This post was last updated on Dec. 1, 2021.
If you’re vaccinated and planning on heading to France this holiday season, you’re in luck.
In light of the newly-discovered coronavirus variant Omicron, la Republique Française has not implemented fresh travel restrictions for vaccinated visitors coming from the U.S.—for now, at least.
Here’s what you need to know.
Current Travel Restrictions for France
We don’t know much about the Omicron variant yet, but early reports suggest it could be more contagious than other variants. As a result, France has suspended flights from seven countries in Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Flights will resume from these countries starting Saturday, Dec. 4, but only for travelers who have French or EU citizenship or permanent residency, or are diplomats. Travel for tourism, family visits or study from these countries is fully suspended. Malawi, Zambia and Mauritius will also fall under the new rules starting Dec. 4.
People are also reading…
Travelers from the United States are still welcome to visit France—but only if they’re vaccinated.
Requirements to Enter France from the U.S.
If you’re vaccinated: You’ll have to show a negative PCR or rapid antigen Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of your departure. Previously, the government allowed proof of vaccination to suffice, but now a negative test will also be needed, according to reports on Wednesday. The new rule is reportedly going into effect starting Saturday, Dec. 4.
For those traveling before Dec. 4., only proof of being fully vaccinated is required. The French government’s definition of being fully vaccinated means:
- It’s been at least seven days since you received your second shot for two-shot vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Vaxevria and Covishield), four weeks after one-shot vaccines (Johnson & Johnson) or
- It’s been at least seven days since you received one dose of a vaccine if you previously had Covid-19 (it is not immediately clear if there’s a limit on how long ago you contracted Covid-19 for this rule to apply). Starting on Dec. 15, people 65 and older who were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine must provide proof of booster vaccination. You will also need to provide this sworn declaration stating you have no symptoms of Covid-19 and to your knowledge have not been in contact with a confirmed case in the 14 days prior to your journey to France.
If you’re not vaccinated: France has currently categorized the United States as an “amber” country, meaning there is an active circulation of the virus. If you’re not vaccinated, you will only be able to enter France if you have “a compelling reason.” Those reasons include:
- Being married to a French citizen or French resident
- Long-stay visa holders
- Health professionals;
- Students enrolled in French education institutions
- Workers in the land, sea and air transport sector or transport service providers
- You’re transiting through France for less than 24 hours to an international destination
If you fall under one of these categories, you will have to fill out this travel certificate. You’ll also need to present a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours prior to your departure, or a negative antigen test taken less than 48 hours prior to your departure.
A sworn declaration stating you have no symptoms of Covid-19 and to your knowledge have not been in contact with a confirmed case in the 14 days prior to your journey to France is also required.
If you’re not vaccinated but previously recovered from Covid-19: You can only travel to France if you have a compelling reason. Instead of presenting a negative Covid-19 test, you have the option to present a certificate of recovery dated more than 11 days and less than six months prior to the date of travel.
However, you may be subject to a random test when you arrive in France—and you must self-isolate for seven days.
It’s important to keep in mind that the current situation is developing, and new restrictions could be put in place by the French government at any time. Refer to the France Diplomacy website for the most up-to-date information.
How to Obtain the French Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire)
France currently requires everyone, including foreign visitors and residents, to provide a health pass (pass sanitaire in French) to access certain events and places to lessen the risk of spreading the virus.
If you’re a tourist, you might think you won’t need this pass—but without it, you won’t be able to eat in restaurants (including their terraces), go to movie theatres, attend festivals and concerts, enter museums or take long-distance transports such as trains.
Failure to provide a valid health pass can result in a fine of 135 euros for the first offense, with increases for each offense thereafter.
The health pass consists of a vaccination certification, a negative test certificate or a recovery certificate in both paper format and digitally in the TousAntiCovid app.
Visitors can obtain a French health pass by providing their passport and original vaccination certificate in paper format at a qualifying pharmacy. By law, it can cost no more than 36 euros to obtain the health pass. You can obtain a health pass once you arrive in France.
Requirements for Returning to the U.S. from France
Entering France is just half of the journey; there are also entry requirements to get back into the U.S., even if you’re an American citizen or permanent resident.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents entering the U.S. must present negative Covid-19 test results to their airline before boarding the plane, regardless of their vaccination status. It will also be checked at customs upon arrival.
- If you’re vaccinated: You must present a negative viral test taken no more than three days before the flight’s departure and proof of vaccination. Most French pharmacies take walk-in requests for Covid-19 antigen (rapid) tests, with the cost capped at 22 euros.
- If you’re not vaccinated: You must show a negative test taken within one day before the departure.
- If you’re not vaccinated but previously recovered from Covid-19: You can travel with documentation of recovery from Covid-19 and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official stating you were cleared to travel.
If you’re not a U.S. citizen or have certain U.S. immigration status and you’re not fully vaccinated, you won’t be permitted to fly to the U.S.
There are reports that the U.S. could soon impose stricter testing requirements before and after arrival—and even self-isolation. The Biden administration is expected to announce the new rules on Thursday, Dec. 2.
It’s important to keep in mind that the current situation is developing, and new restrictions could be put in place by the American government at any time. Refer to the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.