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How tourists can use France’s health passport to access museums, cafés and trains

How tourists can use France's health passport to access museums, cafés and trains
Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP
A health pass is now required to access a wide range of sites in France including bars cafés, museums, tourist sites and coach or train travel - but how can tourists and visitors access the passport?

From Monday, August 9th, France has expanded its health passport scheme so that it is required in bars, cafés, restaurants (even if you are sitting outside), cinemas, museums, tourist sites, on long-distance train or bus travel and to visit hospitals or care homes. Find the full list of venues HERE.

In short, if you’re in France you are probably going to need it.

What is the health passport?

The health passport can show one of three things – fully vaccinated status, a recent negative Covid test or recent recovery from Covid. You need to be able to prove one of these three things to access venues listed as requiring a health passport.

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How does it work?

The passport is on the French Covid tracker app Tous Anti Covid. For people who were vaccinated in France this is pretty simple – you scan the QR code on your vaccination certificate into the app and that generates a code which you can use to access any location. For the full guide to how the app works, click HERE.

Likewise, people who got a Covid test in France can scan their result into the app, although the test result is only valid for 72 hours, so you will need to repeat this every few days if you want to rely on testing.

People who don’t have a smartphone can show the paper version of their vaccination or testing certificates to gain access.

What about tourists and visitors?

But if you’re only visiting France and had your vaccinations or tests in another country, things are a little more complicated.

The Tous Anti Covid app is available in the app store and works on non-French smartphones. If your phone settings are to English, the app will largely appear in English on your phone.

“Our objective is that from August 9th these tourists present on national soil can obtain passes along the same lines as French people living outside of France,” French Secretary of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told France Inter on August 5th.

French citizens living abroad and their partners are now able to exchange proof of vaccination for a French certificate which can be scanned into the health pass. All they need to do is email proof of vaccination, ID, and proof they live abroad.

EU – If you had your vaccines or tests in the EU or Schengen zone, you should have a certificate with a QR code and thanks to the EU digital health pass scheme these can be recognised by venues in France.

UK – On August 4th, the French government confirmed that people vaccinated in England and Wales could upload their vaccination certificates to the French app, and that this was now compatible with the TousAntiCovid verif app used by venues to scan QR codes – find out how to do this HERE. From September 3rd, Scottish vaccination certificates are also compatible.

People vaccinated in Northern Ireland follow a different protocol – more HERE.

Non-EU – If your certificate comes from outside the EU, then things are a little more complicated as so far non-EU countries such as the USA and Canada are not aligned with the EU scheme.

However, there is now a protocol for people vaccinated outside the EU to get a French QR code that will allow them to use the app – more HERE.

Some pharmacies and vaccine centres are also willing to swap non-EU vaccine certificates for French ones with the correct code, although this service is not offered everywhere.

Children

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the health passport requirement. For youngsters aged between 12 and 17 there is a ‘period of tolerance’ until September 30th, so under 18s won’t need the health passport until that date. The extension is to give French teenagers a change to get vaccinated – vaccination has been open to under 18s since June, but many French kids are not yet fully vaccinated.

After September 30th, all over 12s will be required to show the health passport, so families travelling from countries that are not yet vaccinating children will need to bear in mind the testing requirements.


Member comments

  1. It looks like US and Canadian citizens now must file on line, not by email. I tried to do it by email today 8/28 and got a notice that starting 8/27 the request must be made online. Here is the response I got:

    Depuis le 27 août, les demandes de QR code se font en ligne.
    Pour les ressortissants étrangers, hors étudiants : https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etrangers
    Pour les étudiants étrangers : https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etudiants

    Since August 27, the requests for QR code are made online.
    For foreign nationals, except students: https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etrangers
    For foreign students: : https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etudiants \

    I was able to set up an online account and resubmitted the request. I got a confirmation back that it went through. we will see what happens and how long this takes.

  2. FOR US TRAVELERS: I applied on August 10th for the France Vaccination Health Pass. No reply before my departure date to France. So, I arrived in Paris and immediately got my 1st Covid Antigen TEST at a local pharmacy- very easily- for the necessary 72hr health pass with QR. The test was 30€.

    Today ( August 17th) -one week from my application date- I finally received my Vaccination Health Pass (QR code) from France! Yea!!!!!

    Just want to let US travelers know that it seems to be taking about one week to receive the France Vaccine Health Pass. But in the interim, it is quite easy to obtain the necessary, (because hotels, restaurants, museums, etc ARE requiring a QR) at least the 72hr covid Test QR. The US CDC vaccine card is NOT sufficient. I’ve test it by offering it 1st before giving my 72 hr Covid test pass QR. The French (at least in Paris) will just look at your CDC card strange and reject it. Lol.

    1. When I first got into Paris, it skipped my mind about getting a test first, and I went to a cafe and ordered a beer. The waiter asked for my health pass; I said “Oh, I forgot about that! Will you accept my US CDC vaccination card?” and showed it to him. He said that was fine, and served me. So SOMETIMES people will accept it.

      – Tim

      1. Not sure what you mean – do you mean had I got a test before going out, and it had been positive? I would have self-quarantined, as one should.

        Are you attempting to imply I wouldn’t? Or did you mean something else?

        Also remember, a test isn’t required – if I had a timely response with a qr code for my us vaccination card, a test isn’t required.

  3. Update
    – I am still waiting for my pass sanitaire despite sending the completed forms last Tuesday.

    However, we went to a restaurant yesterday, armed with passports, our NI certificates plus the automated reply from the French government- & we were not required to show anything, although French customers were being asked!
    On Thursday evening we are going out for a meal – I decided to email the restaurant to explain our predicament & ask if our NI certificates would be accepted should our QR code not arrive. The reply was “ pas de problème”!

    It is very frustrating – & I would have thought that if vaccination certificates from various countries are acceptable as proof of entry to France for tourists, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be acceptable for restaurants etc.

  4. applied when the system opened. Nothing except an achnowlegement. Over two weeks ago. weirdly my daughter applied and got a french QR code within 5 minutes. Our emails were virtually identical.

    This is ridiculous

  5. I got mine today. Actually, this afternoon I went to get a 2nd test so that I could use the pass, then decided I would re-send my documents for the vaccination certificate; except this time I used the French form and entered the data more nicely formatted (the English form had some formatting issues), and also rescanned my passport. I also used the newer Subject line form, including my date of entry into France.

    So I received the test results and QR code for that, and about 30 minutes later (a couple of hours after I sent in the cleaned-up forms/documents for the vaccination) I received the vaccination QR code.

    I’m not sure if re-sending the documents in a cleaned up form and with a date in the subject line made any difference and if I would have gotten the code today anyway, or not. But I got it. Lesson learned might be “use the French form, fill it out nicely, make sure the passport photo is perfect, and have the date of entry in France in the Subject line as requested”.

  6. Hi Brenda. Did you ever receive your QR code? Just wondering because I sent in my documents on the same day as you and today is the 27th of August and I still haven’t received anything. Hope your trip to France is going well.

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