EXPLAINED: How does France’s Covid traffic light system for travel work?

EXPLAINED: How does France's Covid traffic light system for travel work?
Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP
France uses traffic light classification for Covid-19 travel restrictions. Here's how it works depending on whether countries are classed green, orange or red.

France uses traffic light travel classifications, which determines the rules for entry into the country for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers.

The countries on the red and green lists change regularly, so people planning a trip are advised to keep an eye on our Travelling to France section for the latest.

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See also on The Local:

The countries are divided up as follows:

Green – all EU and Schengen zone countries as well as countries where the virus is not circulating widely.

Red – Countries where the virus is still circulating widely and there is “a worrying presence of Covid variants”. 

Orange – Everywhere else. Countries are ranked orange if the virus is circulating but in a controlled way and there is no widespread circulation of variants.

Find the full list and map HERE.

Each colour tier then has different rules for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers. However all arrivals in France need to present a declaration stating that they are free from Covid symptoms and have not been in contact with Covid cases in the last 14 days. You can find the declaration HERE.

Children under 11 are exempt from testing requirements.

Green countries

Travellers coming from green countries can travel for any reason including tourism or to visit second homes and don’t need to quarantine

Green and fully vaccinated – no requirement for a test

Green and unvaccinated – travellers need to produce a negative PCR or antigen test taken at least 72 hours prior to travel.

Orange countries

Orange and fully vaccinated – no requirement for a test 

Orange and not vaccinated – travel allowed for essential reasons only or for certain categories of travellers.

People who qualify must present a negative Covid test (PCR test within the previous 72 hours or antigen test within the previous 48 hours) and quarantine for seven days on arrival before taking a second test.

Red countries

Red and fully vaccinated – no requirement for a test

Red and not vaccinated – travel allowed for essential reasons only and only for certain kinds of travellers, people who qualify must present a negative Covid test (antigen or PCR) taken within the previous 48 hours and quarantine for 10 days on arrival. This quarantine will be enforced with police checks on the registered quarantine address – you will need to provide documentation relating to your quarantine address eg a utility bill if you intend to quarantine at home or a hotel booking.

What does fully vaccinated mean?

To qualify as fully vaccinated, travellers must:

  • Have received a vaccine that is approved by the European Medicines Agency – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (also known as Janssen). The Indian-produced Covishield vaccine is now accepted by France 
  • Be at least seven days after the second injection for double-dose vaccines or after a single dose for those people who had previously had Covid-19
  • Be at least 28 days after the injection for people who had the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine
  • People who have received a vaccine that is recognised by the World Health Organisation but not yet approved for use by the EMA can travel to France if they have had a ‘top up’ single dose of either Pfizer or Moderna 

Paper or digital vaccine certificates are accepted, but they must comply with WHO standards – including the person’s full name, the type of vaccine used and a batch number. The NHS app is now compatible with France’s heath passport.

The EU’s digital health pass is also valid for travel purposes.

For families travelling with children who are not vaccinated, the children can enter under the same conditions as their parents.

For the full list of reasons accepted as essential travel – click HERE.

Member comments

  1. We are thinking of flying from bordeaux to malaga next week. We have both had both vaccinations. Does anyone what paperwork we need to have with us. I have my tous covid app on my phone.

  2. A WARNING IF YOU HAVE YOUR MARRIED NAME ON YOUR PASSPORT! I showed my TousAntiCovid app PCR test result at an Air France check in desk and it was going to be refused as proof because the certificates in the app only show your BIRTH NAME. Luckily I had the paper copy of the test result which also had my married name. My first vaccination attestation has both names, the second only has my birth name as it has been decided that the vaccination passport will also just have birth name. I am travelling this weekend and have a copy of my birth cert, marriage cert, tax payment and utility bill just in case!

  3. My 9 and 13 year old grandchildren will be driving with their fully vaccinated parents – all 4 having a pre-travel PCR test – one report says the children must isolate for 7 days after arrival – and others are not mentioning it . Anyone know the definitive answer yet ? Also tricky to stay overnight in a hotel enroute to the south.

  4. What’s the source of this story? Only The Local is reporting it so far as I can tell. Without a source, seems like hogwash.

  5. What about children from the UK, 16, 13 and 9 year olds, accompanying fully vaccinated parents – I assume they are also allowed in without quarantine.

    Thank you

    1. According to the UK govt interpretation of the French announcement in the ‘from 9 June’ section, under 18s are exempt:


      “Children under the age of 18 years old, who are travelling with fully vaccinated adults, will be exempt from requirements to self-isolate and provide an essential reason for travel, regardless of whether the minor has been vaccinated or not”

      Obviously that is from the UK and doesn’t have official status in France.

      Also worth noting that UK govt page includes the definition of ‘vaccinated’ to include a single dose of a double dose vaccine if you have been previously tested positive for covid. I knew this was the French domestic vaccination rule but hadn’t seen it stated before in the context of their travel requirements.

  6. I would be interested to know how children (under 16 who cannot be vaccinated in UK so far and under 12s who will not be vaccinated at all) will be catagorised? If travelling with fully vaccinated parents would they be allowed entry with negative test?

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