FOR MEMBERS

How tourists can use France’s health passport to access museums, cafés and trains

How tourists can use France's health passport to access museums, cafés and trains
Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP
A health pass is now required to access a wide range of sites in France including bars cafés, museums, tourist sites and coach or train travel - but how can tourists and visitors access the passport?

From Monday, August 9th, France has expanded its health passport scheme so that it is required in bars, cafés, restaurants (even if you are sitting outside), cinemas, museums, tourist sites, on long-distance train or bus travel and to visit hospitals or care homes. Find the full list of venues HERE.

In short, if you’re in France you are probably going to need it.

What is the health passport?

The health passport can show one of three things – fully vaccinated status, a recent negative Covid test or recent recovery from Covid. You need to be able to prove one of these three things to access venues listed as requiring a health passport.

How does it work?

The passport is on the French Covid tracker app Tous Anti Covid. For people who were vaccinated in France this is pretty simple – you scan the QR code on your vaccination certificate into the app and that generates a code which you can use to access any location. For the full guide to how the app works, click HERE.

Likewise, people who got a Covid test in France can scan their result into the app, although the test result is only valid for 72 hours, so you will need to repeat this every few days if you want to rely on testing.

People who don’t have a smartphone can show the paper version of their vaccination or testing certificates to gain access.

What about tourists and visitors?

But if you’re only visiting France and had your vaccinations or tests in another country, things are a little more complicated.

The Tous Anti Covid app is available in the app store and works on non-French smartphones. If your phone settings are to English, the app will largely appear in English on your phone.

“Our objective is that from August 9th these tourists present on national soil can obtain passes along the same lines as French people living outside of France,” French Secretary of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told France Inter on August 5th.

French citizens living abroad and their partners are now able to exchange proof of vaccination for a French certificate which can be scanned into the health pass. All they need to do is email proof of vaccination, ID, and proof they live abroad.

EU – If you had your vaccines or tests in the EU or Schengen zone, you should have a certificate with a QR code and thanks to the EU digital health pass scheme these can be recognised by venues in France.

UK – On August 4th, the French government confirmed that people vaccinated in England and Wales could upload their vaccination certificates to the French app, and that this was now compatible with the TousAntiCovid verif app used by venues to scan QR codes – find out how to do this HERE. From September 3rd, Scottish vaccination certificates are also compatible.

People vaccinated in Northern Ireland follow a different protocol – more HERE.

Non-EU – If your certificate comes from outside the EU, then things are a little more complicated as so far non-EU countries such as the USA and Canada are not aligned with the EU scheme.

However, there is now a protocol for people vaccinated outside the EU to get a French QR code that will allow them to use the app – more HERE.

Some pharmacies and vaccine centres are also willing to swap non-EU vaccine certificates for French ones with the correct code, although this service is not offered everywhere.

Children

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the health passport requirement. For youngsters aged between 12 and 17 there is a ‘period of tolerance’ until September 30th, so under 18s won’t need the health passport until that date. The extension is to give French teenagers a change to get vaccinated – vaccination has been open to under 18s since June, but many French kids are not yet fully vaccinated.

After September 30th, all over 12s will be required to show the health passport, so families travelling from countries that are not yet vaccinating children will need to bear in mind the testing requirements.


Member comments

  1. What about children visiting who are under 18, will they have to be vaccinated to access these sites?

  2. Well, we were invited to come on over (from USA) to spend spend spend and here we are, spending. So please show us how to get on the passport so we can eat (and spend, of course).

  3. What is the definition of “shopping centre”? Our local LeClerc has a couple of other shops inside, but wouldn’t be called a shopping centre anywhere else, in France?

  4. We were going to France leaving today. Cancelled plans. Looks a right mess for people coming in from the US with our cute little CDC paper vaccination cards, or even the New York State Excelsior vaccination app. “C’est quoi ce machin?” I could already hear the words as we were refused entry here or there. Put plans off until end September when hopefully there is some mutual recognition between the systems. I cannot believer that my idiot French son and his wife are offering themselves the luxury of being not vaccinated sous prétexte of being cynical as to the benefits.

