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UPDATE: How to get the French vaccination certificate (and what to do if you don’t have a carte vitale)

For those who want to travel this summer it looks like a vaccination certificate will be the must-have accessory - so here's how to get one.

UPDATE: How to get the French vaccination certificate (and what to do if you don't have a carte vitale)
Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

If you are not yet vaccinated

People getting the vaccine now should be given the certificate when they get the injection.

This is a paper certificate with a QR code that can be scanned into the TousAntiCovid app to create a ‘health pass’ that, from June, can be used for international travel and to access certain leisure activities.

It looks like the example below and to upload it you open up the TousAntiCovid app, click on ‘my wallet’ and then ‘scan QR code’. Point your phone’s camera at the square code on the right hand side, and it will take a picture and then upload the certificate.

A carte vitale is not necessary to get the certificate.

READ ALSO How to book an appointment for a Covid vaccine in France

If you are already vaccinated

Since the certificates only started being given out at appointments from May 3rd, people who got their vaccine before that won’t have a certificate.

For most people, the easiest way for people to get them is via their Ameli account.

And from Thursday, certificates are ready to download for account holders. Simply log in to your account and head to

Ameli is an online portal to the French health insurance system and if you don’t already have one – here’s how to set up an account.

If you don’t have a carte vitale

In order to set up an Ameli account, however, you need a French social security number, which is a problem for those not yet registered within the French health system.

We asked the health ministry what their advice was for people who do not yet have their carte vitale and therefore can’t use Ameli.

They told us: “These groups are invited to contact the vaccination centre or the doctor/pharmacist who performed the injection to obtain a paper certificate of vaccination.”

You should take along with you the certificate or card that you were given when you were vaccinated in order to swap it for the new certificate. All centres should be ready to do this from May 29th, but some centres have already begun.

Once you have the crucial certificate, you can scan it into the TousAntiCovid app and voilà you have a health passport.

READ ALSO How France’s ‘health pass’ will work

Member comments

  1. We had our second jab last Friday (so after 3 May) in Cherbourg but they could not issue us with our certificates because we don’t have social security numbers. The very pleasant girl at the desk explained that they don’t have a way of issuing certificates to people without a social security number/Carte Vitale. She said they will hopefully find out how to do it and when they do they’ll send the certificates out to us. We believe her but are anxious that the system won’t allow us to have a certificate. Can The Local get any further clarification on this?

  2. How do I get a ‘Health Passport’ with a US Vaccination Certificate that does not have a QR Code to upload?

  3. If we can show evidence of having had both doses in the UK can we get a French certificate to add to out Tous Anti-Covid app?

  4. I don’t have a carte vitale or Ameli account. I received my second jab on April 9 and received a vaccination certificate with a QR code from the City of Nice at that time, showing both vaccinations. (Note that this date is before the date your article says when QR codes will be included.) However, my QR code doesn’t work with the AntiCovid app.

    Should I wait a few weeks and check it again or should I contact the City for a new QR code?

  5. As I’ve had Covid I only get one vaccine and don’t yet have my CV ( applied for in October) will I still be able to get health certificate?

  6. I am planning (hoping) to travel to France in July. I’m an American citizen and have been fully vaccinated since March. I have a card from the CDC and can easily link on my phone to the hospital system that houses all my information, including which vaccine I received and when. So…what am I supposed to do?

  7. i have had both injections but it was before the beginning of May. I have the Anticovid app on my phone and want to get the Covid Passport. Is the number on my carte vitale a social security number? i cannot register on the Amelie site.

  8. It would be really useful if you could discover whether UK citizens will be able to use the NHS app to p[rove their vaccination status. I discovered this morning that the NHS app now creates a QR code (it didn’t yesterday!!!) which you can print or carry as a pdf – I have tried scanning this into the Tousanticovid app, but the app doesn’t recognise it….

  9. Our primary residence is in the US, and that is where we were fully vaccinated. How do we prove this to the EU and specifically to France where our second home is? We have a vaccination card, but it is in English and has no QR code.

  10. I had my 2 vaccines in Paris in May before I received my French social security number. I now have my Carte Vitale and have created an Ameli account. Does anyone know a way to link my previous vaccinations to show up in Ameli?

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Vaccine pass for visitors in France – your questions answered

France now has in place a vaccine pass that is required for entry into a wide range of everyday venues including bars, cafés, tourist sites and long-distance trains - but this can be complicated for visitors or people vaccinated outside France.

Vaccine pass for visitors in France - your questions answered
Bars and cafés are among the French venues that require a vaccine pass. Photo: Sameer Al Doumy/AFP

Since January 24th, France has put in place a vaccine pass which is required to enter a wide range of venues including bars, cafés, restaurants, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, theatres, museums, large events and long-distance trains.

In short, if you intend to spend time in France, you are going to need one if you want to do anything fun.

Previously a health pass was in place, which allowed for either proof of vaccination or a recent negative test, but from January 24th negative tests are no longer accepted for anyone aged 16 and older.

You can find more details on how the pass works HERE, but there are some issues which particularly affect tourists, visitors or people vaccinated outside France.

Do I need a vaccine pass to enter France?

No. When the French government talks about the vaccine pass, they mean the domestic pass required to access everyday activities in France.

Depending on where you are travelling from, you may need to show proof of vaccination at the border, but this can be a vaccination certificate from your home country.

Once you’re in France, however, you will most likely need the pass. 

How do I get a vaccine pass?

The vaccine pass isn’t a physical document, it just means that you need to show proof of either vaccination, recent recovery from Covid or a medical exemption in order to enter certain venues (more on those below).

Importantly, however, these documents must have a French QR code so that staff in venues can scan them.

Most people use the TousAntiCovid app, which is available on all smartphones and has an option in English, but you can show paper certificates if you prefer.

