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The Latest Covid Updates for France: Testing, Vaccines, and Traveler Requirements

Eiffel skyline

Almost all Covid restrictions for France have been lifted, such as restaurant and shop closures, curfew, and travel limits. However, the Pass Sanitaire will soon be required to enter most public places and masks are still required indoors as well as some spaces outdoors. Here are the latest updates on the ongoing and upcoming restrictions, how to get tested or vaccinated in Paris, and requirements for travelers to enter France.

Ongoing Restrictions

  • Masks must still be worn indoors in all public places, even for those who are vaccinated, as well as outdoor spaces where people are close together (concerts, markets, etc) and in cities and départements where Covid cases are rising again (Toulouse, Charente-Maritime, Pyrenees-Orientales). In general, keep a mask handy at all times.
  • As of July 21st, all cultural and leisure venues and events with 50+ people will require a Pass Sanitaire (including cinemas, circuses, zoos, gyms, theatres, hotels, cruises, campsites, libraries, dance clubs, casinos, sporting matches, museums and monuments such as the Eiffel Tower). This includes children 12-17 starting August 30th.
  • Alcohol consumption in public in Paris is still banned in certain areas after 4pm (this has been the case since 2019; see the full list here)

Upcoming Restrictions

  • From August 9th the Pass Sanitaire will be required to enter bars, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, trade shows, long-distance and TGV trains, airplanes, and tour busses (this includes children 12-17 starting September 30) .
  • All healthcare workers must be vaccinated by September 15th.
  • PCR tests will no longer be free starting in October (except by doctor’s prescription), to dissuade people from simply getting repeated tests instead of getting vaccinated.

Travel to France

All fully vaccinated travelers can enter France without restrictions, no matter which country they are traveling from. Only Pfizer (Comirnaty), Moderna, AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), or AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccines are accepted.

For those who are not vaccinated, the French government has specific rules, dividing travelers into three groups based on where you’re traveling from (or have been living in the past several months), regardless of nationality unless you’re French:

  • If you’re traveling from a “green” country — including any EU country (European Union plus Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland), Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia, Brunei, Canada, Comoros Islands, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United States and Vanuatu — each traveler over age 12 needs a negative PCR or antigenic test taken less than 72 hours before the flight. If you are travelling from Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands or Portugal, your test must be taken less than 24 hours before the flight.
  • If you’re traveling from a “red” country — currently Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Maldives, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tunisia — you can only travel to France if you have a reason (ie work, family emergency, etc) from the official list here. Everyone over age 12 needs a negative PCR or antigenic test taken less than 48 hours before the flight, take another test upon arrival in France, plus supervised quarantine for 10 days.
  • The rest of the countries are “orange”, including the UK. Travelers from these countries who are not vaccinated can only travel to France if you have a reason (ie work, family emergency, etc) from the official list here. Anyone over age 12 must have a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before departure or a negative antigenic test taken less than 48 hours before departure. If you are arriving from the UK, the PCR or antigenic test must have been taken less than 24 hours before boarding. Then you have to self-isolate for 7 days.

Health Pass (or “Pass Sanitaire”)

In France, the Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire) is required to access places where there are typically large crowds, such as stadiums, festivals, fairs, exhibitions, and airports for anyone 11 years old and up. Starting July 21st it is required at all events with more than 50 people, and starting August 9th it will be required to enter bars, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, trains, planes and tour buses (long distances).

Several European Union countries have started using an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), previously called the Digital Green Certificate. This is now required in all 27 member states (it will be available for specific non-EU countries, too, although no word on where the US stands on this). It will consist of information about an individual’s vaccination, test and/or recovery status in regards to COVID-19. Formulated as a QR code, the person traveling can choose to carry either a digital or paper-based certificate.

Proof of health status (vaccination or negative Covid test) is already required to return to France from abroad, to travel between metropolitan France and the overseas departments and territories, or to travel to Corsica. The scannable QR code is meant to simplify and speed up border crossings where authorities have been up until now bogged down in paperwork inspections for each traveler.  

