How people vaccinated in the USA can access the French health passport

How people vaccinated in the USA can access the French health passport
Photo: Sebastian Solom Gomis/AFP
France's health passport is required to access a number of everyday venues including cafés, trains and tourist sites - so is it possible to use an American vaccination certificate to access this?

The health passport is required in France to access venues including swimming pools, cinemas and tourist sites, bars, cafés, shopping malls and long-distance train or bus travel.

READ ALSO When, where and why you need a health passport in France

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See also on The Local:

If you were vaccinated in France it is pretty simple to load your vaccination certificate onto the health passport app – here’s how. If you were vaccinated in a non-EU country other than the USA, click here.

But what about those vaccinated in the USA, either tourists or French nationals or residents who got their vaccinations while in the US?

People vaccinated in the EU have compatible vaccination certificates, while for those in England and Wales the NHS app is compatible with the French health passport app.

But for those vaccinated in the USA things are a little more complicated, especially as many states do not issue vaccination certificates with QR codes.

However, it’s not an impossible problem.

For entry into France, showing a US vaccination certificate – either on paper or in a digital format – is sufficient if you are ‘fully vaccinated’.

In travel terms that means you have had a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson) are at least two weeks after your second dose (or four weeks if you had the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

The US is currently on France’s green list, meaning that if you are fully vaccinated you won’t need a Covid test.

Once you are in France, you will need to show the health passport – showing either proof of vaccination, a recent negative Covid test or recent recovery from Covid – to access a number of leisure or cultural venues.

Initially, Americans were told to take their US vaccination certificates to a pharmacy in France, where staff could convert the code into a French one that would be compatible with the app.

However, since August 27th an online portal has been up and running for non-French citizens.

Who is eligible

The full requirements are;

  • You must also have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the EMA or equivalent. These are: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (including Covishield) and Johnson & Johnson.
  • It must be four weeks after your dose if you received a one-dose injection (Johnson & Johnson);
    Seven days after the second injection for two-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca);
    Seven days after the injection if you have recovered from Covid-19 (in which case, only one dose is necessary);
  • You must be over 18 (Until 30th September, under 18s do not need to show a health passport. This will be expanded to those aged 12-17 after that date)

You also need to be either in France or intending to travel ‘in the coming days’, although the site does not specify exactly how imminent your trip needs to be.

Feedback from readers of The Local suggests that it can take up to two weeks to get the code, so we would suggest applying within good time of your journey date.

How to apply

In order to receive a French certificate, you need to prepare the following documents in PDF, JPG or PNG format:

  • A vaccination certificate, demonstrating full vaccination
  • A valid passport
  • Tickets showing your dates of travel into France

Online application

Online applications were initially open only to French citizens, but since August 27th this has now been expanded to anyone who was vaccinated outside the EU – whether they are tourists planning a visit, French residents who got their vaccines elsewhere or people who have recently moved to France from a non-EU country

You can find the portal HERE.

Unless you are a student, in which case you apply HERE.

First you will need to create an account using an email address and password – or if you are a French resident you can sign in using France Connect.

You are then taken to a simple one-page form which asks you to fill in your personal details and the details of when, where and with what dose you were vaccinated. the address required is your address outside France, so your home address for tourists or previous address for people moving to France.

The form also requires you to upload supporting documents; a valid passport, a vaccination certificate and a travel ticket (this can be either a ticket for a planned trip or the way that you arrived in France if you are already here).

Once you have filled in the form click the button to Déposer le dossier.

By email

Previously, visitors were told to apply by email, but since August 27th, new applications have been met with a bounce-back telling them to apply online instead.

Applications should, however, still be processed for people who applied before that date and are still waiting for a response.

READ ALSO How unvaccinated people can use the French health passport

Talks are ongoing between the EU and USA on harmonising the technology to allow various countries’ apps to scan non-EU certificates.

What to do once you have the code

Once your application is processed you will be sent a QR code.

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can print out this code and show it at health passport venues.

If you do have a smartphone, you can then download the TousAntiCovid app and scan in your new code. You can then show that at any health passport venue in France for entry.

