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EXPLAINED: How does France’s Covid traffic light system for travel work?

EXPLAINED: How does France's Covid traffic light system for travel work?
Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP
France uses traffic light classification for Covid-19 travel restrictions. Here's how it works depending on whether countries are classed green, orange or red.

France uses traffic light travel classifications, which determines the rules for entry into the country for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers.

Since then, the countries on the red and green lists have changed several times, so people planning a trip are advised to keep an eye on our Travelling to France section for the latest.

The countries are divided up as follows:

Green – all EU and Schengen zone countries as well as countries where the virus is not circulating widely, including the USA and Canada.

Red – Countries where the virus is still circulating widely and there is “a worrying presence of Covid variants”. 

Orange – Everywhere else. Countries are ranked orange if the virus is circulating but in a controlled way and there is no widespread circulation of variants.

Find the full list and map HERE.

Each colour tier then has different rules for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers. However all arrivals in France need to present a declaration stating that they are free from Covid symptoms and have not been in contact with Covid cases in the last 14 days. You can find the declaration HERE.

Children under 11 are exempt from testing requirements.

The UK, Spain and Portugal have extra restrictions in place – more on that below.

Green countries

Travellers coming from green countries can travel for any reason including tourism or to visit second homes and don’t need to quarantine

Green and fully vaccinated – no requirement for a test

Green and unvaccinated – travellers need to produce a negative PCR or antigen test taken at least 72 hours prior to travel.

Spain and Portugal are both on the green list, but because of the high case numbers linked to the delta variant, unvaccinated travellers must present a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel, not 72.

The rules for fully vaccinated travellers are the same.

Orange countries

Orange and fully vaccinated – no requirement for a test 

Orange and not vaccinated – travel allowed for essential reasons only or for certain categories of travellers, people who qualify must present a negative Covid test (PCR test within the previous 72 hours or antigen test within the previous 48 hours) and quarantine for seven days on arrival before taking a second test

The UK – is on the orange list but because of the high case numbers linked to the delta variant, unvaccinated travellers must present a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel, not 72, in addition to the other measures outlined above. The rules for fully vaccinated travellers are the same.

Red countries

Red and fully vaccinated – A negative Covid test (antigen or PCR) taken within the previous 48 hours is required, and arrivals must quarantine for seven days on arrival before taking a second test

Red and not vaccinated – travel allowed for essential reasons only and only for certain kinds of travellers, people who qualify must present a negative Covid test (antigen or PCR) taken within the previous 48 hours and quarantine for 10 days on arrival. This quarantine will be enforced with police checks on the registered quarantine address.

What does fully vaccinated mean?

To qualify as fully vaccinated, travellers must:

  • Have received a vaccine that is approved by the European Medicines Agency – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (known as Janssen in France). The Indian-produced Covishield vaccine is now accepted by France 
  • Be at least two weeks after the second injection for double-dose vaccines or for two weeks after a single dose for those people who had previously had Covid-19
  • Be at least four weeks after the injection for people who had the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Most non-EU residents cannot so far use the EU digital vaccine certificate. Paper or digital vaccine certificates are accepted, but they must comply with WHO standards – including the person’s full name, the type of vaccine used and a batch number. However the NHS app is now compatible with France’s heath passport.

For families travelling with children who are not vaccinated, the children can enter under the same conditions as their parents.

For the full list of reasons accepted as essential travel – click HERE.


Member comments

  1. I am assuming that children under 12 from an orange country who cannot yet be vaccinated and are traveling with parents who are fully vaccinated will be subject to testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival? Clarification would be appreciated! Thank you.

  2. I would be interested to know how children (under 16 who cannot be vaccinated in UK so far and under 12s who will not be vaccinated at all) will be catagorised? If travelling with fully vaccinated parents would they be allowed entry with negative test?

  3. What about children from the UK, 16, 13 and 9 year olds, accompanying fully vaccinated parents – I assume they are also allowed in without quarantine.

    Thank you
    Carita

    1. According to the UK govt interpretation of the French announcement in the ‘from 9 June’ section, under 18s are exempt:

      ref: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements

      “Children under the age of 18 years old, who are travelling with fully vaccinated adults, will be exempt from requirements to self-isolate and provide an essential reason for travel, regardless of whether the minor has been vaccinated or not”

      Obviously that is from the UK and doesn’t have official status in France.

      Also worth noting that UK govt page includes the definition of ‘vaccinated’ to include a single dose of a double dose vaccine if you have been previously tested positive for covid. I knew this was the French domestic vaccination rule but hadn’t seen it stated before in the context of their travel requirements.

  4. What’s the source of this story? Only The Local is reporting it so far as I can tell. Without a source, seems like hogwash.

  5. My 9 and 13 year old grandchildren will be driving with their fully vaccinated parents – all 4 having a pre-travel PCR test – one report says the children must isolate for 7 days after arrival – and others are not mentioning it . Anyone know the definitive answer yet ? Also tricky to stay overnight in a hotel enroute to the south.

  6. A WARNING IF YOU HAVE YOUR MARRIED NAME ON YOUR PASSPORT! I showed my TousAntiCovid app PCR test result at an Air France check in desk and it was going to be refused as proof because the certificates in the app only show your BIRTH NAME. Luckily I had the paper copy of the test result which also had my married name. My first vaccination attestation has both names, the second only has my birth name as it has been decided that the vaccination passport will also just have birth name. I am travelling this weekend and have a copy of my birth cert, marriage cert, tax payment and utility bill just in case!

  7. We are thinking of flying from bordeaux to malaga next week. We have both had both vaccinations. Does anyone what paperwork we need to have with us. I have my tous covid app on my phone.
    Thanks.

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