For Non-EU Travelers from US, Canada, Australia, etc

As of August 1st, the French government has not provided official information on obtaining a health pass for non-French visitors/residents vaccinated outside the European Union.  While some people have been able to have their information entered into the French system by a French doctor or pharmacist, others have been told this is not possible (for example I’ve heard the vaccination center on the Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville will do it, but when my friend tried it she was turned away).

As many US residents of France returned to the US to get vaccinated, this means you cannot (at least for now) use the TousAntiCovid app. You will need to simply present the proof of vaccination that you have (such as the CDC card) PLUS your photo ID (passport).

If you are worried your vaccination certificate won’t be accepted, the best thing to do to ensure you have no problems is to simply get a PCR test in France and upload that to the TousAntiCovid app. Annoying, yes. But so is missing a flight or being turned away from an event because they couldn’t confirm your paperwork.

Health Pass for Locals

The Pass Sanitaire is digitally available through the TousAntiCovid app with a scannable QR code that serves as proof that you have been either: vaccinated against Covid-19, have a negative PCR or antigenic test less than 48 hours old, or that you’re immune after being infected within the past six months (so a vaccine is not the only option). The certified results of PCR or antigen tests, as well as vaccination certificates, can already be securely downloaded from the sidep.gouv.fr platform or imported into the. If you get your vaccine or test in France, it automatically uploads to the app when you scan the QR code, so no need to do anything but present it when asked. You can also use a printout with QR code if you don’t have a smartphone.

The Pass Sanitaire on the TousAntiCovid serves as the EU Digital COVID Certificate for French residents, so there is nothing additional you will need to travel throughout the countries that accept it.

Covid Testing Tent at a Pharmacy
Covid Testing Tent at a Pharmacy

Where to Get Tested or Vaccinated

As of May 31st, all adults residing in France can be vaccinated and tested free of charge. You can get vaccinated by your generalist, at the temporary vaccination centers (in certain stadiums, town halls, and even Disneyland!), and at pharmacies. Make an appointment at the Covid Vaccination Center closest to you on the same platforms: www.sante.fr or Doctolib, or on the Vite Ma Dose! app. Vaccinations are free for anyone in the French healthcare system.

You can get both PCR and antigenic Covid tests without a prescription at pharmacies or Covid test centers all over Paris (many, like pictured above, don’t even require an appointment). The interactive map of some of these centers is on the TousAntiCovid appYou can also find them listed at Sante.fr (dépistage) or by simply using the Doctolib website to find and book online (type “covid” into the search bar). Or just walk into the nearest pharmacy (look for the neon green cross) and you’ll usually see a sign for “Test Covid”.

NOTE: Starting in October, the PCR test will no longer be free unless you have a doctor’s prescription.

Not Free for Tourists as of July 7th

After French officials announced on May 16th that Covid PCR tests will be free for everyone, including tourists, in order to encourage travel, on July 1st it was announced that tourists would indeed have to pay for their Covid tests starting July 7th (because no other countries were reciprocating the gesture for French tourists). The tests will be €25 for the rapid-result antigen test and €49 for the PCR test. Although not as nice as “free”, it’s still a lot less expensive than the hefty price (up to €300) being charged in many other EU countries.

Returning Home From France

Whether or not your own country will allow you to travel (or return home without restrictions) is another story. The American Embassy in France’s website updated their website on June 20th with the rules for traveling to France, but we’re all still waiting to see when the US will allow French residents to visit. Check here for Canadian citizens.

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  • I arrived in France on July 5 th … they checked for Covid and I presented my CDC vaccination card at the passport control . Once the pass sanitaire was required for museums , I couldn’t get in with the CDC vaccination card …

  • I arrived at CDG from the States on July 2. No vaccination check nor proof of negative Covid test in 72-hour window required. I was prepared with both but didn’t need them.

    • Did you read above where it says “Travel to France”??? A handful of “green” countries can travel to France without any restrictions except a negative PCR test for anyone NOT vaccinated. Includes all of EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Lebanon, Singapore, Canada, and the United States.