Applying for France's health pass as a non-EU tourists can be a little tricky ©Getty Images
Applying for France's health pass as a non-EU tourists can be a little tricky ©Getty Images

This is how tourists can access France's health pass

TripFalcon August 26, 2021

Last Update: 2021-08-25 22:19:16

France has created a process that allows tourists visiting from outside the European Union to apply for a health pass. The health pass proves that the holder is fully vaccinated, has recovered from the virus or has tested negative for COVID-19. It's required to enter all restaurants, cafes, bars and long-distance transport networks —as well as many entertainment, leisure and cultural venues.

Applying for this health pass is a pretty straightforward process if you're a French citizen or a tourist visiting France from another EU country but since its inception, visitors from elsewhere have reported difficulty in obtaining one. A temporary solution was implemented at the start of August to allow non-EU tourists to obtain a French health pass by email. It's important to note that this process for non-EU tourists is only applicable until August 26, and there have been reports of inconsistencies and delays in recieving the QR code.

It is not yet clear how it will work after that date but it's likely the system will be extended. We will update this article when we have more information. In the meantime, if you're traveling to France, here's a guide to understanding what the health pass is, where you need to present it, and how you can sign up for it.

What is the health pass?

The pass sanitaire (health pass) indicates that the holder has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (in France that means one week after the final dose of a Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine course or 28 days after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine), has recovered from the virus within the last six months, or has tested negative in the past 72 hours with either a PCR or antigen test.

Where do I need to present it?

It came into effect on July 21, granting the holder access to any leisure or cultural venue across France with a capacity of more than 50 people, including museums, galleries, theaters, cinemas, concert halls, exhibition spaces, nightclubs, discos, zoos, open-air festivals, sporting venues, theme parks, libraries, swimming pools, and tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower.

On August 9 the health pass was extended to restaurants, cafes and bars (both indoors and outdoors), long-distance trains and coaches, domestic flights, hospitals and nursing homes. It was then extended to large shopping malls in high-risk areas on August 17. The pass is required of anyone over 18 years old and by September 30, it will be extended to children between the ages of 12 and 17 as well.

French citizens who were vaccinated in France can upload their vaccination or testing status to the ToutsAntiCovid app, or apply for a paper version with a QR code. French citizens living abroad who intend to visit France can apply for a pass using online system until August 31.

Employees check vistors' health passes before they visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris ©AFP/Getty Images

How can tourists apply for the health pass?

If you're traveling from the EU, you can present your digital COVID-19 certificate or any approved European health certificate that documents your vaccination or testing status. The French embassy in Germany confirms that if the certificate issued to you appears with a European flag, your certificate is compatible and "will be recognised during [checks] in France in the same way as French certificates."

If you're traveling from the US between now and August 26, you need to email the following documents to [email protected]:

The documents must be in PDF, PNG or JPG format and applicants are asked to use the following format for the email subject line: COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE / SURNAME First name (e.g.: USA / DUPONT Jean).

As soon as the application has been processed, the applicant will receive a QR code by email. The code can be printed out and presented at venues on paper or electronically on a smartphone.

Process to obtain health pass for non-EU tourists ©French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

The French government have yet to confirm how American tourists can access the health pass after August 26. A note on the French Diplomacy website reads: "this system is only open to non-European tourists who are already in France or who will arrive on or before 26 August 2021. Requests concerning arrival at a later date will be processed later."

In the meantime, a number of tourist sites are accepting the CDC vaccination card from American visitors. The Palace of Versailles confirmed to Lonely Planet that Americans are permitted to show their CDC vaccination certificate for entry, and it has been reported that the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre are allowing it too but it is not generally accepted otherwise as a health pass.

If you're traveling from the UK, the French government confirmed on August 4 that people vaccinated in England and Wales will be able to present their NHS QR code to enter venues. However, people who have been vaccinated elsewhere in the UK must exchange their vaccination certificates for a compatible French QR code. Similar to the process for US tourists, they'll need to email copies of their vaccination certificate, passport, return airline tickets and this form to [email protected]They'll receive a QR code once the application is processed that can be used to enter venues in France.

If you are traveling from Canada, you need to follow the same process for US tourists (outlined above) and email the relevant documents to [email protected]

If you're traveling from elsewhere, send the relevant documents (as outlined in the process for US tourists above) to [email protected].

QR codes in paper or digital format are scanned at entries to venues ©Hugo Pfeiffer/Icon Sport/Getty Images

I'm not vaccinated, where can I get tested in France?

Testing is widely available in France in most pharmacies and medical facilities but you'll generally need to make an appointment in advance. Most pharmacies can do antigen tests for about €25, and PCR tests can cost about €45. When using the health pass as an unvaccinated person, your testing status is only valid for 72 hours, which means you'll need to be regularly tested to enter venues.

Source: lonelyplanet