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COVID-19 RULES

Explained: How to get a certificate of recovery from Covid in France

When the health pass becomes a vaccine pass on Monday, it will still be possible to use proof of recovery from Covid-19 as a way to access various public venues - but there are limitations.

Getting proof of recovery from Covid in France is easy.
Getting proof of recovery from Covid in France is easy. But if you were infected overseas, the process is a little more complicated. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

Since the health pass transformed into a vaccine pass on January 24th, one of three things is required to enter venues including bars, cinemas, restaurants, gyms, leisure centres, sports grounds, tourist sites and long distance trains

  • Proof of full vaccination (with booster if eligible)
  • Proof that you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons – full details on that HERE
  • Proof or recovery from Covid, known as a certificat de rétablissement

Negative Covid tests are no longer accepted. The rules apply to everyone in France – including tourists and visitors, such as visiting sports professionals.

READ MORE What changes on Monday when France brings in the vaccine pass?

Proving recovery from Covid is very straightforward in France.

Although the rules refer to a certificat de rétablissement you don’t actually need a new certificate, you simply need a positive Covid result obtained via a PCR or antigen test (not a self-test), that is more than 11 days old, but less than six months old.

From February 15th, this time period shrinks to more than 11 days old but less than four months old. 

If you tested positive more than six months ago – or more than four months ago from February 15th – you can no longer use the positive test result, but are eligible to be vaccinated.

If you tested positive in France, you will normally be sent a link via email or SMS, from the SI-DEP website. You will be able to print out proof of your positive test result from this web page – this is considered a certificat de rétablissement

You may also be able to get a paper copy of your test result from the site you were tested, if it was at a bio-medical lab, pharmacy or GP for example. This is considered a certificat de rétablissement

If you use the TousAntiCovid app you can scan the QR code from your positive test result via the carnet or “wallet” section of the app. This allows you to carry a digital copy of your recovery everywhere you go. You can of course stick to carrying around paper versions if you want to. 

What if I tested positive overseas?

In theory, you can use a positive Covid test taken abroad to obtain a certificat de rétablissement if the test itself conformed to EU standards and provided you with a QR code that can integrated with the bloc’s Digital Covid Certificate system. 

The EU has tried to harmonise testing procedures among member states and has published a list of approved Covid test manufacturers to ensure some level of uniformity.

A number of non-EU countries also provide tests recognised by the bloc. These include: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Cape Verde, El Salvador, the Faroe Islands, Georgia, Israel, Iceland, Lebanon, Lichtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Saint-Marino, Serbia, Singapour, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and the Vatican City. 

Not all tests types performed in these countries will give you the necessary QR code to obtain a certificat de rétablissement in France. The French government has created a platform for you to check whether the test you took is recognised by the French health authorities, which is available here

If you were tested outside the European Union or the other countries listed above, your chances of being able to obtain a certificat de rétablissement are slim. Your best hope is to go to a testing site with proof that you tested positive overseas and politely ask one of the staff to update your health/vaccine pass accordingly. 

Some readers have said that they managed to do this successfully to benefit from the “one infection = one dose” rule. 

READ MORE Will my health pass deactivate if I can’t get a booster because I caught Covid?

It is worth remembering that if you test positive for Covid and have already received your initial cycle of vaccines, you become eligible for a booster dose three months after the date of infection. 

What about travelling out of France?

The above rules apply for the domestic pass – needed for access to bars, cafés etc – but for international travel the rules are different. 

Until as recently as early January, people who had tested positive for covid and uploaded the result on their phone would receive an alert, saying that an extra certificate was required for travel within the EU.

Screen shot from the TousAntiCovid app

However, this has now been simplified so that a positive covid test result alone, downloaded from the SI-DEP website can be used for travel within the EU and Schengen zone.

However, only PCR tests are accepted for this, antigen tests cannot be used, in contrast to the domestic health pass.

Once outside the EU, travel rules vary. You should check with the health authorities and embassies in the country you intend to travel to, in order to find out whether they will let you use proof of recovery from Covid as an alternative to full vaccination as a means to gain entry. 

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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