    1. Regarding the PassSanitaire, Americans cannot patch into that system with vaccines given in the USA. However, listed on gouvernement.fr there is a 24/7 COVID-19
      hotline 800 130 000 which I called and verified that we can present our official CDC cards and other official receipts received at the time of vaccinations showing dates and type of vaccine.
      I made this call on July 12, 2021

  5. Would you please give us more information about traveling back from France to US. My understanding the PCR tests are not free anymore for tourists ( although said earlier in June that it’s free). Since takes a while ( 2 days) to get test results and only for 72 hrs. How ahead we should plan to get it and where, and is it 49 Euro for each person including kids? For example we flying Monday early morning so it means at least Thursday ( it will expire 72 hrs) or Friday we should do the test? But on the weekends everything is closed, how do we get our test results on time? Thank you

    1. I returned to JFK yesterday, July 13, flying from CDG on AF 0006. US customs require a negative COVID test, whether you are fully vaccinated or not. The test may be PCR or the quicker and less expensive antigen test. By all means, get the antigen test, the results of which will land in your email inbox within 10-20 minutes. But be smart: get the test 72 hours ahead of time, do not rely on a fast turn-around. I had to to change my July 12th flight because an earlier PCR test did not arrive in time, and still has not arrived. Specific advice: if you are in Paris, do not waste time making an appointment for a test via a website such as the excellent doctolib. That’s what I did the first time, only to discover a huge line at the testing tent and no one paying attention to appointments. Instead, go directly to the soberly organized and reliable Pharmacie de la Place de la République, located at 5 place de la République. Go early in the day, though I had my test just as they were closing at 6PM. You will need to fill out a form on your mobile phone, and you will need to provide a Parisienne or french phone number. The form goes nuts if you try to put in an American phone number. The highly professional young nurse giving the tests in the outside tent confirmed that only a french phone number works well. It doesn’t matter whose number you use, she told me. ( I used the number of a friend. ) What matters is a reliable email address, to which results will be sent. Do not rely on SMS. You fill out the form, get the test, and go inside the pharmacie to pay for the test (29 euros). Then you give the receipt to the testing person and before I got to the metro, my results had been sent via email, in the form of a pdf that I got access to via a short step of confirming my email when a verification code was sent to my inbox. Notably, at the airport, no one said a word about COVID tests until the very last step of being checked at the gate right before boarding. At that time, I presented the pdf one my phone to a woman who expertly expanded the tiny text, checking she said for 3 things: my name, birthdate, and date of the test. An American woman in front of me was sent away in tears because she insisted that all she needed was her CDC card showing full vaccination. No. You need a negative test within 72 hours, PCR or antigen. Just know, that how you pay for it is more complicated that the test itself. My first efforts to get a PCR at the Pharmacie Anglaise , 62 Avenue des Champs Élysées, ended in having to download a new application for reading QRs, an application for paying the fee, and the scandalous charge of 75 euros for the test, with results never being sent. That’s why I urge you to go to a well organized testing site. Visit it the day beforehand. These testing sites operate on the weekends, many are open today on the National Holiday. Bon Courage!

      1. Thank you JaneBeverley, for the detail reply. Fortunately or unfortunately we are in the Coted’Azur area, and we will be jumping from one airport to another with two different countries before we will catch our plane to US. Hopefully, it will be smooth ride. We heard there is a special testing places near by, so we will be checking out next week. Thank you.

      2. Thank you for this very thorough info. Like emvail above, my family and I purchased the BinaxNow covid test kits from Abbott. https://www.abbott.com/corpnewsroom/diagnostics-testing/BinaxNOW-what-you-need-to-know.html These tests have received rave reviews, are easy to use and are definitely approved by the CDC (US). They are self administered and certified via the internet so there is no stressing about making an appointment or not having a test in time to board your flight. Hope this helps.

        1. Thank you for alerting us to the Binax test. Do you know if the airlines accept this as proof of a negative test. Also, is it time-stamped? I’m asking because we need to have a test within 48 hours of our flight. Thanks.

