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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. 

Member comments

  1. Can you please advise on how USA travelers (vaccinated ONCE with Pfizer) might enter France on the basis of recovery from Covid? Thanks.

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TRAVEL NEWS

French PM says Covid tests for travellers from China ‘will continue’

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Tuesday that Covid-19 tests for travellers arriving from China would continue despite protests from Beijing.

French PM says Covid tests for travellers from China 'will continue'

“I think we’re performing our duty in asking for tests,” Borne told franceinfo radio when asked about China’s reaction, before adding: “We will continue to do it.”

“We’re doing it while respecting the rules of the World Health Organisation and we will continue to do it,” she added.

Since Sunday, travellers from China arriving in France must wear a mask and be prepared to submit to a test on arrival, which are being done at random.

From Thursday, all travellers will be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test undertaken less than 48 hours before their flight.

French authorities have described the testing regime as a means of tracking variants that might be spreading in China since the country lifted its strict Covid-19 restrictions.

“Our objective — and all the scientists agree on this point — is to follow the evolution of the virus and that’s what we’ve been doing since Sunday,” Borne said.

European nations are seeking to coordinate their responses, with France, Italy and Britain testing arrivals while other states such as Germany have no restrictions.

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