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REVEALED: How to use France’s health pass using the UK’s NHS Covid QR code

A health pass is now compulsory to enter venues including bars, cafés, tourist sites and long-distance trains in France. So how does this work for travellers from the UK?

REVEALED: How to use France's health pass using the UK's NHS Covid QR code
Photo by DAMIEN MEYER / AFP.

People visiting or living in France can upload their vaccine certificates, negative test results taken within the previous 48 hours, or positive tests within the past six months to the TousAntiCovid app, which now acts as a health pass.

The pass is required to enter culture and leisure venues, cafés, restaurants, bars, shopping centres, hospitals, and long-distance coach and train travel.

For full details of where the pass is needed, click HERE.

The French Embassy in the UK has confirmed that the NHS app is compatible with with France’s TousAntiCovid app. In other words travellers vaccinated in England and Wales can upload their NHS QR codes onto the French app.

For people vaccinated in Scotland or Northern Ireland things are more complicated, since these countries do not use the NHS app – if you received your vaccination there, click HERE for the protocol.

The Local has tested this and heard from readers who have successfully uploaded their certificates. 

On August 4th, the French government announced that NHS QR codes now work with the TousAntiCovid verif app used by venues to scan QR codes before allowing entry. The verif app shows the user the name and date of birth of the person trying to get entry and gives a green tick if their QR code is valid.

You should be able to gain access simply by showing your digital NHS health pass or printed vaccination certificate. However, it’s a good idea to scan your certificate into the French app just to be safe.

Here’s how to convert your NHS vaccine certificate into a French health pass.

STEP 1

Get your NHS Covid pass QR code.

You can access your QR code through the NHS App or on the NHS website. First you will need to log into your NHS account.

Once you are logged in, you can download your health pass. According to the NHS website, “An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results.”

Several readers of The Local have said that only the most recent version of the NHS Covid Pass works with the French app – the most recent versions have two scan codes instead of one, so people who got an earlier certificate may need to log into the app or website and download their certificate again.

If you have two codes, the one relating to your second dose of the vaccine is the one that you want.

Download the certificate or print it out.

You can also request an NHS Covid pass letter online HERE, and it will arrive by post.

STEP 2

Download the French app, which is called TousAntiCovid.

You can find it on your iOS device HERE, or on Android devices HERE.

This is the app you will use in France to prove you have been vaccinated. Most of the text in the app appears in the language your phone is set to, so if your phone is English then you will get the English version.

STEP 3

Scan your QR code into the app.

When you open the TousAntiCovid app, click on the option ‘Scan a QR Code’. Then, align the white square with your NHS QR code, which you should have on paper or on another device.

You should receive a message saying “Your health pass is valid with this certificate”. In which case, you’re good to go.

READ ALSO When, where and why you’ll need a health pass in France from July 21st

When you arrive in France, all you need to do is open the app, and click on “Open my wallet” to access your QR code, which venues will be able to scan.

Travel

The systems for the health passport once you are in France and the travel system are not exactly the same.

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from the UK do not need to show a negative test or quarantine on arrival in France. But they do still need to provide a sworn statement (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This can be found on the French government’s website

They also need to provide proof of their vaccination status.

Travellers from the UK who are not fully vaccinated can only travel to France if they have an essential reason for their journey. They must provide a negative PCR or antigen test taken less than 24 hours before departure, and must quarantine for seven days upon arrival.

In travel terms, people are only ‘fully vaccinated’ 14 days after their final vaccine dose but the health pass works seven days after the final dose.

What to do if it doesn’t work

Some people have reported getting the error message, “Wrong format: This certificate’s format is not correct. Please try to scan it with more light, and moving slowly. And make sure you scan the QR Code of the right document.”

There are two possible reasons for this.

Downloaded NHS certificates are only valid for 30 days. So if you are unable to scan your QR code, try downloading a new certificate, which will provide you with a fresh code.

Alternatively it may be that you do not have the most up to date format of the certificate, which has two scan codes instead of one. If this is the case, you need to download a new version.

The app is looking for proof that you are ‘fully vaccinated’ so it will only accept a code from your second or final dose of the vaccine, codes from a first jab will not work.

Member comments

  1. I love in France have my paper certificate and the app Tous Anti Covid downloaded on my iPhone. But what ‘scan’ means exactly I’m not quite sure (duh! I know!). I’ve opened the app, scrolled down to ´ajouter un certificaté’, and found the white square. I’ve tried putting my iPhone with white square over the paper code and waiting, but nothing seems to happen! What am I missing?!

    1. Is the certificate already in the ‘wallet’? Click the Open My Wallet button and see if there is a QR code there, and your details below it. Worth checking. SB

      1. Thanks Stephen. No, nothing in Wallet but will try again tomorrow.

  2. I was able to take my CDC card to a Pharmacie on day one of my vacation (20/7/21) and the Pharmacist was able to input my information from my card into the system which then generated a QR code for me. It took more than one pharmacie stops to do this, But the second pharmacie we stopped at did it without a problem. A huge relief for us and the pharmacie staff was very nice, understanding, and helpful.

  3. Not yet working for the Certificate of Covishield obtained in India. I tried to scan the QR code but the app froze and didn’t do anything. Sad 🙁

  4. This may be all very well for NHS ENGLAND and its QR codes, but NHS Scotland doesn’t have such a scheme, using paper certificates instead – which they won’t send to France. Why does the local france confuse England with the UK and with Britain??