          1. Yes the airlines accept the test because the CDC has approved it. Buy the test before you leave the US. The instructions are on the website. It looks very clear and easy to follow.

    2. I just got back from travelling all over Europe. I bought the Abbott Binax test that you take with you and perform the tests on a zoom call. My whole family has been using them SUPER easy. And we dont have to go around looking for test centers. I got them on emed.com.

  6. Will the CDC vaccination card (USA) be recognized as a legitimate document for cinemas, restaurants, stores?

    1. Regarding the PassSanitaire, Americans cannot patch into that system with vaccines given in the USA. However, listed on gouvernement.fr there is a 24/7 COVID-19
      hotline 0 800 130 000 which I called and verified that we can present our official CDC cards and other official receipts received at the time of vaccinations showing dates and type of vaccine.
      I made this call on July 12, 2021

  7. What a mess. I know several people who have just moved from the US or are about to. They’re fully vaccinated, and it will be many months before they have a Carte Vitale. This silly policy of announcing strict rules without considering obvious implications is giving people needless stress.

  8. Please update this article as to Americans traveling to France with their CDC cards. The US Embassy noted that we must walk into willing pharmacies and doctor’s offices, present our CDC card, and get the French health pass that way. Is that what is going to happen? I have not seen anything from the French government on this yet. Are there specific pharmacies that will perform this service?

  9. I live in Paris, but was vaccinated in the US. I went to a local pharmacy near Place de la République in Paris, and asked if they could provide an attestation with QR code. The pharmacist knew exactly what to do. She only needed the information from my CDC card and asked for my address. I asked, and you do not need a French social security number to receive it.

  10. Could you please provide more information on the exact steps a pharmacy should take to convert a CDC vaccination card to a pass sanitaire? I am in Côtes d’Armor, Brittany, and neither of the two pharmacies I went to (both of which administer vaccines and as helpful as they were) knew what to do. In other words, where in the database does the pharmacist find the page that will generate the pass sanitaire? Many thanks.

  11. Had same problem as PennCarol with 2 in Brittany and another in ile de france ; all administer the vaccine and no one knew where to add information. If anyone has greater details, much appreciated.

  12. What about Americans visiting? I have friends coming in October for our civil wedding ceremony and we planned on heading to a restaurant afterward. They are all fully vaccinated.

  13. Just want to confirm, today Aug. 4, my husband and I went to the Hotel Dieu, Ile de la Cite, next to Notre Dame, in Paris and within an hour had our French QR codes. There is a dedicated office. For Americans, take with you your CDC card, passport and address of where you are staying in France. For now, this seems to be a relatively predictable solution to the problem. Thank you to those who posted before and led me to this.

  14. So my wife and I filed the form and I immediately got a reply acknowledging it. My wife hasn’t received anything. My one daughter filed and like me received an immediate acknowledgment but my other daughter and her husband did not receive anything. What gives? Are their forms filed or not?

  15. I filed the form the day I read about it here at The Local. I did get an automatic acknowledgement that my email was received, but no further word (yet)….several days later now.

  16. I too submitted my application etc. on the 10th, and received an automated email acknowledgment instantaneously. Have received nothing else since. My flight is tomorrow morning. Beyond irritated.

    1. Hi Brenda. Did you ever receive your QR code? Just wondering because I sent in my documents on the same day as you and today is the 27th of August and I still haven’t received anything. Hope your trip to France is going well.

  17. My family (four persons) and I filed the proper forms, documents on Aug 11. Today is Aug 14 and we are traveling by train to Paris from Montpellier (we hope). Nothing from the French govt. except acknowledgement of receiving our submissions. We entered France on Aug 2. We are irritated that France would allow us into their country with our CDC shot record, but has not prioritized our staying here with a French pass sanitaire. This is nonsense. Are they overwhelmed with submissions? Did they think no one would apply? Ah, faceless government.

  18. Could anybody who is able to get a QR code via the new email-only system, please report back here how long it took them? I sent mine in on Tuesday, it’s Saturday now and I haven’t received anything except their automatic “we received your email” response.

