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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Are NHS vaccination certificates still valid on the French health pass?

Several readers who were vaccinated in the UK have told of their French health passes suddenly being deactivated - here's what is happening.

Scanning French health pass
The health pass is required to access a wide variety of venues in France. Photo: Pascal Pochard Casablanca/AFP

Question: I was vaccinated in the UK but regularly spend time in France – last night a waiter scanned my French health pass and told me it was no longer valid. What’s going on?

Since the summer the English, Welsh and Scottish NHS codes have been compatible with the French Tous Anti Covid app, which hosts the French health pass. This means that anyone vaccinated in Britain can scan their NHS QR code directly into the French app and have a working health pass for access to venues including bars, cafés, tourist sites, leisure centres and long-distance train travel. Find full details on how to upload the code HERE.

However in recent days, several readers have reported that their French health pass has suddenly stopped working.

There are two things to consider here.

1 Time-limited NHS codes – once you are fully vaccinated in the UK, the NHS app generates a QR code. However, this code is only valid for 30 days. 

This was not previously a problem with the French app, but since Tous Anti Covid began deactivating passes for people who have not had a booster, it seems to have begun to recognise the 30-day limit on these codes.

Your vaccination certificate will therefore display as ‘expired’ in the Tous Anti Covid app, meaning that any employee scanning it at a bar, restaurant etc. will receive a message saying that your health pass is not valid.

Therefore people vaccinated in the UK need to download a new NHS code every 30 days, and scan it into the French app in order to keep it functional.

2 Boosters –  as mentioned above, health passes are beginning to be deactivated for people who are eligible for a booster but do not receive it.

This was first announced as something that only affected those vaccinated in France, with tourists and visitors initially being told that their passes would be unaffected.

However, several readers with a UK vaccination certificate have reported receiving a warning that their pass will deactivate seven months after their second dose – the same rule as already in place for those vaccinated in France.

The Local has requested clarification on the rules for travellers from within the EU and non-EU countries.

In order to keep the health pass activated, you will therefore need to get a booster – either in the UK if that is your place of residence or in France if you have moved countries in between getting the vaccination and the booster. 

If you use the TousAntiCovid app you will get a warning a couple of weeks before the pass deactivated.

Those who use paper certificates will not get the warning, so it is up to them to remember their vaccination date and get the booster in time. 

Member comments

  1. My Brother-in-Law had his first two jabs in the UK. These were eventually uploaded onto Tous Anti Covid, and the Passe Sanitaire worked perfectly…until he had his booster here in France.
    On uploading his QR code for the booster the passe sanitaire failed to be recognised in restaurants!!
    This was only resolved by a member of staff at the local vaccination centre. Quite what they did I’m not sure, but it now works!!

  2. Can you get a booster without a carte vitale? I’m still waiting on mine – was double vaccinated in New Zealand over six months ago and just got the expiration warning on TousAntiCovid

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For members

TRAVEL

Driving in France: What is télépéage and how does it work?

Ever seen those drivers who avoid the queues at toll booths and driving straight through? Here's how they do it.

Driving in France: What is télépéage and how does it work?

If you’re driving on French autoroutes one of the things you need to know is that they are not free – you will have to pay regular tolls, payable at toll booths known as péage.

Usually, drivers pick up a ticket from a booth at the start of their journey, then pay the required amount at a booth at the end of it – or when they move onto a different section of autoroute – based on the distance they have travelled.

But the toll booths themselves can be busy, especially during the summer, and long queues sometimes build up.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

This is where automated pay systems – known as télépéage – come in, especially for those who use the motorway network regularly.

As well as allowing you to pass straight through péages without stopping for payment, it’s also very useful for owners of right-hand drive vehicles, who may otherwise find that they’re sitting on the wrong side for easy and speedy payment.

Here’s how it works

Order your télépéage badge online

Click on the Bip&Go website here and follow the instructions to order a scannable personalised device (up to a maximum of two per account for private users). You will need to set up an account to arrange electronic payment of charges.

The website is available in English, French, German or Dutch.

You will need to supply bank details (IBAN number), address (for delivery), mobile phone number (to activate your account) and the vehicle’s registration details.

Your badge will be dispatched to your address within 48 hours from the opening of your online account. You can have the device sent to addresses outside France, but allow longer for it to arrive. 

If you’re in France, you can also pick up the device at one of Bip&Go’s stores, if you prefer – you will need need your bank details, proof of identity and a mobile phone.

Attach your badge 

Place your device on on the windscreen to the right of the rearview mirror. It is activated and ready to go. Then, simply, drive.

At the péage

All toll booths are equipped with the sensors that recognise that the vehicle is carrying the necessary device. At most, you will have to stop briefly for the device to be recognised and the barrier to lift.

You will also be able to drive through certain booth areas without stopping. These are indicated by an orange t symbol on the overhead signs. The maximum speed you can pass through these booths is 30kph.

Payments

Payments are processed automatically. You can monitor the amounts you have to pay on an app.

Do I need separate badges for motorway networks run by different companies?

No. The badge allows holders to travel on the entire French motorway network, no matter which company manages the motorway, and you can also use it to cross a number of toll structures in France such as the Millau Viaduct, the Tancarville Bridge or the Normandie Bridge, and pay to park in more than 450 car parks. 

Is it only valid in France?

No, with certain packages, you can also as easily travel on motorways in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and use a number of compatible car parks. You can even use them on Italian ferries.

Okay, but how much does it cost?

Subscriptions to the Bip&Go service depend on what type of service you want. A fixed price rolling subscription is €16 a year – plus toll charges – but assumes you’re a regular user of French motorways. 

A pay-as-you-go subscription is €1.70 for every month the badge is in use – plus toll charges – and carries a €10 additional fee if the badge is not used in a 12-month period.

How much are the toll charges?

They depend on the road you’re on, how far you travel along it, and the vehicle you’re driving.

Heading from Toulouse to Biarritz along the A64 will cost a total €23 in fees for a private car and if you’re driving all the way from Calais down to the Mediterranean coast expect to pay around €70 once you add up the various tolls along the way.

You can find out tariffs for autoroutes on the website of France’s official autoroute body AFSA – where you can also calculate the cost of your journey – including fuel.

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