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What to do if you don’t have a French vaccination certificate with a QR code

International travel and access to many venues in France this summer will be be dependent on the country's 'health passport' showing that people are either fully vaccinated or recently tested - but what if you don't have the correct certificates?

What to do if you don't have a French vaccination certificate with a QR code
Vaccination certificates are needed to access health passports for travel and leisure. Photo: Pascal Pochard-Casabiance/AFP

Here’s how it should work:

After getting your vaccination in France you should get a certificate with a QR code on it that looks like this:

You download the TousAntiCovid app (if you have not already, it’s the same app that is used for Covid tracking and where you can find the attestation form for trips out after curfew), head to the ‘My wallet’ section and scan the code on the right hand side of your certificate.

Once you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca or one dose of Johnson & Johnson or one dose if you have recently had Covid) the app should then produce for you a code with your name, date of birth, the type of vaccine you had and – crucially – the vaccine status terminé (finished) indicating that you are fully vaccinated.

You can use this app to gain access to venues such as concerts, museums, cafés and trains over the summer.

You can also use it to travel within the EU or Schegen zone via the EU digital vaccine passport – here’s how to make sure your certificate is compatible with the EU system.

READ ALSO How France’s health passports will work this summer

If you have not yet been vaccinated you can you present evidence of a recent negative Covid test or recent recovery from Covid.

If you do not have a smartphone you can show a paper copy with a QR code of your vaccination certificate or recent negative test.

So that’s the theory, but there are some problems and anomalies within the system.

Here are the most common problems and how to solve them:

People vaccinated before May 3rd either didn’t get a certificate or got one without a QR code, meaning that it cannot be scanned into the app. For most people, certificates with the necessary code are now available via the online Ameli portal.

The Assurance maladie health system says that since May 27th, 1.3 million certificates have been provided to patients who had received their vaccine earlier. You can access it by heading to your Ameli account and either searching attestation de vaccination Covid-19 or clicking on this link.

If you don’t have an Ameli account you can set one up, provided you are registered in the French health system – details on how to set up the account here.

If you are not registered in the French health system and therefore do not have a carte vitale you are still entitled to be vaccinated and if you had your vaccine after May 3rd you should have been given a paper certificate with the correct QR code that can be scanned directly into the app. However if you were vaccinated before May 3rd you will not be able to use the Ameli route to get your certificate.

The Local asked the health ministry for its advice in this circumstance and we were told that people should go back to the doctor, pharmacy or vaccine centre where they got the vaccine, taking with them ID and the paperwork they were given at the time, and swap it for the new certificate.

If you only had one dose of the vaccine, your certificate might incorrectly show up as en cours (in progress) rather than terminé (finished) and this is important because only people with the terminé status are considered ‘fully vaccinated’ in terms of the health passport.

France’s policy is that people who have had Covid in recent months only need a single dose of the double-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca), in consultation with a health professional, and that this should be marked on health records as a second dose, giving people the vaccine status terminé.

However reports in the French media suggest that some people who only received a single dose have not been marked as fully vaccinated, in what appears to be human error in inputting the details.

In this case, the health ministry tells people to approach a medical professional who has access to the database (a GP or pharmacist) taking with them ID, vaccine certificates and test results to show proof of recovery from Covid so their records can be altered. In this case it does not have to be at the place where you received the vaccine.

If you have an Ameli account up and running but it is showing no documents relating to vaccination, the advice is to return to the centre where you had your vaccine with ID and your old certificate to swap it for a new one with the correct code.

If you had your vaccines outside France things are a little more complicated.

Vaccinations done within the EU are compatible with the French system, thanks to the EU vaccine passport scheme.

READ ALSO How the EU’s health passports will work this summer

Those vaccinated in non-EU countries cannot, for the moment use the French health passport, although talks are ongoing on this issue.

They can, however, present a paper or digital vaccination certificate – or the NHS app for people vaccinated in the UK – for proof of vaccinated status. However, this is only accepted if the vaccine has been approved for use within the EU – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (but not Covishield) and Johnson & Johnson.

We will update our Travelling to France section with the latest on travel rules.

Member comments

  1. I had my second dose today in a centre many miles from my home and only after I had left realised the vaccine certification with the QR code was only showing one vaccination with the status being en cours. I returned immediately to the vaccination centre to get the mistake corrected but was told there was nothing that could be done and I would have to correct it on the Ameli website, I explained that as I did not have a carte vitale, I could not access this site be but still the reply was « I can do nothing » After reading your article I went to my local vaccination centre and asked them to correct the database but again I was told « no we cannot fix this » and they said I would have to return to the centre that provided the vaccination. I then went to my local pharmacy and asked could they access the database to make the correction and the difference that a person with the willingness to help made was amazing, a very kind young man was willing to explore the possibilities and eventually with some difficulty was able to correct the mistake and I received an updated certificate.

  2. So you got it sorted why make such an issue of it. Perhaps you may consider getting a carte vitale now.

    1. My comments were to encourage people who have had difficulties to keep trying to find solutions, not to make an issue of it as you have suggested. As a recent resident of France I have yet to receive my carte vitale, this process takes time and having a correctly documented vaccination is important, especially when you are waiting to see family that one has not seen in too long a time. As soon as the EU covid digital certificate is deployed I hope to see my children again.

  3. I am leaving for France June 30. All I have is my fully vaccinated certificate from a vaccine clinic in Santa Barbara California… No QR code. Still no decision or information about how Americans can get their hands on documents or codes that France or the EU will recognize. Am I missing something? Thanks!

    1. Cynthiaziegler10,

      To be safe and free from French bureaucracy, ensure yourself a PCR test within 72 hours of your arrival in France ( don’t forget your vaccination card ). International visitors must meet this second requirement.

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‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief.