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IN DETAIL: Everything you need to know about travel between France and Covid ‘orange’ countries

With France now operating its traffic light travel system, the majority of countries - including the UK, USA and Canada - are listed as orange. Here's what that means if you are travelling to or from France.

IN DETAIL: Everything you need to know about travel between France and Covid 'orange' countries
Travel to or from France to orange countries is dependant on your vaccine status. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

The traffic light system came into effect on June 9th, and you can read about how it works for red and green countries HERE.

All EU and Schengen zone countries are green, but if you are travelling from a host of countries including the UK, USA and Canada which are on the orange list then your vaccination status is key.

MAP: Which countries are on France’s green list for travel?

This also affects people in France who wish to leave and travel to an orange list country.

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 (known as Janssen in France) 
  • Be at least two weeks after the second injection for double-dose vaccines or for two weeks after a single dose for those people who had previously had Covid-19
  • Be at least four weeks after the injection for people who had the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine

READ ALSO What proof do vaccinated travellers need to show at the French border?

Fully vaccinated and travelling into France

If you are fully vaccinated you can come to France for any reason, including tourism, family visits and visits to second homes.

Passengers need:

  • Proof of their vaccination
  • A negative Covid test. This can be a PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 48 hours. Travellers under 11 are exempt from the test requirement

READ ALSO Can families with unvaccinated children travel to France?

  • A declaration that they are free from Covid symptoms and will abide by the relevant rules. You can find the declaration HERE

Not vaccinated and travelling into France

If you are not vaccinated or have only had one dose, you can only travel to France from an orange listed country for essential reasons.

This covers foreign nationals who live here returning home, or people who live in other EU countries travelling through, but does not allow travel for tourism, family visits or visits to second homes.

You can find the full list of accepted reasons HERE.

The exception to this is unvaccinated children who are travelling with vaccinated parent or guardians.

If you fall into one of the ‘vital reasons’ categories, you will need

  • A negative Covid test. This can be a PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours or an antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours
  • An attestation d’entrée sur le territoire métropolitain or form detailing your vital reasons for travel, with supporting documents if necessary
  • A declaration that you are free from Covid symptoms and will abide by a seven-day quarantine on arrival in France followed by an antigen test. You can find both of the necessary forms HERE.

Vaccinated and travelling from France to an orange list country

French rules do not require anything specific other than proof of vaccination to leave France, but you will be likely to need a negative Covid test to enter most countries.

READ ALSO How to get a Covid test in France

You may also need to quarantine on arrival, so check the rules of the country you are travelling to.

Not vaccinated and travelling from France to an orange list country

As well as following your destination country’s rules on testing and quarantine, if you are not vaccinated you will also need a vital reason to leave France.

Counted as vital reasons are returning to your country of residence or country of origin.

So, for example, British passport holders can travel to the UK, Americans to the USA etc but this does not guarantee your right to return to France unless you fit one of the criteria (such as being a resident).

However there is no provision for a French partner on the rules. So if, for example, a Brit with a French wife wanted to travel to the UK, the wife might not be able to travel with them if she was not vaccinated and did not fit any of the criteria.

You also need to fill out an attestation stating your reasons for travel, which also gives a full list of accepted reasons. You can find the attestation HERE.


From people who have travelled under the new rules we’re receiving quite mixed reports of how many of these documents are actually checked, but our advice would be to have them all ready at the border just in case.

Member comments

  1. Only fully vaccinated people are allowed to leave france to orange list countries? The vaccination for general public started on may 27th. And how do you expect them to be fully vaccinated by june 9th. That means only those lucky to get the first shot on the first day will be able to travel earliest by june 28th.

  2. What’s the situation with regards flying into Geneva and driving into France? Switzerland is closed to uk tourists but the FOPH told me by phone that you can transit to France via Geneva airport, however British Airways aren’t letting people from the UK board flights to Geneva.

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‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?


One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”


One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”