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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Can unvaccinated children travel to France?

Travel to France for countries on the red or orange lists - which includes the UK and USA - is generally only possible for fully vaccinated travellers, but what is the situation for families whose children are not yet double-dosed?

Reader question: Can unvaccinated children travel to France?
Family holidays in France may depend on vaccination. Photo: Laurent Dard/AFP

Question: I was thrilled to learn that France is again allowing travel from the UK. My husband and I are both fully vaccinated but our daughters – 13 and 15 – have only had a single vaccine dose, are they allowed to enter France?

For any country on the orange or red list for travel to France – which includes the UK, USA and Canada – there are different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers. While vaccinated people can travel for any reason including holidays, unvaccinated travellers must provide proof that their trip is essential.

But what about children?

Under 12s

France’s rules on vaccination and testing refer only to children aged 12 and over. Under 12s do not need to take a Covid test or provide proof of vaccination when entering France.

Over 12s

Children aged 12 and over are required to present a negative Covid test at the border (taken within 24 or 48 hours depending on where you are travelling from).

They are also required to complete paperwork including declarations of health and must be fully vaccinated.

The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is the same as for adults – seven days after receiving two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna or 28 days after a single dose of Janssen. A single dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna is not sufficient and these people will be counted as unvaccinated.

However, there is an exception for unvaccinated children over 12 who are travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians.

In this case, says the French Interior Ministry: “The measures applied to vaccinated adults are extended under the same conditions to accompanying minors, whether they are vaccinated or not.”

So in other words, if the parents are fully vaccinated, the children can travel with them under the same rules and do not need to provide proof that their trip is essential.

They will, however, still need a negative Covid test and a health declaration.

Any under-18s travelling on their own will need to provide proof of either full vaccination or an essential reason in order to enter France.

Health pass

However, once you are in France, you will need a health pass to take part in many everyday activities and those are required for all children aged 12 years and two months or older.

The health pass required either proof of vaccination, proof of recent recovery from Covid or a negative Covid test taken within the previous 24 hours.

The health pass is shortly – exact date is still to be confirmed by January 21st is seen as likely – to become a vaccine pass. Once this change goes through, only proof of vaccination will be accepted.

However the vaccine pass is required only for people aged 16 and over. Children aged between 12 and 15 can continue to use the health pass, which also accepts a recent negative Covid test.

The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ again requires two shots of the double-dose vaccine, a single dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna is not sufficient. Over 18s may also need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated.

Over 12s who cannot prove they are fully vaccinated will need to either take a Covid test every 24 hours – at the cost of €22 for an antigen test or €44 for a PCR test for non residents, home-test kits and Lateral Flow Test kits are not accepted for the health pass – or avoid health pass venues.

These venues include cafés, restaurants, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, theatres, tourist sites, museums, ski lifts and long-distance trains.

READ ALSO What will change when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

Member comments

  1. Does that mean that when France moves to a vaccine pass, 12-15 years old that are not doubly vaccinated w/2 weeks to make this valid, will not be able to get on lifts as it happens now in Italy? That will affect a lot the half term families trying to go to France, as many had only one shot of the vaccine!

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid rules: Travelling abroad from France this summer

There's been plenty written on travel rules for people coming to France - but what if you live in France and have plans for international travel over the coming months? We've got you covered.

Covid rules: Travelling abroad from France this summer

France isn’t currently on the Covid red list for any country, so there is nowhere that is barred to you as a French resident, but different countries still have different entry requirements.

EU/Schengen zone

If you’re travelling to a country that is within the EU or Schengen zone then it’s pretty straightforward.

If you’re fully vaccinated then all you need is proof of vaccination at the border – no need for Covid tests or extra paperwork. Bear in mind, however, that if your second dose was more than nine months ago you will need a booster shot in order to still be considered ‘fully vaccinated’. 

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

If you were vaccinated in France then you will have a QR code compatible with all EU/Schengen border systems. If you were vaccinated elsewhere, however, your home country’s vaccination certificate will still be accepted.

If you’re not fully vaccinated you will need to show a negative Covid test at the border, check the individual country for requirements on how recent the test needs to be.

Bear in mind also that several EU countries still have mask/health pass rules in place and some countries specify the type of mask required, for example an FFP2 mask rather than the surgical mask more common in France. Check the rules of the country that you are travelling to in advance.

If you’re travelling to a country covered by The Local, you can find all the latest Covid rules in English on the homepages for Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden or Switzerland.

UK

The UK has no Covid-related travel rules, so there is no requirement for tests even if you are not vaccinated. The passenger locator form has also been scrapped – full details HERE.

Once there, there are no Covid-related health rules in place. 

If you’re travelling between France and the UK, remember the extra restrictions in place since Brexit.

USA 

Unlike the EU, the USA still has a testing requirement in place, vaccinated or not. You would need to show this prior to departure.

It has, however, lifted the restrictions on non citizens entering, so travel to the USA for tourism and visiting friends/family is once again possible.

For full details on the rules, click HERE.

Once there, most places have lifted Covid-related rules such as mask requirements, but health rules are decided by each State, rather than on a national level, so check in advance with the area you are visiting.

Other non-EU countries

Most non-EU countries have also lifted the majority of their Covid related rules, but in certain countries restrictions remain, such as in New Zealand which is reopening its border in stages and at present only accepts certain groups.

Other countries also have domestic Covid restrictions in place, particularly in China which has recently imposed a strict local lockdown after a spike in cases.

Returning to France

Once your trip is completed you will need to re-enter France and the border rules are the same whether you live here or not.

If you’re fully vaccinated you simply need to show your vaccination certificate (plus obviously passport and residency card/visa if applicable) at the border.

If you’re not vaccinated you will need to get a Covid test before you return and present the negative result at the border – the test must be either a PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours or an antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours. Home-test kits are not accepted.

If you’re returning from an ‘orange list’ country and you’re not vaccinated you will need to provide proof of your ‘essential reasons’ to travel – simply being a resident is classed as an essential reason, so you can show your carte de séjour residency card, visa or EU passport at the border.

Even if the country that you are in is reclassified as red or orange while you are away, you will still be allowed back if you are a French resident. If you’re not a French passport-holder, it’s a good idea to take with you proof of your residency in France, just in case.

Fully vaccinated

France counts as ‘fully vaccinated’ those who:

  • Are vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson)
  • Are 7 days after their final dose, or 28 days in the case of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines
  • Have had a booster shot if more than 9 months has passed since the final dose of your vaccine. If you have had a booster shot there is no need for a second one, even if more than 9 months has passed since your booster
  • Mixed dose vaccines (eg one Pfizer and one Moderna) are accepted 
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