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How unvaccinated people can use France’s health passport

How unvaccinated people can use France's health passport
Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP
A health passport is now required to access a range of venues in France including bars, cafés, tourist sites and long-distance travel. For those who are not yet fully vaccinated, accessing the passport is still possible, but more complicated. Here's how it works.

The French government has been clear that part of the intention of the pass sanitaire (health passport) is to push people into being vaccinated and as such daily life in France is now more complicated for those who are not vaccinated.

But for those who either cannot be vaccinated or have not yet completed the full vaccination course, it is still possible to access the passport.

EXPLAINED When and where you need the French health passport

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Proof

The health passport requires one of three things; proof of fully vaccinated status, proof of a recent negative Covid test or proof of recent recovery from Covid.

‘Fully vaccinated’ here means having a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca – including Covishield – or Johnson & Johnson) so those who received a Sinopharm or Sputnik vaccine do not count as ‘vaccinated’ under French rules. You also need to be at least seven days post your final dose of the vaccine.

Most people have two doses of the vaccine, but ‘fully vaccinated’ can also mean a single dose of Johnson & Johnson, a single vaccine dose if you have previously had Covid or three doses if you are severely immunosuppressed.

Those vaccinated outside France may need to convert their certificates to make sure they are compatible with the French app – click HERE if you were vaccinated in the UK or HERE if you were vaccinated in the USA.

Covid recovery

If you have recently recovered from Covid you will need a positive Covid test that is no more than six months old. If you did not have a test while you were ill, or had Covid more than six months ago, you cannot use this route.

Recent negative test

If you are going for the testing option, there are some stipulations;

  • The test must be no more than 72 hours old (expanded from 48 hours initially) so if you intend to rely on testing you will need regular tests
  • The test must be taken in France, the app does not recognise foreign test certificates
  • The test can be either a PCR or antigen test. Home-testing kits can be used, but only – the health minister says – if done under the supervision of a pharmacist or medical professional (so it seems that you may as well get the pharmacist to do the test).

How to get a test

Some good news for those travelling from the UK, France’s testing system is much less chaotic and considerably less expensive than the UK’s and tests are relatively easy to access.

You can find tests at either medical testing labs, pharmacies or pop-up testing centres – either a PCR or an antigen test works with the health passport.

Medical labs require advance booking but most pharmacies advertise tests sans rendez-vous (without appointment) and pop-up testing centres (which are often just a gazebo on a street corner) operate on a walk-in basis.

Almost all pharmacies offer tests and even quite small French towns generally have at least one pharmacy, and you can also book tests online either via the medical app Doctolib or at sante.fr.

READ ALSO Vital French vocab to get a Covid test

Results for PCR tests are sent out later via email or SMS (usually within 24 hours) while for antigen tests they are generally given on the spot, although some pharmacies send them via SMS, this should not take more than 30 minutes.

How much?

At present all tests are free for residents of France, but from September ‘convenience tests’ for the unvaccinated will need to be paid for. Tests for any reason for vaccinated residents of France will continue to be free, and tests for those with symptoms or who are contact cases will be free for all residents.

Tourists and visitors to France need to pay for their tests.

Costs are capped by the French government at;

PCR – €49

Antigen – €29

What about children?

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the health pass requirement.

Those aged between 12 and 18 are required to use it, but have a grace period until September 30th to allow them time to get vaccinated, after that they will need to show a health pass to access relevant venues.

France, along with quite a few other European countries, is currently vaccinating all over 12s, but if you are travelling from October from a country where the vaccine is not available to under 18s, then your children will need a test to access the health pass.


Member comments

  1. I got my first two pfizer shots in the US, and was very happily successful in using the portal to obtain la passe sanitaire. Now living in France, I have just received my third shot. Because I don’t have a social security number yet, I only have a paper with a QR code. I guess I could add it to my pass sanitaire, but it very clearly states that it is my FIRST shot, not my third. I’d like my passe to reflect that I’ve had 3, in case it ever becomes necessary to be considered fully vaccinated. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to resolve this?

  2. Hi, I would like to know how long an antigen test is good for once tested negative? When does the test have to be repeated?

  3. Hi, I have recently recovered from Covid, and have a positive PCR test result that can prove this. However the test was taken in England, can anybody advise if and how this can be uploaded onto the TousAntiCovid app for use as a pass sanitaire please? Any help is appreciated. Thank you

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