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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in the UK but regularly spend time in France – last night a waiter scanned my French health pass and told me it was no longer valid.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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TRAVEL NEWS

Reader question: Do non-EU children living in France need a DCEM document for travel abroad?

Adult non-EU citizens living in France know - or, at least, should know - that they should carry their titre de séjour as proof of residence whenever they travel abroad. But what about children?

Reader question: Do non-EU children living in France need a DCEM document for travel abroad?

Under current rules, children of non-EU residents living in France – including post-Brexit Britons – are not required to have a titre de séjour of their own.

But what about when it comes to travelling outside France? How can they prove they are residents in France at border checks?

There is one documents parents of non-EU minors need to apply for called the Document de Circulation pour étranger Mineur (DCEM).

“A foreign minor residing in France is not obliged to hold a residence permit. However, to facilitate their travel outside France, they can obtain a circulation document for foreign minors (DCEM),” reads the French government website.

Plenty of reports suggest that even though non-EU minors are travelling with parents who can prove residency in France, it won’t spare them from being grilled at the border and having their passport stamped. But carrying a valid DCEM would spare all that/

If a non-EU child cannot show a DCEM with their passport, customs officials could stamp their passport on departure and arrival in France or the Schengen area.

This could – in theory – lead to more issues and questions by border police the next time they try to leave or enter France, especially if the two trips are more than 90 days apart, which could see the child classed as an ‘overstayer’.

As non-EU citizens British minors and their parents have also been advised to get the document, as one British father resident in France can attest.

The father who lives in south-west France, said he was told a DCEM was obligatory when he travelled to the UK with his teenage daughter in October for a brief visit.
 
 
“The visit was arranged in a hurry, because we’d just learned my father is terminally ill,” he said.
 
“We knew about the document, but had assurances from the prefecture that we could travel without it. But customs officials at the border handed me a note, with details about the DCEM, as we flew out, having checked my daughter’s passport for an earlier entry stamp, and said we really needed to have it,” he said.
 
“They also checked for a stamp on our return a few days later. When I said we would get a DCEM as soon as possible, we were allowed to continue, but my daughter’s passport was again stamped. We now have one for her, so future travel shouldn’t be a problem.”

READ ALSO What happens if you overstay your 90-day limit in France?

Although a legal requirement border officials will, generally and gently, remind parents of the need for a DCEM.

How do I get a DCEM?

The child’s parent or legal guardian must apply for a DCEM in advance of any travel outside French borders. You can apply online HERE or at your departmental préfecture. 

Once received, this document lasts five years, or until the child in question reaches the age of 18, or until the parents’ right to reside in France ends before the end of either of the timescales.

You will need to supply a number of supporting documents, including:

  • Birth certificate of the applicant (parent or holder of parental authority);
  • Passport (or national identity card, consular identity card, etc.) of the applicant and the child;
  • Family record book or birth certificate showing the established filiation of the child;
  • Applicant’s valid residence permit (unless the applicant is European);
  • School or crèche certificate or any other document for young children that can prove habitual residence in France;
  • Proof of address in the name of the applicant if the minor resides with him, or in the name of the minor if he does not live with the applicant;
  • 2 photographs of the child;
  • Tax stamps (timbre fiscal) in the amount of 50 € to be given at the time of delivery of the DCEM; (However an important difference for Britons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement is that DCEM’s can be issued for their children free of charge. More info here – Print this document.)
  • Form cerfa n°11203 completed, dated and signed by the applicant (the form can be completed online).

Plus, documents proving your parental or legal guardianship over the minor

  • Marriage certificate, or divorce documents for parents who were married at the time the child was born;
  • Birth certificate of the child mentioning the recognition of the minor before the age of one.

As always, any documents not in French will need to be translated.

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