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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: What happens if my French health pass is deactivated?

French health passes are gradually being deactivated for people who have not received their vaccine booster dose in time - but what do you do if your pass is deactivated?

French Prime Minister Jean Castex shows his health pass to a security guard.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex shows his health pass to a security guard. If your pass is deactivated because you have passed the deadline to receive a booster, the solution is simple. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

I live in France and received my first two vaccine doses here. But I will be out of the country for a few weeks over the Christmas period. By the time I return, I will have passed the deadline to get my booster dose and my health pass will be deactivated. Does this mean I need to start my entire course of vaccinations again? 

In order to hold a valid health pass in France, over 65s need to get a booster dose within a set time frame. This rule will apply to all over 18s from January 15th. 

Currently, that time frame is between five to seven months since your last Covid-19 vaccination or infection. From January 3rd, all adults will be eligible to receive a Covid jab from four months since their last Covid-19 vaccination or infection.

If you were initially vaccinated with the one-dose Janssen (Johnson & Johnson vaccine), you become eligible for a booster one month following your shot, and must receive a booster two months following the shot before your health pass is deactivated. 

There is an online tool that allows you to check when you are eligible for a booster dose. 

Those who downloaded the TousAntiCovid any earlier than December should update the app (on some phones this is automatic – but otherwise you can do this simply clicking the “update” button on the home screen). The updated app will send you an alert five months after your last vaccination to remind you that you should get a booster if you want to carry on using the health pass. 

If you have passed the deadline to receive your booster dose, then the app will deactivate and you will not be able to access various public venues like restaurants, cinemas, gyms and concerts. 

At present it is possible to use a recent (within 24 hours) negative Covid test if your vaccine certificate has lapsed, but there are plans to remove this option from January. 

But all is not lost. 

It is possible to reactivate your health pass once you have had the booster dose. If you are over 65, you do not even need to book an appointment to receive your booster. You can simply walk into any vaccination site and you will be given priority treatment.

You can read our guide on how to get a booster dose HERE

After receiving your booster dose, you will get a new vaccination certificate and you simply scan this into TousAntiCovid to reactivate the app.

If you do not yet have a French carte vitale, ask at the vaccine centre for a paper copy of the certificate.

The reactivation of the health pass is supposed to be immediate (unless this is only your second shot, in which case you must wait seven days). But because of a computer error, a small minority of people who receive their booster dose may also have to wait seven days before the TousAntiCovid app recognises their new vaccination status. 

If this is the case for you, you can still show paper proof of your first two jabs and booster jab which will permit you access to any health pass venue.  

Member comments

  1. I didn’t have an appointment, nor am I over 65 but just showed up and was given my third booster. It is worth trying to do this.

  2. I got my first vaccines and my booster in the US. I hope to return to France on 19 January. How do I get my pass sanitaire updated at CDG?

    1. Hello Barney,
      Did you get to France as planned? If so, were you able to get your VaccinePass updated with your USA booster? How did you do it?
      I got my HealthPass while in Paris last July using my CDC card & US passport (plus 20 euro) at a pharmacie, but within the past month or so the TousAntiCovid app told me I’ve been deactivated for no booster (I got boosted in the US in October, but, of course, France doesn’t know that).
      I will be returning to Paris in a couple of months and am wondering what steps to take to get updated.
      Thank you.
      Eric

  3. I got a passe sanitaire in September based on my two January 2021 Moderna shots in the USA. I got a Moderna booster in the USA in December 2021.
    Will my passe be deactivated? If it is, how/where do I apply for a new one? I’m returning to France in May 2022.
    Thanks for your reply.
    — Bitsy

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Reader question: Can I buy or sell a car in France if I have a foreign driving licence?

You can drive in France for a certain amount of time with some foreign driving licences. But can you buy or sell a car with one and what other documents do you need?

Reader question: Can I buy or sell a car in France if I have a foreign driving licence?

Let’s start with the good news: a driving licence is not among the list of official documents needed to buy or sell a car in France – just to drive one.