If you are travelling from an EU or Schengen zone country you can use your own country’s domestic health/vaccine pass, since all QR codes are compatible within the bloc.

I had a health pass when I came to France in the summer, is the vaccine pass the same thing?

In effect, yes. The health pass required either proof of vaccination, proof of recent recovery from Covid or proof of a recent negative Covid test and most people used the TousAntiCovid app to show this (although you can also show paper certificates).

The vaccine pass doesn’t allow presentation of a negative test result, but in most other respects is the same, so if you have proof of full vaccination, nothing changes for you. Apart, that is, from boosters . . .

Do I need a booster shot to use the vaccine pass?

Probably, yes.

It depends on when you were vaccinated, but over 18s who have not had a booster more than seven months after their second dose are no longer counted as fully vaccinated. 

From February 15th, this window shrinks to four months.

If you have had the booster, it doesn’t matter if the gap between second dose and booster was longer than four or seven months, this concerns only those who have not received a booster shot.

The booster requirement applies to all vaccine pass users, including visitors.

However boosters are not required for travel, so in brief you can enter France without a booster, but you won’t be able to do much once you’re here.

Full details on who needs a booster HERE.

Will my vaccination certificate/booster shot certificate work with the French pass?

It depends on where you were vaccinated.

If you were vaccinated in the EU, Schengen zone or UK then you can scan the QR code on your vaccination certificate straight into the French app. This is also the case if you previously had a health pass and need to add a booster shot in order to keep it valid.

If, however, you were vaccinated in the USA, Canada, Australia or any other non EU/UK/Schengen country then things are a little more complicated. Once in France, you will have to take your vaccination certificate to an approved pharmacy in order to get a QR code that can be used with the French app. Full details HERE.

A vaccination certificate from your home country will be accepted at the border.

I’m not vaccinated but I have recently recovered from Covid, can I use the pass?

The vaccine pass requires one of three things; proof of full Covid vaccination, proof of recent recovery from Covid or proof of a medical exemption (more on that below).

However, the proof of recent recovery must be in an accepted format.

You can find full details on that here, but again it depends on where you tested positive for Covid. If it was in the EU, UK or Schengen zone then you should be able to upload your positive Covid test to the French app. The test must be more than 11 days old, but less than six months old in order to be valid.

If you tested positive outside the EU, you may have a problem. Some countries provide positive tests in a format recognised by France but others – including the USA – do not.

You can find full details of compatible codes HERE.

I had Covid before I could get a booster, what should I do?

If you want to use proof of recent recovery from Covid instead of a booster shot, then it’s the same process as outlined above.

I can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, what can I do?

France does provide an option for medical exemptions, but the process is so complicated as to be virtually inaccessible to people who are just visiting France.

READ ALSO How can people who cannot be vaccinated use France’s vaccine pass?

In order to use the medical exemption clause, you require a French certificat de contre-indication, and getting one of these is not easy.

First you must fit the criteria of listed medical conditions which constitute an acceptable reason not to be vaccinated – and that is a short list.

Then you need a certificate from a French doctor stating that you cannot be vaccinated, certificates from doctors outside France are not accepted.

Once you have the certificate you need to send it to Assurance Maladie – the French state health insurer – which validates the certificate and issues you with a QR code that can be used with the vaccine pass. French residents can use an online process to send their certificate to Assurance Maladie, but this requires a French social security number. 

Where can I go without a vaccine pass?

The theory behind the vaccine pass is that people can do the essentials of daily life without it, but anything fun requires the pass.

It is not required for shops, short-distance transport or city public transport such as the Paris Metro, most workplaces, parks, beaches and outdoor gyms or when buying food or drink to take out.

It is required for; ski lifts, bars, restaurants, cafés, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, tourist sites (including outdoor sites), gyms, leisure centres, sports grounds, concerts, nightclubs (when they reopen), large events like festivals or long-distance train travel.

Are there any exemptions?

There are a couple of exemptions where a negative Covid test, taken within the previous 24 hours, is accepted instead of a vaccine pass.

  • If you need to travel on a long-distance train and have “imperative reasons of a family or health nature” such as going to visit a dying relative – you would need to present some proof of this.
  • A vaccine pass is required to access non-emergency medical treatment or to visit a medical or social establishment (such as a nursing home). If you do not have a vaccine pass you can use a negative test instead. Emergency medical treatment does not require a vaccine pass or a Covid test.

What about children?

  • A vaccine pass is required for anyone aged 16 or above.
  • Children aged between 12 and 15 are required to use the health pass, in which a negative Covid test no more than 24 hours is accepted for those who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Under 12s do not require any type of pass.

The definition of fully vaccinated for children is the same as for adults; to be at least seven days after two doses of Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccines or 28 days after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Booster shots are not required for under 18s.

For children travelling from countries that have only recently started offering vaccinations to under 18s, or that only offer a single shot of Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna, this creates a problem as the children are unvaccinated by the French definition and face daily Covid tests in order to keep the health pass.

Do all these venues really check the pass?

Staff at any of the listed vaccine pass venues are supposed to check the pass on entry, but as ever in life, compliance is not 100 percent.

The majority of places do check, especially in the cities, but it can be variable. We’ve also heard anecdotal accounts of staff accepting non-French vaccination certificates, especially the American CDC cards, but be aware that this is not official policy.

It’s probably best not to chance it on a train – guards can remove you from the train at the next stop if you are found to be travelling without a valid pass.

And if you’re tempted to use someone else’s pass in order to gain access to a bar/café etc then we would strongly advise against this – that is vaccine pass fraud and there are very stiff penalties in place for this, including jail time.

Do you have a question on vaccine passes that is not covered here? Email us on [email protected] and we will do our best to answer it.