    1. Perhaps we, in Scotland, should be pressing the Scottish Government to issue a QR Code instead of a piece of paper to allow us to move freely in France.

  5. So UK residents can have their vaccinations recognized in France, but Brits vaccinated in France – even with the Oxford AZ vaccine – won’t have their vaccinations recognized in the UK? What are we supposed to do – get vaccinated a third and fourth time in Britain?

  6. I have successfully uploaded the NHS QR code into the wallet, and everything suggests that it will work, but has anyone actually used it successfully in France?

  7. It unfortunately does not work for QR codes from the NHS. It will load into the TousAntiCovid app fine but anywhere which then checks it with the TAC Verif app will not recognise it.

    This is apparently because of a technical issue from the NHS app where the QR codes are not being signed correctly. Venues will not be able to accept UK NHS Vaccine passports in the app. A fix is expected this week.

    https://twitter.com/iroughol/status/1418163480985841665

  8. As of 28 July the NHS QR code still does not work with TousAnti Covid app, nor the NHS app alone. Any update on when the NHS will fix their QR code ?

  9. Does anyone know how it works for someone vaccinated in Scotland, I have tried the pharmacy route and was told it has changed again and is not possible for them to issue a French QR code for the app. I’m here as a second home owner and cannot even meet friends for coffee as locals only want to see the app, not a Scottish bit of paper!

  10. Excellent article. Easy to follow. Downloaded the French app today (21 August) and scanned NHS QR vaccination code. It works! (Although haven’t actually tried using it in France yet! Still in Italy.)

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STRIKES

France hit by shortages at fuel stations after strikes at refineries

Many Total Energies fuel stations across France are reporting shortages of petrol and diesel as industrial action by refinery workers continued on Thursday. However, the company's fuel discount may also be to blame.

France hit by shortages at fuel stations after strikes at refineries

Employees of Total Energies have been staging industrial action that includes blockades at refineries, in an ongoing dispute over pay. 

As of Thursday, strike action continued in four of the five refineries operated by Total, according to Franceinfo

However some have blamed Total’s extra fuel discount – on top of the government’s 30 centimes per litre fuel rebate – for the shortages at filling stations across the country. 

While the issue has been primarily concentrated in the Paris region, it also extends north to the Pas-de-Calais and Hauts-de-France départements and West toward Brittany, and can be found in some other parts of the country too.

Almost half of the TotalEnergies fuel stations in the Paris region were out of stock on October 4th, according to France bleu.

La Voix du Nord reported on Monday that “From Saint-Léonard to Marquise, it was impossible to fill up. The same situation has been observed in Arras.

The pumps were also dry in eight TotalEnergies stations in Strasbourg and its surrounding area, according to BFMTV.

On Wednesday, government spokesman Olivier Véran said during a press briefing that there is “no shortage of fuel.”

He went on to explain that 12 percent of stations across the country were experiencing difficulties providing at least one type of fuel, while at least 30 percent of service stations in Hauts-de-France were impacted. 

“There are temporary tensions,” said Véran. However, he advised that people “not create a panic affect” and “not all rush [to the stations]. We will not run out of gasoline.” The government spokesperson said that the situation is being closely monitored, and that strategic stocks may be called on if necessary as strike action continues. 

Local authorities have also asked the operators of some stations in the north of the country “to set up priority access” for “medical transport” such as doctors and nurses, according to La Voix du Nord.

Customers can check to see if stations near them are low in stock by consulting the map on TotalEnergies’ website, HERE.

The problem has been ongoing for several days, after refinery workers staged industrial action beginning on September 27th to push for the oil group to increase workers’ wages due to inflation. 

However, the refinery workers’ strike is not the only reason for fuel shortages at TotalEnergies service stations. The company began offering customers an additional discount on fuel prices at the beginning of September, which could be added on top of the government’s existing fuel subsidy.

On July 22nd, the TotalEnergies announced it would offer a discount of €0.20 per litre at all its service stations in the country from September 1st until November 1st. In the second phase, which would run from November until December 31, the discount will be €0.10 per litre.

As a result of the campaign, the oil giant has seen a 30 percent increase in the number of customers frequenting its stations, which has left many without the necessary stocks to meet high demand.

Additionally, the availability of fuel in stations has been impacted by the extension of industrial action by refinery workers, which was originally set to run only three days.

Despite several stations struggling to meet customer demand, the oil company assured customers that there is “no shortage of fuel” and that it “has built up stocks and is importing regularly,” according to France régions.

When will the industrial action end?

According to La Voix du Nord, as of Thursday there was no update on negotiations between union leaders and TotalEnergies. 

Frederic Plan, General Manager of the French Federation of Fuels, Heating and Construction, told French news site 20 minutes that “as the strike continues in the refineries, there will be problems of resupply.”

He added that he and his organisation “have absolutely no information on the progress of negotiations that would allow the strikes to stop at the refineries’ shipments.”

According to Christophe Aubert, the head of the CGT union at two refineries (Seine-Maritime and Bouches-du-Rhône) told La Voix du Nord that these two sites were “still at a total standstill” on Thursday.

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