    Other sites have people reporting approved within 2 hours or a bit longer, whereas others in their same party haven’t gotten a response in days. I can’t imagine how the French government is managing this process if it’s so obviously inconsistent.

    1. I got mine today. Actually, this afternoon I went to get a 2nd test so that I could use the pass, then decided I would re-send my documents for the vaccination certificate; except this time I used the French form and entered the data more nicely formatted (the English form had some formatting issues), and also rescanned my passport. I also used the newer Subject line form, including my date of entry into France.

      So I received the test results and QR code for that, and about 30 minutes later (a couple of hours after I sent in the cleaned-up forms/documents for the vaccination) I received the vaccination QR code.

      I’m not sure if re-sending the documents in a cleaned up form and with a date in the subject line made any difference and if I would have gotten the code today anyway, or not. But I got it. Lesson learned might be “use the French form, fill it out nicely, make sure the passport photo is perfect, and have the date of entry in France in the Subject line as requested”.

    2. applied when the system opened. Nothing except an achnowlegement. Over two weeks ago. weirdly my daughter applied and got a french QR code within 5 minutes. Our emails were virtually identical.

      This is ridiculous

  19. My husband & I both applied for the QR code on the 11th & both received the automatic acknowledgment email…but no sign of a code yet.

  20. Update
    – I am still waiting for my pass sanitaire despite sending the completed forms last Tuesday.

    However, we went to a restaurant yesterday, armed with passports, our NI certificates plus the automated reply from the French government- & we were not required to show anything, although French customers were being asked!
    On Thursday evening we are going out for a meal – I decided to email the restaurant to explain our predicament & ask if our NI certificates would be accepted should our QR code not arrive. The reply was “ pas de problème”!

    It is very frustrating – & I would have thought that if vaccination certificates from various countries are acceptable as proof of entry to France for tourists, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be acceptable for restaurants etc.

  21. FOR US TRAVELERS: I applied on August 10th for the France Vaccination Health Pass. No reply before my departure date to France. So, I arrived in Paris and immediately got my 1st Covid Antigen TEST at a local pharmacy- very easily- for the necessary 72hr health pass with QR. The test was 30€.

    Today ( August 17th) -one week from my application date- I finally received my Vaccination Health Pass (QR code) from France! Yea!!!!!

    Just want to let US travelers know that it seems to be taking about one week to receive the France Vaccine Health Pass. But in the interim, it is quite easy to obtain the necessary, (because hotels, restaurants, museums, etc ARE requiring a QR) at least the 72hr covid Test QR. The US CDC vaccine card is NOT sufficient. I’ve test it by offering it 1st before giving my 72 hr Covid test pass QR. The French (at least in Paris) will just look at your CDC card strange and reject it. Lol.

      1. Not sure what you mean – do you mean had I got a test before going out, and it had been positive? I would have self-quarantined, as one should.

        Are you attempting to imply I wouldn’t? Or did you mean something else?

        Also remember, a test isn’t required – if I had a timely response with a qr code for my us vaccination card, a test isn’t required.

    1. When I first got into Paris, it skipped my mind about getting a test first, and I went to a cafe and ordered a beer. The waiter asked for my health pass; I said “Oh, I forgot about that! Will you accept my US CDC vaccination card?” and showed it to him. He said that was fine, and served me. So SOMETIMES people will accept it.

      – Tim

  22. It looks like US and Canadian citizens now must file on line, not by email. I tried to do it by email today 8/28 and got a notice that starting 8/27 the request must be made online. Here is the response I got:

    Depuis le 27 août, les demandes de QR code se font en ligne.
    Pour les ressortissants étrangers, hors étudiants : https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etrangers
    Pour les étudiants étrangers : https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etudiants

    Since August 27, the requests for QR code are made online.
    For foreign nationals, except students: https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etrangers
    For foreign students: : https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etudiants \

    I was able to set up an online account and resubmitted the request. I got a confirmation back that it went through. we will see what happens and how long this takes.

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