaign, here's what non-French people need to know about getting the injection.

Reader question: Can foreigners in France get the Covid-19 vaccine?
A doctor administers a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Lille, northern France. Photo: AFP

Question: I am a non-French resident in France and I don’t yet have a carte vitale health insurance card. Is the Covid vaccine restricted to French citizens or can I still get vaccinated, and how much will it cost me?

What rights non-French residents in France have when it comes to getting vaccinated for Covid-19 has been a big question among the readers of The Local.

Firstly, there is no limit based on citizenship.

We contacted the French health ministry, who told us: “Everyone residing in France will be invited to get vaccinated according to the prioritisation of groups as outlined in the vaccination campaign.”

France has chosen a strict step-by-step vaccination scheme, placing vulnerable groups first in line to get the injection (more below).
What will it cost?

The vaccine will be free to everyone, even those who don’t have a carte vitale.

“Seeing as this is a public health issue, unregistered people as well as those in precarious situations [such as the homeless] can get vaccinated for free,” the health ministry said, referring to a government decree published on December 31st.

Everyone working or residing in France can get the vaccine for free, even if they aren’t registered in the French state health system.

This does not include tourists or second home owners.

What kind of documents should I bring?

There is no mention of whether or not the vaccine centres will demand a proof or residency or other documents. However we would advise non-EU residents to bring either a carte de séjour, the receipt acknowledging their application for a carte de séjour or utility bills.

EU citizens would to wise to bring their passports and a proof of address. 
Everyone – French or not – needs to take ID with them when they go to the vaccine centre.
Several readers of The Local have told us that not having a carte vitale caused a certain amount of confusion at the their local vaccine centre, because it is an unusual situation, but all of them received it in the end, one person after showing the French government decree linked to in this article.
When can I get it?
At present, the vaccination scheme is only open to over 75s and people in high risk group with serious health conditions, in addition to some priority groups – residents and staff in Ehpad nursing homes, health workers and emergency workers aged over 50.
Next on the priority list are 65-74 year-olds. They should be given access to the vaccine sometime in February, although the government has not yet set a date.

After that there is a strict order based on priority groups, with vaccines for the general population set to be rolled out out in the spring.

Over-75s and those in high risk groups may however already now book an appointment online, through the medical app Doctolib or call the government’s vaccine hotline.

Member comments

  1. A decree and a statement from the ministry is fine but I’m aware that the vaccination centre computer systems cannot accept people without a social security number, thus excluding those not in the health system. I hope this is a teething issue that is soon resolved.

  2. I just received the shot and I don’t have a carte vitale. I translated your article into French and handed it to the person checking me in and they took it. You do have to have an appointment or go to a pharmacy. Thanks to you, I have my first shot.

  3. If you are already registered with a generaliste/GP, I suggest ringing them to make an appointment. I got my RDV for 2 days later. Had my AZ vaccination without any problems. I’m still waiting on a Carte Vitale, so he couldn’t provide an official document to confirm I’d had my first shot ( a CV/Secu number is required), but hope to have this for my second vaccination in June.

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Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

This weekend represents the first chance to 'faire le pont' and have a long holiday weekend - and the French seem set to make the most of it with warnings of extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday.

Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

Thursday, May 26th marks the Christian festival of Ascension and is a public holiday in France.

More importantly, it’s the first time this year that French workers have had the opportunity to faire le pont (do the bridge) and create a long weekend.

In France, most public holidays fall on different days each year and if they happen to fall on the weekend then there are no extra days off work.

This year that happened on New Year’s Day (a Saturday) and both of the early May public holidays (the workers’ holiday on May 1st and VE Day on May 8th, which both fell on a Sunday).

READ ALSO Why 2022 is a bad year for public holidays

But as Ascension is on a Thursday, workers have the option to take a day of annual leave on Friday and therefore create a nice four-day weekend.

And it appears that many are planning on doing just that, as the traffic forecaster Bison futé is predicting extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday evening, as people prepare to make their after-work getaway and head to the coast, the countryside or the mountains to fully profit from their holiday weekend.

According to Bison futé maps, the whole country is coloured red – very heavy traffic – on both Wednesday and Thursday as people take to the roads to leave the cities.

Map: Bison futé

Meanwhile Sunday is coloured black – the highest level, meaning extremely heavy traffic and difficult driving conditions – across the whole country. 

Map: Bison futé

If you were hoping to take the train instead you might be out of luck, SNCF reports that most TGV services are sold out for over the holiday weekend.