For a full explanation on how the app works, click HERE. 

At the pharmacy

Many readers of The Local reported long delays when applying on the old email system. We don’t yet know how quick and efficient the online portal is likely to be, but if you do end up waiting for a long time, the other option is to visit a pharmacy in France.

Some pharmacies are able to exchange a non-French vaccine certificate for the French code, although this is not a statutory service so pharmacies are not obliged to do this. Many readers have reported successfully making the swap at a pharmacy, but you may need to shop around to find a pharmacist willing to do this.

Get a test

The other option for people who are still waiting for a French code is to get a Covid test. The health passport can be used with a negative Covid test that is less than 72 hours old, and tests are easily accessible in France from pharmacies or pop-up testing centres – more details here.

Member comments

  1. We just returned (Oct 3) from 2 wonderful weeks in Lyon, Avignon and Paris. We were there to see friends, hike/bike and eat well — and we did all with ease.

    We applied for our passe sanitaire 3 weeks before departure and didn’t receive them until halfway through our trip — wasn’t a problem at all. We used our NY Excelsior passes at restaurants, stores etc. Of course, the QR code didn’t work but didn’t seem to matter — as long as we had some sort of proof and they tried to scan — all good. We never encountered a single problem.

    Departing JFK was a breeze — regular redcap check in – no one asked to see any covid related forms at all — literally 5 mins from drop off to departure area.

    Took at least an hour to enter France at CDG — even with being able to utilize an EU passport to skip part of the line (easily saved an hour) since one of us was entering on a US passport and we didn’t have the passe sanitaire at that point, we were diverted into a non vaccinated line! Added about 30 mins to the process and ultimately the passport officer didn’t want to see anything.

    Departing France — very easy to get PCR test in the 3 day window before departure at a Bioaxiome lab in the small town we were in — popped in the day before to book and results back in a few hours. Check in process at CDG was very long and required to show the negative PCR many times. pretty much every other customer had an issue to line moved very slowly.

    Overall — don’t hesitate to visit even without the passe sanitaire in hand. It’s an interesting moment to travel — everything open, bustling without being crowded — lots of French as well as EU tourists and some individual Americans/Brits – but no large tour groups. The French seem to have found a good balance for this Covid moment.

  2. My wife and I submitted our applications and documents using the site on 01 September, and we both received our CERTIFICAT COVID NUMÉRIQUE UE with the QR codes via email today, 22 September. Our departure for France is scheduled for mid-October, so we may have stretched the “in the coming days” timeframe a little when we applied on the first of this month, but … it worked out!

  3. I tried to receive my pass via with no luck at all after 3 attempts—including through the newer electronic version. We arrived in France on 9/4 and I easily got my CDC pass converted at “Filles du Calvaire” Pharmacie in the 11th arrondissement. Easy Peasy. Don’t even think about wasting your time trying to get it online, just go to this pharmacy.

  4. My husband and I just received the French certificate with the QR code. We applied on line on August 28th. So it took almost two weeks. But we have had no problem to date just showing our CDC cards to get into restaurants.

    1. You are very lucky. I have now applied three times, have been in France since 5 September, had a THIRD vaccination at a French clinic and received a QR code that a restaurant scanned today and it said “invalid”. I have both my QR code and CDC card scanned into my phone and the restaurant said no problem, but I am concerned about the train and museums. Not too happy!

      1. Go to the “Filles du Calvaire” pharmacy in the 11th arrondissement. They will convert your CDC card to the Pass Sanitaire for €20.

        1. Sounds like a good alternative for those in Paris. I live in Vaison La Romaine. I finally received my pass after 12 days, then received a second pass (I reapplied even though the website says don’t) 12 days after reapplication.

  5. I used the online website yesterday 14:47 France time, and received, my QR code within the hour, mine was Pfizer
    My wife put hers in a 15:34 and received that her dossier had been submitted, but her application is still in construction as of now, her shot was J&J not sure if it matters both are from USA

  6. My Wife and I submitted our applications & documents for the Passe Sanitaire on August 25. We did not receive a “bien reçu votre demande” reply. Should we re-apply using the new on-line method?

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