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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

LATEST: How visitors from outside the EU can access the French health pass

If you're planning a trip to France you will need the vaccine pass to access venues including bars, cafés and tourist sites, but getting this if you were vaccinated outside the EU, Schengen zone or UK can be complicated. Here's how it works.

LATEST: How visitors from outside the EU can access the French health pass
Photo: Pierre Verdy/AFP

The EU digital travel pass means that those vaccinated in EU countries have vaccination codes that are compatible with the French system, and the same is true of people vaccinated in a Schengen zone country or in the UK.

However visitors from outside the EU/Schengen/UK area need to obtain a European code before they can use the vaccine pass, and the process for doing this has changed several times.

The French government has now shut the online portal for this, and introduced a new system.

Here’s how it works:

Who?

This applies to anyone who was vaccinated outside the EU. What passport you hold is largely irrelevant, although French citizens vaccinated outside the EU do have their own separate system.

In order to apply for the French code you must be

  • Over the age of 12
  • Fully vaccinated with either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines
  • You may also need a booster, depending on when you had your second vaccine dose – full details here 

Those vaccinated with Sinopharm or Sinovac can get a French code if they have had a single top-up dose of either Pfizer or Moderna.

Those vaccinated with Sputnik or any other vaccines not recognised by the WHO need two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna before they are accepted as fully vaccinated in France.

Why?

Since January 24th 2022, the vaccine pass is compulsory to access a wide range of venues including bars, cafés, cinemas, tourist attractions, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, theatres, museums, ski lifts and long-distance trains.

How?

Previously tourists and visitors were told to email or apply online in advance of their trip to get their code, but now codes can only be issued by pharmacies.

This means that tourists will have to wait until they have arrived in the country and then sort out the necessary code, which is available on a walk-in basis from pharmacies.

A vaccine certificate from your home country will be accepted at the border as proof of vaccinated status.

Not all pharmacies offer this service, visitors will have to go to a participating pharmacy and, as the map below shows, there are not many of these and they are heavily concentrated on cities, especially Paris.

You can find an interactive version of the map HERE to find the closest pharmacy to you.

Once at the pharmacy, you show your original paper vaccination certificate and your passport and the pharmacist will give you a QR code. The code can then be scanned into the French TousAntiCovid app and this creates the vaccine pass.

Find full details on how the vaccine pass works HERE.

Charles de Gaulle airport

If you are coming to France by air and you are flying into Charles de Gaulle airport, there is a pharmacy at the airport that offers this service. 

It’s called Pharmacie Bonassoli, but it does not operate 24/7.

How much?

Previously the swapping service was free, but now pharmacists can charge up to a maximum fee of €36.

Why the change?

The process for tourists and visitors from outside the EU to get the necessary code has never really worked very well, and The Local has received dozens of emails from people who were unable to get the code, or who waited weeks for their application to be processed, leaving them without a pass on their holidays.

Most of the rollout of the health pass and then vaccine pass has gone very (some might say surprisingly) smoothly, but this area has definitely been a weak spot.

The most recent system was an online application form, but many people reported that it took weeks to get their code so it was probably understaffed.

By moving the task back to pharmacies the government has at least provided a service that is accessible on a walk-in basis.

French vocab

Pass sanitaire – health passport 

Attestation de vaccination étranger or Certificat de vaccination étranger  – Foreign (ie non-EU) vaccination certificate

Code QR (pronounced coo-aire) – QR code

Conversion de certificats de vaccination étrangers en format européen – Conversion of foreign vaccination certificates into a European format (this is the formal name for this service, so look out for pharmacies offering this)

Bonjour, pouvez-vous tranformer mon certificat de vaccination étranger en un QR code français pour le pass sanitaire ? – Hello, can you swap my foreign vaccination certificate for a French QR code for the health pass?

Member comments

  1. so glad I got mine early, this was one of my biggest concerns, the online trick was do it at 2am est in USA, received QR in 5 mins. Paris here we come.

  2. Arriving off the Eurostar with a two hour transfer to catch a fast train to the Spanish border. What are our chances of getting the new pass from a pharmacy in this time? And do the high speed trains insist on the health passes?

    1. Sometimes you need to show the pass to get on the train but not always. I have been asked to show it before entering the platform at Gare du Nord. It only takes a few minutes for the process of getting you the barcode… the trick will be finding a participating pharmacist close to the gare. Hopefully, there will be some in or adjacent to the gare that join the program.

