FOR MEMBERS

Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access France’s health passport?

Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access France's health passport?
France's health passport TousAntiCovid. Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP
With France setting up its digital health passport, those who get vaccinated here can scan the QR code on their vaccine certificate straight into the passport app - but what about those vaccinated in other countries?

France has already set up its own domestic health passport, it’s on the country’s TousAntiCovid app and you can scan in either a vaccination certificate or a recent test result to create a QR code that operates as a passport.

You can find full find full details on how this works, how to get a certificate and how to scan the codes HERE.

It’s important to point out, though, that at present you can’t actually use the pass for anything and if you’re travelling internationally you have to follow the rules on testing and quarantine even if you are fully vaccinated.

From June 9th larger events like concerts will restart in France, and the health passport can be used to gain access to them, while for international travel the health passport is expected to be rolled out in June, with no definite start date yet.

But what happens if you were vaccinated outside France and therefore don’t have the certificate with the QR codes to scan?

Here it is likely to depend on where you were vaccinated.

EU

If you were vaccinated in an EU/Schengen zone country this will hopefully be relatively straightforward.

The EU is finalising details of its ‘digital green pass’ – while we don’t know exactly how this will work as yet, the principle is that each EU/Schengen zone country develops its own domestic app like TousAntiCovid (which most countries already have) and these can all be used to produce a QR code that can be scanned at any border within the Bloc.

As with the French app, the EU’s will accept either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative test, or proof of having recently recovered from Covid.

The advantage of having a QR code is that it eliminates the problems of vaccination/test certificates being in different languages.

France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune told radio station Europe 1: “You will have the same code to go from Paris to Athens, from Berlin to Madrid.

“It will be recognised by the security and health authorities of different European countries. We are working on European coordination on a reopening of borders this summer to allow the safe resumption of the movement of people between European Union countries.”

The pass is expected to come into use in June.

Non EU

If you were vaccinated in a non-EU country such as the UK, USA, Australia or Canada things might be a little more complicated as there are extra logistical problems.

The first is that the EU pass will only accept vaccine certificates from people who have received a dose of a vaccine licensed for use within the EU – at present these are Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (known as Janssen in some EU countries).

The second is that the EU and the non-EU country need to agree to recognise each other’s vaccination/test certificates.

The EU has already said it has opened talks with the USA, while the British press report that Thursday’s EU meeting will also discuss mutual recognition of UK/EU health passports (which will obviously be fine as UK/EU talks always go really well and never drag on for years with one party threatening war).

Then there’s the technical aspect – making sure all certificates can be scanned and the various apps ‘talk’ to each other correctly. Not all non-EU countries issue certificates with QR codes, although the UK has begun making vaccination certificates available via the NHS app.

For people who don’t have a scannable code on their certificate – or don’t have a smartphone – there will be the option to present paper certificates at the border.

This needs to be a proper vaccination certificate – that is, one that has your name and date of birth, dates when both doses were administered, as well as the name and batch number of the vaccine.

It should be issued by an official health authority in charge of vaccinations in a given country.

We’re not totally sure of the logistics around this at present, but as paper certificates will need to be examined by a person – not scanned into a machine – it could be that getting through border control with a paper certificate will be a more time-consuming process.

People who are resident in France but had vaccinations abroad will have to follow the same procedures as tourists or visitors from that country in terms of their health passport.

For the latest on travel rules in and out of France, head to our Travelling to France section.


Member comments

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  1. thelocal might want to take an interest in the fact that three days after the legal restrictions on travel to France were lifted The Shuttle is still asking (requiring) travellers from Folkestone not only to certify in writing that they comply with the French Rules (as you would expect) but also that they have “good reasons” to travel, defined by reference to the UK law which has just been repealed. Now that the law has been repealed it is none of Eurotunnel’s business why I might want to go to France and since they have no legal obligation or basis to collect it they are breaking the Data Protection laws of the UK in collecting and storing it : I am not having any joy in getting Eurotunnel to change their illegal form, so you might want to ask them?

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