Since the beginning of August, France has required a Covid health passport for entry to many everyday venues including restaurants, leisure centres, tourist sites and long-distance train travel.
The passport requires one of three things; proof of fully vaccinated status, a negative Covid test no more than 72 hours old, or proof of recent recovery from Covid.
READ ALSO How the French health passport works
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Over the summer, children under the age of 18 were exempt from this requirement, but this exemption comes to an end on September 30th.
From that date, anyone over the age of 12 will be required to show their pass, meaning that if a family wants to go out for dinner all family members over the age of 12 will need to show their health passports before being allowed in. Children under 12 are not affected and do not need to show a health passport.
Government sources have told Le Parisien newspaper that the health pass obligation will only apply from 12 years and 2 months, in order to give children time to get vaccinated after their twelfth birthday.
The initial exemption was to give teenagers in France the chance to get vaccinated, as France has been vaccinating 12-17 year-olds since June 15th.
However, tourists coming from countries that are not yet vaccinating children are likely to have a problem – and this could hit the October school holidays, during which France is a popular holiday destination.
From September 30th anyone over the age of 12 who is not fully vaccinated has two main options.
The first is to get a Covid test every 72 hours – as well as being not a whole load of fun, tests for tourists are no longer free, so families face a cost of €29 for an antigen test (or €49 for a PCR test) every 72 hours for each child over the age of 12.
The second option is to avoid health passport venues, but this covers a wide range of places including cafés, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums and tourist sites (including theme parks like Disneyland Paris), leisure centres, events such as festivals or concerts and long-distance travel on trains, buses or domestic airlines.
Accommodation such as hotels, gîtes and campsites generally don’t require a health passport, but you will need to show it if you use communal facilities such as a pool or bar. Business owners are also within their rights to make it a condition of stay, so check booking information in advance.
The health passport does contain provision to prove you have recently recovered from Covid, but this requires a positive test result less than six months old, plus a negative result from the previous 11 days. Both these test results must be in a format that is compatible with the French app, so is unlikely to be of much use to tourists.
The criteria to be ‘fully vaccinated’ for 12-17-year-olds is the same as for adults:
- Have received a vaccine that is approved by the European Medicines Agency – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (known as Janssen in France). The Indian-produced Covishield vaccine is now accepted by France
- Be at least seven days after the second injection for double-dose vaccines or seven days after a single dose for those people who had previously had Covid-19
The health passport is in place until November 15th, although there is an option for it to be extended after this date if the French parliament agrees.
As well as the rules within France, tourists also need to be aware of rules on entry, testing and quarantine both for France and on returning to their home country.
You can find a full breakdown of France’s traffic light travel system HERE. Unvaccinated children can enter the country if they are travelling with vaccinated parents, but children over the age of 11 will need to show a negative Covid test at the border.