  3. The pharmacie mentioned is not *at* CDG, it is *near* CDG. Hopefully, one (or all) of the pharmacies in the airport will offer this service…

  4. If you arrive to another EU country that uses the EU Covid Health Pass before entering France, will this be suffice? Or do you need to get a specific France Health Pass once you enter the country?

  5. I had two Pfizer vaccinations in France but a Moderna booster while on a short trip to the UK. I still cannot find out how to get the UK one seen as a booster in the AntiCovid app. The NHS QR code scans into the app but I am still getting warnings that the pass will be de-activated on 15 Jan. Anyone got any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Steve

  6. How do American tourists register their booster onto the tousanticovid pass Sanitaire. I have the pass from a trip to France in September 2021 but have since been boosted. I’m planning another trip in April 2022 . Do I need to “start over” when I get to Paris for €36, or can I somehow update it online for no cost?

  7. I have been in Vietnam for the Past 3 months, working. I have just received a Booster shot “Pfizer” and I am still not due to travel back to france for a few weeks. is there an online way to add this to my antiCovid app from here, or do I have to wait to come back to france and go to my local Pharmacie
    Thanks

  8. When using the interactive site for pharmacies ( linked in this article), you will find many more listings if you enter your zip code. The initial map is just an overview.

  9. O so I need this to travel on the trains but how do I get this when coming by Eurostar then having to go via underground to catch a connection at another station! I am an older person and would find rushing round Paris impossible so will there be an easier way before Spring anyone know!

  10. Can anyone confirm that a pharmacie at CDG (not merely near CDG) will convert a vaccine certificate to a vaccine pass?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

After two years of limited travel many people are planning a holiday this year and France is a popular destination - but it's easy to lose track of the latest travel rules. Here's what you need to know if you are coming to France from a country that is within the EU or Schengen zone.

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

Restrictions

France operates a ‘traffic light’ system that has been in place since summer 2020, assigning countries a colour based on their Covid infection rates.

These days most of the world is green – the lightest level of restriction – including all the countries in the EU and Schengen zone. Find full details on the government website here.

Map: French interior ministry

Vaccinated – if you are fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) and travelling from a green zone country all you need to show at the border is proof of vaccination. There is no requirement for extra paperwork such as passenger locator forms or health declarations and no Covid tests needed. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Unvaccinated – if you are not fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) you will need to show a negative Covid test at the border. The test can be either a PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours or an antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Fully vaccinated – in order to qualify as ‘fully vaccinated’ you must be vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca or Janssen) and must be at least 7 days after your final dose (or 28 days after in the case of Janssen). If you had your vaccine more than nine months ago, you will need a booster shot in order to still be classificed as ‘fully vaccinated’ if you are aged 18 and over.

Anyone vaccinated within the EU/Schengen zone will have the EU digital vaccine pass, but vaccination certificates issued outside the EU are also accepted at the French border. 

Children – The rules on vaccination apply to all children aged 12 and over. Under 12s do not need to supply proof of vaccination at the border. Children aged between 12 and 18 do not need a booster shot, even if their vaccine took place more than nine months ago.

The above rules apply to all EU and Schengen zone countries – if you are travelling from the UK click HERE, click HERE for travel from the USA and HERE for travel from other non-EU countries.

In France

So you’ve made it into France, but what are the rules once you are here?

On May 16th, France ended the mask requirement for public transport, representing one of the last Covid restrictions still in place.

Masks – masks are now only compulsory in health establishments, although they remain recommended on public transport. They are not required in other indoor spaces such as shops, bars, restaurants and tourist sites, although private businesses retain the legal right to make mask-wearing a condition of entry.

Health pass – the health pass was suspended in March and is no longer required to enter venues such as bars, restaurants and tourist sites. It is still required to enter establishements with vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. In this case it is a health pass not a vaccine pass – so unvaccinated people can present a recent negative Covid test.

Hygiene gestures – the government still recommends the practice of hygiene gestures such as hand-washing/gel and social distancing although this is a recommendation and not a rule.

Self-isolation – if you test positive for Covid while in France you are legally required to self isolate – full details HERE.

READ ALSO How tourists and visitors to France can get a Covid test

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