But it’s likely that are asked to provide one when you buy a car.

In that case does what happens if you have a foreign rather than French licence?

We know by reading certain Facebook posts that this question often arises and some people have reported that they were wrongly asked for their French driving licence when buying a car and told that a UK licence, for example, wasn’t acceptable. 

Not having a French driver’s licence should not stop you from being able to buy a car in France.

Kim Cranstoun who runs the Facebook group ‘Applying for a French Driving Licence’ told The Local: “It’s a dealer issue, they have it fixed in their mind that you have to have a French licence mainly because they don’t understand the new agreement and the last thing they read was a UK licence was only valid until the end of 2021.

“As long as you have a valid UK licence you can purchase a car in France. Anyone going into a dealer with a valid UK licence should carry a copy of the agreement,” she said.

Interestingly a driving licence is not on the list of official documents you need to buy a car (see below) but dealer’s will often ask for it if they take charge of registering the car.

What does the seller need?

The seller is responsible for providing the car registration document, called the certificat d’immatriculation and known informally as the Carte Grise.

You must sign a certificat de cession (transfer certificate) along with the buyer, and then declare the sale on the ANTS website within 15 days. 

You should then receive a code de cession (transfer code) which you must also send to the buyer so they can register the vehicle in their name.

If the vehicle is second-hand and more than four-years old, the seller should also provide a recent roadworthiness certificate, proving that the vehicle has passed a contrôle technique (similar to an MoT in the UK), in the past six months.

What does the buyer need?

When you buy a car, you must sign a certificat de cession (transfer certificate) along with the previous owner, who has to declare the sale on the ANTS website within 15 days. 

The seller should then receive a code de cession (transfer code) which they must send you because you will need this to register the vehicle in your name. There is a fee, which usually falls to the buyer to pay for transferring a vehicle registration – which varies depending on the region, type of car, and its CO2 emissions. 

The previous certificat d’immatriculation (registration certificate – aka carte grise) needs to be struck through, and completed with the date of the sale and the seller’s signature.

You will then need to register the car in your name, which can be done online. You have one month to do this, otherwise you risk a fine of up to €750. 

If you are purchasing the car through a dealer, this transfer of registration will be done at the time of the purchase. Be aware, a dealer may ask for your driving licence as part of the process, but – as long as you hold a valid licence, whether it is French or not, you will still be able to go through with your purchase.

In fact, you can ask any certified garage to apply for the carte grise on your behalf, which could save on time and hassle, even if you didn’t buy the car from them.

When applying for a carte grise you will need to submit proof that the vehicle has undergone a contrôle technique (vehicle safety check) within the previous six months if the car is at least four years old.

To register the vehicle, you need the following official documents:

  • Identification (passport or identity card)

  • Proof of residence (typically a utility bill or rental receipt, less than six months old).

  • A copy of the Certificat d’immatriculation/Carte Grise with the appropriate section filled in.

  • The contrôle technique (CT) certificate, if required.

Buying a car with a loan

If you have the funds to buy the vehicle outright, you’ll have no problems – simply hand over the cheque at the appropriate time. It may be harder, however, to access financing for your vehicle if you’re not permanently resident in France.

Driving your new vehicle

If you plan to drive your car away that day, you will also be asked for a copy of a valid insurance certificate for the vehicle – in France, the vehicle is insured rather than the driver. 

Most car insurance companies will provide a provisional certificate to allow you to drive your new purchase. You will then need to finalise details and provide them with a copy of the Carte Grise when it arrives.

Driving licence

If you live permanently in France, sooner or later you may need to swap your driving licence for a French one – but where you learned to drive in the first place could dictate whether you have to take a French driving test. We cover that in depth here – including what’s changed for Britons in France after Brexit.

You can buy some vehicles – known as voitures sans permis – and drive them on some French roads without having a driving licence. Anyone born after 1988 must, however, hold a Brevet de sécurité routière, which has a 15-year limit, and the vehicles are speed limited and can only travel on certain routes.

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